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Meadows, Collier, Reed, Cousins, Crouch & Ungerman, L.L.P.

901 Main Street, Suite 3700
Dallas, TX 75202

Phone: 214.744.3700
Fax: 214.747.3732
Toll Free: 800.451.0093

submit inquiry
Joel N. Crouch

Joel is the Managing Partner of the firm. He is Board Certified in Tax Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and has almost 30 years of civil and criminal tax litigation experience.  His clients include individual taxpayers, closely-held business enterprises, estates, corporations, and tax advisors in all stages of federal, civil and criminal tax proceedings.  Joel has resolved hundreds of civil and criminal tax matters for his clients, involving sophisticated and complex legal and tax issues, both domestic and international. 

Joel has been recognized as one of the best in his field by Texas Monthly and Law and Politics Magazines by being named a Texas Super Lawyer from 2003 through 2017.  He has also been named one of the Best Lawyers in Dallas by D Magazine for the year 2012-2017 and he has also been named to Best Lawyers in America for Tax Law. Joel has been recognized as a Top Rated Lawyer in White Collar Defense Law by ALM as published in the American Lawyer, Corporate Counsel and The National Law Review.

Joel is a frequent speaker on procedural and substantive tax issues for legal and accounting professionals.  Some of his topics include:  Tax Shelter Defense, IRS Examinations, Appeals, Litigation and Collection Strategies, IRS Criminal Investigations, IRS Offshore Activities, IRS Focus on Tax Professionals, Employment Classification, IRS Penalties, and Litigation Partnership Tax Cases.  He has also published various articles regarding the IRS and tax procedures.

Texas Board of Legal Specialization – Tax Law

  • University of Texas School of Law, J.D., 1988
  • Southern Methodist University, B.A., 1985
  • American Bar Association, Taxation
    • Member, Court Procedure and Practice Committee
    • Member, Standards of Tax Practice Committee
    • Member, Civil and Criminal Penalties Committee
    • Member, Administrative Practice and Procedures Committee
  • State Bar of Texas
    • Member, Section of Taxation
  • The College of the State Bar of Texas
    • Member
  • Dallas Bar Association
    • Tax Section Council, 2005-2006, 2014-2015
    • Tax Section Treasurer, 2016
    • Tax Section Vice Chair, 2017
    • Tax Section Chair 2018
  • Texas Federal Tax Institute
    • Board Member, 2015-2017
    • Planning Committee Member, Civil Tax Controversy Program
    • Marketing Committee
  • Dallas Bar Foundation
    • Fellow
    • Fellows Secretary-Treasurer, 2017
    • Fellows Vice Chair 2018
  • Collin County Bar Association
    • Member
  • Plano Symphony Orchestra
    • Board of Directors, Secretary and Treasurer
  • St. Andrews United Methodist Church
    • Administrative Council - Chairman
    • Building Committee
  • Willow Bend Home Owners Association
    • Board Member
  • Secretary
  • The Best Lawyers in America©, 2015, Tax Law 
  • 2013 Top Rated Lawyer in White Collar Criminal Defense Law by ALM as published in The American Lawyer, Corporate Counsel & The National Law Journal, October 2013
  • Texas Super Lawyers-Tax as listed in Texas Super Lawyers Magazine and Texas Monthly, 2003 through 2017
  • Best Lawyers in Dallas, D Magazine, 2012-2017: Tax Litigation

Representative Cases

Civil Tax Controversies Representation Matters

  • Client in appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court regarding the IRS attempt to invoke a six year statute of limitations.
  • Client in an appeal to the U.S. Fifth Circuit regarding the IRS attempt to impose a substantial penalty.
  • Client in an appeal to the U.S. Fifth Circuit and successfully argued that the IRS cannot invoke a six year statute of limitations.
  • Client in a successful challenge to the IRS' attempt to retroactively apply a Treasury regulation.
  • Client in successfully resolving issues regarding unfiled payroll tax returns for multiple years.
  • Numerous clients through the IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure initiatives and other voluntary disclosure programs.
  • Family in challenge to IRS disallowance of tax benefits and prepared imposition of penalties.
  • Estate in an IRS challenge to the value of interest in a closely-held business.  Successfully settled case for significantly less than the IRS’s proposed assessment.
  • Client in IRS challenge to losses arising from investment in distressed assets.
  • Attorney in a challenge to IRS summons for records related to attorney’s client’s offshore activities.
  • Numerous clients in tax shelter examinations and civil litigation.
  • Clients in IRS attempt to reclassify losses associated with horse and cattle activities as hobby losses under IRC § 183.
  • Clients in IRS challenges to classification of independent contractors versus employees.
  • Numerous tax professionals under investigation for alleged ethical and IRS Circular 230 violations.
  • Large public company in an IRS challenge to deduction of expenses related to merger with competitor.
  • Owner and closely-held business in IRS examination of issues related to change in accounting method.
  • Client in IRS attempt to impose penalties during litigation of civil tax matter.  Successfully convinced court that the government could not propose penalties.
  • Client in connection with IRS challenge to losses arising from failed tender offer for a foreign publicly-traded company.
  • Numerous estates in IRS challenges to the valuation of closely-held businesses and estate planning vehicles fractionalizing ownership and control.
  • Numerous estates in IRS challenges to family limited partnerships involving IRC §§ 2703, 2704 and 2036 and other substance-over-form attacks.

