File Size: 1688 KB
Print Length: 421 pages
Publisher: The MIT Press; Reprint edition (May 2, 2014)
Publication Date: May 2, 2014
Yet somethings practitioners did get involved in the tax shelter industry. Too many.
Fresh entrants to the career see the many, sometimes oppressive constraints we face today - harsh penalties, the reportable transactions requirements, the standards of Circular 230 (recently relaxed somewhat), requirements to point out unsure tax positions, pressure on privilege issues and work product (even thoughts and opinions work product which has always justly received exceptional protection in other fields), etc. - that go beyond what other attorneys face. In addition to they may find it difficult to comprehend how renowned law and accounting organizations got involved in these taxes shelters. How can this have happened? What were they thinking? This account helps clarify why.
Those who don't work in area might have little or no knowledge of this era in tax compliance and taxes enforcement. Those people are, I assume, the real audience for this book. It's a good overview (if a little bit preachy, as one reviewer stated) for them, although maybe more details than many are interested in. It will also help increase the image of the IRS. The Support isn't perfect, and periodic abuses by individuals. Yet it performs an important, even critical, function. They will protect all of us from unhealthy apples among taxpayers and tax experts.
I would not rate the book this highly for an audience of tax practitioners. First, because we're already aware of the broad outlines and most of the details. There may be new details here - I learned a few things - but we're often familiar with a lot of other fine detail not covered. (I did not practice transactional tax, but a few of the taxpayers I represented during audits or litigation experienced invested in some of these pet shelters. I've seen the opinions, read the court cases, and was familiar with most of the names discussed in the book. ) Fresh entrants to the career? It might be helpful for them, but less so for those of us who have been around for awhile.
Typically the second problem to have an audience of tax practitioners: Typically the authors are law professors but have little familiarity with tax law or complicated financial transactions. Any time experts in a field read a book about the field by someone who is not an expect - which describes most non-fiction, not merely this book - they are going to find things that are not quite right. For example, the discussion on pages 99-105 of the mechanism behind a common Son of EMPLOYER shelter is to some degree over-simplified, missing important elements, misleading, or even evidently wrong in some aspects because the authors use technical conditions incorrectly. (I'm surprised to see that tax law experts read drafts of the book and didn't correct these. ) The comparison/contrast of the Helmer case and the Daugerdas shelters on page 197 is confused and muddled; it shouldn't support the point the writers are trying to make. And the weighted average expected value analysis on page 200? It's simply wrong. The example the authors give, if determined properly, doesn't - as they imply - illustrate that there was no real expectation of a profit. It instead would support the taxpayer's position. The problem is that the assumptions in the example as to possibility of various possible results were totally unrealistic. Typically the authors clarify that very well immediately after the example. But the irritation at the mis-calculation of the example lingers. These good examples, and others, will detract from the book for experts during a call.
All of these things, though, are minimal quibbles. Tax practitioners will notice them; most visitors will not. And they don't detract from the overall theme and findings of the book. For the layman, from the reasonably accessible work and will give them a much better understanding of the INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE and what happened within this dark period. Hopefully, this account will also help dispel the idea that taxpayers can cheat the system without consequences. Typically the IRS is still appalling underfunded, but it has more weapons to combat tax evasion than laymen realize. Especially today, is actually harder to get away with massive tax forestalling than many people assume. Within that sense, the book may raise concerns - how do we prevent this later on - while simultaneously comforting - the government was able to break the rules effectively., The primary of the book is a detailed exploration of the development of tax planning procedures among US accounting and law organizations in the 1990s and 2000s. Typically the account is both readable and rich with information., A little difficult to get into and preachy at the end, but amazing reporting in the middle., A detailed recounting of your episode of tax scam originating and encouraged at high levels across top notch firms. Part a review of the quirks of tax practice, part organizational behavior, part a picture of how wishful thinking and narrow technical field of expertise can lead to lacking the big picture.
Provides good analysis of how the tax system in the usa actually works.
Marred by repetion, in gory detail, of the identical episodes from multple perspectives. Doubles the length with little value.
Useful to me as an emerging taxes practitioner - likely a deep snooze to those not in the industry., I represented a KPMG defendant in the big criminal prosecution, so I knew, from that point of view, a lot of the matters discussed in the book. Coming from that perspective, I was not sure what I would learn new from the book. The authors do a congrats of exploration some of the best designs there. They get the details pretty much correct, as best I can see it. But they deal with larger issues -- specifically, what was the mission drift that permitted big accounting and law organizations do these deals when, in the past, they would not have touched them with the common ten foot pole. Of course, it was avarice and a kind of groupthink and dispersion of responsibility that permitted players to keep pushing the envelope -- ultimately across the range. Excellent read. History will repeat itself. These cycles will come back, particularly as big accounting organizations and law organizations look for ever increasing earnings and profits per equity companion.
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