The IRS recently announced a letter campaign, issuing one of three letters to taxpayers regarding virtual currency. Two of the letters are informational, sent to taxpayers who may have had a requirement to report virtual currency transactions but did not do so (Letter 6174), or taxpayers who reported transactions with virtual currency but may have made a mistake (Letter 6174-A). Neither of these letters require a response to the IRS. It is the third letter that gives tax professionals pause for concern.
A 74-year-old former fund manager who resided in San Francisco was recently sentenced to 30 months in prison for investment adviser fraud and filing a false income tax return that failed to report millions of dollars in illegally diverted funds. The California resident moved funds between several entities related to Burrill Capital, LLC, using advance management fees he was not permitted to draw. His accountant was convicted of assisting with the filing of the false income tax return and will be sentenced soon.
A California real estate professional was recently sentenced to 2 years in prison for filing false income tax returns that failed to report over $1 million in cash earned through marijuana sales made between 2012 and 2014. In addition, he was ordered to serve one year of supervised release and pay $466,707 in restitution to the IRS.
A California resident pleaded guilty last week to conspiring to submit false claims for income tax refunds and to bank fraud, according to the Department of Justice Tax Division. The woman worked with others to file false returns and allegedly obtain over $9 million in improper tax refunds. Her co-conspirators pleaded guilty earlier this year to related charges.
On March 5, 2018, a former Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employee, Pamela Pringle, was sentenced in the Eastern District of California for "making opportunities for persons to defraud the United States and for making and subscribing false returns." While employed by the IRS, Pringle prepared and filed income tax returns for other individuals that included false deductions, and in several years she also filed fraudulent tax returns for herself, claiming deductions to which she was not entitled. Pringle entered a guilty plea in November 2017 and will spend 5 months in prison, then 36 months under supervised release, including 5 months of home confinement; she was also ordered to pay $56,857 in restitution.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has included phone scams on its "Dirty Dozen" list of common tax scams for the 2018 filing season. Taxpayers should be aware of criminals posing as IRS agents and making threatening or aggressive demands for money through phone calls. According to the IRS, this is the time of year when they see a jump in the number of reports of scam phone calls threatening potential victims with arrest, deportation, or license revocation if payment demands are not met immediately.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) kicked off its annual "Dirty Dozen" awareness campaign about common tax scams for 2018 with a reminder that phishing schemes are still a serious threat to personal information safety, and are evolving. The most recent variation on phishing (previously described here) involves an unexpected deposit into the bank account of a target. Criminals are filing fraudulent tax returns, and directing refunds to be deposited into real bank accounts of victims. The criminals then call the victim who received the deposit and demand the return of the funds as erroneous.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is warning taxpayers about a new, multi-layer scam this tax season: erroneous refunds. Criminals are filing fraudulent returns to get money deposited into victims' accounts using data stolen from tax professionals, then posing as debt collection agency officials to request that the victims "return" the money due to an error. Other victims are receiving recorded messages threatening the taxpayer with criminal fraud charges and other consequences if the erroneous refund is not returned.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently released the fiscal year 2017 annual report for its Criminal Investigation Division (CI). During FY 2017, CI initiated over 3,000 cases concerning Title 18 and Title 31 crimes, with 72.5% of its investigation time spent on tax matters such as refund fraud, identity theft, abusive tax schemes, and cyber crimes. Its investigations identified $2.5 billion in funds related to tax fraud, and the division had a 91.5% overall conviction rate.
On October 6, 2017, Shiv D. Kumar, the sole shareholder of a California transportation company that serves disabled individuals, was sentenced to 30 months in prison for filing false corporate returns. The Department of Justice found that Kumar provided his accountant with false books and records, leading to the underreporting of the business' income to the IRS by over $2 million per year in 2009 and 2010.