Over 14,000 Tax Cheats Came Forward Under IRS Amnesty Program
by Gary Therkildsen*, 11/18/2009
Yesterday, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced the results of its tax amnesty program that ended on Oct. 15. It turns out some 14,700 taxpayers came forward to report previously undisclosed foreign bank accounts under the voluntary disclosure program the IRS implemented following the U.S. government's settlement with Swiss Bank UBS earlier this year.
This figure is nearly double the 7,500 figure IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman estimated at the end of the program in October and dwarfs the number of voluntary disclosures received in 2008. A BNA (subscription required) article Tuesday quoted Shulman during a conference call with reporters in which he reiterated that the IRS was "flooded with people coming in during the final days of the program," and noted that the IRS saw disclosures from a broad range of accounts and types of taxpayers.
Shulman credited the Switzerland agreement as one of the driving factors that propelled the high numbers of participants in the amnesty program, along with the IRS's stepped-up enforcement efforts, and high-profile backing on the tax evasion issue from the Obama administration. The Commissioner also referred several times to the recently introduced offshore tax evasion legislation by members of the Senate Finance and the House Ways and Means committees as a necessary step in providing the government with more tools to go after tax cheats.
Image by Flickr user saturnism used under a Creative Commons license.