Paul L. Caron

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tax Profs Criticize UBS Settlement

Following up on yesterday's post, UBS Agrees to Release 4,450 Names to IRS in Tax Evasion CaseChris Bergin, President and Publisher of Tax Analysts, characterizes the settlement as Justice for All – Well, At Least for the Rich and the Swiss:

Three law professors from American University’s law school – Nancy Abramowitz, Andrew Pike, and Robin Westbrook – immediately sent the IRS a letter about this sweet deal. I quote from the letter below because there’s no way I could put it better.

“Our law school operates a low income taxpayer clinic. In the last few years, we have seen an increase in the assertion of penalties against the poorest, least sophisticated taxpayers with virtually negligible room for negotiation with the IRS. It would seem that a blanket program of offering reduced penalties and no criminal action to wealthy, sophisticated tax dodgers who come forward on the eve of their names being turned over to the IRS and with prior knowledge of the forthcoming disclosure, is suggestive of something less than even handed tax administration.”

Amen to equal justice for all.

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Just a humble accountant, but this appears to give a pass to as many as 45000 (but maybe fewer) tax evaders.

Not to mention the criminal immunity and lesser penalties.

Given the habit of the Service to beat taxpayers even when the Service is wrong, this is really irritating.

(According to tax attorneys I work with, the Service knows the approximate legal fees for a court contest, and considers any assessment less than the legal fees to be fair game, even if the Service is wrong, because counsel will advise settlement -- "beat'em til they settle.")

Posted by: save_the_rustbelt | Aug 20, 2009 1:19:20 PM