ABA MAY MEETING: Rettig Warns Against Employment Tax Fraud, Praises TCJA Implementation Team

IRS Commissioner Charles “Chuck” Rettig has issued a stern warning against employment tax fraud. Rettig, while speaking on Saturday, May 11, at the American Bar Association (ABA) May Tax Meeting in Washington, D.C. referred to himself as an “enforcement guy.”

Employment Tax Fraud

Currently, the IRS is processing a “slew of multi-year employment tax cases,” Rettig said at the ABA May Meeting over the weekend. Generally, employment tax fraud occurs when businesses withhold federal income tax from employees’ pay but intentionally fail to send it to the IRS.

“Don’t come in with a story unless you believe the story,” Rettig said. “Try the story out on your high school kids before you come into us; your credibility is on the line.”

Further, Rettig highlighted the over 30 years he spent as a tax practitioner when cautioning against tax fraud. “Just between Tom Collins [LB&I senior manager], Mike Desmond [IRS chief counsel] and myself, we have around 80 plus years of experience in the trenches on the outside,” Rettig said. “If you think we came in and we’re not spreading our knowledge and experience throughout the Service, you’re going to be surprised when you wake up and see the effects of our knowledge, experience and support.”

TCJA Implementation

Additionally, Rettig paid high praise to IRS employees that participated in around-the-clock tax reform implementation. Notably, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) (P.L. 115-97) implementation team was awarded “tax team of the year,” Rettig said, adding that there are “119 TCJA provisions, 510 tax products impacted, over 260 forms, 94 plus formal guidance items published as of March 2019, and 175 plus soft guidance items issued.”

Moreover, Rettig criticized news stories that reported that “the IRS would crash and burn because of the TCJA,” adding that people should be praising IRS employees. “The IRS processed 130 million returns by April 20; on January 8 [the IRS] processed 1.9 million in an hour and 536 million returns in a second – without error,” Rettig emphasized. “That’s a record for the IRS.”

By Jessica Jeane, Senior News Editor

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