Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Wilson Tax Law Group - The Newport Beach Tax Attorney Blog: IRS Committing Tax Evasion Triggers Congressional ...

Wilson Tax Law Group - The Newport Beach Tax Attorney Blog: IRS Committing Tax Evasion Triggers Congressional ...: In a prior post I commented about a report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) that reviewed cases of willful...

IRS Committing Tax Evasion Triggers Congressional Inquiry


In a prior post I commented about a report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) that reviewed cases of willful violation of tax laws by IRS employees for a 10 year period (FY 2004-2013). The review found 1,580 IRS employees who willfully understated their Federal tax liability or willfully filed their tax return late.  Of these, roughly two thirds of these tax cheats kept their jobs at the IRS (about 14% have now resigned or retired).

Former Senate Finance and current Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, is now asking the IRS Commissioner to explain how and why the Service uses discretion to avoid terminating employees for willful violations of tax law.  A copy of his letter to the IRS Commissioner can be found here.

"Willful violation of tax law is a serious offense and the presumption is an employee guilty of the offense shall be terminated," wrote Grassley in letter dated May 19 to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. Grassley said the Commissioner’s "discretion to mitigate the penalty of termination was intended to be a safety valve, not a tool to be used routinely to frustrate the intent of Congress."

The report found that a major portion of employees who willfully violated tax law remain employed at the IRS and experienced only minor punishments. The IRS gives discretion to the Commissioner on termination in such cases, and Grassley is seeking details on how and when that discretion is used.
The sole recommendation TIGTA made in the report was for the IRS to document its analysis of evidence and basis for its decision on whether or not to mitigate penalties to something less than termination, wrote Grassley. "The IRS doesn’t necessarily offer discretion on severe penalties to average citizens found in violation of tax law," he said. "There might be a double standard for the IRS’ own employees."

The good news is that Congress has initiated an oversight hearing into the matter.  Hopefully there will be some change because this does not sit well.

If you need assistance concerning taxes or an IRS investigation, do not hesitate to contact a tax lawyer in Orange County.   The Orange County Tax Attorneys at Wilson Tax Law Group have experience in federal tax prosecutions and IRS and state tax matters. You can reach the Wilson Tax Law Group at 714-463-4430.



Thursday, May 7, 2015

Wilson Tax Law Group - The Newport Beach Tax Attorney Blog: IRS Commits Tax Evasion with Immunity

Wilson Tax Law Group - The Newport Beach Tax Attorney Blog: IRS Commits Tax Evasion with Immunity: On May 6th the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration  ("TIGTA" or internal government watchdog over the IRS) issued a ...

IRS Commits Tax Evasion with Immunity

On May 6th the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration  ("TIGTA" or internal government watchdog over the IRS) issued a scathing report that found, from 2003 through 2013, 1,580 IRS employees committed willful tax violations.   These cases included willful overstatement of expenses, claiming the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit without buying a home, and repeated failure to timely file required Federal tax returns.  

It should be noted that a willful act is the voluntary intentional violation of a known legal duty (timely filing of a tax return or accurate reporting of a tax obligation).   A willful violation of tax law is a criminal act.  This means jail time to the average person, but not IRS employees according to the TIGTA report.   


Current law requires that the IRS terminate employees who are found to have willfully violated tax law.  However, the law also gives the IRS Commissioner the sole authority to mitigate cases to a lesser penalty.  The TIGTA report disclosed that the IRS Commissioner exercised his sole authority on numerous occasions to mitigate termination of IRS employees who committed tax evasion.  


Although the IRS concluded their own employees committed criminal tax acts, 61 percent of these criminal tax evaders continue to work for the IRS.   In fact, some employees received promotions and awards within one year after their willful tax noncompliance cases were closed. The report does not disclose that any of these criminals were referred for prosecution.  The IRS Commissioner made sure these employees, some whom had significant and sometimes repeated tax noncompliance issues, and a history of other conduct issues, kept their positions and remained out of the media spotlight.   


As a reformed federal prosecutor and current tax defense attorney, I personally find it alarming that the IRS can prosecute every day citizens for the same exact acts it allows its own employees to commit with carte blanche immunity.  This leaves a curiously strong bad taste.  


If you need assistance concerning taxes or an IRS investigation, do not hesitate to contact a tax lawyer in Orange County.   According to the TIGTA report only IRS employees - not everyone else - are immune to the efforts being taken by the US government.  The Orange County Tax Attorneys at Wilson Tax Law Group have experience in federal tax prosecutions and IRS and state tax matters. You can reach the Wilson Tax Law Group at 714-463-4430.