- Days left
Sharon Kukhan is known for selling a tax "decoder" scheme to help taxpayers avoid paying federal income taxes. She claimed she could "decode" the taxpayers' tax records to show that they were not required to pay income. Her system was based on the lie that clients did not have to pay income taxes unless they lived in a U.S. territory, and that residents of the United States could only be taxed with an excise tax on an excise-taxable business. The cost for this misinformation? $1,750 to $3,195.

The scheme had several names, including IMF Decoder, Paralegal Research Advocates, and Advocates for Justice, Liberty and Freedom. Kukhan's now defunct website IRScodebusters.com reportedly used to claim: "IRSCodebusters is a team of researchers including a federal lawyer (not an attorney) and a certified paralegal. This team specializes in utilizing the Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act to provide a detailed decoding and examination of the Individual Master File and other secretly coded files the IRS keeps on you."

But the scam will run no more. A federal court has permanently barred Kukhan from selling her program, and the IRS estimates her work cost them about $4.9 million from taxpayers who failed to file returns or pay taxes.

If you participated in this scam, you can look forward to the IRS contacting you. Kukhan was required to turn over a list of her clients, and you can bet the government will be sending out audit notices. My advice? Find a competent tax lawyer and go to the IRS before they find you. Many times, they are more lenient with taxpayers who voluntarily report problems with their tax returns and work with the IRS to pay any taxes owed.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Intro to different retirement accounts

What does it mean to have a 401(k)? IRA?

View Course »

How Financial Planners go Grocery Shopping

Learn to shop smart and save.

View Course »

TurboTax Articles

What is IRS Form 8824: Like-Kind Exchange

Ordinarily, when you sell something for more than what you paid to get it, you have a capital gain; when you sell it for less than what you paid, you have a capital loss. Both can affect your taxes. But if you immediately buy a similar property to replace the one you sold, the tax code calls that a "like-kind exchange," and it lets you delay some or all of the tax effects. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) uses Form 8824 for like-kind exchanges.

What are ABLE Accounts? Tax Benefits Explained

Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) accounts allow the families of disabled young people to set aside money for their care in a way that earns special tax benefits. ABLE accounts work much like the so-called 529 accounts that families can use to save money for education; in fact, an ABLE account is really a special kind of 529.

What is IRS Form 8829: Expenses for Business Use of Your Home

One of the many benefits of working at home is that you can deduct legitimate expenses from your taxes. The downside is that since home office tax deductions are so easily abused, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tends to scrutinize them more closely than other parts of your tax return. However, if you are able to substantiate your home office deductions, you shouldn't be afraid to claim them. IRS Form 8829 helps you determine what you can and cannot claim.

What is IRS Form 8859: Carryforward of D.C. First-Time Homebuyer Credit

Form 8859 is a tax form that will never be used by the majority of taxpayers. However, if you live in the District of Columbia (D.C.), it could be the key to saving thousands of dollars on your taxes. While many first-time home purchasers in D.C. are entitled to a federal tax credit, Form 8859 calculates the amount of carry-forward credit you can use in future years, not the amount of your initial tax credit.

What is IRS Form 8379: Injured Spouse Allocation

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has the power to seize income tax refunds when a taxpayer owes certain debts, such as unpaid taxes or overdue child support. Sometimes, a married couple's joint tax refund will be seized because of a debt for which only one spouse is responsible. When that happens, the other spouse is said to be "injured" and can file Form 8379 to get at least some of the refund.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum