A couple of weeks ago I was at the ABA Tax Section Meeting which as I mentioned previously gathered tax lawyers from around the country. Since I spent most of my time at meetings involving FBARs (Foreign Bank Account Report TD F90-22.1), I missed another meeting. It turns out that (according to published reports) Janet Johnson, the Internal Revenue Service deputy division counsel for criminal tax stated that that the IRS Criminal Investigation (CI) unit would subpoena accountants in criminal tax cases. By itself that’s hardly surprising since criminal tax attorneys have known for many years that IRS special agents routinely interview the tax preparer, and the accountant can wind up as the lead witness against his own client.
The part that was surprising was that she stated the government would issue a grand jury subpoena even to a Kovel accountant, i.e. one that was retained by a tax attorney for the purpose of assisting the tax attorney in advising the client.
In an ominous note Johnson stated , “Whether or not that accountant comes to testify can be very serious for the accountant. The grand jury may decide he is part of the problem.”