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Do you know the way to a good tax attorney?

In many cases, the old saying goes, it's not the crime, but the cover-up that proves ones undoing. Denial is often more damaging than the initial mistake, crime or error. With tax issues, such as back taxes or tax evasion, that is often the case. Because the Internal Revenue Service is primarily concerned with money, they understand that individuals and businesses often attempt to minimize their tax burden. However, when legitimate efforts to reduce tax obligations may cross the line, at least in the IRS's view, to illegal tax evasion, their response is essentially to pile on the fines and penalties.

The idea is to create a deterrent to tax abuse. Whether it deters, we don't know. But we do know that if you fail to effectively deal with your back taxes or other tax problem, it does not improve your position, with the IRS or economically. And it can drive an individual or business into bankruptcy and financial ruin.

The most recent exemplar of this scenario is Dionne Warwick. A singer, most well known for her song, "Do You Know the Way to San Jose," has had a long and successful career. Success in the music industry means significant income, and that, of course, means significant tax obligation.

As with many artists, who focus on their talent and leave the management of their taxes to a third party, she has found herself in an untenable position, and according to her bankruptcy papers, is left with $10 per month net disposable income.

She owes $10 million in interest and penalties for taxes that have been paid, according to her spokesman. The IRS and the California Franchise Tax Board have refused her re-payment plans, and her penalties and interest have "escalated."

If you believe you may have a tax issue, don't wait, speak with an experienced tax attorney, who can represent your interests before the IRS or the Georgia Department of Revenue and prepare an plan to resolve the matter.

Source: Reuters, "Singer Dionne Warwick files for bankruptcy," March 26, 2013

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