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Merck Agrees to Pay $2.3 Billion in Penalties
Lawyer News | 2007/02/15 18:16

WASHINGTON —The IRS announced today that it had entered into an agreement that resolves several disputed tax issues with Merck & Co., Inc. and its subsidiaries. The agreement will result in a payment to the government of approximately $2.3 billion in federal tax, net interest and penalties, and resolves all issues that had been in dispute between the parties for the tax years 1993-2001. The resolution is one of the largest achieved in recent years by the Service and a taxpayer through the examination process.

Both the IRS and Merck acknowledge that reaching an agreement of this magnitude was the result of cooperation by both parties. To facilitate this agreement, the IRS and the taxpayer used various issue management strategies, including the Fast Track Settlement Program.

Among the significant issues resolved were three issues that resulted from Merck’s use of minority equity interest financing transactions. The execution of these agreements should facilitate the ability of the IRS and the taxpayer to move forward and effectively address tax issues arising in subsequent examination years.



REA Associates to be Barred From Tax Prep
Lawyer News | 2007/02/15 17:39

WASHINGTON - The United States filed has filed suit seeking to permanently bar Richard E. Almy and his company, REA Associates, Inc., from preparing federal tax returns, the Justice Department announced today. According to the complaint, filed in the Middle District of Florida, Almy and his company prepared tax returns that claimed overstated, duplicated, and fabricated deductions on their clients’ tax returns. An examination by the Internal Revenue Service of 175 tax returns prepared by Almy and his company during 2003 found that all of them required audit adjustments that increased the tax owed.

The government alleges that the defendants’ scheme involved knowingly ignoring or modifying information provided by their clients on summary sheets containing their income and expenses for the applicable tax year. The government estimates in the complaint that this alleged fraudulent tax preparation scheme by Almy and his company has resulted in an understatement of their customers’ federal income tax liabilities of more than $16 million for tax years 2001 through 2003 alone.

The complaint also seeks an order requiring Almy and his company to provide the Justice Department with the names, addresses, social security or taxpayer identification numbers, as well as e-mail addresses and telephone numbers of their customers.

Since 2001, the Justice Department has obtained more than 220 injunctions to stop the promotion of tax fraud schemes and the preparation of fraudulent returns. More information about the Justice Department’s Tax Division can be found at http://www.usdoj.gov/tax.



Bogus Corporation Tax Fraud Scheme Barred
Lawyer News | 2007/02/07 20:58

WASHINGTON – A federal judge has ordered that William J. Kennedy, of Livermore, Calif., be barred from selling “corporation sole” tax fraud schemes, the Justice Department announced today. The preliminary injunction order was entered following a hearing before Judge Jeffrey White of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Some states authorize corporations sole to enable religious leaders to hold property and conduct business, the government complaint in the case states. But tax benefits are available to a corporation sole (or any other organization) only if the organization qualifies as a tax-exempt religious or charitable organization under federal tax laws. The court order states that Kennedy falsely advised customers that corporations sole used for their personal benefit can qualify as tax-exempt religious organizations.

According to papers filed in the case, Kennedy charged customers $25,000 to participate in the scheme. The court’s order requires Kennedy to give the government a list with his customers’ names, addresses, and to notify them of the injunction. More information related to this case can be found at http://www.usdoj.gov/tax/txdv06587.htm.

Corporation-sole scams are listed in the IRS’s annual list of the “Dirty Dozen” tax scams at http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=136337,00.html. The Justice Department has obtained permanent injunctions against a number of people who sell corporation-sole scams. Two examples are found at http://www.usdoj.gov/tax/txdv05657.htm and http://www.usdoj.gov/tax/txdv05030.htm.

Since 2001, the Justice Department’s Tax Division has obtained injunctions against more than 220 tax preparers and tax-fraud promoters. More information about the Justice Department's efforts against tax-scam promoters can be found at http://www.usdoj.gov/tax/taxpress2007.htm. Information about the Justice Department's Tax Division can be found at http://www.usdoj.gov/tax.



