Former Washington County Businesswoman Arrested on Sales Tax Evasion Charges

Friday, January 29, 2010 | 11:36 am
JONESBOROUGH, Tenn. – The Special Investigations Section of the Tennessee Department of Revenue conducted the investigation that led to the indictment and subsequent arrest of Christa Dawn Hess, age 38, for sales tax fraud. On Jan. 27, Hess, former owner of Stop-N-Go/Gas Haus, located in Johnson City, Tenn., was arrested by the Washington County Sheriff’s Department.
 
On Jan. 11, 2010, the Washington County Grand Jury returned an 18 count indictment for evasion of sales tax in violation of Tenn. Code Ann. Section 67-1-1440(g), a Class E felony. The indictment charged Hess intentionally failed to report sales tax totaling $16,045.95 to the state from March 2004 through Sept. 2005.
 
“The Department of Revenue promotes voluntary taxpayer compliance by educating taxpayers, aggressively pursuing criminal sanctions and demanding accountability when taxpayers engage in fraudulent activity," said Revenue Commissioner Reagan Farr. "This investigation underscores our department's ongoing efforts to enforce Tennessee's tax laws."
 
If convicted, Hess could be sentenced to a maximum of two years in the state penitentiary and fined $3,000 for each count.
 
This case was pursued criminally by the department in cooperation with District Attorney General Tony Clark’s Office. Citizens who suspect violations of Tennessee’s revenue laws should call the toll-free tax fraud hot line at (800) FRAUDTX (372-8389).
 
The Department of Revenue is responsible for the administration of state tax laws and motor vehicle title and registration laws established by the legislature and the collection of taxes and fees associated with those laws. The Department of Revenue collects approximately 92 percent of total state tax revenue. During the 2008-2009 fiscal year, the department collected $10.2 billion in state taxes and fees. In addition to collecting state taxes, $1.9 billion of local sales tax was collected by the department for local governments during the 2008-2009 fiscal year. Besides collecting taxes, the department enforces the revenue laws fairly and impartially in an effort to encourage voluntary taxpayer compliance. The department also apportions revenue collections for distribution to the various state funds and local units of government. To learn more about the department, log on to www.TN.gov/revenue.
 
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To view this news release online. Go to www.TN.gov/revenue and click on Newsroom.