Couple charged in federal court with spending payroll tax money

The federal government expects Rockville businesses to withhold payroll taxes from their employees -- and to hand over that money to the IRS. When authorities believe that a business has failed in either step, they will bring serious federal charges against the owners.

That is what has happened to a West Virginia couple, after a grand jury indicted them late in May. Prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office convinced jurors that the defendants, who own a pair of businesses, properly withheld payroll taxes they collected from their employees, WSAZ-TV reports.

But the defendants allegedly spent some of the money on themselves. According to the charges, they withheld more than $1 million for one of their businesses from 2007 to 2009, and about $161,000 for the other company in 2010. Investigators claim that the defendants used an unspecified amount of the money to pay credit card debt, and spent more of it on a horse farm.

The charges against the couple carry a maximum of five years in prison, along with a $250,000 fine per count.

If that sounds scary, it should. State and federal government authorities go to great lengths to collect the tax money to which they believe they are entitled. Maryland business owners need to make sure they are in compliance with the law, and need legal representation if they are ever accused of a crime.

An experienced and knowledgeable tax attorney can help your business confront a tax issue, or do everything possible to prevent problems from ever arising.

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