White Collar and Criminal Tax Controversies Representation Matters

  • CPA subject of an investigation by the Tax Inspector General's Office and negotiated a resolution involving no criminal charges.
  • Numerous clients in making voluntary disclosures to the IRS regarding unfiled tax returns, substantiation tax issues and offshore activities to avoid criminal prosecution.
  • Large National Corporation in investigation of potential environmental criminal violations.  Convinced the government that no criminal charges should be brought.
  • An attorney in an IRS investigation of failure to file tax returns.
  • A hospital chain in a healthcare fraud investigation following the execution of search warrants based on allegations made by a qui tax relation.
  • A real estate investor indicted for tax fraud associated with losses for investment in bank-related real estate.  The client was acquitted on all counts.
  • A banker indicted for allegedly failing to disclose relationship to borrowers who later defaulted on loan.  The client was acquitted on all counts.
  • Hired by client post-indictment in mail and wire fraud case and convinced the government to dismiss the indictment before trial.
  • Successfully avoided criminal prosecution and civil fraud penalties for numerous taxpayers in civil IRS examinations and IRS administrative proceedings with high risk of civil fraud penalties, criminal prosecution or both.
  • “6 Keys to Avoiding Section 6701 Penalties”, The Value Examiner, May/June 2006 Issue, National Association of Certified Valuation Analysts
  • “Take Two: IRS Voluntary Disclosures and The Offshore Disclosure Initiatives”, April 2011 Issue of BarTabs published by the Collin County Bar Association
  • “Avoiding Criminal Tax Problems: Voluntary Disclosure”, Originally published in Headnotes, Vol. 36, No. 5, May 1, 2011, page 9 (published monthly by the Dallas Bar Association)
  • "Is Three Times a Charm? The IRS Announces a Third Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative", February 2012 Issue of BarTabs published by the Collin Country Bar Association
September 25, 2018

Metroplex Practice Management Group... [ read ]

August 3, 2018

Fort Worth Chapter/TSCPA 2018 Tax Institute... [ read ]

July 18, 2018

Atlas Advisor Group Annual Conference... [ read ]

June 6, 2018

34th Annual Texas Federal Tax Institute... [ read ]

May 16, 2018

The DBA Health Care Section... [ read ]

April 3, 2018

DBA Corporate Counsel Section - The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act... [ read ]

March 21, 2018

Federal Tax Workshop Co-Sponored by the SBOT... [ read ]

March 16, 2018

DBA Friday Clinic -Belo... [ read ]

March 6, 2018

Clear Law Institute (Webinar)... [ read ]

February 2, 2018

Corpus Christi Chapter/TSCPA Annual Tax Conference... [ read ]

January 31, 2018

Merrilly Lynch's The Maynard Group - Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Conference... [ read ]

January 19, 2018

American Academy of Attorney-CPAs 2018 Southwest Regional Education Conference... [ read ]

December 8, 2017

TSCPA CPE Expo- Houston... [ read ]

December 5, 2017

TSCPA CPE Expo- San Antonio... [ read ]

November 30, 2017

Speaking at TSCPA CPE Expo... [ read ]

November 29, 2017

Clear Law Institute on Nov. 29, 2017 (Webinar)... [ read ]

November 14, 2017

Austin Chapter/TSCPA Tax Conference... [ read ]

October 23, 2017

Hein & Associates National Tax Meeting... [ read ]

September 26, 2017

Metroplex Practice Management Group (MPMG)... [ read ]

September 12, 2017

Strafford Webinar - Navigating the IRS Penalty Abatement Procedures for Foreign Information Reporting Noncompliance... [ read ]

August 23, 2017

Panhandle Chapter/TSCPA Tax Institute - Aug. 23, 2017... [ read ]

August 3, 2017

Fort Worth Chapter/TSCPA Tax Institute... [ read ]

July 18, 2017

ACPEN Webcast - Doing Business with the IRS: Overview of the IRS... [ read ]

July 7, 2017

The Knowledge Group Webinar... [ read ]

June 23, 2017

Texas Forum on International Tax Biannual Luncheon... [ read ]

June 16, 2017

CPE by the Sea on June 16, 2017... [ read ]

June 14, 2017

Texas Federal Tax Institute - June 14, 2017 in San Antonio, TX... [ read ]

May 23, 2017

Texas Bank and Trust Seminar... [ read ]

May 12, 2017

Dallas CPA Society Convergence - May 12, 2017... [ read ]

May 9, 2017

Texas Bank and Trust Seminar... [ read ]

May 3, 2017

Strafford Webinar on April 18, 2017... [ read ]

April 27, 2017

AICPA Family Office Group... [ read ]

December 8, 2016

TSCPA CPE Expo- San Antonio... [ read ]

December 5, 2016

TSCPA CPE Expo- Arlington... [ read ]

December 2, 2016

2016 Tax Symposium- Shreveport, LA... [ read ]

December 1, 2016

TSCPA CPE Expo- Houston... [ read ]

November 18, 2016

New England IRS Representation Conference... [ read ]

November 8, 2016

Austin CPA Chapter Annual Tax Conference... [ read ]

November 3, 2016

Permian Basin Chapter/TSCPA CPE Expo... [ read ]

October 25, 2016

18th Annual Meadows Collier Tax Conference... [ read ]

October 21, 2016

TSCPA Young and Emerging Professionals Conference... [ read ]

September 26, 2016

The Knowledge Group Webinar... [ read ]

August 25, 2016

Panhandle Chapter/TSCPA Tax Institute... [ read ]

August 5, 2016

Forth Worth Chapter Tax Institute... [ read ]

