Al Capone, born in Brooklyn, New York in 1899, quit school by the sixth grade and associated with a street gang becoming one of its members. Johnny Torrio was the street gang leader at the time Capone joined the group. In 1920, Capone joined Torrio in Chicago where in became an influential lieutenant in the Colosimo mob. Five years later, Capone became mob boss when Torrio was seriously wounded. Despite his reputation of all his years as a mobster racketeer, Capone was never successfully arrested and convicted of any substantial crime until 1931. On June 16th, 1931, Al Capone was found guilty of tax evasion and prohibition charges. He was sentenced to eleven years in federal prison, fined $50,000, and charged $7,692 for court costs. In addition, he was charged $215,000 in interest and back taxes. It took the IRS to finally get the notorious Al Capone.
If you live in or around the Nassau and Suffolk counties of New York, you are probably already familiar with the biography of Al Capone, but what is interesting to me about his life is that it took the IRS to bring the notorious mobster down. Typically, the IRS investigates such things as financial fraud and tax issues, but nevertheless, of such notoriety is what has made the IRS reputation jump to life. In our modern society, the IRS has come a long way to help bridge the gap between the old IRS horror stories that use to dominate local lore of being able to strong arm the little man as they did the great criminal, Al Capone, to a more gentle approach of education. Our government, along with the rest of us, has recognized how complicated our system of tax collection really is. The new approach is helping but not necessarily alleviating all the problems. Probably the most important rights you have is being able to be represented when the need arises. Even though the IRS has come a long way in trying to work with the common taxpayer, they still have unparalleled authority when it comes to implementing the law. Paying your income taxes is the law despite what many believe or have said. The Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution was ratified in 1913 giving Congress the power to “lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.”
There are a few horror stories still hitting the news upon occasion, so, the IRS still has a long way to go in alleviating its negative image, but today, it is different than in the days of Al Capone. You have protected rights by law that are recognized and openly posted on the IRS website, something not available during the Capone era. You, as a United States taxpayer, have the right to:
- be treated professionally, fairly, promptly, and courteously by IRS employees and Private Collection Agencies contacting you on behalf of the IRS;
- disagree with your tax bill;
- meet with an IRS manager if you disagree with the IRS employee who handled your tax case;
- appeal most IRS collection actions;
- have your case transferred to a different IRS office if you have a valid reason;
- be represented by someone when dealing with IRS matters; and
- receive a receipt for any payments you make.
Maybe it took the IRS to get Al Capone, but tax problems can happen to anyone, and they are not apt to have the same outcome as they did for Al. For what ever reasons, some of you will still have problems and misunderstandings with the IRS that seem to be unsolvable. When this happens, you are going to need legal counsel from a tax attorney. If you believe you have unresolvable problems with the IRS, it is your right by law to be represented. So, if you live in or around the Nassau or Suffolk counties of New York, contact us today and we will get you in touch with a tax lawyer in your area who will be able to help you answer all the questions you may have about tax law.