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Couple charged with tax evasion, accused of not reporting business income

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S.C. Department of Revenue agents this week arrested a North Carolina couple and charged them with tax evasion and failure to file a state tax return or pay a tax related to businesses they operated in Spartanburg, Greenville and Anderson counties.

Natalia Sokil, 46, of Tryon, N.C., was the owner and operator of ESF Management, doing business as European Market LLC, in Spartanburg County. The specialty grocery store had multiple locations in other Upstate counties as well. Andrej Sokil, 54, also of Tryon, worked and lived in Spartanburg during the time under investigation, according to a news release from the Revenue Department.

In 2017 and 2018, the couple filed joint Individual Income Tax returns but failed to include her business income of $2,707,322, the department alleges. The couple owed $19,010 in state taxes for tax years 2017 and 2018. They also failed to file returns for tax years 2019 and 2020, during which an investigation found they had taxable income of $1.4 million, the news release said. They owe state taxes of $29,409 for tax years 2019 and 2020. 

Natalia Sokil also was charged with two counts of operating without a retail license. Warrants allege agents purchased items at two Inman stores in January 2021 and sales tax was charged, though the business did not have a valid license, according to the release. She previously was convicted of operating without a retail license in Lexington in 2021.

If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000, plus the cost of prosecution, for each count of tax evasion; and one year and a fine of up to $10,000 for each count of failure to file, plus the cost of prosecution. Natalia Sokil faces a maximum sentence of 30 days in jail or a fine of $200, or both, plus the cost of prosecution for each count of operating without a retail license. Both defendants on Monday were being held in the Spartanburg County Detention Center pending a bond hearing.

On Tuesday, Natalia Sokil was charged and arrested for the same offense in Greenville County. On Wednesday she was arrested in Anderson County for the same charges related to the European Market.

The Revenue Department says it takes enforcement action against noncompliant taxpayers to prevent unfairly increasing the tax burden on those who comply. The department encourages anyone who knows or suspects a person or business that has committed a state tax crime to contact them at or to fill out a Tax Violation Complain Form (pdf) and mail it to S.C. Department of Revenue, Attn: Fraud Adviser, 2070 Northbrook Blvd, Suite B7, North Charleston, SC 29406.

Reach Ross Norton at 864-720-1222.

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