June 6, 2016

The Knowledge Group Webinar-Dallas... [ read ]

May 27, 2016

Dallas CPA Society 2016 Convergence Conference... [ read ]

May 24, 2016

Texas Bank & Trust Seminar- Longview... [ read ]

May 18, 2016

ACPEN LLCs & Partnershp Update Broadcast... [ read ]

May 17, 2016

Texas Bank & Trust Seminar- Tyler... [ read ]

May 13, 2016

Corpus Christi Estate Planning Council Annual Seminar... [ read ]

May 6, 2016

Texas Association of CPAs... [ read ]

April 19, 2016

Dallas Area Paralegal Association Meeting... [ read ]

December 10, 2015

TSCPA CPE Expo- Houston... [ read ]

December 7, 2015

TSCPA CPE Expo- San Antonio... [ read ]

December 2, 2015

TSCPA CPE Expo- Arlington... [ read ]

November 16, 2015

Austin Chapter/TSCPA Annual Tax Conference... [ read ]

October 27, 2015

Central Texas Chapter/TSCPA CPE Expo... [ read ]

August 7, 2015

Ft. Worth Tax Institute... [ read ]

May 19, 2015

Texas Bank and Trust Seminar-Longview... [ read ]

May 6, 2015

Texas Bank and Trust Seminar- Tyler... [ read ]

April 24, 2015

First State Bank & Trust Seminar... [ read ]

December 8, 2014

"Passive Activity and Hobby Loss Limitations: Withstanding an IRS Attack of Your Client's Outside Business Activities Under IRS Sections 469 and 183"... [ read ]

December 4, 2014

"Passive Activity and Hobby Loss Limitations: Withstanding an IRS Attack of Your Client's Outside Business Activities Under IRS Sections 469 and 183"... [ read ]

November 17, 2014

"Judicial Update"- Austin... [ read ]

August 28, 2014

"Foreign Asset Reporting Obligations to the IRS"... [ read ]

August 27, 2014

"What to Expect in 2014 from a Rapidly Changing IRS"... [ read ]

August 15, 2014

"What to Expect from a Rapidly Changing IRS in 2014"... [ read ]

July 31, 2014

"Judicial Update"- Fort Worth... [ read ]

May 22, 2014

"Recent Developments in Federal Income Taxation"... [ read ]

May 19, 2014

"Judicial Update"- Tyler... [ read ]

April 25, 2014

"Family Limited Partnerships"... [ read ]

January 29, 2014

"Self Employment Tax for LLCs and S Corps"... [ read ]

January 24, 2014

"Self Employment Tax Issues for LLCs and S Corps"... [ read ]

December 17, 2013

"What to Expect in 2014 From a Rapidly Changing IRS"... [ read ]

December 10, 2013

"What to Expect in 2014 From a Rapidly Changing IRS"... [ read ]

October 30, 2013

"Procedural Issues in Partnership Audits and Litigation, Return Preparer Penalties and Hot Litigation Topics"... [ read ]

August 16, 2013

"What to Expect from a Rapidly Changing IRS"... [ read ]

August 2, 2013

"Offers in Compromise: Is the IRS Really Becoming Kinder and Gentler?"... [ read ]

July 11, 2013

"Dysfunctional Family Limited Partnerships"... [ read ]

July 8, 2013

"Conservation and Facade Easements: Are They for Real or a Facade?"... [ read ]

June 12, 2013

"What We Can Expect from the IRS in 2013"... [ read ]

May 29, 2013

"What We Can Expect from the IRS in 2013"... [ read ]

May 22, 2013

"What We Can Expect from the IRS in 2013" "Self-Employment and Employment Tax Issues in LLCs and S Corporatons"... [ read ]

May 17, 2013

"Self-Employment and Employment Tax Issues in LLCs and S Corporations"... [ read ]

May 16, 2013

"Using Family Limited Partnerships"... [ read ]

May 8, 2013

"Panelists - Criminal Tax"... [ read ]

May 1, 2013

"Using Family Limited Partnerships"... [ read ]

April 1, 2013

"Conservation and Facade Easements: Are They for Real or a Facade?"... [ read ]

February 1, 2013

"What Can We Expect From the IRS in 2013?"... [ read ]

December 10, 2012

"What We Can Expect from the IRS in 2013"... [ read ]

December 3, 2012

"What We Can Expect from the IRS in 2013"... [ read ]

November 8, 2012

"Judicial Update"- Austin... [ read ]

November 7, 2012

"Judicial Update"- Washington, DC... [ read ]

September 19, 2012

"IRS Exams and Collections"... [ read ]

August 23, 2012

"IRS Priority #1: Foreign Transactions, Entities and Bank Accounts"... [ read ]

August 10, 2012

"Worker Classification"... [ read ]

August 9, 2012

"Worker Classification"... [ read ]

August 1, 2012

"What Every Attorney Should Know About the IRS"... [ read ]

May 18, 2012

"Using Family Limited Partnerships and What to Expect from the IRS"... [ read ]

May 17, 2012

"Compliance Issues for U.S. Partnerships with Foreign Partners and U.S. Partners with Foreign Partnerships"... [ read ]

May 16, 2012

"Health Care and Independent Contractors: How to Avoid Being A Target"... [ read ]

May 8, 2012

"Making Ends Meet: Getting Paid Consistently and Ethically"... [ read ]

May 2, 2012

"Making Ends Meet: Getting Paid Consistently and Ethically"... [ read ]

April 23, 2012

"Current Trends in IRS Examinations and Appeals"... [ read ]

