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Getting even with tax cheats

April 13, 2009 | 11:18 am


You can often tell what time of year it is by the spate of press releases. For example, more announcements that your local police station is arresting bookies is usually a good sign that the Super Bowl or some other noteworthy sporting event is on the horizon.

The Justice Department today announced the highlights of its efforts “during the past year to defend and enforce the nation’s tax laws.”

Want to guess what will happen this week?

As if the recession wasn’t depressing enough, it is time to get that tax return into shape and send it off along with a check. Most people are honest and won’t cheat, but the government wants to make sure you don’t.
To that end, press releases have been issued for weeks showing how the government is cracking down on cheats. Here are the government's words to the wise: 

 “The Tax Division has assisted the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in tracking down tax cheats who use offshore accounts, combating abusive tax shelters, stopping tax defiers and shutting down tax schemes and scams,” the DOJ announcement said.

 During the past fiscal year, “the Tax Division also successfully defended refund suits against the United States representing claims of nearly $803 million, and collected, through affirmative litigation, over $178 million. The division’s budget in that period was less than $93 million.

 “It is important for the vast majority of taxpayers who pay their tax liabilities on time and in full, to know that those taxpayers who don’t will be held fully accountable, either civilly or criminally or both,” acting Assistant Atty. Gen. John A. DiCicco said in the statement. 

  The IRS also issued its 2009 “dirty dozen” list of tax scams, including schemes involving phishing, hiding income offshore and false claims for refunds. Check it out at

-– Michael Muskal

Photo: Getty Images