An Internal Revenue Service pilot project is asking the very tax lawyers and accountants who create shelters and take advantage of tax code loopholes to assist in drafting new tax rules, according to published reports.According to a recent New York Times article, its becoming increasingly common for the federal government to ask outsiders to do more of the work in drafting such rules -- a practice that critics say could create a conflict of interest if those outsiders have their own clients’ interests to consider.

The paper quoted IRS general counsel Donald L. Korb as saying that the program isn’t changing the traditional process, which always solicits comment from those in private practice on draft rules. Korb also said that the project will be limited to technical and noncontroversial issues far down the priority list and would be unlikely to get attention otherwise.

Any new rules would still be made open to comment and subject to hearings, and also reviewed by IRS attorneys before being made final.

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