September 17, 2003
Today, the U.S. Department of Justice, Tax Division, on behalf of the Internal Revenue Service filed a petition in the U.S. District Court, District of Columbia, to enforce nine administrative summonses issued to Grant Thornton LLP. Grant Thornton LLP is a global public accounting firm.
According to court documents, these summonses were issued as part of an IRS examination to determine Grant Thornton’s compliance with tax shelter registration and list maintenance requirements, including identifying taxpayers who may have invested in potentially abusive transactions organized and sold by the firm.
This is the sixth summons enforcement proceeding filed against a tax shelter promoter. This step is being taken to obtain information necessary to combat the sale and use of abusive tax avoidance transactions.
Summons enforcement actions are one part of the government’s multi-pronged tax shelter strategy, which includes requiring prompt disclosure of potentially abusive transactions by taxpayers and promoters. The strategy includes auditing taxpayers and promoters to ensure that they have complied with their obligations under the tax rules.
The IRS conducts promoter examinations:
To determine whether a promoter has complied with regulations requiring identification of potentially abusive tax avoidance transactions by registering such transactions and maintaining and providing investor lists to the IRS upon request.
To determine whether the promoter may be liable for penalties for failure to comply with these requirements.
In cases such as this, where a promoter failed to provide information requested in IRS summonses, petitions have been filed in U.S. District Courts to enforce the summonses.