Criminal Tax Fraud/Tax Controversy


Download this schedule as a pdf. 

Wednesday, December 11th

11:00 am – 1:00 pm 
Low Income Taxpayers:  The role of hardship in tax and tax collection

This panel will address the impact of hardship on the computation and collection of tax.  Government representatives and practitioners will discuss best practices for proving hardship.   All are welcome, and all are encouraged to use what they learn to help the low income taxpayer community.  (Registration not required for this panel.)

1:00 pm – 2:15 pm  
First time attendees / old-timer welcome lunch

2:30 pm – 5:00 pm
Civil Workshop – The Trust Fund Penalty – from investigation through litigation, including 6672(d ) contribution

This popular workshop will teach the fundamentals of representing taxpayers in civil tax controversy by focusing on trust fund penalty issues.  The program will provide an overview of section 6672 and its applicability to employment and other taxes.  Panelists will demonstrate how to prepare a client to be interviewed and what written submissions to make.  Learn best practices before IRS Collections and IRS Appeals, including collection due process proceedings, how to present your case in court, when and how to bring a contribution claim, when to make a Taxpayer Bill of Rights 2 request, and how to consider private causes of action.   The skills addressed in this workshop will serve all practitioners across substantive tax controversy issues. 

2:30 pm – 5:00 pm
Criminal Tax Workshop

This popular workshop will teach you strategies and techniques for handling sensitive civil examinations and criminal investigations, and defending a criminal prosecution. What to do in a domestic voluntary disclosure, special agents telling witnesses / witness’s counsel not to talk with the target / target’s counsel  The workshop addresses when to anticipate a criminal referral, IRS Special Agent interviews of the taxpayer or preparer, representation of a target, subject or witness in a criminal investigation, how to approach a Department of Justice conference, procedural and trial issues that every criminal tax defense attorney should know, when and how to argue tax loss issues, effective plea negotiations, and sentencing strategies.  The workshop includes a “criminal tax toolkit” of practice tips prepared by experienced practitioners.

5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Institute Reception

Thursday, December 12th

7:30 am – 9:00 am     
Women’s Networking Breakfast

Sponsor:  Johnson Moore

9:00 am – 9:15 am     

9:15 am – 10:15 am   
Plenary:  Write This Down?  Experts Discuss Ethical and Other Considerations when Deciding Whether, How, and How Much to Document in the Life of a Civil or Criminal Tax Controversy   (Ethics)

During the life of a tax case, there are many moments when practitioners are faced with the dilemma of whether to documents certain conversations, joint defense agreements, and more.  The tension between protecting a client and the lawyer’s self-interest especially comes into play when considering documenting conversations about options for cleaning up past tax mistakes.  This panel will explore the most common “documenting” decisions civil and criminal tax attorneys face and discuss best practices for how to handle.

10:15 am – 10:30 am  

10:30 am - 11:30 am   
Civil Enforcement Priorities

IRS leadership has recently been delivering a clear enforcement message.  This panel will let you hear about these priorities directly from those leaders, and how to be prepared from experienced  practitioners.

10:30 am - 11:30 am   
DOJ Criminal Roundtable

Hear a roundtable discussion of hot topics, recent decisions, and enforcement priorities in criminal tax enforcement.  The speakers are all current or former Department of Justice leaders and prosecutors.

11:30 am - 12:30 pm
Getting Out Front—Listed Transactions, Transactions of Interest and Injunction Actions

This panel will explore how the IRS uses the tools of listed transactions and transactions of interest, and what this means for persons involved in the transactions.  The panel will also consider how the IRS and the Department of Justice initiate and prosecute injunction actions.      

11:30 am - 12:30 pm
IRS CI Roundtable

The IRS Criminal Investigation Division is on the front line of criminal tax investigations. Current and former IRS CI representatives and practitioners will discuss the top priorities and future challenges in criminal tax enforcement. 

12:30 pm  - 1:45 pm

Keynote:  Hon. Charles P. Rettig, Commissioner, Internal Revenue

1:45 pm – 2:45 pm 
Ask the Judges

Every litigator needs to know how best to present the client’s case.  What do Judges consider to be best practices?  What can Judges tell you about avoidable mistakes?  Let this panel of Judges tell you how it looks from the bench.

