Friday, June 20, 2014
An attorney who had failed to file and pay New York City and State taxes was suspended for six months and until further order by the Appellate Division for the First Judicial Department.
The court noted
By a report dated February 10, 2014, the Panel recommended a six-month suspension as the appropriate sanction in light of certain mitigating factors. In particular, the Panel noted that (1) respondent acknowledged her wrongdoing; (2) she took "prompt corrective action to make necessary filings in dealing with taxing and criminal authorities, including retaining attorneys and accountants to organize and manage the process, and [put] in place safeguards to ensure ongoing compliance"; and (3) she has no prior disciplinary history in over 25 years of practice.
The Panel found only one aggravating factor, namely that during the period at issue, respondent annually earned between $101,380 and $187,212, and rather than pay her taxes, had traveled within the United States and abroad. Nevertheless, the Panel noted that respondent had not lived an unduly extravagant lifestyle, as evidenced by the fact that she did not own her own home or a car and still had $18,000 in law school debt more than 25 years after her graduation. The Panel concluded that while respondent's "lack of substantial outside expenses should have made payment of her taxes less onerous, ... it does not appear to be the case that [r]espondent failed to pay her taxes because of a profligate lifestyle. Rather, it appears that her lifestyle was moderate, her failure to pay was not venal and was instead due to a mental block with the task before her".