I had the opportunity to speak with the former Chief of Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (CI), Victor Song, about the future of international tax enforcement. International enforcement has been a top priority for the IRS for many years, and Mr. Song has had a critical role in that effort. Mr. Song’s tenure with the IRS spanned 30 years. He joined in 1981 and became a special agent in 1983. He rose to the position of deputy chief of CI in 2007, was appointed CI chief in January 2010, and retired from CI in December 2011. Mr. Song then served as the Executive Vice President of Compliance and Advisor to the CEO for Samsung Electronics America; he currently runs Victor Song Consulting, concentrating on services for tax controversy, anti-money laundering, corporate compliance and internal investigations.… Read More
As we head into the New Year and look back on 2015, this blog reflects on one facet of the future of tax enforcement, at least in the near term. The trend in decreasing resources devoted to tax enforcement may erode widespread respect, and therefore compliance, with the tax code. One reason for this is because if people don’t believe that the tax code is fairly and uniformly enforced against tax cheats, they themselves will be more inclined to cheat.
Although this is presumably an obvious or intuitive point, the psychology behind it is perhaps more complex than simply observing that people are more inclined to cheat if they believe that they can get away with it.… Read More
We are looking forward to attending the American Bar Association (ABA)’s 2015 Criminal Tax Fraud and Tax Controversy Conference in Las Vegas, NV from December 9 to December 11, 2015 (this Wednesday through Friday). This event is the annual gathering of the criminal tax defense bar combined with the ABA’s Fifth Annual National Institute on Tax Controversy. This program brings together government representatives, judges, corporate counsel, and private practitioners engaged in all aspects of tax controversy, tax litigation, and criminal tax defense. Post & Schell is pleased to be a Bronze level sponsor of the conference, again.
I also am honored to be a panelist on the Criminal Tax Workshop during the afternoon of December 9; this is an annual panel involving private practitioners, federal prosecutors and former IRS agents that discusses strategies and techniques for handling sensitive civil examinations and criminal investigations, and defending a criminal prosecution.… Read More
The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office recently settled, in part, a federal civil-rights class-action lawsuit seeking declaratory and injunctive relief in regard to its civil-forfeiture policies. I had the opportunity to speak with Darpana Sheth, a lawyer with the Institute for Justice and the lead counsel for the plaintiffs, about this development.
Ms. Sheth and the Institute for Justice have been at the forefront of challenging the use of civil-forfeiture laws, which can be a very powerful tool for the government. Civil forfeiture, unlike criminal forfeiture, generally only requires the government to satisfy its burden by a preponderance of the evidence, and it is directed against the property to be forfeited, rather than an individual criminal defendant – which means that the interests of third-parties are often implicated.… Read More
We are looking forward to attending the New England IRS Representation Conference this Friday, November 20, 2015, at the Foxwoods Resort & Casino in Ledyard, Connecticut. It is hosted by Eric Green and his colleagues at Green & Sklarz LLC; the conference, which has really grown over the years, will address many topics, including current IRS and DOJ initiatives, payroll tax issues, and ethical issues presented by appearing before the IRS. I will have the pleasure of speaking on a panel regarding the use of forensic accountants during criminal tax investigations, with co-panelists Larry Campagna and Noelle Geiger, and on a panel regarding Bank Secrecy Act exams by the IRS, with co-panelists Michael Villa, IRS CI Special Agent Maria Papageorgiou, and Larry Campagna. … Read More
This entry resumes yesterday’s discussion of problems that can arise for a business dealing with a temporary staffing service, or “TSS,” that is violating the law; the discussion continues to draw on the case of Mr. Victor Thach, described in yesterday’s post, who was convicted and sentenced for criminal tax violations associated with his labor leasing agency. This blog discussed civil tax issues yesterday; today it addresses criminal tax and immigration law issues, and how the legal problems of a TSS can become the problems of its clients. This is part of the broader discussion regarding employment tax crime that will occur during a panel at the White Collar Practice Seminar of the Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys (PACDL) this Thursday, November 12, at the Union League in Philadelphia.… Read More
Traditional companies can run into problems because of unscrupulous conduct by third-party companies enlisted to provide temporary or leased employees. We will discuss this issue in part, along with many others, during a panel on criminal tax enforcement at the White Collar Practice Seminar of the Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys (PACDL) this Thursday, November 12, at the Union League in downtown Philadelphia. My co-panelist will be Nanette Davis, a Senior Trial Attorney for the Criminal Enforcement Section of the DOJ Tax Division in Washington, D.C., who has tried some of the largest tax fraud cases ever prosecuted; our moderator will be Jim Becker, a distinguished white collar defense attorney at the law firm of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney.… Read More
I am looking forward to speaking about sentencing and other post-trial issues in criminal tax cases on October 21, 2015 at the 2015 seminar on Emerging Ethical Issues in Tax Practice for the New Jersey Institute of Continuing Legal Education. This seminar, now in its fifth year, will be held at the Crowne Plaza in Fairfield, New Jersey from 4 pm to 8 pm. I will be joined by the seminar’s host, Charles E. Falk, who will discuss current ethical issues in tax cases, and Michael J. Sullivan, who will discuss selected issues presented by criminal tax cases prior to sentencing.… Read More
The use of digital currency and its underlying technology may be gaining traction in the traditional economy, but the industry remains a focus of law enforcement interest. The IRS, recognizing the opportunity for digital currency to be used as a possible vehicle for tax evasion, declared in March 2014 that digital currency is to be taxed as “property,” rather than as “currency.” Given the close relationship between the IRS and enforcement of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), the legal fields of tax controversy and tax compliance are necessarily affected by the evolving enforcement regime regarding the use – or misuse – of digital currency.… Read More
As illustrated by a recent case involving a doctor convicted at trial for subscribing to false tax returns and conspiring to defraud the IRS, practitioners can try to use the tax code’s complexity to their clients’ advantage at sentencing. In United States v. Hough, No. 14-12156 (11th Cir. Sept. 9, 2015), the Eleventh Circuit, after affirming the defendant’s convictions, reversed and remanded to the district court for further findings for the purposes of determining her sentence; the court’s sentencing discussion is the focus of this blog. Although on remand the defendant ultimately may receive the same sentence, Hough involves a technical discussion of tax regulations that rarely appears in opinions on sentencing in criminal tax cases.… Read More