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January 05, 2004

The IRS marked the end of 2003 by taking aim at accountants and attorneys involved in the tax shelter business. The initiatives include stricter reporting requirements, higher standards for opinions, and a list of "best practices" in tax opinion writing.

We will ponder what these will mean. For some solid preliminary analysis, visit this post at the Corp Law Blog and this roundup at the BenefitsBlog. The Corp Law Blog also provides some fast facts on the issue:

- The average corporate audit takes 38 months to complete.

- IRS auditors are still finishing work on corporate tax returns from 1997.

- In 1970, corporate tax revenue was 17% of total tax revenue. It has fallen steadily since then, and is expected to be around 7% this year.

- The largest 1,300 corporations are basically audited every year. The 148,000 mid-sized corporations, on the other hand, are audited on average once every 20 to 25 years.

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