Tax Analysts Investigation: Growing Class of Businesses Largely Escaping IRS Audits

Jul 23, 2012, 16:13 ET from Tax Analysts

Group Includes Investment Funds, Private Hedge Funds, Private Equity Funds, and Venture Capital Funds

FALLS CHURCH, Va., July 23, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A growing class of business entities – from investment funds like the Carlyle Group to private hedge, private equity, and venture capital funds – largely escape IRS audits due to their forms of organization, Tax Analysts reports after a lengthy investigation.

In her piece in this week's Tax Notes, the flagship publication of the nonprofit Tax Analysts, correspondent Amy S. Elliott writes: "large, widely held partnerships, including publicly traded partnerships (PTPs) – which generally have thousands of direct and indirect partners – seem largely to escape the scrutiny that the Service gives to their C corporation counterparts.

"PTPs (such as oil and gas and real estate funds and investment funds like the Blackstone Group LP, the Carlyle Group LP, and KKR & Co. LP) aren't the only lucky ones," she writes. "While private hedge, private equity, and venture capital funds might not be widely held in terms of the number of direct partners, if one of their investors is a fund of funds, the number of indirect partners balloons."

The IRS's treatment of PTPs contrasts sharply with its treatment of many large C corporations, more than 800 of which are audited year after year, as IRS agents maintain offices at their corporate headquarters, Elliott reports. Those audits reportedly take up only about 20 percent of the IRS's examination resources but result in about two-thirds of the proposed dollar adjustments.

Because the agency lacks the capacity to audit more than a few large, widely held partnerships each year, Elliott writes, the growth in those partnerships raises serious questions about the IRS's ability to audit large businesses if more of them adopt partnership models.

To read Elliott's article and to learn more about Tax Analysts, visit the Tax Analysts website at

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