Honey or Vinegar

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Back when you were a kid, your mom said you’d catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. (We’re not sure why she thought you’d want to catch flies — she can’t have wanted them in her house in the first place.) Apparently, though, Andrew Calcione’s mom never gave him that advice. Or maybe he just didn’t listen. Either way, that failure to communicate wound up costing him big time.

Last year, the IRS was auditing Calcione — a former tax preparer from Rhode Island — for 2008, 2009, and 2010. The IRS argued he owed an additional $330,000 in tax. But time was running out on the audit. (They generally can’t assess tax more than three years after the return’s due date or the actual filing date, whichever is later.) So they asked Calcione and his ex-wife Patricia to sign a “Consent to Extend Time to Assess Tax” form.

You’re probably asking yourself why on earth anyone would ever do that. But tax professionals will often tell you to sign so you’ll have more time to defend yourself. If you don’t sign, they’ll just go ahead and hit you with the extra tax and you’ll wind up even deeper in the hole.

Calcione signed the consent, but his ex-wife did not. Three months later, the auditor left a voicemail following up. Three days after that, Calcione called back — and instead of betting “honey,” he doubled down on “vinegar.” That vinegar took the form of a profanity-laced tirade with Calcione threatening to show up at the agent’s house and torture him. Then tie him to a chair, gag him, and rape and kill his wife (in front of him). Then kill his daughter. (Click here if you insist on reading the whole play-by-play — but don’t say we didn’t warn you.)

Calcione called back later the same day to say “disregard my previous voicemail.” (Ya think?) But by then it was too late. The agent had called the police. Unfortunately for Calcione, threatening to assault and murder an IRS agent (or member of his family) is a felony, punishable by up to 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.

Give Calcione credit for creativity. At first, he said he left the threat to toy with his own daughter — and gosh, just dialed the wrong number. Then he said he meant it for his ex-wife. (Family dinners at the Calcione house must have been a hoot!) Finally, he claimed he was talking to himself and “accidentally” butt-dialed the agent. All perfectly honest mistakes, right?

But District Court Judge William E. Smith wasn’t buying any of it and he found Calcione guilty on two counts and he’s looking at 20 years surrounded by people using similar off-color language when he’s sentenced to jail. “This Office will continue to protect and seek justice for government officials simply trying to do their jobs on behalf of the people of the United States,” said the prosecutor. “Suffice it to say that we will be seeking the toughest, appropriate sentence in this case.”

Oh, and Calcione still owes the tax.

We know that you would never be foolish enough to threaten an IRS agent. But we also know you don’t want to pay a penny more than you have to. That’s why we, Chicago CPA focus on giving you a plan to pay less. So call us on 773-728-1500 and everything we recommend is court-tested and IRS-approved — so you’ll never have to choose between honey and vinegar!