Abusive Tax Shelters And Government Misconduct

William A. Bottiglieri, Huldah A. Ryan, Andrew S. Griffith


Congress reacted quickly to the accounting profession’s involvement in the Enron/Tyco International financial collapses in 2001. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 was enacted and the Securities and Exchange Commission promulgated new reporting regulations aimed at preventing such losses in the future. A more remote effect occurred a year later in 2003 when Congress enacted sweeping reforms affecting the tax shelter industry. Congress targeted accounting firms and related professionals who created, marketed and sold abusive tax shelters. While the culpability of these professionals was clear the resulting criminal prosecutions against some of the accounting professionals were tainted by an overzealous prosecution which relied on unconstitutional tactics to obtain convictions.

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