The Tax Court issued an unusually stern rebuke to the Internal Revenue Service in a case it decided last week involving a huge group of tax shelter defendants.

The so-called "Kersting tax shelter project" was intended to resolve a large group of tax shelter cases by using a test case procedure. About 1,300 taxpayers signed agreements to be bound by the outcome of the test case. However, the IRS's attorneys made a secret settlement with the defendants in the test case.

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