Recent Northern Indiana federal prosecutions serve as reminder to file and pay your taxes accurately by July 15 and remain vigilant of scams

 

Date: July 10, 2020

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

With the July 15 federal income tax deadline rapidly approaching, the U.S. Attorney's Office and IRS Criminal Investigation are reminding people that the tax filing and payment deadline is July 15, and to continue to be on the lookout for scam artists. Please know that the IRS will not contact you by phone, email, or social media to ask for your personal information.

Due to COVID-19, the original filing deadline and tax payment due date for 2019 personal income tax returns was postponed from April 15 to July 15. Taxpayers filing Form 1040 series returns must file Form 4868 by July 15 to obtain the automatic extension to Oct. 15.

The IRS encourages taxpayers to visit IRS.gov as soon as possible to explore these options and avoid accruing interest and penalties after the July 15 deadline.

"As the tax filing deadline quickly approaches, I am asking all citizens to file correct and accurate tax returns and to pay their share of taxes," states Kathy A. Enstrom, Special Agent-in-Charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division who oversees the state of Indiana. "We all pay when others cheat the government. IRS Criminal Investigation together with the U.S. Attorney's Office works year-round to make certain that those who willfully defy the tax laws will be investigated and criminally prosecuted. Taxpayers are encouraged to visit the IRS.gov website for tips on filing a tax return accurately and searching for a reputable return preparer."

"We work alongside the Internal Revenue Service to investigate and prosecute tax fraud," said U.S. Attorney Thomas L. Kirsch II. "The integrity of the tax system is maintained through compliance by all of us. Those who wish to cheat the system will be aggressively investigated and prosecuted."

As the tax filing season winds down next week, the U.S. Attorney's Office and IRS Criminal Investigation are warning those who might consider preparing false tax returns to be aware of the serious consequences such as possible prison time and having to pay back all the taxes owed, plus steep penalties and interest. During the last nine months, the following court actions occurred in Indiana which serve as a reminder to taxpayers, to think before filing a false or fraudulent tax return and to be wary of any schemes that falsify your income or deductions.

In October 2019, mother and son, Tracie Lynn Ellis and Terrell Sir William Franklin were sentenced on charges of filing false claims and ordered to pay restitution to the IRS. Franklin filed a false trust tax return in the name of his mother, Tracie Lynn Ellis, falsely claiming a refund of $239,095.93.

In October 2019, Rosetta Buchanan was sentenced to fifteen months in prison for filing a false federal income tax return. Buchanan falsified her tax return by claiming she worked for a trucking company seeking a substantial tax refund when in fact she was in prison at the time.

In the last few months, the IRS Criminal Investigation division (CI) has continued to see a tremendous increase in a variety of Economic Impact Payment scams and other financial schemes. CI continues to work with its law enforcement partners to put a stop to these schemes and bring criminals to justice.

Taxpayers can report COVID-19 scams to the National Center for Disaster Fraud. Taxpayers can also report fraud or theft of their Economic Impact Payments to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA). Unsolicited (phishing) emails that appear to be from the IRS should be forwarded to phishing@irs.gov.

For the most up-to-date information about the tax filing deadline and IRS impersonation scams, taxpayers can visit IRS.gov. For people facing hardships, including those affected by COVID-19, who cannot pay in full, the IRS has several options available on IRS.gov/payments.