Matt is the editor of and a contributor to firm's Tax Controversy & Financial Crimes Report blog, which reports on the latest developments in all aspects of tax controversy matters and incorporates coverage of efforts to combat financial crimes.
Matt contributes to the firm's In The Weeds blog, which explores developments in cannabis law and business.
Scroll down to see Matt's most recent posts.
Recent Blog Posts
- How the Corporate Transparency Act Shakes Up AML: Beneficial Ownership Updates and More Joshua Ashby and Kimberly L. Kwan have co-authored a Corporate Compliance Insights article entitled “How the Corporate Transparency Act Shakes Up AML: Beneficial Ownership Updates and More.” Their article addresses the recently-enacted Corporate Transparency Act, and how that new law changes what constitutes beneficial ownership and establishes more robust automated data collection. In addition, the law increases responsibilities and incentives for employees to blow the whistle on money-laundering activity. You can read the full article by clicking here.... More
- DOJ Announces First Criminal Prosecution for Misuse of COVID-19 Relief Funds Dedicated to Health Care Providers By Matthew D. Lee and Marissa Koblitz Kingman The Justice Department has widened its crackdown on COVID-19 fraud, announcing the first criminal case alleging misuse of federal relief funds designated for medical providers. The egregious nature of the alleged fraud and relatively small amount of funds involved provide valuable clues about the pace, breadth and focus of future prosecutions. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, enacted March 29, 2020, established the Provider Relief Fund, which distributed funds to medical... More
- IRS Restricts Levy Actions Involving EIP or PPP Funds In recognition of the continuing economic hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Internal Revenue Service is easing its collection activities to avoid the seizure of bank accounts containing either Economic Impact Payments or Paycheck Protection Program loan proceeds. In a guidance memorandum issued to all collection employees, the IRS has directed that before issuing a levy, employees should contact the taxpayer in question to determine if it received a PPP loan, and if so, where the funds were deposited. Employees... More
- Civil Settlement in PPP Loan Fraud Case Opens New Battle Lines The U.S. Justice Department announced its first civil settlement with a Paycheck Protection Program borrower alleged to have committed fraud in connection with this highly popular COVID-19 relief program. A bankruptcy online retailer and its chief executive officer agreed to pay $100,000 in damages and penalties to resolve claims that they committed fraud in connection with multiple PPP loan applications. The company, SlideBelts Inc., also agreed to repay its PPP loan in full. The Paycheck Protection Program is one of the signature provisions... More
- Fox Rothschild’s Fourth Annual Federal Tax Controversy Summit On January 12, 2021, please join members of Fox’s Tax Controversy team for a review of recent developments in federal tax controversy and civil and criminal tax enforcement, as well as a look ahead at what 2021 may hold. Matthew D. Lee, Jerald David August and Vivian Hoard will review recent developments in federal tax controversy with a focus on the following topics: Developments in IRS enforcement regarding conservation easements Latest updates and guidance regarding centralized partnership audit rules Federal tax enforcement in the age of... More
- Congress Enhances Significant Tax Breaks for Businesses in Consolidated Appropriations Act By Maureen Monaghan and Adam Young The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (Act), signed into law on December 27, 2020, amends certain tax provisions of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). It also clarifies the tax treatment of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness, extends certain deferred payroll taxes and expands the deduction for business meals, among other provisions. While the Act is helpful in extending and expanding current tax benefits,... More
- For Existing PPP Borrowers, Stimulus Bill Expands Forgivable Uses and Eases Tax Consequences By Gabriel B. Herman The $900 billion Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (the Act) modifies the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) in a variety of business-friendly ways likely to benefit both existing PPP borrowers and businesses that receive a second PPP Loan. Specifically, the Act includes the following noteworthy changes: Uses Eligible for Forgiveness The Act expands on the types of expenses that PPP borrowers may use their proceeds to pay and later seek forgiveness. Notably, these changes apply to existing borrowers that have not... More
- PPP Data Dump Places Loan Forgiveness Applications Under a Microscope By Matthew D. Lee and Marissa Koblitz Kingman This month’s court-ordered release of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan data is expected to result in intense scrutiny of the loan forgiveness process, highlighting the need for recipients to proceed with caution when filing forgiveness applications. Multiple news organization sued the Trump administration in May demanding that it release information on the businesses that benefited from federal pandemic relief programs. A federal judge ordered the administration to disclose the information and on the evening of December... More
- Stimulus Package Expands PPP, Simplifies Loan Forgiveness and Adds Disaster Grants By Paul B. Edelberg, Elizabeth J. Hampton and Gabriel B. Herman In its massive new pandemic relief and stimulus package, Congress has significantly modified the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to allow for second draws from the program, to simplify the loan forgiveness process, to provide restaurants access to greater relief and to extend the program through March 2021. The proposed law also includes economic disaster grants and debt relief provisions, as well as bolstering the Small Business Administration’s existing Microloan Program. The Coronavirus... More
- Key Steps the Pharma and Bioscience Sectors Must Take Ahead of Federal Scrutiny of COVID-19 Relief Funding November 23, 2020 – Alerts By Ernest E. Badway An unprecedented explosion of government investigation and enforcement is at hand as federal regulators focus their efforts on ferreting out any fraud or abuse of the $1 trillion in COVID-19 relief funding programs through loans, grants and tax credits. For pharma and bioscience companies, it is imperative to take steps now to limit the risks and consequences of such investigations. Regulatory threats to these companies may be forestalled by quick action to preserve evidence and correct... More
- Treasury Department Data Shows Continuing Increase in Availability of Marijuana Banking The Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has released updated quarterly statistics showing a continuing increase in the number of depository institutions that actively bank U.S. marijuana businesses. As of March 31, 2018, a total of 411 banks and credit unions provided services to marijuana-related businesses, up from 365 one year ago. FinCEN’s data reflects a slight decrease following the Attorney General’s announcement in January 2018 that he was rescinding the Cole Memorandum, but the numbers quickly went back... More
- More on Status of FinCEN’s Marijuana Banking Guidance As a follow-up to yesterday’s post regarding the status of FinCEN’s 2014 marijuana banking guidance in light of the Attorney General’s policy reversal on marijuana enforcement at the federal level, we have received written confirmation from FinCEN that its 2014 guidance remains in place. In response to our inquiries, FinCEN provided us with the following statement: “The SAR reporting structure laid out in the February 14, 2014 guidance remains in place. FinCEN will continue to work closely with law enforcement and the... More
- FinCEN Confirms Marijuana Banking Guidance Remains in Place Despite DOJ Policy Reversal Reuters is reporting today that the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) was caught off guard by Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ announcement last week that the Justice Department was reversing its policy regarding enforcement of federal marijuana laws. A FinCEN spokesman said in a statement that his agency’s prior pronouncement regarding marijuana banking nevertheless “remains in place,” referring to guidance issued in February 2014 to clarify Bank Secrecy Act expectations for financial institutions seeking to provide services to marijuana-related businesses. That... More
- Federal Data Shows More Banks Are Serving Marijuana Businesses The Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has released updated statistics showing a steady increase in the number of depository institutions that actively bank U.S. marijuana businesses. As of September 30, 2017, a total of 400 banks and credit unions provided services to marijuana-related businesses, up from 334 as of December 31, 2016. FinCEN’s data is based upon Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) required to be filed by financial institutions on activity involving a marijuana-related business. In guidance issued in February... More