Daily Tax Update - July 7, 2006

IRS REMINDS TAXPAYERS ABOUT E-MAIL SCAMS:
Today, the IRS said that there has been a recent increase in e-mail scams claiming to be from the agency. The bogus e-mails are designed to trick recipients into disclosing personal and financial information. According to the IRS, the current scams claim to come from the IRS and inform the recipients that they are due a federal tax refund. The bogus e-mails then direct them to a phony IRS web site which requests personal and financial information.

  • IRS Commissioner Mark Everson said, "The IRS does not send out unsolicited e-mails asking for personal information. Don't be taken in by these criminals."
  • Additional information can be accessed here.

WAYS AND MEANS SUBCOMMITTEE SCHEDULES HEARING RELATING TO PATENTING OF TAX ADVICE:
On July 13, the House Ways and Means Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee will hold a hearing to explore issues relating to the issuing of patents for tax reduction strategies, particularly in the area of estate and gift taxation.

  • In announcing the hearing, Subcommittee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) stated, "This hearing is an opportunity to explore a relatively recent phenomenon. At first glance, it seems odd that anyone should be permitted to patent means of complying with federal law. While intellectual property experts rightly note that patents can help promote the development of new technologies and ideas, tax practitioners have expressed concerns about giving one person the ability to charge others for using relatively common structures. We also need to get a sense of whether patents may contribute to tax avoidance schemes which make the IRS's job of blocking tax shelters more difficult in the long run." Camp added, "There are no preconceived goals here. We want to explore this development and that's why we're inviting the IRS, the Patent and Trademark Office, academicians and practitioners to give us their views of the practice."

INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE - CIRCULAR 230 DISCLOSURE:
As provided for in Treasury regulations, advice (if any) relating to federal taxes that is contained in this communication (including attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (1) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (2) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any plan or arrangement addressed herein.

STEPTOE & JOHNSON LLP - TAX PRACTICE
Steptoe & Johnson LLP has one of the largest and most diverse law firm tax practices in the country. The practice covers the entire spectrum of federal taxation, including representation of businesses before the Congress, Treasury and the national office of the IRS; transactional planning for domestic and multinational corporations; complex audit and controversy work for corporations and other business interests contesting IRS adjustments; litigation before the Tax Court, Court of Federal Claims, district courts, courts of appeals and the Supreme Court. The firm's tax practice also encompasses all aspects of employee benefits (ERISA), executive compensation, tax-exempt organizations and charitable giving.  Steptoe has an extensive state and local tax practice, representing an array of business clients on complex sales and use tax, corporate income tax and property tax matters, both advising those clients and handling audits, administrative appeals, and litigation for them.  Read  more information on Steptoe's tax practice