At this time of the year, you probably expected I would give you a warning as to the IRS filing deadline. Hey, if you pay taxes – and even if you don’t pay taxes – you know this date by heart. Besides, this year’s tax cut-off date falls on April 17th. So, you have additional two days to procrastinate.
Instead, I would like to mention something more amusing. This is the second time this year I am asked the same question about the same man. This time, a reader complains that every time he googles my tax blog, links to stories about Igor Olenicoff pop up. “Are you related?”, he wonders.
The answer is awfully simple – I am not. Nor am I related to Igor Stravinsky, Igor Sikorsky and/or any of the Great Princes named Igor. Same goes for Igor Larionov. Of all the Igors mentioned here, Mr. Olenicoff seems to be the only man who made the Forbes list.
Pointer 1. People with the same first names are not necessarily related – by blood or otherwise.
I did pay attention, though, to one of the links provided to me. It turns out Olenicoff sued UBS (and some other parties) for making him provide false info to the IRS. The defendants countered that Mr. Olenicoff simply asked for their assistance to screw the tax authorities.
Pointer 2. Hiring an advisor to help you cheat on your taxes doesn’t get you off the hook. Nor should it.
The judge held that “UBS’s admission of guilt does not give Olenicoff the right to sue UBS for fraudulent tax advice.” Now, did Mr. Olenicoff intentionally lie to the IRS on his tax forms? Was he entrapped into violating the federal tax rules by his advisors? Did he violate the rules solely because he was given a bad advise? I certainly can’t read his mind. Accordingly, my opinion is just as good as yours.
Even innocent people may be pressured into admitting guilt. Defendants may choose to plead guilty in order to escape a potentially harsher punishment, including time in prison. It can make their lives easier. But, it can also backfire in the future.
Pointer 3. If you are innocent, think twice before pleading guilty to tax (and other) crimes. It can backfire later in your life.
According to the same judge, because Olenicoff pleaded guilty to tax evasion, he placed “nearly every room of his legal house of cards into jeopardy.” In other words, whether or not Mr. Olenicoff was in the wrong, he created a presumption of guilt by plea bargaining.