Washington -- In late September, the Justice Department widened its probe of tax shelters sold by accounting firms to include second-tier firm Grant Thornton.

The Justice Department asked a federal court to enforce summonses issued to Grant regarding an Internal Revenue Service tax shelter investigation of the accounting firm, in order to, in part, “obtain information necessary to combat the sale and use of abusive tax avoidance transactions.”

The Justice Department’s Tax Division, acting for the Internal Revenue Service, asked a U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia to enforce nine administrative summonses issued to Grant Thornton.

The firm said that the summonses were a “complete surprise,” adding that it has already turned over thousands of pages of documents in response to earlier summonses.

The summonses seek information about Grant’s compliance with tax shelter registration and list maintenance requirements. This includes identifying taxpayers who may have invested in tax shelters organized and sold by the firm.

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