An Internal Revenue Service agent is charged with accepting a bribe from two business owners in exchange for lowering their taxes.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office says 40-year-old Roger Anthony Coombs met with the two owners on May 8 to discuss an IRS audit of their businesses. Prosecutors say Coombs offered to reduce the $60,000 the business owners owed in taxes to $11,000 if they would pay him $9,700.
Coombs was arrested Wednesday after the business owners reported the offer to law enforcement officers.
How does a $49k reduction in taxes equate to a $9,700 pay off? Were these business owners more interested in greasing him $9,700 for a $0 tax liability? Because if that was the case, this happened in Minnesota, not the South, where that sort of thing could go unnoticed.
Or maybe they got pissed after he turned down their offer to seal the deal with a Starbucks?
• Should the IRS Fill Out Our Tax Returns? [TaxVox]
Some say, YES! At the very least the Service could get the ball rolling, “by filling in your wage income, exemptions, and standard deduction and perhaps even figuring some other deductions and credits. This…could be a huge benefit for those who file Forms 1040A and 1040EZ.” Naturally, the taxpayer has to approve the return prior the actual “filing” of it but this would potentially assist millions of Americans who are otherwise stumped by 1040s of any stripe.
The other side of this argument is that it will delay refunds:
Bob Weinberger, a senior fellow at the Aspen Institute Initiative on Financial Security and a former top executive at the tax prep firm H&R Block. Bob counters that the “fatal flaw” of such a system is that it could delay refunds for months. For many taxpayers, Bob argues, getting a check from IRS in April is a key to their annual financial planning, and postponing that refund would generate a huge backlash. Bob also said such a system would be a huge drain on IRS resources.
While this likely true, the root of the problem is the “check from the IRS is key to financial planning” part. If these people need the money so bad, they should adjust their withholding so they don’t pay in so much during the year. Perhaps that’s not an easy concept to grasp, so if we say “You’re giving the government an interest-free loan for 12 months,” that will help.
• HK charges KPMG man with bribery [FT]
Leung Sze-chit, a senior manager in the Hong Kong office, has been arrested on corruption charges after offering a co-worker a $12,280 bribe related to a client’s IPO. The FT reports that the firm learned of the situation via its internal hotline, “After investigation, the member of staff in question was suspended by KPMG and a report was then made . . . to the relevant authorities.” So yes, to answer some of you, people do call those internal hotlines.
• CFO Job Options Opening Up [FINS]
After hunkering down for the last couple of years or so, CFOs are starting to see some new job options. FINS reports that “Some felt loyalty to organizations in financial straits, while others hesitated to jump given uncertainty about potential landmines at other companies.” Now that growth is slowly creeping back, “some companies are likely to find they need a different type of executive in the role. And some CFOs may even find themselves in line for positions higher up the corporate ladder.”
As we’ve recently learned, IRS Agents are a zealous bunch. If you’re out of compliance you can bet the life of your labrador that they will run you down for the overdue tax, regardless of the sum.
Now perhaps you’ve been thinking that a little bribery might take care of things if you find yourself in a bit tax trouble. IRS Agents are human(?) after all; they fall ill to the temptations of this world just like the rest of us. And because they most likely have some sort of accounting background, they are most certainly caffeine abusers and thus, Starbucks whores.
But an Agent’s first responsibility is to serve the American Taxpayer and your attempts to tempt these civil servants with sweet, venti-sized, mega-calorie caffeinated beverages WILL NOT WORK:
Kim Oahn Thi Tran, also known as Jennifer Kim Tran, faced a tax liability of more than $13,287 for the 2006 and 2007 tax years on unreported income of $30,334, authorities said.
In hopes of lowering her tax liability, Tran sent a package on Nov. 30 to IRS revenue agent Imad Hararah that contained promissory notes and a $100 gift card for Starbucks Coffee that read, “To Imad: Enjoy,” investigators said.
Agent Hararah did not fall for this ploy. Nor did he accept the $2,000 that Tran attempted to give him. Instead this presented itself as a perfect opportunity to add charges, “On Dec. 9, Tran gave the agent $1,500, authorities said. In exchange, Hararah gave her a phony document that made Tran believe that she had a zero balance for 2006 and 2007 tax years.”
Does this guy love his job or what? Not cold hard cash nor natural stimulant will distract this man from doing his job. We can only assume that his brethren are of the same cloth and soon we’ll hear about Agents turning down dates with Lane Kiffin.
Woman charged with trying to bribe IRS agent [SF Chronicle]