Under the Freedom of Information Act, CREW requests any communications from January 1, 2010 to the present regarding Rule 179D between IRS officials and representatives, lobbyists or executives of the Houston, Texas-based tax consultancy firm, Alliantgroup. This request includes, but is not limited to, all copies of communications from January 1, 2010 to the present on Rule 179D between current IRS employees and former agency and government officials who are now employed with Alliantgroup, including: (1) former IRS Commissioners Mark Everson and Steve Miller; (2) former commissioner of the Small Business and Self-employed Division, Kathy Petroncak; (3) former senior counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance, Dean Zerbe; and (4) former congressmen Jim Ramstad, Kit Bond, Bob Riley, Mike Johanns, and Rick Lazio. This request also includes, but is not limited to, all communications about 179D from January 1, 2010 to the present between the IRS and Alliantgroup CEO Dhaval Javad, the firm’s director of tax controversy John Dies, and its managing director of energy credits and incentives, Linda McCluskey. Finally, CREW requests any drafts of rules or guidance the IRS has considered or issued regarding the Rule 179D program. CREW asks for policy material that is non-privileged and unrelated to any returns, audits or examinations of any specific taxpayer.
IRS Rule 179D allows certain taxpayers to take a federal deduction on new or retro-fitted building projects that include specific energy-efficient features. Government entities such as universities, school districts and municipal agencies that are tax-exempt are permitted to allocate their deduction to the contractor or engineering firm that built the energy-efficient features in exchange for a fee or something of fair value. Alliantgroup specializes in helping small and medium-sized companies obtain federal and state tax deductions, credits, and incentives. The firm has been especially active in pursuing deductions under Rule 179D.
The requested records are likely to contribute to the public’s understanding of how the IRS has dealt with issues pertaining to Rule 179D, and whether its relationship with Alliantgroup has affected how the IRS crafted policy on Rule 179D. According to recent lawsuits and media reports, Alliantgroup has cost taxpayers millions of dollars in lost revenue by aggressively pushing public employees to improperly allocate deductions to their clients. The firm has pressured unauthorized employees to sign off on the allocation and in some cases leaned on government entities to assign the deduction to businesses that do not qualify under the law.
Alliantgroup touts the federal government expertise of its employees. The requested records will show if Alliantgroup has had undue influence over the IRS on matters relating to Rule 179D. It will also reveal the nature of the relationship between the agency and a firm it is tasked with regulating.