Thursday, April 5, 2012

IRS Launching Second Wave of Investigations of Banks and Intermediaries

The Internal Revenue Service is launching a second wave of investigations on banks, bankers, intermediaries, and taxpayers as it continues to mine information it receives on offshore assets through its voluntary disclosure program, IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman said April 5.

“We have fundamentally changed the risk calculus of taxpayers who are thinking about hiding their money overseas, and we are well on our way to deterring the next generation of taxpayers from using hidden bank accounts to cheat on their taxes,” Shulman said in his speech at the National Press Club.

The agency already has collected more than $4.4 billion through its Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative (OVDI), which allows taxpayers to come in and report their overseas assets to IRS in exchange for penalties and the chance to avoid criminal prosecution, Shulman said.

Shulman said IRS also is upping its game in the large business arena, with a particular focus on international tax issues. “We are shifting our international approach to be more strategic, and to view taxpayers through the prism of their business objectives and tax planning strategies,” he said. The commissioner added that the agency's compliance strategy “is starting to mirror the corporation's tax planning strategy.”

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