Taxman cometh |

Taxman cometh

Sally J. Taylor

How do you celebrate April 15? Chewed pencils, frayed nerves and caffeine fits are the annual rites of filing tax returns.

Those tempted to add lying to their traditions should beware. The Internal Revenue Service is watching.

Each year, the Reno office of the U.S. District Court of Nevada indicts about a dozen accused tax evaders, according to Brian Sullivan, assistant U.S. attorney.

This year, Carson City resident Newton Clifford Bennett is among the unlikely dozen.

Accused of underreporting earned income in 1996, 1997 and 1998, Bennett was indicted April 2 and ordered to appear for arraignment May 7.

If found guilty, Bennett could face three years imprisonment and $250,000 for each of the three years he’s accused of underreporting, plus the cost of prosecution.

Bennett could not be reached for comment.

It’s a routine case, attorney Sullivan said, requiring thorough investigation.

“Generally, there’s a lot of things we look at, bank records, documents — it’s a labor-intensive work,” he said.

Due to the labor involved in an investigation, the IRS has six years to bring an indictment.

Mike Hickey is one of the agents who works tax evasion and fraud investigations for the IRS Criminal Investigations office in Las Vegas.

Cases reaching the office usually involve “a years-long pattern of tax evasion or fraud and larger (dollar) amounts,” Hickey said.

“Anything brought in a criminal court has to be proven. It’s not like a civil case.”

With fewer than 5 percent of IRS agents dedicated to criminal investigations, they’re not as omnipresent as Big Brother. But investigations do happen, something to keep in mind as April 15 draws near.

“Of course, the IRS wants the public to know that bad things can happen if you cheat on your taxes,” Sullivan said.

“We do go after people.”

Tax returns must be filed by 11:59 p.m. April 15.

In Carson City:

Returns received by 6 p.m. at the main post office at 1111 S. Roop St. will receive an April15th postmark.

In Reno:

Returns received by 11 p.m. at the main office at 2000 Vassar St. will receive an April15th postmark.

Those filing by mail must have returns postmarked April 15.

Those filing by Internet must do so by midnight.

Mail returns to:

–EIf you live in Nevada and you are filing a 1040 return and you are a taxpayer filing your own return or a tax preparer filing a client’s return AND ARE NOT MAKING A PAYMENT, then use this address Internal Revenue Service, Fresno, CA 93888-0002

— If you are a taxpayer filing your own return AND ARE MAKING A PAYMENT then use this address Fresno, CA 93888-0102

— If you are a tax preparer filing a client’s return WITH A PAYMENT, then use this address P.O. Box 7704, San Francisco, CA 94120-7704

For tax questions and extension information:

Local tax assistance center: 675 W. Moana Lane, Reno or call 824-2218

For live tax information call 1 (800) 829-1040

For recorded tax information call 1 (800) 829-4477

Online go to: