TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Friday, January 22, 2016

The IRS Scandal, Day 988

IRS Logo 2Senate Finance Committee Press Release, Hatch, Wyden Press IRS on Record Keeping Practices; Tax Agency Erased Hard Drive Despite Litigation Hold:

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (R-Ore.) today sent a letter to Internal Revenue Commissioner (IRS) John Koskinen asking for answers regarding the agency’s recordkeeping practices after it was revealed the agency erased a former employee’s hard drive and destroyed electronic records subject to a litigation hold and potentially responsive to a  Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.  The documents related to the agency’s use of outside law firms to conduct examinations of taxpayers.   
 
“This disclosure comes months after the IRS deleted electronic evidence related to a Finance Committee investigation,” Hatch and Wyden wrote. “During the Committee’s bipartisan investigation into the treatment of tax-exempt organizations, the IRS accidentally destroyed 422 back-up tapes and up to 24,000 emails subject to our document requests. The IRS’s missteps in preserving documents – whether they be the subject of a congressional investigation, court order, or FOIA request – are concerning, and necessitate further oversight into the agency’s document preservation practices."

The text of the letter is below. 

Robert W. Wood (Forbes), IRS Wipes Another Hard Drive Defying Court Order...But You Must Keep Tax Records:

Talk about Déjà vu. Despite a court order to preserve documents, the IRS wiped the hard drive of an important IRS official, Mr. Samuel Maruca. Controversially, Mr. Maruca helped the IRS hire Quinn Emanuel, an outside law firm tasked with pursuing Microsoft. Hiring outsiders at over $1,000 an hour (!) angered Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, who wrote a letter to the IRS complaining about strange deal and the $2.2 million fee.

Sen. Hatch pointed out that this was work the IRS and Justice Department should do. A federal judge was also troubled. And when the questions were too probing, oops, the hard drive was wiped. Sound familiar? Meanwhile, of course, you have to keep all your receipts and tax records! Imagine if the IRS found out that you deleted emails or destroyed records? The fact that the IRS–accidentally–wiped Mr. Maruca’s hard drive reminds everyone of Lois Lerner, the key IRS official who refused to testify about targeting conservatives. ...

It was no surprise that the Justice Department wrote a letter to members of Congress announcing that Lois Lerner will face no criminal charges. What about emails sent from Ms. Lerner’s dog’s email account? The dog is safe too. The DOJ said there was no evidence that any IRS official acted based on political, discriminatory, corrupt, or other inappropriate motives.

Let’s see, is the IRS likely to accept similar taxpayer arguments? 

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2016/01/the-irs-scandal-day-988.html

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Comments

Coming up on the "Anne Bolyn" mark, a thousand days.

Posted by: mojo | Jan 22, 2016 5:42:02 AM