January 13, 2012

"How to Make Sure Your Client Does Not Have IRS Employment Tax Problems"... [ read ]

December 8, 2011

"The Evolving Relationship Amongst the IRS, Taxpayers and Tax Professionals"... [ read ]

December 5, 2011

"The Evolving Relationship Amongst the IRS, Taxpayers and Tax Professionals"... [ read ]

December 1, 2011

"The Evolving Relationship Amongst the IRS, Taxpayers and Tax Professionals"... [ read ]

November 14, 2011

"Practical Suggestions and Traps to Avoid When Working with the IRS"... [ read ]

November 1, 2011

"Tax Issues in Settlements and Agreements"... [ read ]

October 28, 2011

"The Changing Relationship between Taxpayers and the IRS Examination Division"... [ read ]

October 26, 2011

"The CPA's Continuing Role in Family Limited Partnership" "Compliance Issues for U.S. Partnerships with Foreign Partners and U.S. Partners in Foreign Partnerships"... [ read ]

August 4, 2011

"The IRS and the Tax Professional: Friends or Foes?"... [ read ]

May 26, 2011

"Responding to Governmental Inquiries"... [ read ]

May 25, 2011

"Professionals as Return Preparers, Witnesses, Targets and IRS Licensees"... [ read ]

May 18, 2011

"Don't Give Up on Family Limited Partnerships (FLPs)" "Differences Between Aggressive Tax Planning and Tax Fraud" "The Legislative and Admi... [ read ]

May 4, 2011

"Don't Give Up on Family Limited Partnerships (FLPs)" "Differences Between Aggressive Tax Planning and Tax Fraud" "The Legislative and Administrat... [ read ]

April 21, 2011

"Tax issues in Divorce and Separation"... [ read ]

February 7, 2011

"The Changing Relationship Between Taxpayers and the IRS Examination Division"... [ read ]

January 4, 2011

"Divorce and Separation: A "Taxing" Experience"... [ read ]

December 10, 2010

"Judicial Update: What's Happening in the Courts?" "Estate Planning Update and Year-End Planning"... [ read ]

December 7, 2010

"Judicial Update: What's Happening in the Courts?"... [ read ]

December 3, 2010

"Judicial Update: What's Happening in the Courts?" "Estate Planning Update and Year-End Planning"... [ read ]

November 16, 2010

"The Changing Relationship Between Taxpayers and the IRS Examination Division"... [ read ]

November 3, 2010

"Tax Disputes Before the IRS: Audit, Appeal & Tax Litigation"... [ read ]

October 21, 2010

"Exploring Criminal/Civil Overlap Issues" "Employment Tax Law" "Federal Estate and Gift Tax Examinations and Case Updates"... [ read ]

August 5, 2010

"Family Limited Partnership Update"... [ read ]

June 15, 2010

"IRS Criminal Tax Investigations: Successfully Representing Your Client"... [ read ]

May 26, 2010

"Current Trends in IRS Examinations and Appeals"... [ read ]

May 20, 2010

"Differences Between Aggressive Tax Planning and Tax Fraud"... [ read ]

May 19, 2010

"IRS Attacks on Estate Planning Techniques" and "Litigating FLPs: The Keller Decision"... [ read ]

February 17, 2010

"Tax Disputes Before the IRS: Audit, Appeal & Tax Litigation"... [ read ]

December 9, 2009

"What are our 'Friends' at the IRS Doing Today?" "Divorce and Separation: A 'Taxing' Experience"... [ read ]

December 4, 2009

"What are our 'Friends' at the IRS Doing Today?" "Divorce and Separation: A 'Taxing' Experience"... [ read ]

December 1, 2009

"What are our 'Friends' at the IRS Doing Today?" "Divorce and Separation: A 'Taxing' Experience"... [ read ]

November 19, 2009

"Current Trends in IRS Examinations and Appeals"... [ read ]

November 12, 2009

"Staying out of Trouble: CPAs Communications with Clients and Courts" "IRS Audit" "IRS Examinations/Appeals"... [ read ]

October 21, 2009

"Partnership and LLCs Update"... [ read ]

September 16, 2009

"Preserving the Benefits of Family Limited Partnerships: What You Need to Know Now"... [ read ]

August 20, 2009

"IRS Examinations/Appeals"... [ read ]

July 8, 2009

"Update on Tax Issues in Divorce and Separation" (Part II)... [ read ]

May 13, 2009

"Tax and Divorce: What You Need to Know"... [ read ]

April 8, 2009

"Update on Tax Issues in Divorce and Separation"... [ read ]

February 11, 2009

"The Nuts & Bolts of IRS Practice: Audit, Appeal & Tax Litigation"... [ read ]

February 3, 2009

"Preparer Beware: Circular 230 and the New Section 6694 Penalty" and "The IRS is Currently Auditing Taxpayers Again: What Issues Will the IRS Likely Raise During your Next Audit?"... [ read ]

January 29, 2009

"IRS Examinations of Estate & Gift Tax Returns"... [ read ]

January 10, 2009

"Experts on 'Legal' Matters"... [ read ]

July 17, 2018

Are E-Filed Tax Returns Subject to the Same Late Filing Rules as Paper Tax Returns?... [ read ]

On July 11th, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments in Haynes v. United States regarding the application of a late filing penalty to an electronically filed tax return that was filed late due to a computer software malfunction. The question before the 5th Circuit is whether the U.S. Supreme Court decision in U.S. v. Boyle is still valid law in the age of electronic filing of tax returns.

