Guest post by Julio Gonzalez
While the DOJ lets actual tax cheats like Al Sharpton skip on $8 million in unpaid taxes, the Biden DOJ targets Roger Stone despite efforts to settle his outstanding tax bill.
As a member of the Forbes Council and a renowned tax expert, I know how people try to cheat the IRS, and more importantly, how to negotiate a deal with the IRS to repay taxes or unpaid balances from previous years.
Our tax code, the most complex in the world, constantly changes, and the IRS is known for moving the goalpost. However, when it comes to negotiating payment plans or repayment of taxes, everything is in writing, and a typical bureaucratic process is tracked at every step.
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Roger Stone, a longtime advisor to President Donald Trump and regular bugaboo to the political establishment on both sides of the aisle, had an agreement with the IRS to pay his back taxes. As reported to me, the 69-year-old Stone and his wife made ever-escalating monthly payments to the IRS for over three years and submitted a mountain of financial information to the IRS roughly twice a year. They stopped paying only when the Mueller witch-hunt left them nearly penniless. According to Stone’s tax lawyer, the DOJ’s claim that the IRS terminated the Stones installment payment agreement is provably false and a fraud on the court, one of the numerous erroneous claims in the DOJ complaint.
When the politically motivated witch-hunt set their sights on Stone, he indicated that he had to decide between paying the taxman or his freedom against a trial led by an Obama-appointed judge along with an all-Democrat DC jury. He chose his freedom.
It is not coincidental that on April 16th, 2021, the Biden DOJ announced, without notice to Stone’s lawyer, a civil suit against Stone and his 73-year-old wife for back taxes, penalties, and interest. Yet based on statements from both Stone’s tax lawyer and his accountant, the claims made against the veteran Trump advisor and his wife are both factually and legally incorrect, and at the same time, heavily sensationalized to create an entire negative news cycle of bad publicity for the embattled Republican operative.
Stone and his wife have neither failed to report or under-report any income nor did they hide any assets. This statement is according to two tax experts, who are expected to testify in his case. Equally spurious is the idea that the Stones sheltered income in an LLC that has been their principal public business vehicle for many years. According to the tax professionals who oversaw Stone’s tax filings, this account is also patently false.
The revenues to the LLC cited in the DOJ complaint have been fully reported on Stone’s tax returns for 10-years, and all income has been properly declared and has been or will be appropriately taxed. This statement was certified by his accountant. The government’s depiction of this as a tax shelter is categorically false.
The DOJ made much of a family trust owned by Mrs. Stone and her sister, which owns a modest one-bedroom condo that the Stones moved into after twenty-nine heavily armed FBI agents raided their home for the benefit of CNN, who had been tipped off to the Gestapo style raid. By law, the assets of the revocable trust owned by Stone’s wife and her sister are neither hidden or protected from IRS seizure, and all are reported on the public record. Nothing illegal or uncommon there either.
Force majeure is a term used to describe an unforeseeable circumstance that prevents one party from fulfilling the terms of an agreed-upon contract. In Stone’s case, his force majeure was unforeseen political persecution that drained his life savings and made it nearly impossible to derive income for basic living expenses, let alone a hefty monthly payment plan with the IRS. Stone notified the IRS of his inability to continue the agreed-upon monthly payments. In almost any other scenario like this, the IRS would work with the debtor and give the debtor a reasonable amount of time to negotiate new terms. Mr. Stone attempted to do this, and his tax lawyer was in active negotiations with the IRS under their Offer and Compromise program. This negotiation ceased when the Biden DOJ took over and announced they were suing him for the remaining amount owed.
The insanity of the legal action against the Stones is that as soon as the Stones stopped making payments, the IRS already had the full legal authority to seize any asset the Stones had. If the DOJ wins this lawsuit, which will come to trial in Miami before a judge appointed by President Trump, the IRS will have nothing more than a media victory. This sham is a blatant attempt to continue the state-sponsored financial and reputational ruin of a high-profile Trump supporter like Stone, who is attempting to get back on his feet and still meet all outstanding obligations to the IRS. The government uses its power to attack you with lawfare and then sensationalizes its unnecessary lawsuit in the media. The political motivation is obvious.
So, what about high-profile Democrats who supported Biden 2020? For example, what about Al Sharpton, who owes nearly four times as much to the IRS, a mammoth $8 million according to news reports, while earning millions a year? The Biden DOJ remains silent, unwilling, or uninterested in taking similar action against Sharpton while the Democrats spew rubbish rhetoric that no one is above the law.
Can there be any doubt that the Biden DOJ is enraged that President Trump saw through the epic corruption of Stone’s DC trial- a trial complete with a Trump-hating judge, a constitutionally questionable gag order, and a biased jury forewoman who attacked Stone on Facebook and Twitter in 2019 and hid those posts in a private setting during jury selection and the trial. This latest attack on Stone is born of anger over his much-deserved pardon.
Taxes should not be political. You earn what you earn and owe what you owe. However, in 2021 the mob demands a complete cancellation and proverbial blitzkrieg against Trump supporters on all fronts. FDR, the Kennedys, and Barack Obama all used the IRS to harass their political enemies. Now the Biden administration is engaged in the same abuse of power.
It’s abundantly clear that Roger Stone still did nothing wrong.
You can support Roger Stone in his on-going fight against the deep state by going to StoneDefenseFund.com
Julio Gonzalez is a prominent Florida Tax Attorney and expert on the IRS Tax Code.