Tax Law and Business Organization Strategy

IRS Criminal Prosecutions in the News

You wouldn't ordinarily think of the NYTimes as a hot source for new tax developments. But some recent actions by the IRS criminal division involve subjects that are high enough profile to warrant reporting by the NY Times.

First, there is the recent prosecution of Wesley Snipes, a well know actor. His case ended, for the most part, in a victory for Snipes. While he was found guilty of some misdemeanors, the jury apparently believed that he did not have the requisite criminal intent to be guilty of felony tax evasion. As noted in the article, it can be difficult to prove criminal intent where the accused has any reason whatsoever to justify his or her conduct.

Another case, with not quite a high a profile, involves what the NYTimes refers to as "penny-ante tax fraud." The case involves alleged "inflated appraisals" of property that was appraised at less than $5,000. Not exactly your normal "badge" of organized crime.

Makes you wonder if the IRS is spending its resources trying to turn civil tax cases into unwinnable criminal prosecutions.

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