United States Files Criminal Tax Charges Against Bubba

According to the associated press, three time Super Bowl champion and former San Francisco 49er Bubba Paris has been charged with failing to file his federal income tax returns over a three year period.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced that Paris has been charged with three misdemeanor charges of failing to file tax returns in 2006, 2007 and 2008. Prosecutors allege that Paris received gross income of more than $57,000, nearly $84,000 and almost $42,000, respectively, in each of those years.

What interests me about this case, besides the 49er who was one of my favorites in the 1980’s, is the amount of money involved and Paris’ lack of true notoriety. While there are exceptions, the government generally prosecutes criminally for non-filing or non-payment of taxes only in cases of extreme income or evasion, or major notoriety i.e. the press garnered from the prosecution will warn the general public to timely file and pay their taxes. Here, the income levels alleged, if correct, are hardly kingpin status. In regards to Paris’ notoriety, the government missed their mark by about 25 years. Even in the Bay Area, most 49er fans may not know the difference between Bubba Paris and Bubba Gump.

Nonetheless, Paris now needs a tax attorney to get him tax relief. I suppose the government’s purpose would be to warn those with smaller incomes, that they too may be the subject of criminal prosecution for otherwise minor tax crimes. Be warned … if you earn approximately $45,000 a year and you miss a tax deadline … you may be doing hard time.