THUMBS DOWN: Patents Don't Make Tax Strategies Legal

Physician's Money Digest, May 2007, Volume 14, Issue 5

Fortune

Dodging tax scams can be frustrating,especially for physicians who owntheir practice and can benefit from thelegitimate tax strategies available. Butaccording to a recent article in ,the IRS has a new obstacle in thequest to uncover abusive tax shelters:the US Patent and Trademark Office.

Be aware:

In the past few years, the PatentOffice has granted patents to peoplewho have created innovative "businessmethods" of avoiding taxes. Sofar, 48 patents for tax-reduction strategieshave been granted, with at least61 applications pending. The danger inthis new development is that manypeople assume that something patentedis legal, which can make these taxstrategies deceptive marketing tools.Patents bear no assurancethat the process will be accepted bythe IRS. In fact, patents to legitimatetax strategies raise red flags for manyexperts. The Patent Office isn't likely tohave the ability to review patent applicationsfor tax shelters because theyhave few examiners with in-depthknowledge of tax law.