June 26, 2018

Can a Taxpayer Avoid a Civil Fraud Penalty by Filing an Amended Tax Return?... [ read ]

In a prior blog post, we discussed amending a tax return to avoid the accuracy-related penalties. This blog post will discuss whether the same strategy can be used to avoid the civil fraud penalty under IRC Section 6663.

May 30, 2018

Obtaining Information from the IRS: Part II... [ read ]

In a prior blog post, we discussed using a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain information from the IRS. In this blog post we will discuss some other sources of information from the IRS.

May 25, 2018

Obtaining Information from the IRS: The Freedom of Information Act Request... [ read ]

When the IRS is attempting to enforce the tax laws, it will ask for documents and information from a taxpayer. Just as it is important for the IRS to obtain information from the taxpayer, it is equally important for the taxpayer to obtain information from the IRS. This blog post will discuss one alternative for accessing IRS documents and information, the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552. A Freedom of Information Act request should be considered in any situation where a taxpayer is interacting with the IRS, including an audit of tax returns, collection of delinquent taxes, assessment of penalties, determination of a responsible person for payroll taxes, request for delinquent tax returns or a criminal tax investigation.

April 30, 2018

Update on IRS Denial or Revocation of Passports... [ read ]

In a prior blog post we discussed IRC Section 7345 which allows the IRS to take actions to either revoke or deny a passport to a taxpayer with a seriously delinquent tax debt. On April 5, IRS Chief Counsel issued Notice CC-2018-005 which provides guidance for Chief Counsel attorneys regarding how to handle a lawsuit brought by a taxpayer in U.S. Tax Court pursuant to Section 7345(e). This notice was issued on the heels of IRS Deputy Chief Counsel Drita Tunuzi stating at a recent ABA Tax Section meeting that the IRS would probably start issuing the notices of passport revocation or denial by the end of February.

April 23, 2018

Methods of Proof in a Criminal Tax Investigation... [ read ]

In a criminal tax investigation, the IRS generally must prove a taxpayer either underreported his income or overstated his deductions. To do so the IRS uses a number of methods of proof that fall under one of two categories: Direct (Specific Items) Method of Proof or Indirect Methods of Proof.

April 9, 2018

What Is A Kovel Accountant?... [ read ]

An attorney who represents a client in a criminal tax investigation will typically retain a forensic accountant to review and analyze the client's financial records and tax returns mirroring the work of the IRS criminal investigators. The accountant is generally referred to as a "Kovel Accountant" and is hired by the attorney, not the client, so that the accountant's work is protected by the attorney-client privilege.

March 19, 2018

Update On The IRS Attack on Conservation Easements... [ read ]

In prior blog posts, we discussed IRS efforts to combat what it considers to be abusive conservation easements deductions. In Notice 2017-10, the IRS warned that certain conservation easement deductions could be designed to avoid tax and had to be disclosed to the IRS. The notice said that some promoters "are syndicating conservation easement transactions that purport to give investors the opportunity to claim charitable contribution deductions in amounts that significantly exceed the amount invested."

February 28, 2018

IRS Is Contacting Taxpayers Who Were Denied Access To or Withdrew From the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program... [ read ]

Since the beginning of the year taxpayers who either were denied access to or withdrew from the IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) have been receiving Letter 5935 from the IRS notifying them that they need to come into compliance with U.S. reporting requirements relating to foreign income, foreign entities, and/or foreign financial accounts. The letter is part of the IRS Large Business & International (LB&I) campaign announced late last year called "OVDP Declines-Withdrawals Campaign".

February 28, 2018

Coinbase Turning Over Information To the IRS Regarding Customers' Investments in Bitcoins... [ read ]

In previous blog posts, we have discussed the IRS and Department of Justice focus on virtual currencies and the IRS John Doe Summons that was served on Coinbase, the largest Bitcoin exchange in the United States. Late last year, Coinbase was ordered to comply with the IRS John Doe Summons for customer information. The summons to Coinbase was based in part on information obtained by the IRS in an audit of one or more taxpayers who admitted they had been using Bitcoin to underreport their taxable income.

January 12, 2018

The IRS' New Authentication Procedure for Tax Practitioners... [ read ]

Any tax practitioner who has contacted the IRS after January 3, 2018 to obtain client information has received an unpleasant surprise. The IRS is asking the practitioner to provide his or her social security number and date of birth for authentication purposes. There is no doubt this is an attempt to address security concerns, including concerns about compromised CAF numbers, but the change has caught many in the tax community off guard and led to unpleasant exchanges with IRS personnel.

December 5, 2017

A Couple of Interesting Rulings in Undisclosed Foreign Account Penalty Cases... [ read ]

Read about two cases involving interesting rulings in Undisclosed Foreign Account Penalty Cases: United States v. Forbes and Jarnagin v. United States.

December 4, 2017

Bitcoin Is Drawing the Interest of Investors and the IRS... [ read ]

In a prior blog post (here) my colleague Chris Weeg discussed using Bitcoin as part of year end charitable giving. Bitcoin has been in the news lately as the value of a single Bitcoin has risen dramatically in the last month. Some financial experts view Bitcoin as the next great investment, while other financial investors believe that Bitcoin is a scam. Currently Bitcoin has limited usage beyond investment, but one of the Big 4 accounting firms says it has begun accepting Bitcoin as payment (here). In addition, futures trading on Bitcoin is expected to start next week.

