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IRS 7 articles

IRS: ‘High Alert’ for Tax Scams in Wake of Equifax Data Breach

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is putting taxpayers and tax preparers on “high alert” this year after the Equifax data breach and several other massive hack jobs exposed the sensitive data of millions of U.S. citizens. According to the IRS, taxpayers are being hit this year by scams from all directions, including phone calls, email, texts, and social media messaging. Cybercriminals have devised a variety of schemes to trick tax practitioners and taxpayers into disclosing information that could be used for theft. “Numerous data breaches last year mean the entire tax preparation community must be on high alert this filing season ... Read More

U.S. Appeals Court Says Vanguard Whistleblower Lawsuit Should Be Heard

A former in-house tax lawyer for investment giant Vanguard Group should have his whistleblower retaliation complaint heard, the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled. The appeals court ruled last week that the U.S. District Court in Philadelphia should reconsider David Danon’s lawsuit against his former employer alleging the mutual-fund behemoth fired him for voicing his objections over federal and state income tax underpayments. Mr. Danon says Vanguard’s alleged underpayments amounted to billions of dollars. Mr. Danon claims Vanguard violated the whistleblower protections under the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 when it wrongfully terminated him. Writing for the three-judge panel, ... Read More

IRS Whistleblower Program Shows Signs of Dramatic Improvement in 2016

The IRS Whistleblower Office has never enjoyed the reputation of being an efficient, effective, and productive operation, but its 2016 Annual Report to Congress shows some encouraging signs that things may be getting more whistleblower friendly in the nation’s least-loved federal agency. According to the report, the IRS’s Whistleblower Office paid out 418 awards to whistleblowers last year. That means fiscal year 2016 ended with a 322 percent increase in the number of whistleblower awards from 2015, in which only 99 awards were paid out. The number of claims also went up 6.4 percent since 2015 and the number of ... Read More

Fair Labor Standards Act: How open-source businesses like Uber are challenging employee classifications

The Fraud List: Fair Labor Edition

This Is The Third Installment in The Fraud List: Fair Labor Series Despite laws enacted by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to help protect the livelihood of our nation’s workforce, there are still grey areas actively manipulated by employers to curve employee costs related to basic minimum wage and overtime pay. By intentionally classifying workers as independent contractors instead of employees – even when the job duties seem to clearly entitle workers to employee status – employers can get around paying certain wages and benefits. This is known as “employee misclassification,” and it’s becoming an FLSA crisis in the U.S. The issue developed in recent years ... Read More

Multimillion dollar tax refund fraud includes former IRS employee among those charged

A former Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employee is among those charged with filing false claims in a multimillion dollar tax refund fraud conspiracy. Others charged include an employee of the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and a former New York City Corrections officer. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and IRS announced the indictments Jan. 16. The DOJ says Rodney Chestnut, a retired New York City Department of Corrections officer; Clive Henry, a former IRS employee whose job it was to prepare tax returns; and Nafeesah Hines, a former FDA employee, have been indicted on 20 counts of filing ... Read More

NC oil recycler agrees to pay $19 million for toxic waste contamination

WILMINGTON, N.C. – A Wilmington man who has pleaded guilty to violating the federal Toxic Substances Act, making false statements, and failing to pay several years of taxes, has been ordered to pay $19 million in restitution, the U.S. Justice Department announced. Benjamin Franklin Pass, 60, and his Leland, N.C.-based business P&W Waste Oil Services, Inc., admitted to unlawful dumping of waste oil containing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and other toxic substances that resulted in widespread contamination of land adjoining the Cape Fear River and a federally recognized, ecologically sensitive wetland. Pass, whose property held multiple tanks ranging from 20,000 gallons ... Read More

Jailed whistleblower received record $140-million award in tax evasion case

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) awarded a record $104 million to a whistleblower for his role in helping to expose an enormous tax fraud scheme orchestrated by Swiss banking giant UBS AG. The award, the largest ever paid by the federal government to an individual whistleblower, was given to Bradley Birkenfield, a UBS AG banker who was also thrown in prison to serve a 40-month sentence as part of the same case. The IRS confirmed last week that Mr. Birkenfield will receive the record award for his part in a federal investigation that resulted in UBS being fined $780 million ... Read More