In Sarasota this week a local restaurant owner was arrested for not paying his sales tax. In hard times, sometimes business owners trying to stay afloat do not send in sales tax collected. Most people do not realize that it is a crime not to remit sales tax collected from customers. The money belongs to the State and if not sent in, it constitutes grand theft. Grand theft can land you in jail.
Often there are reasons for this oversight and often the problem can be solved or prevented if there is early intervention. The State likes to make a example of the few people that they do prosecute. As a former prosecutor myself and former IRS agent I often defend people arrested for sales tax crimes. I have represented liquor store owners, used car dealers, convenience store owners and many small business when they get behind on their taxes. Sometimes it is not just a matter of being behind but a matter of having actually filed false or inaccurate returns. If you are under investigation or feel that you may have a problem with the Department of Revenue I am available for a free consultation. Do not think you can simply talk your way out of a criminal investigation. You have a right to remain silent and you better do so until you talk to an attorney. Do not wait until you are arrested. I have negotiated payment plans in the past for individuals instead of being arrested.