IRS Commissioner Mark Everson on Tax Shelters
“There are clear indications that professional standards have eroded in some corners of the practitioner community. Attorneys and accountants should be the pillars of our system of taxation, not the architects of its circumvention.”
— Nomination hearing before the Senate Finance Committee, March 18, 2003
“…(W)e must strengthen the integrity of our Nation’s tax system through enhanced enforcement activities. The IRS must deter those who might be inclined to evade their legal tax obligations and appropriately pursue those who actually do. I want to be clear that enforcement will be a principal responsibility of the IRS and we must bring a laser-like focus to it.” …
“…(T)he IRS is committed to ensuring everyone pays his or her fair share, including those who have the resources to move money offshore or engage in abusive schemes or shelters. We must focus our efforts on achieving greater corporate accountability and ensure that high-end taxpayers fulfill their responsibilities. Honest taxpayers should not bear the burden of others who skirt their responsibility.”
— Prepared testimony, Joint Review on IRS Reform, May 20, 2003 (Full text - PDF 332K)
“The IRS must deter those who might be inclined to evade their legal tax obligations and appropriately pursue those who actually do. It’s as simple as this. People should pay what they owe.
“The IRS will enforce the law across all sectors, but with particular vigor in the corporate arena and for high-income individuals who enter into abusive shelters to game the system.”
— Installation ceremony, June 11, 2003
“Today’s action represents an important step in enforcing the tax law. The promoters of potentially abusive tax avoidance transactions know the tax code requires them to keep investor lists and to provide those lists to the IRS on request. We are seeking nothing more or less than adherence to the law.”
— Press briefing regarding the John Doe Summons issued to Jenkens and Gilchrist, June 20, 2003
“Today’s action is part of continuing IRS efforts to assure adherence with the law by promoters of potentially abusive tax avoidance transactions. Lawyers and accountants have a clear and established obligation to comply with the law requiring registration of tax shelters. We will resort to summons enforcement where necessary to compel compliance.”
— Statement regarding the court petition for enforcement of summonses issued to Grant Thornton LLP, Sept. 17, 2003.
Related Item: IRS statement on Grant Thornton summons enforcement
"(W)e are firmly committed to curbing abusive tax transactions. They are an affront to honest taxpayers and practitioners and undermine confidence in the fairness of our tax system. The Congress and our taxpayers have every right to expect diligence, care and professionalism from the IRS in this effort, and I will do my utmost to see that those qualities are applied to our effort, and that there is no compromise of taxpayer rights."
— Prepared testimony, Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, Nov. 20, 2003 (Full text - PDF 166K)