Carver County bar owner failed to pay taxes for 5 years: charges

The owner of a popular bar and restaurant in downtown Victoria is facing multiple felony charges for allegedly failing to pay state taxes.

The Carver County Attorney’s Office charged Paul Mark Carlson, 61, the owner of Vic’s Bar and Grill, with 18 felony counts related to failing to file state personal income tax returns, business tax returns or pay sales tax during a five-year period between 2015 and 2020, according to the criminal complaint. 

Each charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a $10,000 fine, or both. The complaint states the restaurant had an average taxable revenue of $892,278 during that time period and Carlson owes over $440,000 in back taxes, fines and interest.

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An anonymous tip

The complaint indicates an investigator at the Minnesota Department of Revenue first began looking into Carlson’s business when they received an anonymous tip in June that he was paying his employees in cash. 

Further investigation of department records revealed Carlson had failed to file personal tax returns since 2011 and there were no business income tax returns on record for the restaurant, charges allege.

Department records indicated the department had mailed Carlson over 60 letters, including demands to file personal and business tax returns, since 2006, according to the complaint. 

In February, the department of revenue investigator met with Carlson, and according to the complaint, he told her he was aware he had to file state income tax returns but did not have a reason why he failed to do so. He told her he was "falling further and further behind" and also hadn’t filed federal tax returns. 

Carlson’s first court appearance is scheduled for 8:50 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 13 the Carver County Courthouse.