Friday, November 11, 2016

Taxpayer Engagement: Lessons from the World's Most Tech-Savvy Government

Client Engagement: Who says income tax can’t be fun? Income Tax BAR, a neighborhood wine bar, opening soon in Edgewater (Chicago Tribune). This calls for an on-site investigation

Chinese bank to pay NY $215 million for anti-money laundering violations 

Falsified Invoices involving China and Russia and Omission of Information

The secret life of a tax adviser: it's not about devising fancy avoidance schemes:
I have never advocated “packaged” avoidance schemes to my clients, and in fact have actively discouraged people from using them. This is on practical as well as moral grounds – most just don’t work, as evidenced by HM Revenue and Customs’ (HMRC) current 80% success rate when challenging them at tribunals 

Ex-UBS banker wants to expose ultra-rich tax dodgers by name 
HMRC pressurised staff to give the agency good marks in internal survey

TaxGrrrl,IRS Warns On New Scam Targeting Tax Professionals. “In the scam, which is a variation on a prior scam, tax professionals receive an email asking them to update their accounts: the link in the email directs to a bogus website which purports to be an e-services registration page.”

Kay Bell, ‘Trusted’ taxpayers to get more ID theft protection. “The IRS and its Security Summit partners are confident that these ‘trusted customer’ features, taken together, will help federal and state tax collectors do an even better job of detecting fraudulent returns and protecting taxpayers.”

The House Standing Committee on Tax and Revenue has commenced its annual review of the Australian Taxation Office’s 2015-16 Annual Report, which will focus on topics including:
·        The Australian Taxation Office’s reform program for taxpayer engagement;
·        The ATO’s progress on new technology projects (including uptake of myTax, status of pre‑filling processes, lodgement arrangements and communication methods);  and
·        Relationships with tax practitioners—including the new tax agent portal and costs for tax practitioners adopting the Taxation Office’s new technology.
The Committee will conduct hearings with the Taxation Commissioner, Inspector General of Taxation and tax advisory bodies in November 2016. Submissions addressing the focus topics are requested to be lodged by 30 November 2016.
Further details about the inquiry, including the full list of topics to be examined, and how to contribute, can be obtained from the Committee’s website, by contacting the Committee secretariat on 02 6277 4821 or by emailing
The 2016 Annual Report of the Australian Taxation Office is available at the ATO's website

(Melbourne) Victoria becomes the first state to hook into myGov

In 44 years, India lost at least Rs 17 trillion to tax havens 

India Gets 77 Per Cent of Its Personal Income Tax From 0.15 Per Cent Of Its Population 

Public Sector Workers to Be Automated Away

Trump (2016-3)New York Times op-ed: Trump Probably Avoided His Medicare Taxes, Too, by Fred T. Goldberg, Jr. (Skadden) & Michael Graetz (Columbia):

Trump (2016-3)Following up on this week's posts:

Politico Morning Tax, Making Sense of Trump’s Maneuvers:

Ed Kleinbard, the former Joint Committee on Taxation chief of staff, said there was a reason few people were correctly guessing how Trump was able to list a $916 million loss on 1995 state returns. “None of us thought that the reason that Trump would have avoided discharge indebtedness income would have been a partnership equity-for-debt argument," said Kleinbard. "The reason none of us thought of that is because no such exception existed."

But Robert Willens, who said he worked on those kind of deals two decades ago, said they were more common than people might have thought — landing in that gray area where practitioners didn’t know whether it was allowed or not. “I'm a little surprised that the law firm gave such a weak opinion to him and his people back then,” Willens said about an opinion letter that Trump’s people received. “Because at the time I think we were a little more confident that the technique worked.”

A Rochester, New York emeritus professor of business administration pleaded guilty today to conspiring with others to defraud the United States and to submitting a false expatriation statement to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Caroline D. Ciraolo, head of the Justice Department’s Tax Division, and U.S. Attorney Dana J. Boente of the Eastern District of Virginia, after the plea was accepted by U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III.

According to documents filed with the court and statements made during the plea hearing, Dan Horsky, 71, is a citizen of the United States, the United Kingdom and Israel and was employed for more than 30 years as a professor of business administration at a university located in New York [University of Rochester].

Digital government lessons from Estonia

Lessons from the World's Most Tech-Savvy Government

Keith Fogg, Proving You Filed a Return (Procedurally Taxing). “Last year we “celebrated” the 30th anniversary of the famous incident at the Philadelphia Service Center in which IRS employees who had too many cases to process and too little time to do it decided to take matters into their own hands and flush the returns down toilets, hide them in ceiling tiles and otherwise find creative things to do with tax returns.”
TaxGrrrl, Businessman Pleads Guilty To Tax & Wire Fraud Involving NFL Players. “Rowan used his access to his clients’ bank accounts to transfer over $2.9 million for his own personal benefit and without his clients’ authorization or knowledge.”

Indictments or no indictments, these fraudulent calls persist because many of the telecom giants refuse to put much muscle behind preventing and blocking the surge of robocalls that have inundated Americans for the better part of a decade. There are services that would stop many of these calls from ever ringing on our home and cellphones, but many companies don’t tell consumers about them, or make them easy to use.
The Feds Raided the Scammers Behind Those Fake IRS Robocalls. It’s Not Enough. Slate

Odd Lots: What Mathematical Models of Herding Cows Can Teach Us About Markets Bloomberg

Lew Taishoff, DO NOT ANNOY THE JUDGE. “Unless you absolutely have to, that is.”

An envelope stuffed with cash. A midnight meeting in Tripoli with a Gaddafi regime official. Buying access to Libya's oil wealth.  

TaxGrrrl Kelly Phillips Erb has a good writeup of the indictment, including this:
As a reminder, the IRS will never:
Call to demand immediate payment over the phone, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer.
Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
In short, if the caller says he’s from the IRS, he isn’t

Chinese ownership of agricultural land soars above 3 million hectares 

ATO settlements with big companies dive in 

Twenty-two people face civil and criminal investigations into suspected tax evasion following the disclosure of the Panama Papers, the chancellor has told MPs. Philip Hammond also said a further 43 wealthy individuals were under review while their links to the offshore files were investigated further. He made the comments in a written answer to the House of Commons explaining what had happened since the offshore tax files emerged. Related: The Panama Papers: how the world's rich and famous hide their money offshore Panama Papers: 22 people face tax evasion investigations in UK 

  1. *Further Google References