Taxes: Chastened pastor practices what he preaches

Posted: Friday, April 01, 2005

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — With April 15 looming, the Rev. Larry Miles is advising colleagues that failure to file federal income tax returns could land you in jail.

He knows from experience. Miles, pastor of Fresh Anointing Cathedral Church of God in Christ, was released Feb. 18 after serving 24 days in a federal detention center for failing to file and is taking the warning to fellow pastors and church meetings, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

His troubles began in 2000 when Internal Revenue Service agents questioned why he hadn't filed returns the past four years.

''It was just procrastination and overload, as I explained to my congregation,'' Miles said. Besides leading his own growing church, he is active with Richmond's Faith Leaders Initiative, which seeks to attack root causes of violent crime.

Miles said his wife, who normally did their taxes, was involved in two car accidents, one of which left her permanently disabled. Tax preparation fell to him and he put it off.

Last year he was charged with three misdemeanor counts of willfully failing to file returns on total income of $319,000 for 1997, 1998 and 1999.

The 1997 and 1998 counts were dropped in exchange for a guilty plea for 1999.

The Times-Dispatch said that last year the IRS won criminal cases against 194 persons who served time in prison, a halfway house or home confinement.

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