On June 7, 2012, Grammy winner Lauryn Hill was indicted for failing to file back income tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service. The criminal information charges that Ms. Hill failed to file income tax returns for tax years 2005, 2006, and 2007.
Typically having unfiled tax returns will not land you in jail. However, the law does authorize prison sentences and criminal fines for not filing tax returns. Every year, the IRS chooses to prosecute a few individuals who have unfiled tax returns as part of their overall filing enforcement strategy. That is, they basically take a few people and make an example out of them by charging them with tax evasion, attempting to evade tax, failure to file, conspiracy to defraud, etc. These prosecutions often receive substantial media attention that acts to encourage other taxpayers to get into compliance and what can happen.
We believe that these example cases have increased in recent years and that today’s charges against Ms. Hill are evidence of the government’s position that it intends to vigorously prosecute tax crime cases.
One of Steve’s famous radio announcements begins with “haven’t filed tax returns in years? Think you can’t have a life? Think Again…” Moskowitz LLP wants to remind you that you can have a life but you need to get those back tax returns resolved before the IRS takes action.