Golden Tax Relief - February 2019

32850 US-43 STE. B, THOMASVILLE, AL 36784 844-229-8936 GOLDENTAXRELIEF.COM G o l d e n G a z e t t e FEBRUARY 2019

A D ay to R emember Looking Back on My Wedding Day

This time last year, in honor of Valentine’s Day, I told the story of how I proposed to my wife (and the shenanigans that entailed). So, with the annual celebration of love rolling around once again, I want to pick up that story where we left off and reflect on the actual wedding day itself. Unlike my April Fool’s Day proposal, our ceremony was prank-free. But that’s not to say it was uneventful. Having met at the University of Alabama, my then-fiancé was finishing up her last semester at the time of our wedding. Fortunately, there was this classic little chapel right near the campus. Unfortunately, it was also right next to Bryant-Denny Stadium, meaning we had to plan around the Crimson Tide unless we wanted to spend the majority of our special day stuck in traffic. Thankfully, we were able to book the church during an away game against LSU. Of course, the question then became which of our friends would show up and which would travel down to Baton Rouge.

However, when the day arrived, the chapel was packed. Between my large extended family and all the friends we’d made in college, we must have had 200– 300 people there. This made it all the more nerve-wracking when I learned the wedding cake was a no-show. Of course, I’m nothing if not practical — I gave one of my friends some cash and sent him out to get sheet cakes before my bride caught wind that we had nothing to serve our guests. Of course, the original cake was eventually delivered while my friend was still out at the store, and we ended up with more than enough dessert to go around. As far as wedding drama goes, this was a piece of cake. The ceremony itself went off without a hitch. In fact, we were married by my childhood pastor, which meant the world to my family. Growing up on a farm in rural Alabama, church had been a big source of community for my family and me. Having the minister who had helped form the bedrock of my early life

be the one to help me start my new life as a husband felt nothing short of poetic. The whole event was short and sweet, with only a brief standing reception afterwards. After all, my wife and I only had a few days for our honeymoon before she had to go back to class. We made the most of it, getting away to Gatlinburg and the surrounding Smoky Mountains of the Tennessee countryside. Fast-forward over 17 years and two kids later, and we still love visiting those mountains. We try to get up to Tennessee every three or four years to take in the mountain air, unplug, and unwind. In fact, at the time of writing, we’ve just gotten back from a winter trip to that valley town. I can confirm that those forests and mountain ranges are — just like my wife — exactly as beautiful as they were the day I was married.

"As far as wedding drama goes, this was a piece of cake."

Happy Valentine’s Day,



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Speak From the Heart

Fraud or Negligence … Is There a Difference?

How does the IRS know the difference between simple negligence and tax fraud?

generally do the rest. They also know that tax fraud is mostly committed in cash-intensive businesses and by service industry workers. They know that the people most likely to commit fraud are self-employed restaurateurs, car dealers, clothing store owners, telemarketers, lawyers, doctors, and accountants.

It can be hard to draw a line between the two. You’re an honest citizen, but you’re human, and mistakes can happen when you file your taxes. This can look like you're trying to cheat your way out of paying taxes. Now, you might be afraid that even the IRS doesn’t see the difference, but that's far from the truth. They know exactly how to spot the difference between the two. First of all, it’s important to note that the IRS is not actively searching for mistakes or attempts to break the law. In most cases, their auditors give you the benefit of the doubt, as they are well aware that most of us don’t try to commit tax fraud. In addition, the IRS knows which type of people are most likely to commit fraud by looking at their profession. You might even be able to guess some of those yourself. Not Everyone Cheats

Heavy Training

In addition to the fact that the IRS knows who the most likely offenders are, their auditors are trained to look for tax fraud. Precisely because of that training, in most cases, they can easily tell the difference between tax fraud and simple, ordinary negligence. Even though they can usually tell the difference between the two — by looking for the most common ways people make mistakes — auditors can make mistakes too.

In rare cases, even the most trained IRS auditors come to the wrong conclusion, and an honest person gets to pay the price.

The IRS knows that most of those (at least 70 percent) doing the cheating are middle-income individual earners. Corporations

Thankfully, you can avoid this by being careful when doing your taxes, just in case.

