According to a Department of Justice press release, a Las Vegas man was recently sentenced to serve more than a year in federal prison for committing federal tax crimes related to his real estate business. This story exemplifies the huge risk taxpayers who willfully violate federal tax laws take. Suppose you have failed to truthfully file your tax returns or have failed to file tax returns altogether. In that case, contacting an experienced tax defense attorney as soon as possible is in your best interest to discuss your options to comply without facing criminal tax prosecution.
If you recall from our previous reporting of this story, Scott and Debra Lawrence, a couple from
Las Vegas, Nevada, was engaged in the real estate and interior design businesses. Prosecutors alleged that between 2005 and 2020, the defendants filed tax returns that did not properly reflect their true income. After an IRS audit and the determination that the couple owed far more taxes than they had paid when filing their tax returns, Department of Justice attorneys argued that they used various evasive tactics to intentionally avoid paying their correct tax liabilities. Such tactics included cashing large portions of their paychecks and avoiding the effect of IRS levies and other collection methods. The Lawrences were also accused of failing to pay their 2014 through 2018 federal tax bill.
This case illustrates that there are two different methods of committing tax evasion. Evasion of assessment or cheating in completing a tax return by fraudulently understating income or overstating expenses and evasion of payment. Evasion of payment involves taking illegal actions to prevent the IRS from engaging in collection enforcement actions to collect taxes that have been legally assessed and thus due and owing.
A federal grand jury indicted Scott and Debra Lawrence on counts related to conspiring to defraud the United States, tax evasion, filing a false tax return, assisting in filing false tax returns, and failing to file tax returns and pay federal income taxes. Scott Lawrence pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion.
Recently, a federal judge sentenced Scott Lawrence to one year and one day in federal prison. Additionally, Lawrence was sentenced to two years of supervised release. Lastly, he was ordered to pay the U.S. government nearly $2 million in restitution.
While engaging in legitimate tax planning strategies for yourself or your business is not illegal, taking steps to illegally reduce your taxable income or otherwise undermine tax collection is playing with fire. In many cases, defendants like the one above get burned.
If you have failed to file a tax return for one or more years or have taken a position on a tax return that could not be substantiated upon audit, contacting a seasoned tax attorney is in your best interest. Together, you will work to develop a strategy to get right with the government.
Suppose you have failed to file a tax return for one or more years or have taken a position on a tax return that could not be supported by an IRS or state tax authority audit, eggshell audit, reverse eggshell audit, or criminal tax investigation. In that case, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced tax defense attorney to determine your best route back into federal or state tax compliance without facing criminal prosecution.
As long as a taxpayer that has willfully committed tax crimes (potentially including non-filed foreign information returns coupled with affirmative evasion of U.S. income tax on offshore income) self-reports the tax fraud (including a pattern of non-filed returns) through a domestic or offshore voluntary disclosure before the IRS has started an audit or criminal tax investigation/prosecution, the taxpayer can ordinarily be successfully brought back into tax compliance and receive a nearly guaranteed pass on criminal tax prosecution and simultaneously often receive a break on the civil penalties that would otherwise apply.
You must hire an experienced and reputable criminal tax defense attorney to take you through the voluntary disclosure process. Only an Attorney has the Attorney-Client Privilege and Work Product Privileges that will prevent the very professional that you hire from potentially being forced to become a witness against you, especially where they prepared the returns that need to be amended in a subsequent criminal tax audit, investigation or prosecution.
Moreover, only an Attorney can enter you into a voluntary disclosure without engaging in the unauthorized practice of law (a crime itself). Only an Attorney trained in Criminal Tax Defense fully understands the risks and rewards involved in voluntary disclosures and how to protect you if you do not qualify for a voluntary disclosure.
As uniquely qualified and extensively experienced Criminal Tax Defense Tax Attorneys, KovelCPAs, and EAs, our firm provides a one-stop shop to efficiently achieve the optimal and predictable results that simultaneously protect your liberty and net worth. See our Testimonials to see what our clients have to say about us!
If you are facing federal or California aggressive collection action, don’t get creative in dealing with it and try to outsmart that tax collector, or you could be criminally prosecuted for evasion of payment. Let us assist you in working out a viable collection alternative.
Regardless of your business or estate needs, the professionals at the Tax Law Offices of David W. Klasing are here for you. We are open for business; our team will help ensure your business is, too. Contact the Law Offices of David W. Klasing today to discuss your business with one of our professionals.
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