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March 29, 2013

Feds bring civil tax case against local attorney

TRAVERSE CITY — Federal authorities are taking legal action against a Traverse City bankruptcy lawyer accused of neglecting to pay more than $300,00 in taxes.

A complaint filed this month in U.S. District Court states Wallace H. Tuttle failed to pay $121,439 in trust fund taxes withheld from wages of legal firm employees between 1998 and 2002. The money owed accumulated over 16 tax periods.

Court documents state Tuttle also owes $221,852 in income taxes for periods between 1994 and 2005.

Tuttle’s attorney, Michael Dettmer, said his client “missed some years” but plans to resolve the civil case as soon as possible.

“Hopefully we’ll have it resolved before an answer has to be filed,” he said.

Dettmer said he could not comment on why Tuttle failed to pay taxes. He said it’s “unfortunate.”

“It’s a mistake, but we’ll try to rectify that mistake,” he said.

The Internal Revenue Service filed multiple notices of federal tax liens with the Grand Traverse County Register of Deeds in 2004 and 2006, according to court documents.

Tuttle has practiced law for more than 40 years.

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