In This Issue:
- Death and Taxes? Recent Supreme Court Arguments in Gabelli v. SEC Concerning a General Statute of Limitations for Civil Fines May Also Affect How Long the IRS Has to Assess Penalties
- Avoiding “Responsible Person” Liability for Payroll and Sales Taxes
- Environmental Crimes and Punishment
- Federal District Court in New Jersey Closes Door (Again) on Selective Waiver
- Supreme Court Grants Certiorari on Government’s Petition Regarding Judicial Participation in Plea Negotiations
Excerpt from Death and Taxes? Recent Supreme Court Arguments in Gabelli v. SEC Concerning a General Statute of Limitations for Civil Fines May Also Affect How Long the IRS Has to Assess Penalties:
On January 8, the Supreme Court of the United States heard oral arguments in Gabelli v. S.E.C., 133 S. Ct. 97 (2012) on the question: By when must the government initiate an action to enforce a civil fine, penalty, or forfeiture? The tenor of the arguments was heated — with Justices across the ideological spectrum taking issue with the position of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) that governmental agencies may seek to enforce civil penalties without regard to how much time has elapsed between the allegedly wrongful conduct and the commencement of the enforcement action. The Court appears poised to give greater weight to the fairness of repose than to the government’s need for time to investigate after the discovery of fraud. It is also entirely possible that the High Court will reach beyond SEC enforcement actions to collar the time within which government agencies of all stripes must begin actions to assess civil penalties. This possible extension of Gabelli may be of particular interest to individuals and companies facing possible scrutiny from the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”). A handful of Circuits have previously unhinged the Service’s enforcement actions for fraud under 26 U.S.C. §§ 6700 and 6701 from any time constraints, and that rule of law may now come under fire.
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