New York (Oct. 21, 2003) -- The Senate Finance Committee is hopping on the tax shelter abuse bandwagon, holding hearings Tuesday that aides say will show that tax cheating is still widespread and rampant despite crackdowns by government agencies and regulators.

The New York Times reported that the hearing will feature a witness hidden behind a screen with his voice altered. He and other witnesses will allegedly testify that auditors have been fired from big accounting firms for refusing to go along with abusive tax schemes and how wealthy individuals were duped into buying tax shelters by big accounting firms that were promoted as perfectly legit.

In addition, a consultant's report, prepared for the Internal Revenue Service, but apparently kept hidden until now, is expected to show that corporate tax cheating in 2000 alone cost the government a whopping $14 billion to $18 billion.

Over the past year, the IRS and the Justice Department have subpoenaed documents about tax shelters from the major big accounting firms in an effort to root out any abusive tax schemes. The firms have all gone on the record to say that any tax advice they gave clients was proper and legal.

-- WebCPA staff

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