DE SOUSA'S CHARGES | Tax attorney says they're very rare
BALTIMORE (WBFF) - A Baltimore tax attorney says not filing taxes happens all the time, but having charges filed against you is extremely rare.
Attorney Stanley Block thinks Baltimore police commissioner Darryl De Sousa is being made an example of by the IRS.
"It's because of who he is that the IRS has singled him out," said Block. "It is very uncommon for these charges to be filed."
Block represents clients who have either failed to file or pay their taxes.
"But there's no usual criminal investigations or criminal prosecutions as a result of it," he said. "We represent people who have not filed for many, many, many years - for five, 10 years even - that are not facing these kinds of actions by the IRS."
The charges were filed Thursday.
De Sousa's attorney says the police commissioner only learned of the investigation at that time.
Steve Silverman sent FOX45 this statement:
"The Commissioner was not afforded an opportunity to offer an explanation or mitigation prior to the filing of the charges because he did not learn of the investigation until after the charges were filed. Most taxpayers in this situation are first given an opportunity to cure-by filing belated tax returns. Criminal charges are usually a last resort by the government after the tax payer has ignored the government's warning. Had the government made an inquiry prior to charging, the government would have learned that Commissioner De Sousa was in the process of seeking assistance from a professional tax consultant to file all past due returns. It is also noteworthy that Commissioner De Sousa was at all time a W-2 employee of Baltimore city and subject to withholdings. This is not a situation where he failed to pay any taxes."
De Sousa admitted to not filing his taxes for three years from 2013 to 2015, writing that he failed to prioritize his personal affairs.
While he didn't file, De Sousa said he did pay his taxes through salary withholding.
Block said the IRS is looking for compliance.
He said DeSousa can correct the filings by next week. The federal charges will take time.
"You can go to jail for failure to file and that is the real problem for the police commissioner, having failed to file," he said. "He could have filed and owed $1 million dollars and he would not get this kind of publicity. Failure to file is criminal. Failure to pay a civil. It makes a big difference in how the IRS proceeds."
De Sousa is facing three federal charges. Each carries a possible $25,000 fine and a one year prison sentence.