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Prison for Berkeley psychologist who failed to report income

Age and medication are no excuse when the Internal Revenue Service to a charge of tax evasion. The IRS alleged that the psychologist failed to report more than one million dollars in income from his Palo Alto practice from 2005 to 2009.

The 70-year-old psychologist argued that an array of medications to treat an inflammatory muscle disorder affected his cognitive ability. The argument did not seemingly persuade a U.S. District Court judge in Oakland during sentencing on the tax evasion charges.

A U.S. Attorney’s Office press release detailed the sentence after the conviction for five counts of tax evasion and a single count of theft of government property. The judge sentenced the 70 year old to a prison sentence of 30 months with three years supervised release and required that he pay almost $594,000 to the IRS and Social Security Administration.

In addition to the failure to report income, the man also collected disability insurance payments he was not qualified to receive. He must forfeit the amount that he received and pay a fine.

The man plans to appeal the decision arguing that a prosecution for behavior that stemmed from the use of medications is flawed. His defense also claims that the man became a hoarder and failed to keep track of his finances while at the same time fearing that he would become impoverished.

A progressively worsening disability, such as Alzheimer’s might provide a defense to a tax evasion charge in some circumstances. Usually this type of ailment affects all areas of an individual’s life and it would become increasingly difficult to continue to make a substantial income from working. At the first IRS notice, a tax attorney can identify possible defenses and assist with IRS communication.

Source: The Daily Californian, "Berkeley psychologist sentenced to jail time for tax evasion," Sophie Mattson, August 3, 2014.

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