Monday, June 30, 2008

IRS Agent Admits Soliciting Bribe From Taxpayer

IRS Bribe

NEW YORK—Former Internal Revenue Service agent Robert Rosner has pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court to soliciting a bribe from a taxpayer.

Prosecutors say from August 2004 until Dec. 6, 2006, Rosner served as an agent with the IRS. In that capacity, Rosner was responsible for conducting taxpayer audits. On July 25, 2006, Rosner initiated an audit of a small business based in New York.

On Nov. 28, 2006, Rosner contacted the head of the company to discuss the audit. He requested that the victim treat him to lunch. During the lunch, Rosner told the victim that he would terminate the IRS audit of the company if the victim paid him $5,000. The victim agreed to pay the bribe.

On Dec. 1, 2006, Rosner submitted interna lpaperwork at the IRS recommending that no change be made to the company’s tax returns. This step effectively ended the IRS auditof the company. Two days later, the victim had a conversation with Rosner, which, unbeknownst to Rosner, was recorded. The victim told Rosner that the victim did not feel comfortable with the agreement to pay the bribe. Rosner responded that he had already relied on the victim’s acceptance of the offer and taken steps within the IRS to conclude the audit.

The victim agreed to discuss the issue with Rosner further the next day. Two days later, the victim received a telephone call from Rosner during which Rosner stated that he had closed the audit of the company.

Rosner pleaded guilty to one count of soliciting and agreeing to accept a thing of value for or because of the performance of an official act. The charge carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross pecuniary gain or loss from the offense. Rosner will be sentenced on Oct. 17. 6-27-08

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Stephen Martinez

Debtors Prison
IRS May Have Goofed on 385,000 Stimulus Payments

Calculations of economic stimulus payments by the Internal Revenue Service may have been wrong in nearly 400,000 cases.

Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George said in testimony before the House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee that as of June 13, the IRS had issued approximately 76.5 million stimulus payments totaling approximately $63.9 billion. His office has determined that the IRS correctly calculated the stimulus payment for 99.6 percent of the returns.

However, TIGTA identified approximately 385,000 stimulus payments in which its calculation did not agree with the IRS's. The differences in some cases resulted from programming that did not include all qualified self-employment income and losses in the determination of eligibility. As of May 30, 2008, TIGTA had identified approximately 25,000 returns for which the stimulus payment was not allowed.

"In these cases, TIGTA believes that taxpayers were entitled to an additional $16.5 million," said George. "These errors affected clergy and other individuals whose income is not subject to the self-employment tax."

Many taxpayers did not receive the child portion of the stimulus payment because they did not check the Child Tax Credit qualifying box on the tax return. When TIGTA raised this concern, the IRS initially responded that it could not allow the child portion of the stimulus payment in these instances because eligibility for the Child Tax Credit could not be determined from the information on the tax return.

The IRS subsequently announced that it would issue the additional child portion of the stimulus payment to approximately 350,000 households in July. TIGTA is in the process of quantifying the number of individuals that might be affected

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Stephen Martinez

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