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John D. “Don” Fort, the new chief of the IRS Criminal Investigation division (“IRS-CI”), announced that two new programs will be fully operational in 2018: (1) the Nationally Coordinated Investigations Unit, and (2) the International Tax Enforcement Group. Fort also explained that the Criminal Investigation division is—and will be—increasingly focusing on the use of cryptocurrencies. Read more about those programs and the focus on cryptocurrencies below. Continue Reading IRS Criminal Investigation Division Announces New Programs Fully Operational in 2018

Gabby Hirz, a senior attorney in the Tax Controversy Group discusses one of the most notable decisions of third quarter 2017, Grecian Magnesite Mining v Commissioner of Internal Revenue, with Rom Watson, a partner in the Tax Group and co-head of the firm’s International practice group.  Grecian Magnesite Mining considered whether a foreign corporation’s proceeds arising from the redemption of an interest in a U.S.-based partnership were taxable in the U.S. as U.S.-source income or income effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business (ECI).  In doing so, the Tax Court called into question the validity a 30-year old revenue ruling.

Kat, Gabby and Stefan discuss how the Fifth Amendment applies to tax returns and audits, a particular concern to those reporting illegal income, such as medical marijuana businesses, as well as any taxpayers who fear information on their tax return or requested in an audit could reveal potential criminal activity, such as failing to file a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR).

On May 22, 2017, Ropes & Gray hosted a reception featuring Special Trial Judge Peter J. Panuthos of the U.S. Tax Court to re-launch the Boston Chapter of the FBA Tax Section. Read more about the event here, or if you’re interested in participating in or helping to organize a future event, please reach out directly to Gabby or Ryan at or

In February 2017, Ropes & Gray LLP published an article discussing recent reductions in the IRS budget and the resulting decline in enforcement, which has led to a gap of approximately $450 billion per year between the amount of tax that should be paid by U.S. taxpayers and the amount that is actually paid. The article also addressed possible changes to IRS funding in the new presidential administration.

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In January 2017, the IRS announced the rollout of 13 compliance campaigns to be undertaken by its Large Business and International Division (“LB&I”). The campaigns are part of a broader effort by the IRS to reorient LB&I to focus on high-risk issues in order to more efficiently address non-compliance in an era of smaller IRS budgets and greater IRS responsibilities. The campaigns cover subjects including repatriation of overseas funds by U.S. taxpayers, related-party transactions, and TEFRA partnership examinations.

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In February 2017, Ropes & Gray LLP issued a client alert discussing material aspects of the proposed regulations released by the Department of Treasury implementing the partnership audit provisions of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. The Bipartisan Budget Act rules created a new regime for auditing partnerships, repealing the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act rules that have been in place since 1982. The proposed regulations provide much-needed guidance on a number of issues.

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In August 2016, Ropes & Gray LLP published an article commenting on IRS’s practice in seeking increasing amounts of discovery during the examination process, where IRS benefits from substantially looser enforcement standards than those available under the Federal and Tax Court Rules. Continue Reading Facebook Summons Controversy Deepens, Further Illustrating Divergent Standards Applicable to IRS Summons Enforcement and Court-Ordered Discovery