Friday, April 14, 2023

Updated DOJ Tax Voluntary Disclosure Policy (4/14/23; 4/30/23)

Caveat on 4/30/23 3:00pm: The Disclosure Policy was updated on 4/25/23. I have not had a chance to determine whether any material changes were made and will do so when I have a chance. The updated web page in HTML is here.

DOJ components, including DOJ Tax, have updated their respective corporate voluntary disclosure policies. While an attorney representing corporations having a potential federal criminal problem should familiarize themselves with appropriate component policies, I focus here on the DOJ Tax updated policy (in HTML here and pdf here). The DOJ Tax update "supplements" the Tax Division's existing policy by providing much more detail as to the requirements for the policy. For background, I include verbatim the DOJ Tax voluntary disclosure policy in CTM 4.01, here:


4.01[1] Policy Respecting Voluntary Disclosure

 Whenever a person voluntarily discloses that he or she committed a crime before any investigation of the person’s conduct begins, that factor is considered by the Tax Division along with all other factors in the case in determining whether to pursue criminal prosecution. See generally USAM, § 9-27.220, et. seq.

If a putative criminal defendant has complied in all respects with all of the requirements of the Internal Revenue Service’s voluntary disclosure  Practice, n1  

   n1 See United States v. Knottnerus, 139 F.3d 558, 559-560 (7th Cir. 1998) (holding that prior visit by special agent disqualified defendant from voluntary disclosure program); United States v. Tenzer, 127 F.3d 222, 226-28 (2d Cir. 1997), vacated in part and remanded on other grounds, 213 F.3d 34, 40-41 (2d Cir. 2000) (taxpayer must pay or make bona fide arrangement to pay taxes and penalties owed to qualify for consideration); and United States v. Hebel, 668 F.2d 995 (8th Cir. 1982).

 A person who makes a “voluntary disclosure” does not have a legal right to avoid criminal prosecution. Whether there is or is not a voluntary disclosure is only one factor in the evaluation of a case. Even if there has been a voluntary disclosure, the Tax Division still may authorize prosecution. See United States v. Hebel, 668 F.2d 995 (8th Cir.), cert. denied, 456 U.S. 946 (1982).

I discuss certain (but not all) aspects of the Update. I provide this discussion in the order of the presentation of the Update (and not necessarily in the order of importance). The alphabetical paragraph references (e.g., ¶ A) are to the paragraphs in the policy; the numbered paragraphs are to my points and are sequential through all paragraphs:

Saturday, April 1, 2023

Update on Wartime Suspension of Limitations Act ("WSLA"), 18 USC 3287, and Tax Crimes (4/1/23; 4/2/23)

Caveat: Although authored and published on 4/1/23, this blog is not an April Fool's Joke.

I have written before about the Wartime Suspension of Limitations Act ("WSLA"), 18 USC  § 3287, here, that suspends certain criminal statutes of limitations while "the United States is at war or Congress has enacted a specific authorization for the use of the Armed Forces, as described in section 5(b) of the War Powers Resolution (50 U.S.C. 1544(b))." The statutes of limitations are suspended in relevant part for crimes "(1) involving fraud or attempted fraud against the United States or any agency thereof in any manner, whether by conspiracy or not." My blogs on this subject discussing the potential application of this WSLA suspension for tax crimes are collected by relevance here and reverse chronological order here. In those blogs, I have noted that the WSLA's literal application to certain tax crimes involving "fraud" would mean that the WSLA could have a pervasive effect permitting the charging of tax crimes far before the normal suspensions often encountered for tax crimes. See also, Michael Saltzman & Leslie Book, IRS Practice and Procedure, ¶ 12.05[9][a][iii] Suspension and tolling (discussing normal suspensions and discussing § 3287 at n. 933); and John A. Townsend, Federal Tax Procedure (2022 Practitioner Ed.) 317-387 (August 3, 2022). Available at SSRN:

1. The blog supplements those discussions until the next revisions of those respective books (note that I am the principal author of the Saltzman and Book chapter). Since I have already brought the discussion up to date in the 2023 working draft for the Federal Tax Procedure Book (2023 Practitioner Ed.), I will just offer the following from the 2023 draft (which should be finalized by early August 2023). The last sentence in the carryover paragraph will be changed to and a footnote added as follows (note that I link the blog entries and key case entries in this blog but will not link them in the book):

This provision [WSLA] might apply to the Iraq and Afghanistan engagements, but its application to tax crimes with elements of fraud or attempted fraud is notable only because of the many cases in which it could have been applied but is rarely, very rarely, asserted where statute of limitations defenses are asserted. fn