1:45 pm – 2:45 pm 
What You Don’t Know But Need to Know About Internet Provider Searches

We now live in the digital world and the government may be searching your clients files without the historical knock on the door.  The panel will discuss the statutory and constitutional issues caused by ISP searches, and the best practices and procedures to follow when the government employs this investigative tool. 

2:45 pm – 3:35 pm
It’s a Whole New World: Defending and Litigating Partnership Adjustments under the Bi-Partisan Budget Act of 2015

When Congress passed the Bi-Partisan Budget Act, TEFRA was repealed.  IRS examination of partnerships and subsequent litigation over tax disputes as we know it will be vastly different from past years.  Now that the Treasury Regulations setting forth the new audit regime have been finalized and the Tax Court rules regarding partnership have been amended, it is time to jump in and learn them.

2:45 pm – 3:35 pm
Charging  Cryptocurrency Violations---Tax Crimes or Money-Laundering

Whether and when the government may bring money laundering charges in a tax case has long been a controversial topic.  This panel will address developing issues in crypto-currency enforcement, and whether money laundering may become the go-to charge when cryptocurrency is involved.  Find out when this is a risk and the implications  to the defendant if money laundering  is charged.  

3:35 pm– 3:50 pm      

3:50 pm – 4:40 pm
Currents Trends and Practices in IRS Collection Actions

Private debt collectors, passport revocation, and other traditional and new tools for collection – this panel will explore what the IRS is doing today, and some of the policy concerns that are being raised.  The speakers will also discuss best practices to protect your clients. 

3:50 pm – 4:40 pm
The Continuing Role of the Fifth Amendment Protections in Tax Enforcement

The Fifth Amendment continues to be vital to the protections of taxpayers.  The panel will discuss the how the new digital world is affecting the Fifth Amendment.

4:40 pm – 5:30 pm
The Changing World of Evidence

We are well into a post-paper world.  Evidence today comes not just from the obvious electronically stored information, but also from trillions of bits of data that are collected by private businesses, credit bureaus, social media platforms and the government.   Find out what you need to know about how the government is using this data treasure trove.

4:40 pm – 5:30 pm
The Consequences of Conviction---The Sentencing Guidelines, Restitution,  Forfeiture, and Other  Bad Things That Happen

Whether by plea or verdict, a determination of guilt does not end the matter.   This panel will address the ever-evolving challenges of applying the Sentencing Guidelines, addressing restitution and forfeiture, and other collateral consequences.

6:30 pm 
Dinner -- Ferraro’s (ticketed event)

10:30 pm
After-Hours Event

Sponsor: Agostino & Associates P.C

Friday, December 13th

8:30 am– 9:30 am 
Plenary:   Voluntary Disclosures and Addressing the Sins of the Past:  Ethical and Other Considerations (Ethics)

There is no legal duty to amend an incorrect tax return, but there may be ethical and strategic  reasons to do so — including to avoid  or mitigate civil and criminal tax penalties.   There has been an evolution of the IRS voluntary disclosure practice over the last 10 years, with recent changes made in November 2018 and more recently with the IRS ‘soft letter” crypto currency initiative. The panel will discuss ethical and other considerations in deciding whether to amend a tax return, and the tools available today to help mitigate both domestic and international compliance issues.

9:30 am - 9:45 am       

9:45 am – 10:35 am
Protecting Privileges—Domestic and International

The tax practice and tax enforcement has increasing become a cross-border endeavor, with  governments collaborating in tax enforcement.  Privileges protecting against one sovereign may not be applicable against another sovereign, and collaboration among countries—such as the new J5 initiative, complicate these issues.  The panel will discuss how to addess privileges in these contexts.

9:45 am – 10:35 am
Mental Defenses to Tax Crimes—Declination or Mitigation

Tax crimes are specific intent crimes—requiring the violation of a known legal duty. The panel will explore when a potential mental impairment should be considered as a defense or as mitigation in sentencing.

10:35 am - 11:35 am
Plenary: Ethical Issues When Representing the Accountant in an IRS Service Investigation (Ethics)

The accountant or tax preparer plays a crucial in any tax investigation. The panel will discuss ethical and strategic issues concerning when and how the accountant should be represented, and the extent to which the accountant  may or  must or should cooperate with the taxpayer.  The panel will also consider the role of the accountant in a sensitive tax examination.