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
- Matthew D. Lee Updates Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act Answer Book for 2019 Originally published by Practising Law Institute in 2015, this new edition addresses recent changes to FATCA regulations relating to compliance and verification procedures for a variety of entities, including sponsoring entities of foreign financial institutions; non-financial foreign entities; trustees of trustee-documented trusts; registered deemed-compliant FFIs; and financial institutions that implement consolidated compliance programs. The update examines revisions to the responsible officer compliance certification process and the FATCA registration and renewal process. It also describes recent offshore tax evasion criminal and civil... More
- FinCEN Unveils New Global Investigations Division to Target Foreign Money Laundering Threats The Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) announced today that it has launched a new Global Investigations Division (GID), which will be responsible for implementing targeted investigation strategies to combat illicit finance threats and related crimes, both domestically and internationally. Matthew Stiglitz, a former Principal Deputy Chief in the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, will lead GID. GID will build upon FinCEN’s existing authorities under the Bank Secrecy Act, including Section 311 of the USA PATRIOT Act, to investigate and... More
- IRS Ramping Up Cryptocurrency Enforcement Efforts With “Educational” Letters The Internal Revenue Service announced today that it has begun mailing what it calls “educational letters” to taxpayers with cryptocurrency transactions who potentially failed to report income and pay the resulting tax from such transactions, or did not report their transactions properly. The IRS started sending these letters to taxpayers last week. By the end of August, more than 10,000 taxpayers will receive these letters. The IRS said it obtained the names of these taxpayers through “various ongoing IRS compliance... More
- 59 and Counting: IRS LB&I Announces Six More Compliance Campaigns Earlier this week, the Internal Revenue Service’s Large Business & International Division announced six more compliance campaigns, bringing the total number of campaigns announced to date to a whopping 59. These campaigns reflect LB&I’s movement toward issue-based examinations and a compliance process in which LB&I decides which tax issues that present risk require a response in the form of one or multiple treatment streams to achieve compliance objectives. This approach is intended to make the best use of the IRS’s... More
- New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut File Lawsuit Challenging New IRS SALT Cap Rule Earlier this week, the Attorneys General of New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut sued the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service challenging a new IRS rule that would preclude individuals in those states from claiming deductions for charitable contributions to local governments. This lawsuit is the latest chapter in the battle over the “SALT cap,” enacted as part of the 2017 tax reform legislation which imposes a $10,000 annual limitation on the deduction for state and local taxes. Enacted in... More
- FinCEN Unveils New Efforts to Combat Widespread Business Email Compromise Fraud Scams As Losses Reach $300 Million Per Month The Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has announced new efforts to crack down on Business Email Compromise (BEC) schemes and those who profit from such scams. BEC fraud schemes generally involve attempts to compromise the email accounts of victims to send fraudulent payment instructions to financial institutions or business associates in order to misappropriate funds or to assist in financial fraud. Often, the unsuspecting victim is conned into thinking a legitimate email from a trusted person or entity is directing... More
- DOJ Brings First-Ever Criminal Prosecution of Executives for Failing to Report Dangerous Product Defects By Kristina Burland and Matthew D. Lee A precedent-setting criminal prosecution of two California executives under the Consumer Product Safety Act is sending a strong warning to corporate boardrooms that the reporting requirements of the CPSA must be taken seriously and that a company’s compliance program must be thoughtfully designed to ensure that reports are submitted promptly. In an indictment handed up in March, a federal grand jury charged that Simon Chu and Charley Loh – executives of two California corporations... More
- Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement Mark One Year Anniversary of J5 Earlier this month, the five leaders of the Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement (known as the “J5”) met in Washington to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the formation of the J5 organization and to announce their first year results. The J5 consists of the leaders of tax enforcement agencies in five countries: Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, England, and the United States. The J5 was established to focus on cross-border tax and money laundering threats, including cybercrime, cryptocurrency, and enablers... More
- IRS LB&I Announces Three More Compliance Campaign, All Focused on Offshore Activities Yesterday, the Internal Revenue Service’s Large Business and International division (LB&I) announced three additional compliance campaigns, bringing the total number of campaigns announced to date to 53. These campaigns reflect LB&I’s movement toward issue-based examinations and a compliance process in which LB&I decides which compliance issues that present risk require a response in the form of one or multiple treatment streams to achieve compliance objectives. This approach is intended to make the best use of the IRS’s knowledge and to... More
- Internal Revenue Service Reveals Results of Two-Week Employment Tax Compliance Campaign Yesterday the IRS announced the results of a nationwide two-week “education and enforcement campaign” regarding employment tax compliance. For several years, the IRS has made employment tax compliance a top enforcement priority, on both the civil and criminal sides. With payroll taxes withheld from employee wages accounting for nearly 72 percent of all tax revenue collected by the U.S. Treasury, employment tax noncompliance is one of the biggest problems for the IRS. The IRS announcement revealed that between March 25... 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