As reported in the Wall Street Journal Law Blog, John J. P. Howley, a former partner in the law firm of Kaye Scholer, plead guilty of failing to file a state personal income tax return for 2004. According to the report:
He admitted yesterday that although he earned “substantial New York income” as a lawyer, “I knowingly failed to file my 2004 New York nonresident personal income tax return.”
Unlike the Wesley Snipes case where he contended ignorance of the tax laws, Howley couldn’t contend he didn’t know the tax laws.
He was sentenced to a conditional discharge, which means the misdemeanor charge will be dismissed if he pays the fine and the taxes he owes and does not get arrested again within the next year.
The DA’s office said his plea deal was conditioned on his filing returns for 1997 through 2006 and paying nonresident personal income taxes, interest and penalties totaling about $150,000.
As tax season begins in full, I expect to see more information about litigation relating to tax evasion and fraud. While many were surprised with the verdict, Wesley Snipes escaped a guilty plea for tax fraud or conspiracy, claiming ignorance of the law. However, he was convicted, much like Howley, for failure to file returns.
The question is – in the Snipes case – will Snipes be given an active prison sentence or will he be given a similar sentence to Howley – being required to file returns and pay taxes?
For now, business ethics speaker (www.chuckgallagher.com) – Chuck Gallagher – signing off.