On January 27, 2016, the Department of Justice announced that it reached its final non-prosecution agreement under Category 2 of the Swiss Bank Program with HSZH Verwaltungs AG (HSZH). The department has executed agreements with 80 banks since March 30, 2015, when it announced the first Swiss Bank Program non-prosecution agreement with BSI SA.
Today the IRS announced the release of the Criminal Investigation 2015 Annual Report. The report covers current investigative priorities, statistics on investigations and prosecutions, staffing decreases, summaries of high profile prosecutions, and a variety of other topics related to criminal tax programs.
According to IRS data, in fiscal year 2014, 120 employment tax cases were opened for tax evasion investigation. Of those, 92 were recommended for prosecution and 82 received federal sentences. These numbers are set to increase, not only in federal cases, but in California cases as well. Caroline Ciraolo, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice Tax Division, has indicated that increasing criminal enforcement for employment tax crimes is a priority of the DOJ Tax Division. The maximum sentence for the willful failure to meet payroll filing and payment obligations is 5 years with penalties as high as $200,000.
On October 7, 2013, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 576 into law, authorizing a pilot program to create the "Revenue Recovery and Collaborative Enforcement Team" (RRCET) consisting of an alliance primarily between the California Department of Justice (DOJ), the Franchise Tax Board (FTB), the State Board of Equalization (BOE), and the Employment Development Department (EDD) in an effort to combat "criminal tax evasion associated with the underground economy."
On December 3, 2014, the United States Tax Court issued an opinion in Brown v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2013-275, in which the Court found that the taxpayers were not liable for the fraud penalty under Internal Revenue Code (I.R.C.) section 6663(a) despite the fact that the taxpayer-husband submitted questionable documents to the IRS during the income tax examination. There has been some interesting commentary in the past weeks about this case (here and also here) concerning the submission of false documents to the IRS during the course of a civil examination or a criminal investigation.
Many in California have been subjected to scrutiny from the IRS. Well, this time, it's the IRS that's being investigated. The U.S. Attorney General instructed the FBI to begin an investigation into how the IRS has dealt with certain political groups that are considered to be conservative.
A federal grand jury has indicted Drs. David Leon Fredrick and Patricia Lynn Hough alleging that they conspired to defraud the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) through a series of offshore accounts, using the funds buy homes in Florida, North Carolina and an airplane among other things.
A federal court in San Francisco authorized the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to serve a John Doe Summons seeking information about U.S. taxpayers who hold correspondent accounts at Wells Fargo for Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce's FirstCaribbean International Bank (FCIB) and may be using such accounts to evade U.S. tax.
Two Phoenix-area businessmen have been convicted of filing false federal income tax returns by concealing millions of dollars of assets in several secret Swiss bank accounts.
In Pflueger v. United States, U.S. District Judge, Leslie Kobayashi, recently acquitted James Pflueger on all tax fraud and conspiracy charges. Judge Kobayashi of the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii wrote that the government had not met its burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that there was an agreement between James Pflueger and his alleged co-conspirators to obstruct the lawful function of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).