A Likely Prelude to the Wesley Snipes Sentence – Kevin Lynn Terry Sentenced to Prison for Failure To File Tax Returns…

April 16, 2008

The day before tax returns are due is a fitting day to find out your sentence for not filing your tax returns. That is the situation that Kevin Terry found himself in on Monday – April 14, 2008.

KEVIN LYNN TERRY, 45, a chiropractor in Puyallup, Washington, was to three months in prison and seven months in a halfway house. U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle also ordered TERRY to file all delinquent tax returns and to pay all remaining taxes due. In November 2007, TERRY pleaded guilty to a three count Information charging him with willfully failing to file tax returns for the calendar years 1999 through 2001.

Now, doesn’t this seem similar to the Wesley Snipes trial – with less fanfare? Snipes will be sentenced next week for his conviction for the very same thing – failure to file.

According to the US Attorney’s office: For the tax years 1996 and 1997, Terry used trusts to conceal his chiropractic income and personal assets, including his home. Those two years were audited by the IRS and the trusts were found to be shams. TERRY later agreed to the IRS’ tax assessments for those years.

Beginning in 1998, TERRY changed tactics and began to willfully evade the IRS’ ability to assess and collect tax for the years 1999 through 2001. This included not filing individual Form 1040 returns. TERRY also formed a corporation in 1998, named Puyallup Chiropractic Clinic, Inc., with himself as president, for which he did not file Corporate 1120 tax returns. TERRY prepared and filed IRS Forms 940 and 941 returns reporting employee earnings, which falsely omitted funds paid to himself. TERRY sent correspondence to third parties, including banks, directing them to not comply with IRS summonses for the production of records. TERRY also prepared and submitted to the IRS a false “sight draft” purporting to be a check paying his back taxes and provided tax protestor literature to his employees. During the subject years of 1999 through 2001 Terry evaded tax of about $70,000. Before criminal charges were brought he filed tax returns for the subject years and paid the taxes due.

At sentencing today U.S. District Court Judge Settle said, “the term tax protestor is merely a polite way of saying tax cheater.” The judge stated further that “it’s not enough to just pay when you are caught. If being caught results only in having to pay the tax, our system would collapse.”

In a national poll, one out of five Americans admitted to cheating the IRS on their tax returns. The IRS says that 17% of taxpayers don’t fully comply with the tax laws on a regular basis. If you throw in people who cheat by not filing tax returns, the number is closer to one in four. Undoubtedly he figure would be higher if wage earners did not have axes withheld by their employers and the self-employed did not have their earnings reported to the IRS on 1099 forms.

As you can imagine, with a system of voluntary compliance, the IRS and Federal Government need to have convictions with teeth in order to scare folks into complying. That is what was a stake with the Perry sentence and will, likewise, be a stake with Wesley Snipes.

Expect Wesley to go to jail!

Your comments welcome! Chuck Gallagher, host of Wise Choices – The Great Advice Radio Show and speaker – signing off…