Wednesday, January 26, 2011

IRS to announce second amnesty program for self-disclosing tax cheats

The IRS will soon be announcing a second amnesty program for Americans concealing accounts in foreign tax shelters; it will not be “as generous” as the last program, which 15,000 Americans opted to participate in (as well as an additional 3,000 after the October 15 deadline).

A white collar criminal defense lawyer told The New York Times that some Americans may have cheated the IRS by paying taxes on a smaller UBS account while concealing larger accounts in a smaller Swiss bank. A current focus of US prosecution is the use of regional Swiss banks, known as cantonal banks, which have been utilized successfully by tax evaders.

While the terms of the impending amnesty program have not yet been outlined in detail, they are expected to be similar to those of the previous program. However, one authority suggested to the Times that guilty parties might be better served by coming forward even prior to the program’s announcement, as ongoing investigations could reveal the offender’s identity before a voluntary disclosure, potentially voiding the possibility of amnesty.