Nick Lotito & Seth Kirschenbaum

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IRS promises enforcement of laws this tax season

Even though the month of March just started, we know that many people are already thinking about the month of April and the approaching tax return deadline. But just as filers are thinking about their tax returns, so too is the IRS who, much as it has in previous years, promises more scrutiny on returns this year in an effort to catch criminal activities.

It's worth pointing out to residents here in Georgia that tax crimes are not just limited to tax evasion and tax fraud. In fact, a number of other crimes can be related to tax crimes, meaning a person could face serious federal charges if they are accused and convicted of such crimes. One such crime that can lead to federal charges is identity theft because it can lead to false returns, which the IRS takes very seriously.

Consider for a moment the case of Mauricio Warner, the Georgia man who was sentenced in 2014 to 20 years in prison for his involvement in an alleged scheme that used other people's identities to file false tax returns. In addition to the prison sentence, he was also ordered to pay back more than $5 million in restitution. A bank account containing more than $4 million was also seized by the government.

His case should stand as an example for our Atlanta readers of how serious the federal government takes tax crime cases. In 2014, the courts even increased prison sentences by five years as a way to "send a warning" to people about the seriousness of federal crimes. By increasing the criminal consequences, the government hopes to deter people from committing these crimes down the road. But for our readers, it should further highlight your need for legal representation when facing criminal accusations.

Source: Accounting Today, "IRS Steps up Prosecutions for Identity Theft," Michael Cohn, March 3, 2015

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Nick Lotito & Seth Kirschenbaum

Former Federal Prosecutors

918 Ponce de Leon Avenue, N.E. Atlanta, GA 30306 Phone: 404-692-5168 Fax: 404-872-1622 Atlanta Law Office Map