Protecting the Taxpayer Facing Passport Revocation, by Frank Agostino, Esq. & Edward Mazlish, Esq.

If a taxpayer owes the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS” or “Service”) more than $50,000 ($51,000 after January 1, 2018) in unpaid tax liabilities (including interest and penalties) he may be subject to passport revocation. Specifically, Congress has given the IRS the ability to request that the State Department deny, revoke or limit the passports of certain delinquent taxpayers. This article explores this new tax collection device and suggests strategies for representing taxpayers facing passport revocation. …

Fifth Amendment Privilege in Tax: How to Keep the Case Moving While Protecting the Taxpayer, by Frank Agostino, Esq.

The IRS’s mission is to help taxpayers “understand and meet their tax responsibilities and enforce the law with integrity and fairness to all.” The IRS accomplishes this mission, in part, by examining returns for correctness, creating returns where there are none, and determining and collecting tax liability in accordance with the Internal Revenue Code (“Code”). The majority of IRS examinations begin and end as civil matters. Nevertheless, “[a]n IRS audit is an official investigation that may be the first step leading to a criminal conviction for tax violations.” Information collected during a civil examination may be given to prosecutors and used against the taxpayer in criminal proceedings. Consequently, information voluntarily provided to the IRS in a civil examination could result in a criminal indictment. Against this background, this column reviews how taxpayers and tax professionals should evaluate IRS information and document requests and when a taxpayer should decline to respond to IRS requests for testimony, documents, and other information. …

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