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Return the return says Commissioner of Revenue

When many of us get our tax refund from the Minnesota Department of Revenue we may pay a few bills, put it in the bank, or splurge a little. A 51-year-old Duluth businessman allegedly took the splurge route -- not by a little -- but "buy" a lot.

According to news sources, the businessman was sent two checks by mistkae that totaled almost $800,000. Rather than return it, he reportedly spent it. The tax dispute has resulted in criminal charges and the man's arrest.

The story begins with an audit of the man's business for the tax years 2000 through 2002. Apparently the businessman declined to respond, and the state concluded in 2004 that no sales tax was due and that no refund was due either. In March of 2008, the businessman was sent two refund checks that were made out to the business. He redeemed the checks and spent the money.

A few months later, the Department of Revenue reportedly sent a letter requesting a return of the money, which had already been spent by that time. After attempts to collect the tax refund were unsuccessful, a criminal complaint was filed in 2010.

According to the news report, the authorities were unable to find the man until U.S. Marshalls became involved. He was arrested at a campground in the Zumbrota area and charged with four felonies: theft; failure to return state funds; failure to pay income tax; and failure to file a tax return.

There is a very old saying that nothing is sure in life except death and taxes. Past due taxes have a way of catching up with someone eventually. This 51-year-old businessman may have avoided the felony charges by consulting with an attorney when he first received the checks.

Whether a tax dispute is with the Internal Revenue Service, or the Minnesota Department of Revenue, it is a good idea to have professionals on your side when there is any type of dispute.

Source: Pierce County Herald, "Goodhue County deputies assist U.S. Marshals in making arrest of fugitive businessman," Mark Stodghill, May 27, 2012

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