Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Exclusive: IRS Hires "Hundreds" for New Wealth Unit

Following the IRS’s recent announcement regarding the creation of a new wealthy tax cheats unit, they have reportedly already hired hundreds of employees to join the new division. The group is expected to use their skills to identify rich and famous tax cheats who have the ability to hide their money in complex tax shelters. You can find a section of a Reuters.com article discussing the new IRS unit below.

The IRS high wealth unit, part of a broader effort to combat international tax evasion, is focusing on "the entire web of business entities controlled by a high wealth individual," IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman told a tax conference this week.

Another IRS official told Reuters "hundreds" of people have already been hired to staff the new unit, including some from within the agency.

"We have drawn top talent within the IRS that have expertise involving wealthy individuals as well as examination of their related entities," said Mae Lew, an IRS special counsel.

The high-wealth unit is focusing on trusts, real estate investments, privately held companies and other business entities controlled by rich individuals.

While use of sophisticated legal structures can be legal, in other instances they "mask aggressive tax strategies," Shulman said.

Tax authorities in Japan, Germany and the UK have also created similar units.

The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday approved a $387 million boost for the IRS for the fiscal year that started October 1, in part to fund the high-wealth unit. The Senate is expected to vote on the measure on Sunday.

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