Washington, DC - On April 24, 2020, a federal appellate court upheld an order enforcing an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) summons directed to the Taylor Lohmeyer Law Firm PLLC, the Department of Justice announced. The summons directed the law firm to provide information about clients who used the law firm’s services to create and maintain foreign bank accounts and entities.
On appeal, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld the trial court’s enforcement of the summons and rejected the law firm’s “blanket” claim that all responsive materials were protected by the attorney-client privilege. It explained that revealing the fact that the clients participated in specific types of transactions would not necessarily reveal any confidential communication of legal advice protected by the attorney-client privilege.
U.S. taxpayers seeking to hide their assets often utilize the services of professional service providers, who may be unaware of their clients’ true goals. This action is part of ongoing efforts by the United States to stop persons from using foreign financial accounts and entities to evade taxes. Courts have previously approved John Doe summonses allowing the IRS to identify individuals using offshore accounts to evade their U.S. obligations.
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman and Deputy Assistant Attorney General Joshua Wu thanked Tax Division attorneys Michael Haungs and Douglas Rennie, who handled the case on appeal, as well as Curtis Smith who litigated the case in the district court.