A View of The IRS Through Corporate Insider Eyes – Corporate Tax Audit Survival – Part 2

Reference Cliff Jernigan's eBook Corporate Tax Audit SurvivalThis is Part [2] of a series of a Chapter in the eBook “Corporate Tax Audit Survival- A View of The IRS Through Corporate Insider Eyes” by Cliff Jernigan.

You can download the entire eBook here.

Sample From Chapter 4: “Spy/Traitor/Disbelief”

When I showed up for work my first day at my San Jose office, I was met by a very nice group of IRS employees. I could tell they wondered what a corporate person was doing in their midst. They were friendly, but in a decidedly reserved way. I sensed some of them thought of me as a corporate spy.

I was joining the Service as the highest ranking IRS employee in the San Jose region. The person designated as the Commissioner’s Representative for my building gave me a pass to be able to enter into the secured office areas. I saw file cabinets full of confidential corporate taxpayer information. For someone who had spent most of his career opposing the IRS, it seemed strange being here. I felt like the fox that was being asked to guard the hen house.

Just a few miles away, my former corporate tax colleagues were talking about me, wondering if I had become a traitor among them. Would I be turning over the secrets of the corporate community? Would I be someone they would want to talk to again? Frankly, I had been out of the corporate tax department world for several years at this time and was hardly in a position to give away corporate tax department secrets. Nonetheless, the tax community was concerned.

Closer to home, my neighbors were in shocked disbelief. The IRS is not popular in my hometown. They could not believe I had joined an agency so disliked. Many of my friends became uneasy when I told them I had joined the IRS. Because of this universal response, I would generally refrain from telling neighbors and others that I was with the IRS. If asked, I would say I was with the Treasury Department on an assignment to improve government efficiency. This story had a positive ring with them. I later learned that many IRS agents tell their neighbors and social acquaintances the same story.

In accordance with Circular 230 Disclosure


Cliff Jernigan is a long-time member of the California bar, with a law degree from Hastings College of the University of California and an advanced tax law degree from New York University Law School. He has been associated with a New York City international law firm and has held corporate tax counsel positions in the areas of banking, chemicals, food and real estate, and semiconductors, where he was Director of Tax and Global Public Policy for AMD. His last position was as a US Treasury Department appointee in the senior management of the IRS in the Large and Mid-Size Business Division, where he advised management on the major issues of the telecommunications, high-technology and media industries.

Jernigan has been a leader in promoting positive relationships between industry and the IRS. He was a founder and first president of the Santa Clara Valley Chapter of the Tax Executives Institute, the founder/director of the Silicon Valley Tax Directors Group, the Chair of the Tax Committee of the American Electronics Association, and the Chair of the Semiconductor Industry Association.

For many years he was a part-time business school adjunct assistant professor at Golden Gate University and an instructor in the Graduate Tax Program at San Jose State University.

Jernigan has written three books. Two of the books dealt with the topic of international trade issues for the high-technology industry. The last book describes his experiences during his appointment to the IRS.

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