The owner of two local businesses in downtown Bolivar is being charged with tax fraud against the state of Missouri, and two arrest warrants have been issued by Polk County Circuit Court for Joanna Lucas, 65, Bolivar.
According to the court file, Lucas, owner of ACTV Inc., dba Action TV and Appliance Rentals, and Furniture Wholesale to the Public, is being charged with several counts of willfully failing to submit a sales tax return, with the intent to defraud, and failing to remit collected sales tax to the state.
According to the probable cause statement, Furniture Wholesale was issued a Missouri sales tax license and Tax Identification Number in May 2013 from the Missouri Department of Revenue. At the end of that year, DOR revoked that license for failure to file sales tax returns and remit any collected sales tax to the state, yet has continued to operate and generate income.
According to the PC statement, a special agent with the Criminal Tax Investigation Bureau of DOR obtained financial records from three banks through subpeona in July 2015 and was able to “establish monthly taxable sales for Furniture Wholesale for the monthly periods beginning May 2013 through April 2015 and June 2015.”
The investigation revealed that Lucas failed to file a monthly sales tax return and to remit collected sales tax for 25 monthly periods for Furniture Wholesale, according to the court file.
Upon analysis of the business’s bank records from Farmer’s State Bank, US Bank and Regions Bank, statements showed deposits equaling $507,610 that would have yielded sales taxes for the state of Missouri, Polk County and the city of Bolivar.
DOR estimates the loss to the state of Missouri to be $89,088, which includes the sales tax due based off the financial records, and any interest and penalties for the tax periods the business was found to be in noncompliance.
While investigating Furniture Wholesale, the agent assigned to the case discovered Lucas also owned Action TV and Appliance Rentals in Bolivar.
This business was registered with the state of Missouri in May 1992 when Donald Lucas, Joanna’s husband, was the president of the company. After his death, J. Lucas became president in January 2008. The business’s registration expired in October 2009 for failing to renew, according to the PC statement, yet has been in good standing since Dec. 16, 2014.
Lucas reportedly filed several monthly sales tax returns and remitted corresponding sales tax to the state of Missouri between 2008 and 2012.
Yet, according to the court file, Lucas failed to file sales tax returns for 18 monthly periods between October 2012 and August 2014 and failed to pay sales tax to the state for 28 monthly periods between October 2012 and June 2015.
The statute of limitations for these offenses is three years from the reporting period due date.
The sales tax license for Action TV was revoked in November 2010, according to the file. During the time period where sales tax was not remitted, the business deposited around $300,000 into its various bank accounts, thus owing almost $79,000 in sales tax due and interest and penalties.
According to online court records, a motion hearing is set for 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 10, to hear motions for bond reduction and to shorten time submitted by Nathan A. Duncan, the attorney listed on Missouri CaseNet. The warrants each carry a $20,000 bond.
As of press time, neither Lucas nor Duncan were available for comment.