32850 US-43 STE. B, THOMASVILLE, AL 36784



Tax Judge Does Hard Time

SUDOKU The irony does not get much better than this. For nearly a decade, Judge Kroupa worked to defraud the American people using her inside knowledge to game the system. She disguised personal expenses as tax-deductible costs associated with her husband’s consulting firm, withheld documents from both her tax preparer and the IRS, and sent misleading information to an IRS employee while under audit. She ran this scheme with her husband for a decade, all while Part of the reason we write these celebrity tax fraud articles is to show that no one is above the law — at least, not when the IRS is concerned. So while the focus of this month’s story may not be a Hollywood star or professional athlete, her brazen abuse of authority from within the tax systemmore than earns her a place among the likes of Willie Nelson and Cristiano Ronaldo. You may not know her name, but former United States Tax Court judge Diane Kroupa is one of the most devious IRS dodgers to ever get caught.

sentencing those who had committed similar or lesser tax crimes.

comes to tax law. But knowing the law was Kroupa’s whole job. She and her husband were willing to bet their knowledge would be enough to let them skirt past the IRS, and they bet wrong. In 2017, the 61-year-old judge was sentenced to 31 months in prison. Her husband and partner in crime received a lighter sentence of 21 months.

All told, the Kroupas squirreled away over $500,000 in falsified personal expenses. These included rent on their second home, wine club dues, jewelry, and other high- end luxuries. The fraudulent activity didn’t stop there. Judge Kroupa failed to report a $44,520 land sale she received from South Dakota. Meanwhile, her husband understated his business’s receipts by roughly $450,000, deducting expenses that had already been reimbursed. Perhaps worse than the fact that this couple defrauded the American people of an astronomical amount of money is the fact that they knew exactly what they were doing. As we’ve seen in the past, many celebrities get themselves in trouble when they put their faith in crackpot advisors or try to play dumb when it


This delicious tartare is the perfect healthy alternative to gut-busting game-day dips. Serve alongside your favorite chips or crackers for an appetizer that’s sure to impress.


1 8-ounce boneless, skinless salmon fillet

3/4 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated

• • •

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

• • •

1 1/2 teaspoons fresh cilantro, minced 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh chives, minced 1 1/2 teaspoons grapeseed or vegetable oil Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste Crackers or chips, for serving

1/4 teaspoon lime zest

1/4 cup cucumber, seeded and finely diced 1 1/2 teaspoons jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced 1 1/2 teaspoons shallots, minced


1. Place salmon in freezer for 20 minutes to make slicing easier. 2. Meanwhile, prepare other ingredients for mixing. 3. Thinly slice salmon into sheets and cut sheets into strips and strips into cubes. When finished, you should have 1/8-inch cubes. 4. In a mixing bowl, combine salmon with all other ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. 5. Garnish with chips or crackers and serve.

Inspired by Epicurious






page 1 How Ben Married His Valentine

page 2 How Mr. Rogers Saved PBS What’s the Difference Between Fraud and Negligence? page 3 Tax Judge Defrauds the IRS Spicy Salmon Tartare

page 4 Prepare for an Adventure in Lapland

Adventure in Swedish Lapland I nto the A rctic C ircle

If you’re eager for a new adventure in 2019, you’ll surely find it in Swedish Lapland. As the northernmost region of Sweden, this unique area is home to national parks, glaciers, reindeer, the beguiling midnight sun, and spectacular night skies. Though it’s cold this time of year, one benefit of traveling to the region in winter is to catch a glimpse of the night sky. In late winter, the northern lights are visible from a few remote locations like Abisko National Park, one of the first established national parks in Sweden. Traveling to Abisko is an adventure in and of itself. From Stockholm, the fastest option is to take one of only two airlines that fly into Kiruna, then travel by train to Abisko. Despite the challenge of getting there, adventure-seeking visitors from

around the world arrive each winter to experience the beauty of the Arctic. Winter attractions include ice skating, snowshoeing, and the Scandinavian sauna — though this is a must-visit any time of the year. Befriend a Scandinavian and you might be treated to some pickled herring or even a princess cake, a raspberry-filled dessert covered in marzipan. of. Hikers and backpackers can enjoy the stunning beauty in both late spring and summer, as well as have a chance to see the midnight sun. Because of its far- north location, Swedish Lapland receives close to 24 hours of sunlight from June through August. Diverse terrain and varied landscapes make hiking here a treat, between the boulder fields, mountains, and stunning glacial lakes. Scandinavians cherish their public lands, and the trail systems are well taken care

While hiking, you may spot some reindeer herds or lemmings (a small rodent similar to a hamster) racing around rocks. The Sami people have herded reindeer for thousands of years through this very land. In the summer, keep an eye out for blueberries, lingonberries, and the brightly colored cloudberries. Because of the Arctic climate, weather conditions can change quickly from sunshine to rain and heavy fog, so it’s best to dress in layers and bring wind and rain protection if you plan to venture into the backcountry. The fantastic scenery of Swedish Lapland awaits you, no matter when you decide to take your trip. What are you waiting for?


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