A federal judge in Maryland has sentenced a 45-year-old Baltimore County woman to seven years in prison for identity theft and filing fraudulent income tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service. A jury returned guilty verdicts on 14 counts of wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and filing false tax returns on May 22.
The unpaid tax debt owed by 20 individual and 25 business taxpayers in Maryland totals over $12 million according to an announcement by the state comptroller. The names of the delinquent taxpayers were posted on the agency's website in an effort to compel them to pay their overdue taxes.
Businesses in Maryland obtain their employer identification numbers from the Internal Revenue Service. A report prepared by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration criticized the tax agency for its vulnerability to EIN abuse by fraudulent filers that steal existing numbers or gain numbers for fake business entities.
Taxpayers in Maryland and around the country were informed recently that IRS investigation and enforcement activity regarding tax crimes took a hit during the first year of the Trump Administration due to cutbacks in funding to the federal revenue-collection agency. Prosecution of IRS tax cases after allegations of federal tax crimes including tax fraud and tax evasion dropped by hundreds of cases during 2017.
Maryland residents and small business owners may need to be especially wary of identity theft and other security issues during the tax filing season. This is because thieves may try to get a list of employee W-2 forms in an effort to get the information on it. Companies are urged to contact the IRS directly if they are the victim of a scam or believe that someone is trying to conduct a scam.
Maryland residents may be aware that the rapper Earl Simmons, who is also known by the stage name of DMX, has been accused by the federal government of hiding millions of dollars in income to avoid paying taxes. Simmons faced up to 44 years in prison after being charged with 14 counts of tax fraud in July, but reports indicate that the 'It's Dark and Hell Is Hot" singer has avoided this fate by entering into a plea agreement with prosecutors.
To understand tax evasion, Maryland residents should first know the tax process in more detail. When they file a return stating their yearly pay, the IRS will find their adjusted gross income by calculating deductions or expenses that cannot be taxed. Common deductions include business travel, educational expenses and charitable donations.
At this time of the year, the last thing on the minds of most people is their taxes. This makes perfect sense when you consider that Tax Day 2018 is still so far away and there are so many warm weather activities to enjoy.
In our post last week, we discussed how the principal duty of the Comptroller of Maryland's office is the collection of taxes and how it has a host of tools at its disposal to assist with the fulfillment of this duty. Indeed, the agency collects an astounding $16 billion per year armed with a budget of only $110 million.
Tax season is upon us, with the annual filing deadline steady approaching. For those with greater assets, the risks of over payment of taxes, as well as the risk of an audit, are ever-present concerns. You probably have someone who handles your finances and investments, as well as someone who specializes in taxes on your payroll.