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Misstating income results in fraud and four guilty pleas

Normally when one thinks of tax fraud, one thinks of big crooked deals cooked up by shady characters. One doesn't think of a 52-year-old woman in Duluth misstating her income by less than $7,000 over four separate tax years.

And yet, that is the charge. A 52-year-old woman pled guilty to four counts of tax fraud for filing a false or fraudulent tax return with the Minnesota Commissioner of Revenue in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008. Because she pled guilty, the next step in the process is sentencing which will take place in August.

Apparently, the 52-year-old prepared her income tax returns herself, as many of us do. However, she did not record the income from her W2s accurately on her tax return.

According to a tax examiner, the woman overstated her employer's income tax withholdings. She also underpaid her Minnesota income taxes for four years. The amount of the discrepancy is $6,452 which means that she received larger tax refunds than she was entitled to.

According to news reports, the 52-year-old made other errors on her return, all of which were in her favor.

Many people prepare their own taxes and file them online. The advantage of having them professionally prepared is that a professional tax preparer is then available to answer questions during an audit or tax investigation. It is easy for a taxpayer to make an honest mistake which could end up being a costly one and relying on a legal tax professional can minimize one's risk.

Source: Duluth News Tribune, "Duluth woman pleads guilty to underpaying taxes," Mark Stodghill, July 12, 2012

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