Tax evasion in Mid-Missouri

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COLUMBIA - An IRS investigator says mid-Missouri has been a problem area in terms of tax crimes.

Special Agent John Nunez said, while there are cases all over Missouri, but this region stands out.

"It's a recurring issue in mid-Missouri," he said.

On Wednesday, a Jefferson City business, GVA and Associates LLC, was indicted on multiple charges of tax evasion and failure to pay employment payroll taxes. The indictment says up to $400,000 was misappropriated.

The company is accused of failing to pass on withheld payroll tax to the IRS.

Nunez said the employees in cases of payroll tax fraud could face problems with their benefits.

"It could cause significant issues to the employees' medicare or social security benefits in the future," Nunez said.

He also said cases like this can be hard to spot at first. The Better Business Bureau said it received no complaints about GVA and Associates prior to its indictment.

In another case in 2017, a Columbia tax preparer was sentenced for more than  $120,000 of tax violations.

"This preparer was entrusted to make tax deposits to the IRS for his clients, however those deposits never made it to the IRS and were instead used for personal benefit," Nunez said. 

He said there are ways to help mid-Missourians avoid being caught up in tax crimes. People need to be careful about who they choose as a tax preparer, he said.

"You want your information safeguarded, treat your information like cash and do not leave it lying around," he said.

Nunez also warned mid-Missourians not to fall for email or phone scams posing as the IRS.

"The IRS isn't going to demand money or personal information over the phone or in this manner," he said.