IRS Revives Amnesty Program For Offshore Tax Cheats

Jan 9, 2012

The Internal Revenue Service is brining back an amnesty program for Americans who have stashed money in offshore accounts in order to dodge taxes. IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman announced the program's renewal on Monday, saying the tax dodgers would have to pay back taxes and penalties but would not face any criminal charges.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Shulman said that in 2009 and 2011, the program brought forward 33,000 people and the agency recouped more than $4.4 billion. The Journal adds:

"We calculate that's an average of $133,000 per case, but Shulman said he expects the revenue to grow as more cases are closed.

"He added that the 2009 program is '95% complete,' having collected about $3.4 billion from about 15,000 taxpayers who stepped forward.

"Shulman said the reopened program, dubbed the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program, will run for an indefinite period, but he warned that the terms aren't fixed and it could end abruptly."

Reuters reports that this year, the IRS is offering less favorable terms with some people facing up to a 27.5 percent penalty. Reuters also spoke to Jeffrey Neiman, a former federal prosecutor, who said the amnesty, "signals that the IRS is anticipating a wave of increased enforcement." It also says the IRS still believes "there are many, perhaps tens of thousands, of U.S. taxpayers who are still evading taxes."

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