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15.

Tax Division Directive No. 86-58 (May 14, 1986)—Tax Conferences

Note. This Memorandum is supplemented by Tax Resource Manual 38.
Introduction. While it is the function of the Tax Division to carefully review the facts, circumstances, and law of each criminal tax case as expeditiously as possible, the taxpayer should be given a reasonable opportunity to present his/her case at a conference before the Tax Division. Where the rules governing conferences are so rigid and inflexible that such an opportunity is effectively denied a taxpayer, the interests of justice are not served. The following guidelines will assist the Tax Division attorneys in reviewing such cases.

  1. Vicarious Admissions. Effective immediately, the vicarious admissions rule for statements by lawyers attending conferences before the Criminal Section shall no longer be used by the Tax Division, except where the lawyer authenticates a written instrument, i.e., document, memorandum, record, etc.

  2. Administrative Investigations. Effective July 1, 1986, plea negotiations may be entertained at the conference in non-grand jury matters, consistent with the policies of the appropriate United States Attorney's office. Written plea agreements should be prepared and entered into by the United States Attorney's office unless there is a written understanding between the Tax Division and the United States Attorney's office to the contrary. Where the prospective defendant indicates a willingness to enter into a plea of guilty to the major counts(s) and to satisfy the United States Attorney's office policy, the matter should be referred to the United States Attorney's office for plea disposition.

  3. Number of Conferences. There is no fixed number of conferences which may be granted in any one particular case. Ordinarily, one conference is sufficient. However, in some cases it may be that more than one conference is appropriate. The test is not in the number of conferences, for there is no right to a conference, but whether, under the facts and circumstances of the case, sufficient progress is or will be made in either the development of material facts or the clarification of the applicable law, without causing prejudice to the United States. Tax Division attorneys should be mindful that justice delayed is justice denied and, therefore, sound, professional judgment should be used at all times in such matters.

  4. Witness at Conferences. On occasion, the taxpayer or a witness may attend the conference. In rare situations, the taxpayer or a witness may attempt to make oral representations or statements at the conference. There are no restrictions on the use of such statements by the Government. However, such attempts should be discouraged, since the Tax Division is conducting a review of an investigation and is not conducting either a hearing or an investigation. Under no circumstances may evidence be presented at the conference based upon any understanding that it is in lieu of any person testifying before a grand jury.

  5. Grand Jury Investigations and Coordination with United States Attorney's Office. Effective immediately, in every grand jury investigation where a conference is requested, the Tax Division trial attorney shall initially contact the United States Attorney's office and discuss the case with the appropriate Assistant United States Attorney, and ascertain whether disclosure of any facts of the case is likely to expose any person, including witnesses, to the risk of intimidation or danger. If there is such a risk, the trial attorney shall then advise the appropriate assistant chief of the Criminal Section, who shall decide the appropriate course of action. The Tax Division trial attorney shall advise the Assistant United States Attorney that he/she may attend the conference if they so desire.

ROGER M. OLSEN
Assistant Attorney General
Tax Division

[updated January 2014] [cited in USAM 6-4.212 and Tax Resource Manual 38]