If You Think it’s Better Not to File, then You Better not Pout … Over the Consequences – Los Angeles Income Tax Planning and Income Tax Litigator Attorney Bruce Givner

by Bruce Givner on January 9, 2013

It’s better to file a tax return, than to not. Just ask Wesley Snipes.

In October, 2006, Snipes was charged with six counts of willfully failing to file federal income tax returns. Snipes was also charged with conspiring to defraud the U.S. and knowingly making or aiding and abetting the making of a false and fraudulent claim for payment against the U.S. Among Snipes’ sins were:

1. For the tax years 1996 and 1997, Snipes filed false amended returns, requesting refunds totaling more than $11 million; and

2. Snipes failed to file tax returns for the tax years 1999 through 2004.

In response to the IRS’ efforts to collect Snipes’ unpaid taxes, Snipes claimed he was "a non-resident alien" of the United States. In February, 2008, Snipes was acquitted of the conspiracy charge and a felony charge of filing a false claim. He was convicted, however, of three of the six misdemeanor charges for failing to file his federal income tax returns. Because the court deemed his actions willful, Snipes was given a three year prison sentence. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Snipes’ convictions, and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear Snipes’ appeal. Snipes is scheduled to be released from prison in July, 2013.

If you do not file your federal tax return by the deadlines, which includes extensions, you could face a failure to file penalty. The penalty for filing late is usually 5 percent of the unpaid taxes for each month or part of a month that a return is late, not to exceed 25 percent of your unpaid taxes. IRC Section 6551. If you haven’t filed or paid your federal income tax returns for any year, or feel there is a mistake on a filed tax return, consult an experienced tax professional.

Givner & Kaye focuses on sophisticated income tax planning and compliance, tax litigation and procedure, estate planning, and asset protection plans for individuals and businesses in Beverly Hills, Calabasas, West Los Angeles, Hollywood, and other areas of Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, San Bernardino, Riverside and Santa Barbara Counties. Call Los Angeles Estate Planning and Asset Protection Plan Attorneys Givner & Kaye at (310) 207-8008 today.

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