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Tax Controversy & Financial Crimes Report

The increasingly complex area of tax law in the U.S. can cause a variety of legal setbacks for any business. The more notable the tax controversy, the more roadblocks that can be created between a company and its success. Our Tax Controversy & Financial Crimes Report blog addresses the latest developments in all aspects of tax controversy matters and incorporates coverage of efforts to combat financial crimes, particularly money laundering.

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Recent Blog Posts

  • Senate Schedules Long-Awaited Hearing for IRS Commissioner Nominee The Senate Finance Committee has scheduled a hearing for Thursday, June 22, 2018, to consider the nomination of Charles P. Rettig to be Commissioner of Internal Revenue.  The President nominated Rettig more than four months ago to succeed John Koskinen, whose term as Commissioner ended in November 2017. Since Koskinen’s departure, David J. Kautter has served as Acting Commissioner of Internal Revenue, and he also serves as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Tax Policy. We profiled Rettig in a prior... More
  • Section 280E and the Harsh Reality of Double Taxation There is not too much to say about the Tax Court’s latest decision involving a marijuana company.  In Loughman v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 2018-85, the operators of a Colorado marijuana dispensary argued that for a marijuana dispensary operating as an S corporation, Section 280E discriminates against S corporation shareholders by double taxing income when shareholder salary is disallowed pursuant to Section 280E as a deduction from flow-through S corporation income and also included on the shareholder’s individual tax return as W-2... More
  • SEC: Bitcoin Is Not Governed By Securities Laws Our colleague Kristen Howell has published an alert reporting on an important development in the cryptocurrency industry. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has declared that Bitcoin, Etherium and other coins operating on truly decentralized platforms are not securities. The agency’s reasoning was revealed in remarks by William Hinman, Director of the SEC’s Division of Corporate Finance, at the Yahoo Finance “All Markets Summit: Crypto” on June 14. Hinman explained that since the value of cryptocurrency is not based on the expectation... More
  • The High Tax Compliance Burden For Cannabis Businesses Yesterday, the Tax Court issued its opinion in Alterman v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 2018-83.  This case involved the operation of a medical marijuana dispensary which was reported on Schedule C.  The opinion includes a long recitation of intricate accounting details that I will address on a summary basis so as to not lose readers other than accountants.  Readers interested in the details should read the opinion linked above. The important facts are as follows: The taxpayer sold marijuana and non-marijuana products.  The sales... More
  • The Justice Department’s New Corporate Resolution Policy: An End to ‘Piling On’? By Charles A. De Monaco, Matthew D. Lee and Jana Volante Walshak Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein unveiled a new Justice Department policy for resolving major corporate investigations last month at a speech to the New York City Bar White Collar Crime Institute. The new policy encourages coordination among Justice Department components and other enforcement agencies in order to curb the practice of multiple government authorities imposing separate punishments on a corporate defendant for the same underlying conduct. Employing a football metaphor, Rosenstein said... More
  • FinCEN Remains Mum on Details Regarding New Geographic Targeting Orders We previously reported that the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) had quietly extended its Geographic Targeting Orders directed at the luxury residential real estate market for another six months. In a break from its recent practice of making public announcements about GTOs, FinCEN evidently opted not to publicize this latest extension. A Miami Herald article reported that a FinCEN spokesperson stated only that “GTOs are a valuable tool and FinCEN is extending the current GTOs to continue studying... More
  • AICPA Requests Immediate Guidance From IRS on Tax Treatment of Cryptocurrency Transactions The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants – the world’s largest association of accounting professionals – yesterday asked the Internal Revenue Service to issue immediate, updated guidance regarding the tax treatment of cryptocurrency transactions. The AICPA call for tax guidance was prompted by “the rapid emergence of virtual currency [which] has generated several new questions on how the tax rules apply to various transactions involving virtual currency and activities and assets related to it.” The AICPA further noted that “the development... More
  • Tax Court Holds Commissioner Failed to Comply with Supervisor Approval Requirement for Fraud Penalty In Graev III, issued late last year, the Tax Court held that the Commissioner must comply with section 6751(b)(1) as part of his burden of production for tax penalties.  Section 6751(b)(1) requires that an initial penalty determination be approved in writing by the immediate supervisor of the individual making the determination.  As a result of Graev III, the Commissioner faces significant issues in penalty cases, as shown most recently by Becker v. Commissioner, a Judge Holmes decision released last week. In... More
  • IRS Would Receive Slight Funding Boost Under House Appropriations Bill Released Today The House Appropriations Committee today released the FY2019 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill, which provides annual funding for the Treasury Department, the Judiciary, the Small Business Administration, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and related agencies. The bill provides $11.6 billion for the Internal Revenue Service, an increase of $186 million above the FY2018 enacted level. Of the funds, $77 million are earmarked to help the IRS with implementing the new tax code adopted in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of... More
  • IRS Cautions Taxpayers Regarding Efforts to Bypass New State and Local Tax Deduction Caps Today the Internal Revenue Service notified taxpayers that it will soon be issuing regulations addressing the deductibility of state and local tax payments for federal income tax purposes. The IRS also reminded taxpayers that federal law controls the characterization of payments for federal income tax purposes regardless of the characterization of the payments under state law. These forthcoming regulations are targeted at efforts by some states, including New York and New Jersey, to pass laws providing for mechanisms to work... More