Tax Analysts provides news, analysis, and commentary on tax-related topics, including tax avoidance and evasion. Guidance by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) -- including notices, revenue rulings, and revenue procedures -- identify abusive schemes, prohibited tax shelters, listed transactions, and other tactics used by individuals and businesses to conceal the nature and/or ownership of taxable income or other assets.
Many federal court opinions published by Tax Analysts concern IRS challenges to complex transactions designed for tax avoidance purposes, often through the use of partnerships and other passthrough entities. Usually, the taxpayer disputes IRS adjustments following an audit or return examination. In these cases, the government (through the Justice Department’s Tax Division) asserts that the transaction or scheme violates the Internal Revenue Code (IRC, 26 U.S.C.), other statutes, or common law doctrines, such as the step transaction and the economic substance doctrines.
Tax evasion is a specific crime under the tax code (IRC section 7201), charged against an individual following an IRS criminal investigation. It is associated with the separate crimes of fraud and false statements (IRC section 7206), willful failure to file returns (IRC section 7203), and fraudulent returns (IRC section 7207). Some activities have generated both civil and criminal cases – so-called parallel proceedings – or have been identified through whistleblower claims.
Tax Analysts news stories reflect the federal government’s recent efforts to prevent international tax evasion, cross-border finance crimes, and abusive tax avoidance schemes involving offshore activity in low-tax and no-tax jurisdictions (tax havens). Global enforcement initiatives include the issuance of John Doe summonses to foreign banks and other financial institutions to disclose unreported offshore accounts in compliance with the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).