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March 2013 Archives

Former Quincy resident convicted for tax evasion

A 70-year-old man formerly of Quincy was convicted for five counts of tax evasion as well as stealing funds from a federal housing assistance program. The man was also convicted of two counts of conspiracy and two counts of making false statements. The tax evasion convictions and related charges involved two elaborate schemes: one involving a false-invoice scheme and the other Section 8 housing fraud.The crime began after he was hired as a salesman by Xcel Fire Protection, an indoor sprinkler company. The man told Xcel's general manager that he owned several businesses, including a trucking company, moving and real estate business and a business equipment company. According to authorities, the man sent false invoices in the names of the companies that he owned to Xcel for goods or services that these businesses had never provided. The general manager authorized the company to pay the invoices by check. In exchange, the man gave the general manager 90 percent of the value of the checks while keeping 10 percent for himself. The man and the general manager did not pay the correct amount of income taxes toward the $490,000 that they received through these transactions.

Massachusetts man sentenced for tax evasion

A judge in New York ordered an 83-year-old Massachusetts man to pay a large civil penalty after he was found guilty of tax evasion. He is said to have hidden $5.7 million from the Internal Revenue Service. According to authorities, the man had spent several years of his life attempting to hide his wealth from the IRS. He used Swiss bank accounts to prevent authorities from learning about his real wealth. However, Americans are required to file Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts Reports when they have a foreign bank account with a balance of more than $10,000. This man was accused of failing to file these reports from 2006 to 2011. The man's financial adviser was also charged with conspiring with United States taxpayers to hide over $184 million from tax authorities.

Massachusetts lawyer sentenced to prison time for tax evasion

A lawyer from Colrain received a sentence that includes time in federal prison for his conviction of a tax crime. Formerly, he practiced in Greenfield but has since had his legal license suspended. The man received a six-month prison sentence for his tax evasion conviction. He was also sentenced to a year of probation and was fined $8,000. The charges stem from his failure to report the full amount of his income from 2005 to 2008. According to his lawyer in the case, his actions were a result of financial stress caused by a divorce. Prosecutors say that the man has already paid approximately $150,000 in delinquent taxes.

IRS orders information about foreign bank accounts

Massachusetts residents who possess offshore accounts would do well to follow an ongoing case in which a U.S. District Court judge most recently instructed five unidentified individuals to reveal confidential information about their finances. The judge ordered these taxpayers to divulge information about their foreign bank accounts to a grand jury to potentially use in a federal case against them.While some may argue that the judge had no authority to deprive individuals of their right to avoid self-incrimination, the judge said that individuals do not have the right to refuse disclosure of their bank records to the grand jury. The judge also argued that taxpayers cannot avoid being accountable because they used offshore accounts to try to hide assets. District courts in three other jurisdictions have also ruled that information related to a foreign bank account is not protected by the assertion of a Fifth Amendment right against self-discrimination. Furthermore, these courts have held that information pertaining to foreign bank accounts is governed by the federal government's "Required Records Doctrine."

Don't plan on getting to talk to the IRS this tax season

While the IRS is typically difficult to reach immediately after Presidents' Day because many Massachusetts residents have either filed their taxes by this time or they may be peppering the agency with questions regarding tax returns, the late start of the 2013 tax season may make this feat nearly impossible. Over the years, the IRS has become increasingly difficult to reach during tax season. According to the Taxpayer Advocate Service, more than 100 million people contacted the IRS in 2012. Out of this number of people, more than 30 percent of them were never able to reach a customer service representative. For those consumers who were able to reach an actual agent, the average wait time was 17 minutes in 2012, a nearly 50 percent increase over the average 12-minute wait in 2011. Further, the wait time in 2012 was more than three times the average wait time that consumers experienced in 2007.

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