Don’t Keep Two Sets of Books

March 2024

Self-employed workers can deal a lot in cash, which means transactions are going through the business that I might not see but still need to be reported. Anyway, I don’t work with contractors anymore.

On that note, the owners of Tony Luke’s in Philadelphia, a famous cheese steak shop, have been sentenced to two years in prison for tax fraud.

The reason? Two sets of books.

Over the course of years, they’ve hidden roughly $8M in sales from filing false tax returns and payroll reports (they would pay employees in cash and not report/pay payroll taxes on it).

The government estimated they were defrauded $1M in tax revenue.

Apparently what kicked off the government being alerted that something was amiss was due to a dispute over franchising rights in 2015 and them being afraid from this, their tax fraud scheme would be discovered.

The owners decided they needed to amend tax returns from prior years to show higher sales, and that’s when the government started taking a look.

Moral of the story?

Don't keep two sets of books and report all cash transactions that happen in your business even if they don’t hit the bank account.

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