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Virginia Tax Professional Sentenced Over Tax Fraud Prosecution

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Virginia Tax Professional Sentenced Over Tax Fraud Prosecution

According to a Department of Justice press release, a Virginia tax preparer was recently sentenced to serve 27 months in prison after filing hundreds of false tax returns for clients. As we approach tax compliance season, we are reminded of the very real risks of filing false or misleading tax returns. 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 supported upon examination or criminal tax investigation by the IRS or state tax authority, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced tax defense attorney to determine your best strategy to come into compliance.

Defendant Understated Income and Inflated Deductions to Increase Fraudulent Refunds

Court documents reveal that Angela Harper was the owner and operator of At Ease Tax Services, a tax preparation firm that served clients in the Newport News, Virginia area. Harper operated out of her home and out of hotel rooms. To increase her clients’ tax refunds, Harper filed returns claiming fraudulent deductions and credits.

Harper appears to have worked hard to wash her hands of her work even before she had filed her clients’ tax return. Investigators discovered that she failed to sign the returns as a paid preparer. Additionally, she failed to provide her clients with a copy of filed returns, even upon client request. Harper assisted in the preparation and filing of over 400 fraudulent tax returns and the estimated tax loss to the government exceeded $700,000.

In addition to her 27-month federal prison sentence, Harper was ordered to serve three years of supervised release to commence at the completion of her physical incarceration. Additionally, Harper was ordered to pay restitution to the IRS for the tax loss caused.

Getting Right with the IRS Before an Examination of Your Tax Return

It may be tempting to overstate deductions or understate income, but the potential civil and criminal consequences far outweigh the benefits of committing tax fraud. If you have already filed a tax return for one or more years that understates income or inflates deductions, you should consider consulting with a seasoned tax lawyer. The IRS has employed sophisticated computer systems that attempt to reconcile items of income with your return and statically analyze your deductions. If a return is flagged by the automated review, it will be manually examined by an IRS agent, which may result in a criminal investigation or prosecution if fraud is discovered.

When you work with an experienced tax defense attorney, you will first develop a strategy that is tailored to achieve your goals based on the particular facts of your case. Your tax lawyer will assist in the preparation of any documents that need to be filed or substantiation that must be provided. But most importantly, your tax lawyer will represent you in any interaction with the IRS. This means that you will never need to go up against the IRS alone.

Note:  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. 

It is imperative that you 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 being 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 in 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, Kovel CPAs and EAs, our firm provides a one stop shop to efficiently achieve the optimal and predictable results that simultaneously protect your liberty and your net worth.   See our Testimonials to see what our clients have to say about us!

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