Tax law is confusing. If you run your own business or have otherwise complicated tax returns, it’s easy to make mistakes and end up owing the IRS a lot of money.
Even worse, many people start to panic once they realize how much they owe. Instead of seeking help from a federal income tax collection lawyer who can help resolve their issues, they either rely on bad advice or try to avoid the problem. Ultimately, they end up getting themselves into even deeper trouble.
Unfortunately, this type of behavior can lead to very stiff penalties and even prison time.
One Philadelphia chiropractor is learning this lesson the hard way. After an IRS audit showed that he owed more than $2.3 million in back taxes, he became desperate to find a way to avoid losing his house, his business and his savings to the IRS.
The man’s search for relief led him to a seminar in Boston, where he allegedly fell prey to a scam involving a false IRS settlement fund. He then consulted with various tax law advisers who he says gave him bad information.
Ultimately, the chiropractor says he came to believe that the IRS did not have the authority to collect income taxes. He also believed that the chiropractic profession was exempt from income taxation.
Of course, the IRS disagrees with the chiropractor’s interpretation of the law. It alleges the man underreported his income, filed false tax returns and wrote bad checks to pay his tax debts.
If convicted, the chiropractor is facing up to 36 years in prison and a $800,000 fine. His wife is also charged in the case; she is subject to a maximum penalty of 28 years in prison and a $650,000 fine.
If you are in trouble with the IRS, the best strategy is usually to confront the problem head-on. Contact a tax lawyer who can help you understand all your options.
Source: The Morning Call, “Chiropractor Testifies in Tax Evasion Trial,” Peter Hall, Dec. 20, 2011.