If you think that age will be enough to convince the IRS to ignore any mistakes you’ve made on your tax returns, you should think again. A 71-year-old man who worked as a professional Ferrari mechanic recently learned this when he was found guilty of tax evasion and sentenced to spend the next two years of his life in prison. According the IRS, the guilty party, Terry Myr, convinced a majority of his clients to either pay him in cash, or to use their debit cards when they settled their repair bill. He then neglected to tell the IRS about how much cash he was paid.
Even though Myr has proclaimed himself innocent since the first day he was accused of tax evasion, his lawyer was unable to convince the tax court of his innocence. In addition to finding Myr guilty of tax evasion and sentencing him to two years in prison, he has also been ordered to pay the IRS $195,000 in back taxes.
When all was said and done, Myr was found guilty of one charge of tax evasion and four different accounts of failure to file his yearly income taxes.
During his trial, it was revealed that between the various penalties and interest, Myr owed $195,000 in back taxes. He also neglected to file tax returns from 2000 through 2003. According the lawyer representing the IRS, Myr took assets he owned and transferred them to other sources in an attempt to hide his total yearly income from the IRS.
Myr’s might have gotten away with things hand it not been for a red flag getting thrown up when a woman in Belgian sent Myr $610,000 in exchange for a very rare, engine for her car. She reported the purchase on her tax forms, but Myr neglected to reveal the purchase to the IRS when he filed his income taxes.
Myr’s is not an isolated case. In any given year, an estimated 2,500 people are convicted of tax evasion and most of those are regular people, not celebrities. Each year the IRS files charges against multiple tax payers each year and in many cases successfully mounts cases against them. The problem is that many of the tax evasions cases that find their way into tax court each year aren’t a result of willful tax fraud, but rather a simple mistake being made on the forms, or the filer not understanding a particular tax law.
If something in your tax returns sends up a red flag to the IRS and they launch an audit, you shouldn’t panic and you shouldn’t assume you can handle the matter on you own. The best thing you can do is touch base with an experienced tax attorney and have them review your case. If the tax attorney discovers that you do in fact owe the government back taxes, they will stand beside you and take the steps to keep the damage as minimal as they possibly can. Not only is there a good chance that your tax attorney will keep you out of tax court and make sure you’re not found guilty of tax evasion, but they will also do everything they can to help you reach a reasonable settlement.