November 6, 2017

IRS Announces 11 New Enforcement Campaigns: Swiss Account Holders Beware... [ read ]

On November 3rd, the IRS announced the rollout of 11 Large Business and International (LB&I) enforcement campaigns. The 11 new campaigns are in addition to the 13 LB&I enforcement campaigns introduced by the IRS in January 2017

October 11, 2017

Options for Taxpayers With Unfiled Tax Returns... [ read ]

Whether due to oversight or intentional conduct, there are number of individuals and businesses with unfiled federal tax returns. Under the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) the failure to file a tax return is a misdemeanor (IRC Section 7203) punishable by imprisonment of not more than one year and a fine of up to $25,000.

October 2, 2017

TIGTA Report on IRS Estate and Gift Tax Examinations... [ read ]

On September 28th, the Treasury Inspector General of Tax Administration (TIGTA) issued a report recommending changes to fix the procedures the IRS uses to select estate and gift tax returns for examination.

July 5, 2017

Practical Suggestions for Effectively Representing a Taxpayer Before IRS Appeals... [ read ]

In a previous blog posted on June 27, 2017, we discussed some suggestions for representing taxpayers in a IRS examination. In this blog, we discuss the next step, i.e., when the exam cannot be resolved and you must make a request for review by an IRS Appeals Officer. Most of the suggestions in the previous exam blog are applicable to working with IRS Appeals and will not be repeated here. If you are representing a taxpayer in an appeals conference, you should review the previous blog and the suggestions below.

June 27, 2017

Practical Suggestions for Effectively Representing a Taxpayer in an IRS Examination... [ read ]

Through the years we have developed, or adopted from other practitioners, suggestions about dealing with the IRS in exams. The suggestions below are generalizations, to which there are substantial exceptions. Practitioners that deal with the IRS are bound not only by their individual professional ethics but also by Circular 230. It is important to recognize the significance and import of those rules and to apply not only their letter but also their spirit. The goal of any representative is to get a client out of an IRS examination as quickly as possible.

May 30, 2017

Payroll and Human Resources Departments Beware: An Update on an Identity Theft Scam... [ read ]

On March 1, 2016 the IRS issued IR-2016-34, alerting "payroll and human resources professionals to beware of an emerging phishing email scheme that purports to be from company executives and requests personal information on employees." Recent information indicates that cybercriminals have increased the use of this phishing email in 2017. Identity theft and phishing are both on the 2017 IRS Dirty Dozen List.

April 19, 2017

An Issue for Real Estate Developers and Their Tax Advisors to Keep An Eye On... [ read ]

On April 10, 2017, the IRS Chief Counsel's Office issued an Action on Decision (AOD 2017-3) refusing to acquiesce to the Tax Court's and 9th Circuit's decisions in Shea Homes Inc. v. Commissioner, 834 F.3d 1061 (9th Cir. 2016), aff'g 142 T.C. 60 (2014). Because of the potential tax benefits associated with the Shea Homes decision, real estate developers and their tax advisors should keep an eye on any future developments.

April 5, 2017

TIGTA Report: The IRS Putting Innocent Small Business Owners at Risk in Currency Structuring Seizures and Forfeitures... [ read ]

On March 30th, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) released a report titled "Criminal Investigation Enforced Structuring Laws Primarily Against Legal Source Funds and Compromised the Rights of Some Individuals and Businesses." The TIGTA report (the Report) analyzed and made recommendations regarding how IRS Criminal Investigation (CI) administered cases involving possible currency structuring violations of Title 31 U.S.C. Section 5324(a).

March 30, 2017

Second Circuit Decision in Chai v. Commissioner Says No Penalties When the IRS Failed to Obtain Written Approval... [ read ]

On March 20th the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued an opinion in Chai v. Commissioner that could impact every taxpayer who is disputing IRS penalties. Taxpayers with penalty cases pending in Tax Court should review the Chai decision as soon as possible and determine its application to their case.

March 27, 2017

TIGTA Recommends That The IRS Pursue More Criminal Employment Tax Cases... [ read ]

On March 21, 2017, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) issued a report entitled "A More Focused Strategy is Needed to Effectively Address Egregious Employment Tax Crimes". The report presents the results of TIGTA's evaluation of the IRS civil and criminal enforcement actions regarding payroll tax noncompliance. The report calls employment tax noncompliance a "serious crime" and recommends that the IRS, including Criminal Investigation (CI), "consider a focused strategy to enhance the effectiveness of the IRS's efforts to address egregious employment tax cases". "Egregious employment tax cases" are defined as employers who have 20 or more quarters of delinquent employment taxes. The number of employers with egregious employment tax noncompliance has more than tripled in recent years. As of December 2015, 1.4 million employers owed approximately $45.6 billion in unpaid employment taxes, interest and penalties.

March 15, 2017

Address IRS Tax Debts Now, Before a Passport is Revoked... [ read ]

Section 7345 entitled "Revocation or denial of passport in case of certain tax delinquencies" was added to the Internal Revenue Code in late 2015. The IRS has announced that it will begin sending tax debt certifications to the State Department in early 2017 for revocation or denial of passports. Denying or revoking a person's freedom to travel can have devastating effects including disrupting business, impeding or eliminating an individual's ability to generate income and potentially separating families. Therefore, it is imperative that any person with an IRS tax debt who regularly travels internationally or plans to do so, understand when they may become subject to Section 7345, what type of debts can be excluded from Section 7345 and their options if they receive notice of a tax debt certification.

