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Special Investigations News Release

For Immediate Release:  Feb. 3, 2014

Rutherford County Business Owner Sentenced for Sales Tax Evasion

Murfreesboro, Tenn. - Shirishkumar (Sam) Hira, owner of Comfort Suites in Smyrna, Tenn., entered into a no contest plea of one count of sales tax evasion in a Rutherford County Criminal Court Friday.

Judge David Bragg sentenced Hira to one year of probation. He must pay the Department of Revenue $185,738.25 in unremitted sales taxes and court costs. The Special Investigations Section of the Department of Revenue conducted the investigation that led to Hira's plea and sentencing.

"Tennessee's tax structure depends on taxpayers voluntarily complying with the laws," said Revenue Commissioner Richard H. Roberts. "Taxpayers who collect but intentionally do not remit sales tax, breach the public's trust and violate the criminal laws of the state. This case underscores our commitment to rigorous and fair administration of Tennessee's tax laws."

The Department of Revenue pursued the criminal case in cooperation with District Attorney General William Whitesell'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 and the collection of taxes and fees associated with those laws. The department collects about 87 percent of total state revenue. During the 2013 fiscal year, it collected $11.7 billion in state taxes and fees and more than $2.2 billion in taxes and fees for local governments. To learn more about the department, visit www.TN.gov/revenue.

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