Anyone in Massachusetts or elsewhere who follows tax-related news has probably heard about the Robert Smith Case. Mr. Smith is a former student of Cornell, a billionaire and a philanthropist. He is also a person who, over the past few years, has been investigated for tax evasion. His case has just come to a close.
According to a recently published article, the investigation into Mr. Smith’s financial dealings began in 2016. It was that year that he moved $200 million through various offshore accounts, saving him millions in federal taxes at the time. The investigation concluded that, over the past 15 years, he used offshore accounts and filed false reports in order to evade taxes.
The Department of Justice opted not to pursue criminal charges in this case. Instead, Mr. Smith has agreed to forfeit over $180 million in charitable deductions and pay $140 million in back taxes. How did he avoid prosecution? One word: cooperation.
According to the U.S. attorney working this case, Mr. Smith’s willingness to cooperate, to pay back part of what he owed and to assist in another tax evasion case is what allowed him to avoid criminal charges. It just goes to show that cooperation can go a long way in tax fraud cases, and that is something Massachusetts residents facing similar situations may want to keep in mind. Going up against the government in tax evasion cases can be unnerving. It is impossible to know how one’s case is going to go. However, with the assistance of legal counsel, the right steps can be taken so that the best possible outcome can be achieved.