IRS Office of Fraud Enforcement to Open During COVID-19 Pandemic

Posted in Hot Topics on August 31, 2020 | Share

Earlier this year, we discussed the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) plans to create a new Fraud Enforcement Office. The IRS announced the initiative on March 5, just as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic were beginning to be felt across much of the United States.

Recently, Damon Rowe, a former senior official with IRS Criminal Investigations (IRS CI) who will now lead the IRS Office of Fraud Enforcement, told Law 360 that the pandemic is not affecting the new office’s plans to open on schedule. According to Law 360:

“The office plans to have a team of 42 fraud enforcement advisers — revenue agents and officers — hired and on board nationwide in 30 to 45 days, said Rowe . . . .

“As it expands its workforce, the fraud office already has wheels on the ground, with employees getting advice from attorneys in the IRS Office of Chief Counsel and forming relationships across the agency, he said.”

What is the IRS Office of Fraud Enforcement?

Residing within the IRS’ Small Business/Self-Employed Division, the Office of Fraud Enforcement is tasked with uncovering fraud committed by small businesses and business owners. According to the Law 360 report, the IRS Office of Fraud Enforcement will be focused on “agencywide enforcement priorities” within the small business and self-employed sectors. These priorities currently include:

  • Microcaptive insurance transactions
  • Syndicated conservation easements
  • Coronavirus-related fraud
  • Virtual currency

The IRS Office of Fraud Enforcement will be working with other IRS divisions and offices to tackle these issues, including the IRS Office of Chief Counsel. According to Law 360, “Rowe said his office had already developed a close working relationship with the Office of Chief Counsel. It is being advised by Carolyn Schenck, who was selected as national fraud counsel in May, along with IRS attorneys throughout the country.”

Once the IRS Office of Fraud Enforcement is fully operational, many small business owners and self-employed individuals can expect greater scrutiny of their federal tax filings. This is particularly true for small insurance companies, companies seeking to take advantage of inflated deductions on land acquisitions, companies offering coronavirus-related products and services, and those that deal in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

What Should You Do if You are Contacted by the IRS Office of Fraud Enforcement?

If you are contacted by the IRS’s new Office of Fraud Enforcement, what should you do? As with all federal tax matters, you should first consult with a Washington D.C. tax attorney. Tax fraud audits and investigations can lead to substantial penalties for small businesses and small business owners, and in many cases, the IRS Office of Fraud Enforcement will be targeting criminal charges.

Speak with Washington D.C. Tax Attorney Kevin E. Thorn, Managing Partner of Thorn Law Group

Have you been contacted by agents from the IRS Office of Fraud Enforcement? If so, we encourage you to contact us promptly. To speak with Washington D.C. tax attorney Kevin E. Thorn, Managing Partner of Thorn Law Group, in confidence, call 202-349-4033, email or request an appointment online now.

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