IRS Takes Next Step in Enhancing its Criminal Fraud Referral Program By STEVEN TOSCHER and SANDRA R. BROWN
The Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) took a major step in enhancing its criminal fraud referral program by announcing a national coordinator who will oversee fraud referrals from all of the operating divisions. Damon Rowe, formally the Executive Director of International Operations for IRS Criminal Investigations and former Special Agent in Charge of the Los Angeles and Dallas Field offices, has been appointed the Director of the newly created Fraud Enforcement Office. Mr. Rowe will serve as the principal adviser and consultant to IRS Division Commissioners and Deputy Commissioner on all issues involving Fraud Enforcement strategic plans, programs and policy. His responsibilities will include overseeing the IRS’s entire fraud referral program and will coordinate among all of the operating divisions (Small Business Self-Employed, Large Business International and Tax Exempt Government Organizations) in order to make sure they are all focused on the potential for fraud referrals and the importance of fraud referrals to overall tax compliance. Importantly for practitioners, IRS charged a seasoned and experienced former executive of Criminal Investigations to ensure that only the best cases and those with real criminal potential get referred over to Criminal Investigations for further investigation.
The appointment of Mr. Rowe comes on the heels of last year’s appointment of Eric Hylton formerly Deputy Director of Criminal Investigations, to be the Commissioner of the Small Business Self-Employed Division. It reflects a continuing trend in the IRS tapping its best and brightest in order to make sure that all operation divisions are operating with common purpose – fair enforcement of the tax laws.
Steven Toscher is the Managing Principal of Hochman Salkin Toscher Perez P.C., where he has been specializing in civil and criminal tax litigation for more than 30 years. He is a former Trial Attorney with the Tax Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.
Sandra R. Brown is a principal at Hochman Salkin, Toscher Perez P.C. Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Brown served as the Acting United States Attorney, the First Assistant United States Attorney and the Chief of the Tax Division of the Office of the U.S. Attorney (C.D. Cal). Ms. Brown specializes in representing individuals and organizations who are involved in criminal tax investigations, including related grand jury matters, court litigation and appeals, as well as representing and advising taxpayers involved in complex and sophisticated civil tax controversies, including representing and advising taxpayers in sensitive-issue audits and administrative appeals, as well as civil litigation in federal, state and tax court.