February 20, 2017

Is That a Change in the Wind? The 6th Circuit Rules Against the IRS on the Application of the Substance-Over-Form Doctrine... [ read ]

On February 16th, the Federal Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued a very entertaining and interesting opinion in Summa Holdings Inc. v. Commissioner, holding that the taxpayers' use of a Domestic International Sales Corporation (DISC) and two Roth IRAs for their congressionally sanctioned purposes - tax avoidance - was permissible. The 6th Circuit opinion reversed a Tax Court decision that upheld an IRS determination that the substance-over-form doctrine allowed the transactions to be re-characterized as dividends to the taxpayers followed by excess Roth IRA contributions. The IRS had argued that the transactions should be re-characterized although it agreed that the taxpayers had complied with the relevant Tax Code provisions and that the purpose of the provisions was to lower taxes.

January 30, 2017

IRS Injured Spouse Relief Provisions... [ read ]

Last year the Treasury Inspector General For Tax Administration (TIGTA) issued a report on the IRS track record in injured spouse cases. Although similar to the more well-known innocent spouse relief provisions, the injured spouse relief provisions do not relieve the injured spouse of a joint liability on a valid jointly filed return. Instead, the injured spouse provisions allow the injured spouse to request that the IRS return the portion of a joint refund taken to offset a debt of the non-requesting spouse. The background portion of the TIGTA report explains the intent and procedure for filing for injured spouse relief:

January 23, 2017

Payroll Taxes, Worker Misclassification and Options for Resolving IRS Audits... [ read ]

Employment taxes and worker misclassification continue to be priorities for the IRS and the Tax Division of the Department of Justice. The IRS has announced information sharing agreements with the Department of Labor and state agencies to find businesses that are misclassifying their workers as independent contractors. The DOJ has made employment taxes and worker misclassification priorities for its civil tax and criminal tax sections. It is very important for any business that uses independent contractors to be aware of its options in an IRS employment tax/worker misclassification audit.

January 16, 2017

Dealing with Non-filers... [ read ]

On November 18, 2016 at the 2016 New England IRS Representation Conference in Ledyard, Connecticut, I had the honor of being on a panel discussion entitled Dealing with Non-filers. The panel covered a wide range of issues--from the routine to the exceptional--encountered by tax professionals when representing taxpayers before the IRS.

December 27, 2016

The IRS Adds Conservation Easements to the List of Tax Avoidance Transactions... [ read ]

On December 23rd the IRS issued Notice 2017-10 , which adds syndicated conservation easements to the category of transactions that require formal disclosure by investors and advisors to the IRS. Any taxpayer or advisor who is required to make a disclosure but fails to do so could face penalties of up to $50,000.

December 19, 2016

IRS Alternative Dispute Resolution Options... [ read ]

In a prior post, I talked about the latest IRS Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) program, Fast Track Mediation Collection, which replaced the prior Fast Track Mediation program. In this blog post, I want to talk about some of the other ADR programs that are available to taxpayers as an option for resolving tax disputes on an expedited basis.

December 12, 2016

IRS Introduces New Alternative Dispute Resolution for Taxpayers in Collection... [ read ]

On November 18, the IRS issued Rev. Proc. 2016-57 which provides guidance for the new Small Business/Self Employed (SBSE) Fast Track Mediation Collection (FTMC). The FTMC replaces the SB/SE Fast Track Mediation which was infrequently used and is now obsolete.

November 30, 2016

The IRS is Considering Adding Conservation Easements to the List of Tax Avoidance Transactions... [ read ]

Conservation easements are legitimate and very good tax planning transactions for taxpayers who wish to preserve valuable land and wildlife habitats. If the conservation easement is done properly, a taxpayer may be able to claim a substantial charitable contribution deduction pursuant to Section 170. However, due to inflated appraisals, poorly drafted documentation, improper deductions and unscrupulous promoters, the IRS is considering adding syndicated conservation easements to its catalog of "listed transactions".

November 28, 2016

The IRS is Increasing Their Focus on Bitcoin and Other Virtual Currencies... [ read ]

On November, 17, 2016, the Department of Justice filed a petition in a United States District Court in Northern California asking the court to issue a John Doe Summons to Coinbase, the largest bitcoin exchange in the U.S., asking for the records of all customers who bought virtual currency from Coinbase for the years 2013, 2014 and 2015.

October 4, 2016

Going..Going..Gone. Face-To-Face IRS Appeals Conferences are Disappearing... [ read ]

Effective October 1, 2016, the IRS has revised the Internal Revenue Manual (IRM) instructing Appeals Officers that most Appeals conferences will be held by telephone instead of in person. The changes to the IRS are in response to the dwindling IRS budget and lack of manpower.

September 2, 2016

Statute of Limitations: The Taxpayer's Ultimate Defense in a Criminal Tax Case... [ read ]

In a previous post, I discussed the civil statute of limitations (SOL) the IRS has for assessing additional tax, penalties and interest against a taxpayer. In this post, I will briefly discuss the SOL for criminal tax cases and a recent case where the defendant effectively used the SOL as a defense.

August 1, 2016

The Statute of Limitations for Assessment: The Taxpayer's Ultimate Defense to the IRS' Assessment of Additional Tax... [ read ]

One of the questions taxpayers regularly ask is: How long does the IRS have to propose and assess additional tax? Or as some taxpayers put it, " How long before I can be sure I am safe from the IRS"? In this blog post, I will discuss the general rules relating to the statute of limitations (SOL) on assessment and the exceptions to the general rule.

