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Monthly Archives: July 2012

Retroactivity of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010

The issue of whether to apply a new sentencing law to crimes committed before the enactment of the law has long confounded judges, both because of the recurring failure of legislatures to be clear about their intentions and because of the inherent questions of fairness that arise from the imposition of disparate sentences for the same crime simply by reference to a date on a calendar. The resolution of such issues often boils down to the weighing of both of those factors and a determination of which one is more significant in the case before the court.

Concerns about fairness prevailed over equivocal evidence of the intent of Congress when a divided U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, which dramatically reduced the disparity in length of sentences for offenses involving crack cocaine rather than powder cocaine from a ratio of 100 to 1 to a ratio of 18 to 1, may be applied retroactively to crimes committed before the law became effective.

In Dorsey v. United States, 132 S. Ct. 2321 (2012), Justice Breyer wrote for a five-member majority that allowing vastly different sentences at "the same time, the same place and even [with] the same judge" would result in "a kind of unfairness that modern sentencing statutes typically seek to combat." Id. at 2333. In a dissenting opinion for the four-member minority, Justice Scalia argued that 1 U.S.C. § 109, a law enacted in 1871 and providing that a new criminal statute that "'repeal[s]'" an older criminal statute shall not change the penalties "'incurred'" under that older statute "'unless the repealing Act shall so expressly provide,'" id. at 2339 (Scalia, J., dissenting) (quoting 1 U.S.C. § 109), precluded retroactive application of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 because Congress did not explicitly provide for retroactive application. However, Justice Breyer and the majority determined that there were sufficient indications, including the way that Congress had instructed the Federal Sentencing Guidelines to be amended, that Congress had meant to have the new law apply retroactively.

If you have a Criminal Tax Problem, contact the Tax Lawyers at Marini & Associates, P.A. for a FREE Tax Consultation at www.TaxAid.us or www.TaxLaw.ms or Toll Free at 888-8TaxAid (888 882-9243).

Read more at: Tax Times blog

IRS Business Audit Compliance Initiative Projects

The IRS regularly conducts national, regional and local compliance initiative projects (CIPs) to study suspected areas of noncompliance. The IRS uses the data from these projects to develop more comprehensive projects and allocate its audit resources to the areas showing significant noncompliance.

This alert details audit initiatives focusing on business taxpayers.

The projects listed are regional or national and have recently concluded or are scheduled to be completed within the next year.


If you have been contacted by the IRS to schedule an audit, contact the Tax Lawyers at Marini & Associates, P.A. for a FREE Tax Consultation at www.TaxAid.us or www.TaxLaw.ms or Toll Free at 888-8TaxAid (888 882-9243).

Read more at: Tax Times blog

Cloud Computing: U.S. Tax Compliance Complexity

In today’s technology-driven economy, many multinational enterprises are beginning to take advantage of cloud-computing technology in their global infrastructure and market facing-activities. What is cloud computing? Various definitions of clouding computing exist, perhaps the most concise is the one provided by the research firm Gartner, Inc., which calls it “a style of computing where massively scalable and elastic IT-related capabilities are provided ‘as a service’ using Internet technologies to multiple external customers.”

Despite its rapid acceptance by the business community, little guidance has been issued on how U.S. federal income tax principles may be applied to businesses operating “in the cloud.” In addition to creating difficulties in evaluating potential tax issues, the lack of guidance may impede a corporate taxpayer’s ability to determine its appropriate U.S. federal income tax return positions and reporting obligations. This challenge may be even more difficult for U.S. multinationals with foreign subsidiaries that enter into cloud computing transactions cross-border.

Read more at: Tax Times blog

European and US Governments Publish Full Implementation of FATCA Agreement

The governments of the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the US have published the full text of their reciprocal agreement to implement the US Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act. The agreement requires financial institutions in the five European countries to report client information to their respective tax authorities, who will then automatically forward the data to the US Internal Revenue Service.

HM Treasury (Text of agreement, PDF)

Read more at: Tax Times blog