No one likes to pay taxes. Just about everyone, whether he or she resides here in Missouri or elsewhere, will take advantage of every possible way to reduce their tax liability each year. Most of the time, those efforts are entirely legal.
Sometimes, however, the IRS accuses individuals and businesses of using fraudulent or deceptive techniques in order to avoid paying taxes. It would simply not be worth the risk for you to attempt to “slide one by” the IRS. Convictions for tax evasion come with some severe penalties including prison time.
Take these infamous cases for example
Claims of an oversight, ignorance or mistake may not save you from a conviction for tax evasion. It certainly didn’t help in the cases below:
- Actor Nicholas Cage blamed his management team for the fact that he failed to pay approximately $6 million in taxes. He ended up having to pay the amount owed and suing his management team.
- You probably know that infamous gangster Al Capone was imprisoned for tax evasion despite the fact that many people knew him to be a murderer, bootlegger and extortionist. In the end, it was the fact that he failed to pay his taxes that put him away.
- Actor Wesley Snipes claimed his advisors told him he didn’t have to file tax returns or pay approximately $7 million in taxes. His faith in them cost him a conviction and a three-year prison sentence.
- Musician Willie Nelson received a bill from the IRS in the staggering amount of $32 million. He even had to write, produce and sell an album whose proceeds all went to the IRS as part of a settlement negotiated with the tax agency.
These are just some of the more well-known examples of famous people who ended up paying the price for tax evasion. Even though some of them did so on the advice of others, the law did not recognize that as a viable excuse for not paying their taxes. The law does not discriminate based on fame, wealth or profession. If the government believes you intentionally avoided paying your taxes, you could find yourself under investigation.
From that first letter you receive from the IRS, you may want to take the situation seriously. You have the right to defend yourself, and you may start doing so from the beginning. Waiting until the government files formal charges against you could be too late.