July 8, 2016

IRS Administrative Summons to a Third Party: The Recipient's and Taxpayer's Duties and Rights... [ read ]

In a previous blog post, I discussed the duties and rights of a taxpayer who receives an IRS administrative summons for records or testimony. In this blog post, I will discuss the duties and rights of a third party who receives an IRS summons for records or testimony and the taxpayer's right and duties with regard to a third party summons.

July 6, 2016

IRS Administrative Summons to a Taxpayer: The Taxpayer's Duties and Rights... [ read ]

In most IRS examinations, the taxpayer and the IRS prefer an informal information-gathering process with the IRS issuing Information Document Requests (IDRs) and the taxpayer providing responses. However, there are circumstances where the issuance of an IRS administrative summons to the taxpayer for documents and/or testimony becomes necessary. When the IRS issues an administrative summons, it is very important that the taxpayer and the taxpayers' representative understand the taxpayer's duties and rights in responding.

April 21, 2016

Captive Insurance and the 5th Amendment... [ read ]

An IRS summons enforcement recommendation was issued by a federal magistrate judge in Massachusetts on April 19th, where the summonsed witness appeared as required, but asserted his 5th Amendment privilege against self-incrimination in response to questions by the IRS. The case has a couple of interesting issues.

February 25, 2016

The Latest IRS Scam--The Scammers are Getting a Little Smarter... [ read ]

I had a good friend send me a letter that one of his clients received from the "IRS". The letter is a hoax and another attempt by scammers to take money from people.

January 27, 2016

IRS Says File 2015 Tax Returns As Soon As Possible or Criminals Will Do It For You... [ read ]

The IRS head criminal investigator, Richard Weber, had a message for all taxpayers while speaking at a conference on January 25th. "File early before the criminals file for you," Weber said. Weber explained that "current intelligence" indicates that criminal groups have amassed stolen taxpayer identification information to be used to file fraudulent refund claims during the 2016 filing season.

October 12, 2015

Using a Qualified Amended Return to Avoid the Accuracy-Related Penalty... [ read ]

When a taxpayer or tax professional discovers an error on a previously filed tax return, the taxpayer usually asks whether and how the error should be corrected. While there is nothing in the Internal Revenue Code or Regulations requiring a taxpayer to amend a tax return, CPAs and other tax professionals have a duty under Circular 230 and ethical rules to advise a taxpayer that an amended tax return should be filed and that failure to do so could result in imposition of penalties. If a taxpayer chooses not to file an amended return, he or she could be subject to an accuracy-related penalty pursuant to IRC Section 6662.

October 5, 2015

Are Tax Returns Given to an IRS Agent Considered Filed?... [ read ]

In the typical IRS delinquent tax return examination, the IRS agent will ask that the original delinquent returns be delivered to him or her for filing. Because providing tax returns and other information, such as refund claims, is not considered filing, I will usually file the returns with the IRS Service Center, and provide a copy to the agent with proof of filing. By doing so, I know that a tax return or refund claim has been properly and promptly.

September 30, 2015

Tax Sale of Real Property: The Rights and Interests of the Taxpayer and the Purchaser... [ read ]

If you listen to the radio or watch late night TV, you know that the IRS has considerable powers when it comes to collecting unpaid taxes, penalties and interest. Included in these powers is the right to seize and sell real property in which a delinquent taxpayer has an interest, although there are some limits on what real property can be seized and sold by the IRS.

September 28, 2015

Section 9100 Relief: A Second Bite at the Apple... [ read ]

In my career, I have received calls from panicked tax professionals who have discovered that they have inadvertently missed a tax election and don't know what to do. When I receive such a call, I tell the caller two things. First, I tell the tax professional to contact his or her malpractice carrier. Second, I tell the caller that there may be a solution, Reg. Sections 301.9100-1 thru 3, which contain rules for allowing for extensions of time for late tax elections. Depending on the circumstances, Section 9100 relief may be automatic or non-automatic.

July 13, 2015

Is Time Running Out on Discounts on Transfers of Family Entity Interests? Now May Be The Time to Act.... [ read ]

The IRS may be close to issuing new regulations on valuation that could significantly increase transfer tax costs. As a result, it is prudent for families who are contemplating gifts of family entity and limited partnership interests to make the gifts now, while the valuation discounts are still available.

July 7, 2015

The IRS Voluntary Disclosure Program... [ read ]

The federal tax system is a voluntary system that relies on taxpayers to file complete and accurate tax returns. However, the IRS released a study reporting that individuals and businesses underpay their taxes by an estimated 17% each year, resulting in almost $450 billion of lost tax revenues each year.

June 9, 2015

IRS and DOJ representatives made presentations at the NYU's Tax Controversy Forum in New York... [ read ]

On June 5th, a number of IRS and DOJ representatives made presentations at the NYU's Tax Controversy Forum in New York. The following were of interest.

May 19, 2015

A Discussion of Recent Tax Decisions...

Joel Crouch was a speaker at a tax conference sponsored by Texas Bank and Trust in Tyler (May 6th) and Longview (May 19th). Mr. Crouch's topic was "A Discussion of Recent Tax Decisions." A copy of the outline from the presentation is at the following link Texas Bank and Trust Speech Judicial Update.

April 24, 2015

The Art of IRS Penalty Defens...

Joel Crouch was a speaker at a tax conference in Lufkin sponsored by First State Bank and Trust. Mr. Crouch's topic was "The Art of IRS Penalty Defense". Mr. Crouch made the same presentation to the Dallas chapter of the American Association of Attorney-CPAs. A copy of the outline from the presentations is at the following link The Art of IRS Penalty Defense.