Congressional Staffer Charged with Failure to File Tax Returns for Five Years
A congressional staffer was charged yesterday with five counts of willfully failing to file a tax return, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Caroline D. Ciraolo, head of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Dana J. Boente for the Eastern District of Virginia.
According to the criminal information and affidavit, Isaac Lanier Avant of Arlington, Virginia, is a staff member employed by the U.S. House of Representatives since approximately 2002. For tax years 2009 through 2013, Avant earned annual wages of over $170,000, but did not timely file a personal income tax return for any of those years. In May 2005, Avant filed a form with his employer that falsely claimed he was exempt from federal income taxes. Avant did not have any federal tax withheld from his paycheck until the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) mandated that his employer begin withholding in January 2013.
If convicted, Avant faces a statutory maximum sentence of one year in prison for each count, as well as a term of supervised release and monetary penalties.
An information merely alleges that crimes have been committed and defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Ciraolo and U.S. Attorney Boente thanked special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation and the FBI, who investigated the case, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Hanly and Assistant Chief Todd Ellinwood of the Tax Division, who are prosecuting the case.
Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found on the division’s website.