Tax Attorney Goes to Jail for Not Filing Own Tax Returns

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James P. Kleier, a tax attorney practicing in San Francisco, was sentenced to a year in federal prison this week for failing to file his personal income tax returns. Kleier was an associate at Reed Smith LLP from 2008 to 2010. Previous to that, he was a partner at Preston, Gates, & Ellis, LLP. The IRS discovered that he did not report any income he earned from 1999 through 2010.

Kleier pled guilty in February to two counts of failing to file income tax returns. According to court documents, for the years 2008, 2009 and 2010, Kleier had respective annual incomes of $624,923, $476,088 and $200,734. According to his plea agreement, he agreed to pay his past due taxes totaling $650,993 to the government.

Kleier was charged on May 1, 2013, with three counts of failure to file income tax returns. He pleaded guilty to one count. As part of the plea, Kleier will be sentenced to 12 months in prison and pay restitution in the amount of $650,993. Sentencing is scheduled for May 29, 2014, before the Honorable Laurel Beeler, United States Magistrate Court Judge, in San Francisco.

The maximum statutory penalty for each count failure to file a tax return, in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7203, is one year imprisonment and a fine of $100,000. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Kleier is still an active member of the California state bar according to the association's website. It is not yet known whether further disciplinary proceedings would be brought against him for professional misconduct.

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