Even Minor Celebrities Should Pay their Taxes

I never saw Discovery’s “American Guns” reality show. The former owner of a store called “Gunsmoke” ran into trouble with both gun selling laws and filing tax returns. He’s likely heading to ClubFed.

Richard Wyatt is the former owner of a gun store called Gunsmoke in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. Getting your store on television is a good way to increase sales; he appeared on 26 episodes of American Guns. Of course, you might want to make sure you follow the law. As the Department of Justice press release notes, “On Feb. 17, 2012, Wyatt conspired with others to deal in firearms without a license. In April 2012, the defendant surrendered his Federal Firearms License (FFL) due to his violations of federal laws and regulations.”

That might have been a good time to change careers. According to the DOJ (and later a jury), Mr. Wyatt simply ignored his lack of a federal license and sold guns using someone else’s license (a decidedly illegal thing to do). While gun laws violations don’t really interest me, tax violations do. They also really interest the DOJ.

In addition to the alleged firearms violations, Wyatt failed to pay personal income tax in years 2009, when he made approximately $290,000, in 2010, when he made approximately $123,000, and in 2012, when he made approximately $689,000. Further, in 2010, 2011 and 2012, Wyatt failed to pay corporate taxes. In 2012, Wyatt willfully filed a tax return he knew to be false, stating that he lost money, when in fact he made at least $350,000 that he failed to disclose.

Let’s see, go on television promoting a business that shouldn’t exist. Don’t pay taxes on income at the same time. Those are two real good ways to head to ClubFed.

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