Reality Star Charged With Tax Evasion
For a short period of time, Richard Hatch was on top of the world. He’d just won the first season of Survivor and in doing so, netted himself a million dollars, and was enjoying the highs that come with being a celebrity.
Richard Hatch’s world didn’t stay bright and shiny for long. It turned out that when you win a million dollars on a reality show, the IRS is going to take note of your tax return, and will notice if there are discrepancies. When all was said and done, Hatch found out that by failing to claim the money he’d won from Survivor, he was facing 13 years in prison and would need to pay a $600,000 dollar fine.
In addition to failing to properly claim the money he’d won from his time on Survivor, Hatch was also found guilty of failing to pay taxes on two additional sources of income.
It was never presented to the jury, but Hatch’s lawyer felt that there was a perfectly reasonable explanation for Hatch’s failure to pay his income tax. According to the lawyer, Michael Minns, Hatch felt that some of his fellow Survivor contestants had cheated and rather than go public with this knowledge, he struck a deal with the show’s producers that they would pay his income tax for him. While this might have been an agreement made between the producers and Richard Hatch, without a contract, there’s no way to prove anything.
Although the IRS and Hatch don’t agree on all the details of the case, Hatch’s case serves as a reminder that anyone can be accused of tax evasion and that if the accusation sticks, there could be a hefty fine and felony prison time. Don’t assume that because you haven’t been on a reality show, that you won’t attract the attention of the IRS.
In 2012, the IRS decreased the number of audits they conducted by 5%, making it the lowest audited year in history, which made many people assume that they could get lax on their tax returns. Don’t assume that because the IRS is decreasing the number of tax payers they plan on auditing that you don’t have to worry. The IRS will still be looking for red flags, and if something in your return sends up one or two, they will audit you, and if they find any discrepancies, they could decide to file tax evasion charges.
Instead of trying to deal with the matter on yo
ur own, you need to seek the assistance of an experienced tax attorney. The tax attorney will carefully scrutinize every single detail of your case and based on what they find, they’ll offer you sound advice about how you should proceed.
Having an experienced tax attorney on your side makes it possible for you to relax and focus on the other aspects of your life while they worry about your tax evasion case. Instead of you having to field threatening calls and letters from the IRS, you’re attorney will handle all of the communications.
One of the best things about having a tax attorney on your side is that if it’s determined you did in fact make an unwilling mistake on your tax return which resulted in you owing more to the IRS than you originally assumed, your attorney will do everything in their power to lower the amount of interest and fines you have to pay.
The time to contact a tax attorney about your case is as soon as you receive the first notification from the IRS.