Written Supervisory Approval Of IRS Penalties: When Must It Be Given, And Who May Give It?

By Henry Stow Lovejoy
CPA Journal 
April 2018 Edition

The Internal Revenue Code (IRC) imposes penalties on understatements of tax as a way to encourage voluntary compliance and deter noncompliant behavior.Generally, the revenue agent examining a return will be one who proposes a penalty. Revenue agents are instructed to consider penalties as part of the examination of any return, and they must determine whether and which penalties apply only after the facts and circumstances of the taxpayer’s return have been developed.

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A Long Overdue Check On Prosecutorial Power In Tax Cases

By Caroline Rule and Bob Fink
Law 360

Twenty years ago, we put forward what was then a novel concept — that the IRS and the U.S. Department of Justice were misusing the tax code to make their jobs easier. Our topic was the misuse of a statute that, we contended, was reserved for prosecuting the deliberate obstruction of a specific IRS investigation, audit or collection proceeding, and not for punishing any tax-related misconduct.

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The Enforcement and Impact of John Doe Summonses

By Megan L. Brackney
Tax Notes

In this article, Brackney discusses the John Doe summons procedures and the decision partially enforcing a John Doe summons in Coinbase. She also identifies some practical considerations for taxpayers whose information may be turned over to the IRS in accordance with the summons. 

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United States v. Greenfield: A Triumph of the Fifth Amendment's Act of Production Privilege; or Confirmation that the Privilege Can Be Entirely Abrogated by Any Act of Congress, or Even by a Treasury Regulation?

By Caroline Rule
The Tax Lawyer 

In 1976, in Fisher v. United States, the Supreme Court first recognized the "act of production privilege" as being a necessary component of the Fifth Amendment's privilege against self-incrimination. A grand jury subpoena or Service summons does not violate the Fifth Amendment just because documents the government seeks are incriminating; pre-existing documents are not the result of government compulsion. 

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U.S. Tax Residency: Some Black-and-White Rules, Some Gray

By Ian Weinstock
The CPA Journal
March 2018 Edition

When advising taxpayers or preparing returns, brightline rules are generally the easiest to explain and to handle. In contrast, tax outcomes that depend on facts and circumstances are inherently more difficult to evaluate. It is therefore a relief that many federal tax residency rules applicable to individuals are black-and-white, particularly considering how critical an issue residency is, both in terms of what is subject to tax and what returns are required. Unfortunately, there is a large gray area as well.

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Tax Cuts And Jobs Act Of 2017 Introduces Major Reforms To The International Taxation Of U.S. Corporations

By Jerald David August
Reprinted From The Winter 2018 Issue Of ALI-CLE's The Practical Tax Lawyer
Winter 2018 Edition

On December 22, 2017, President Trump signed into law the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“TCJA”) of 2017, P.L. 115-97, which introduced a set of tax cuts and other reforms that will affect substantially all U.S. taxpayers, both corporate and individual. The key feature of the new legislation was the reduction by 40 percent of the maximum federal corporate income tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, including qualified personal service corporations.

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Pros and Cons of Voluntarily Disclosing Past Wrongs

By Wendy Abkin, George Abney, and Caroline D. Ciraolo
Tax Executive Institute 
February 2018


Hamlet’s thoughts weighed heavily upon him. Should he suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or take arms against a sea of troubles? For the young Prince of Denmark seeking to avenge his father’s death, the choice was action or inaction, and ultimately life or death. Fortunately, most tax problems do not have such grave outcomes. Seemingly inconsequential tax errors can, however, lead to severe financial consequences. And, remote as it may seem, the prospect of imprisonment for tax crimes cannot be overlooked. When a past wrong is discovered, what should you do?

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Understanding New IRS Rule On Contractor Tax Compliance

By Megan L. Brackney
January 2018

The U.S. Treasury Department recently issued an interim rule to improve the Internal Revenue Service’s ability to identify contractors who have delinquent federal tax liabilities. 

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Tax Act First Look: The Complex New World Of The Qualified Business Deduction Rule

By Jerald David August
The CPA Journal
January 2018 Edition

Implications for Partnerships, S Corporations, and Sole Proprietorships

President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), H.R. 1, into law on December 22, 2017. The law was passed by Congress two days earlier, on December 20, 2017. In general, the effective date of the TCJA is January 1, 2017. Many of the provisions of the TCJA will sunset on January 1, 2027, although some provisions are permanent. While the conference committee resolved the differences between the House and Senate bills— and there were indeed many differences—the Conference Committee selected the final parts of the bill and sent it back or passage.

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Making FOIA Requests To The IRS: Overview Of The Basic Procedures And Exemptions, And Issues For Partnerships

By Megan L. Brackney
Journal of Passthrough Entities
January - February 2018 Edition

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (“TIGTA”) recently issued its Fiscal Year 2017 Statutory Review of Compliance with the Freedom of Information Act. TIGTA noted that in fiscal year 2016, the IRS processed 8,808 requests to the IRS under Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”). TIGTA found that based on their review of a representative sample of the IRS’s responses, the responses were generally timely, but the IRS improperly withheld information in 14.5% of cases.

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