Tax evasion Feed

That's not going to stop the latest IRS effort to get wealthy individuals to file tax returns. (Image: Giphy) The Internal Revenue Service crackdown on wealthy taxpayers who are skirting tax laws continues. Last month, Uncle Sam's tax agency announced plans to audit business aircraft that were used, most often by well-paid corporate execs, for personal travel. Now it's cutting right to the chase, going after wealthy taxpayers who haven't filed federal tax returns for years. This week, the IRS issued compliance letters on more than 125,000 cases where tax returns haven't been filed since 2017. The mailings include more... Read more →


The Internal Revenue Service has made it clear for years. It wants to know about your digital assets. Ignore the crypto question, now at the top of more tax forms, at your own tax peril. And if you go further and don't report taxable digital transactions, the Department of Justice (DoJ) will get involved. That's the case for a Texas man, who this week was indicted on charges of filing false tax returns and structuring cash deposits to avoid currency transaction reporting requirements. Bitcoin was a component in both charges. Notably, the federal prosecution involving digital transactions is historic, at... Read more →


Photo by Grant Durr on Unsplash 🌟 Billions of dollars in fraud. 🌟 Victims across the globe. 🌟 🌟 Criminals who are all about personal gain. 🌟 No, that's not the opening voiceover in a trailer for a new Netflix true crime series, although I'd watch it if it were. It's from IRS Criminal Investigation Chief Jim Lee's comments on his unit's top 10 cases of 2023. Those three opening elements, said Lee, are the crux of CI's biggest busts last year. "When I say our team at CI is the best at following the money trail, I mean it,"... Read more →


Tax crimes that happen in Vegas, don't stay in Vegas. They end up with the convicted felon heading to federal prison. That's what happened to Scott H. Lawrence. The Las Vegas man pleaded guilty in July to more than $1.9 million in federal tax evasion. On Nov. 3, he was sentenced to one year and one day in jail. Growing tax evasion scheme: The tax troubles that finally landed Lawrence in jail grew out of an attempt to keep the Internal Revenue Service from collecting an earlier tax bill. And the criminal effort was years in the making, according to... Read more →


I get alerts every day from search engines, the U.S. Department of Justice, and emails from my unpaid tax researcher, also known as the hubby, on tax crimes. Many of the tales of tax offenders end up in the weekly Tax Felon Friday feature. Today, however, I'm focusing on official efforts to facilitate such felonious tax actions. Taking from the IRS: The U.S. House this week approved financial aid for Israel. The GOP bill to provide Israel $14.3 billion calls for that amount to be offset by taking funds, once again, from the Internal Revenue Service. The vote is latest... Read more →


Unsplash+ in collaboration with Allison Saeng Ghost sightings are common this time of year. Some companies, however, find that ghost employees haunt their businesses year-round. Ghoulish tax tricks are also played on workers by some ghost employers. In both cases, the actions are not just criminal, but also are costly to all, including Uncle Sam, who are victims of these scary tax evasion tactics. Haunted by ghost workers: A ghost employee is a fictitious employee set up in a company's human resource and/or payroll system that receives paychecks. Basically, ghost workers are a form of embezzlement, as the nonexistent employees... Read more →


Mega yachts in Portofino, Italy, a favorite harbor of the rich. (Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash) The Internal Revenue Service announced last week that it had collected $160 million in back taxes from wealthy taxpayers. But that's just a pittance of what tax collectors globally could get if an international tax on billionaires is enacted, according to a European tax policy research group. The super-rich typically use complex business structures to avoid taxes, notes the European Union (EU) Tax Observatory, an independent research laboratory hosted at the Paris School of Economics. That leads to most of us in... Read more →


The rich and famous frequent Monaco's glamorous casinos. The European principality also was the base for a U.S. taxpayer who didn't report all his taxable income to the IRS. The lesson, for him and an unconnected counterpart in the prime U.S. gambling destination of Nevada, is that the house — in this case, Uncle Sam's tax agency — usually wins. (Photo by Kaja Sariwating on Unsplash) Many people liken dealing with the U.S. tax code to wagering. You try to follow the casino rules and common sense, but the temptation to push your luck is often too enticing. Sometimes those... Read more →


Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash The Internal Revenue Service relies on taxpayers voluntarily filing correct tax returns and paying the tax amount shown on those forms. Millions will be doing just that tomorrow, Oct. 16, to comply with the extended filing deadline. Unfortunately, however, too many people find ways to avoid paying the U.S. Treasury what they legitimately owe. They are why the latest update on the Tax Gap shows it has grown. A lot. The Tax Gap is the amount of money the IRS is owed, but which it hasn't been able to collect. The agency's latest estimates... Read more →


Piles of illicit cash were a plot feature in the AMC show "Breaking Bad." Since meth-making kingpin Walter White couldn't bank it without raising suspicions, he kept his drug money under his floorboards and, finally, in a storage unit, where two underlings once used it to nap sans mattress. Anyone who watches crime programs (guilty!) knows one piece of tax law. Television, streaming, and movie crooks are always careful to avoid five-figure financial transactions. When these on-screen crooks deposit or withdraw more than $10,000 of their ill-gotten funds, the bank must report the large amounts to the Internal Revenue Service.... Read more →


