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Tax evasion case in Minnesota could bring long sentence

Running a small business can be all-consuming. You may perform all of the functions for the business, from meeting with customers, negotiating deals with your suppliers, handling IT, doing the accounting and filing the taxes. And your taxes for a business may be substantially more complex than personal taxes for an individual.

You have the businesses' income and property tax in addition to the payroll tax for all employees. If your business is suffering from cash flow issues, you may be tempted to skip paying those taxes for a quarter or two, hoping you can make up those payments when your financial condition improves.

You may even shut down your business and as a man in Dakota County did, fail to file taxes for a few years, after restarting. He is now facing numerous tax evasion charges for failing to file or pay income taxes for the business for several years.

Willful tax evasion is a serious charge and the news report indicates he could be facing up to five years in prison and potentially a fine of up to $10,000 for each charge. With 24 charges of willful tax evasion, he could be looking at a prison sentence of 116 years and fines of $240,000.

While it may be unlikely that prosecutors would actually request such a severe sentence, given the fact he had a prior conviction back in 2006 for the same offense, it is likely the prosecutors will demand significant punishment for the repeat offense.

And with a draconian sentence like this, prosecutors can exert great pressure to accept a plea agreement of their choosing. As he is 63-years-old, he will need to carefully examine any plea offer, as anything approaching even a quarter of maximum time would  effectively  leave him with a life sentence.

Source:, "Owner Of Eagan Cleaning Services Faces 24 Tax-Related Charges," WCCO, February 22, 2016

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Joseph S. Friedberg Chartered

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