An audit is a forum for exchanging information and the IRS often takes the first step by issuing wide-ranging information document requests, and lately, there has been an uptick in IRS requests to personally interview the taxpayer, even at the beginning of the audit. Broad demands for information and interviews raise questions of ability to produce, relevance, and privilege. Often, the practical way in which the parties approach the information exchange process is more important than the law governing the process. This panel of expert tax litigators provides practical tips and examples of how to address difficult or sensitive requests for information by the IRS.
Identify legal responsibilities as well as best practices when responding to IDRs and requests to interview the taxpayer.
Richard J. Sapinski is Vice-Chair of the Firm’s Tax Litigation Practice Group. His practice involves white collar criminal defense on both federal and state levels and civil and criminal tax litigation, as well as international tax planning and compliance issues. Prior to joining the Firm, Mr. Sapinski was employed by the Office of the District Counsel, Internal Revenue Service, Newark, New Jersey as a trial attorney from 1977 to 1984 and later with the Office of the Regional Counsel Internal Revenue Service, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as a Special Trial Attorney from 1985 to 1987. In the latter position, Mr. Sapinski was assigned responsibility for litigating in the United States Tax Court on behalf of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue in large and sensitive cases and for assisting IRS international examiners in developing international tax issues for litigation.
Walter Pagano is a Tax Partner and Tax Controversy Practice Leader. He has more than 35 years of diversified and relevant litigation consulting and forensic accounting experience. He has testified in federal and state courts and at arbitration hearings and has served as a federal, state, and bankruptcy court-appointed forensic accountant and special fiscal agent. Walter’s experience, knowledge, and expertise enable practicing attorneys and corporate counsel to rely on his objective and independent critical thinking and judgment as a source to ascertain the financial facts in a wide variety of civil and criminal cases that have included white collar crime, internal investigations, adequacy of internal controls, commercial disputes, civil and criminal tax controversy, internal and external fraud schemes, financial statement fraud, shareholder and matrimonial disputes, guardianship litigation, accounting malpractice and third-party asset misappropriation.
Jenny Louise Johnson Ware handles complex tax disputes of significant value for clients ranging from individuals to multinational corporations. She represents taxpayers in all stages of criminal and civil tax proceedings, including sensitive audits and examinations, IRS appeals, summons enforcement, search warrants, grand jury subpoenas, negotiated resolutions with the IRS and the Department of Justice, trials in federal district court and the U.S. Tax Court, sentencings and appellate litigation. She has successfully resolved disputes involving income taxes, estate and gift taxes, excise taxes, federal and state tax credits, employment taxes, and employee plan matters.
Barbara T. Kaplan is Co-Chair of the Global Tax Practice and has been named one of the top 50 women lawyers in New York City by Super Lawyers magazine; and focuses her tax litigation practice on domestic and foreign corporations, partnerships, and individuals in federal, state, and local tax examinations, controversies, and litigation, including administrative and grand jury criminal tax investigations.
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