Beyoncé on the Renaissance World Tour at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on June 1, 2023, (Photo by Raph_PH - BeyonceSpurs010623) I love music. I just ordered two CDs last week. That last retail admission should tip you off that my prime concert-going days are behind me. In one way, I'm glad. The cost to see my favorite musicians perform back in my day was reasonable, even then. Today's more youthful fans, however, are shelling out big bucks to attend concerts. Marketplace economics are part of the calculation. And emotion is part of the market. So scalpers, whose targets are... Read more →


The sentencing of the two Fort Myers businessmen this week comes as the Internal Revenue Service ramps up its compliance efforts on flow-through entities. Photo by Raze Solar on Unsplash Reliable contractors are worth a fortune in Florida. The Sunshine State has its share of overcast and worse days, as made disastrously clear by major Hurricanes Ian in 2022 and Idalia this fall. That's why it's so discouraging when home repair experts break bad. Like a pair of roofing contractors who cheated the Internal Revenue Service out of more than $1 million. And more companies like theirs, a pass-through entity,... Read more →


Ristorante Piccolo in the Georgetown section of the nation's capital offers al fresco dining, when it's open. Currently the business is closed, but not because of its owners tax- and COVID-related guilty pleas this week. It sustained fire damage back in June. (Photo from Piccolo's Facebook page) The restaurant sector was particularly hard hit during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many were able to survive in part thanks to federal emergency relief programs. But some eateries took criminal advantage of Uncle Sam's help. And one such couple this week pleaded guilty to using $738,000 in coronavirus assistance money for... Read more →


Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images One construction workers' union calls it the industry's "dirty little secret." Tax officials call it a crime. Both are talking about payroll tax evasion. Today, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), in coordination with IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), jointly issued a formal notice to financial institutions alerting them to increases in state and federal payroll tax evasion and workers' compensation insurance fraud in the both residential and commercial construction industries. Every year, state and federal tax authorities lose hundreds of millions of dollars to these schemes, which are perpetrated by illicit actors primarily through... Read more →


IVIX says its artificial intelligence (AI) software, which was designed with input from tax authorities, helps illuminate shadow economies. It does that, according to the company, by collecting publicly available business activity data and turning that information into credible leads for tax authorities to follow. IVIX, an Israeli venture with offices in New York, was founded in 2020, and touts itself as "the first AI-powered platform designed to address tax evasion in the shadow economy." Several former top Internal Revenue Service officials were and are among its advisors. Don Fort, former IRS Criminal Investigation (CI) chief, currently is IVIX's chief... Read more →


Senate side of the U.S. Capitol. (Photo by Scrumshus - Own work, Public Domain) The Internal Revenue Service's to-do list is pretty packed right now. It just announced that it is implementing paperless tax protocols next year. But a group of U.S. senators say it needs to make fighting crypto tax evasion a priority. They are concerned about the Treasury Department's and IRS' apparent procrastination in complying with the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act's (IIJA) mandate of new tax regulations for crypto asset traders. The IIJA-ordered rules would require third parties, such as Coinbase, to report information about individuals' crypto... Read more →


Flags of member nations at the United Nations office in Geneva, Switzerland. (Photo by Photo by Peda Run on Unsplash) Here in the United States, the Internal Revenue Service has gotten a lot of attention for its efforts to fight tax evasion. Earlier this month, the IRS reported that it IRS had collected $38 million from more than 175 high-income tax delinquents. That money was the result of a new initiative made possible from $80 billion new Inflation Reduction Act funds, although Republicans clawed back $1.4 billion of that money (and more to come in future years) in the debt... Read more →


Most homes have welcome mats, but the friendly message usually doesn't apply to IRS personnel making home visits. (Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash) Nobody likes it when an Internal Revenue Service revenue officer shows up at a person's home. Not even the IRS officer. That's one reason why IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel today announced that the agency will stop, except in a few unique circumstances, making unannounced visits to taxpayers' homes. The move, effective immediately, ends a decades-long practice by IRS revenue officers. Before today's change, part of a revenue officer's job included visiting households to help taxpayers resolve... Read more →


Real Madrid Carlo Ancelotti on the pitch sidelines (Photo: @MadridXtra Twitter screen capture) Spanish tax officials are not letting anything slide, especially when it comes to global celebrities. The tax evasion trial of pop star Shakira is scheduled to start this November. Now Carlo Ancelotti, coach of Real Madrid futbol club (for casual fans like me, that's a popular, and very valuable, soccer team), will stand trial for tax fraud for allegedly failing to declare image rights earnings in 2014 to the Spanish tax office. A Spanish judge said Ancelotti had "acknowledged" the actions which deprived the country's treasury of... Read more →


Photo by Alesia Kozik Cryptocurrencies have changed not only individuals' views of assets and wealth development, but also countries' tax systems. Those are among the issues explored in a just-released International Monetary Fund (IMF) paper. As for the tax challenges, the IMF paper notes that the capital gains tax revenue at stake worldwide, either because it's not imposed or not collected, may reach well into the tens of billions of dollars. But the more profound risks, say the paper's authors, may ultimately be for value added tax (VAT) and sales taxes. The paper also cites research monitoring crypto transactions. These... Read more →