Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Statistics and Extrapolations on Tax Cheating in the US (3/27/18)

This is an interesting article with some data and some extrapolations from the data. A high level overview of who cheats (at least certain segments of the tax cheat category) and why.  Evan Horowitz, Everyone Tries To Dodge The Tax Man, And It Keeps Getting Easier (FiveThirtyEight 3/19/18), here.

The author discusses the data in three subject categories:
Foe No. 1: A weakened IRS
Foe No. 2: Small businesses cheat, and tax reform fosters them
Foe No. 3: Partisanship
I add that, in the mix for accounting for the problem of tax cheating, should be corporations and wealthy taxpayers  and their enablers who have scammed the system with Bullshit Tax Shelters and variants for years.  Many of those Bullshit Tax Shelters and variants work because the IRS does not have the resources to ferret them out and give those taxpayers their due.  And, even when caught, the IRS is reticent to hold the wealthy taxpayers (corporate and individual) liable with civil and criminal penalties, often slapping them at most with the accuracy related penalty when they knew that they were gaming the system.  They may sometimes prosecute the tax professionals who enabled these taxpayers but rarely do they proceed against corporate and wealthy individual taxpayers how played the game and hid behind their professionals.

I have recently discussed in another context my opening session with many clients who may have criminal tax problems.  For clients who I did not have reason to know were straight-shooters, I made and emphasized two key conditions/statements.  First, if the client lies to me, I will fire them.  (Now, I knew when I told them that, that there would be some lies in many cases; I would cross-examine most of what they told me and if I caught them lying repeatedly, I would and did fire them.)  Second, I would tell the clients that, if anyone in the room is going to jail, it would be them and not me.  I am not the fall guy (although, as noted above, in the Bullshit Tax Shelter area, some taxpayer enablers have served as the fall guy for taxpayers who should have and, in many cases, did know better).

I raise this principally because a former student recently reminded me of my telling my Federal Tax Crimes law students of these opening sessions with clients.  He reminded me of this in the context of John Dowd resigning as principal lawyer for the President in the Mueller led investigation.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please make sure that your comment is relevant to the blog entry. For those regular commenters on the blog who otherwise do not want to identify by name, readers would find it helpful if you would choose a unique anonymous indentifier other than just Anonymous. This will help readers identify other comments from a trusted source, so to speak.