Nissan Altima Hybrid Qualifies for Tax Credit
Lawyer News | 2007/01/15 19:01

WASHINGTON -- The Internal Revenue Service has acknowledged the certification by Nissan North America, Inc., that its 2007 Nissan Altima Hybrid vehicle meets the requirements of the Alternative Motor Vehicle Credit as a qualified hybrid motor vehicle.

The credit amount for the hybrid vehicle certification of the 2007 Nissan Altima Hybrid is $2,350.

Consumers seeking the credit may want to buy early since the full credit is only available for a limited time. Taxpayers may claim the full amount of the allowable credit up to the end of the first calendar quarter after the quarter in which the manufacturer records its sale of the 60,000th vehicle. For the second and third calendar quarters after the quarter in which the 60,000th vehicle is sold, taxpayers may claim 50 percent of the credit. For the fourth and fifth calendar quarters, taxpayers may claim 25 percent of the credit. No credit is allowed after the fifth quarter.



N.Y. City Man Pleads Guilty to Human Trafficking Charge
Lawyer News | 2007/01/13 00:27

A man from Queens, N.Y., pleaded guilty today to attempting to recruit a Korean woman whom he believed to be a minor to work as a prostitute, the Justice Department announced today.

Do Hyup Bae pleaded guilty to charges relating to the operation of a network of over 25 Korean-owned brothels that were located throughout the northeastern part of the United States, including New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. Several of these brothels were located in Queens, N.Y.

"This case illustrates the complexity and scope of human trafficking operations," said Wan J. Kim, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "The Justice Department is committed to investigating and prosecuting those who would profit from the systematic abuse of others."

According to the superseding indictment, the brothels, which were operated under the cover of legitimate businesses, typically employed between two and eight prostitutes, the majority of whom were Korean nationals who had entered the country on tourist visas. The defendant faces a maximum sentence of up to 40 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and restitution payments for human trafficking charges.

The prosecution of individuals involved in human trafficking is a top priority of the Justice Department. In the last six fiscal years, the Civil Rights Division, in conjunction with U.S. Attorneys' Offices, has increased by six-fold the number of human trafficking cases filed in court, compared to the previous six years.

The case was investigated by special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Solette Magnelli of the Civil Rights Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Pamela Chen of the Eastern District of New York.



Manhattan lawyer faces 45 days jail for tax evasion
Lawyer News | 2007/01/09 04:35

A lawyer who avoided paying income taxes for almost 25 years will spend 45 days in jail and pay $1.5 million after pleading guilty to failing to file tax returns, prosecutors said Monday.

Francis K. Decker Jr., who specialized in defending tobacco companies, pleaded guilty Friday, admitting he failed to file personal state and city tax returns since 1998 on $4.5 million in gross income, prosecutors said.

Because Decker, 70, was a partner at a Manhattan law firm, no taxes were withheld from his pay, and he made no quarterly estimated income tax payments as required by law, prosecutors said. However, they said, he signed statements telling the firm he had filed returns and paid his taxes.

Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau said Decker, who has homes in Brooklyn and Quogue worth $2 million each, was caught when state officials did a routine review of license databases and found he was a licensed lawyer in New York but was not paying taxes.

A condition of Decker's plea deal is that he must settle with federal tax officials, if necessary, said Assistant District Attorney Daniel Castleman.

Morgenthau said Decker had not filed tax returns since 1982. He said it was ironic that a person who paid no income taxes for decades could avoid detection more easily than someone who occasionally paid but sometimes cheated.

The statute of limitations did not cover income tax offenses before 1999, but Decker agreed to pay going back to 1982.

Besides spending 45 days in jail, Decker will pay a $10,000 fine on each of two counts of failure to file, prosecutors said. He also must pay $779,757 in state and city personal income taxes, interest and penalties for 1999 through 2005 and $720,000 to settle any tax liability for 1982 though 1998. He will be sentenced Feb. 1.

Decker's lawyer, Jonathan Davidoff, said his client "has accepted responsibility for his actions and is very sorry for his past behavior."

"By accepting responsibility," Davidoff said, "Mr. Decker has not only agreed to pay New York state back for past taxes but also is paying society back by pleading guilty and serving the sentence recommended by the district attorney's office."



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