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IRS Commissioner highlights offshore tax evasion crackdown

IRS Commissioner Douglas H. Shulman recently gave a speech at the 24th Annual Institute on Current Issues in International Taxation. One of the things that the commissioner focused on was the IRS' increasing scrutiny on taxpayers with offshore bank accounts.

The IRS has invested extraordinary resources during the past few years to combat tax evasion schemes which use foreign accounts. As a result, many California residents are under investigation for hiding assets in overseas bank accounts. The IRS has offered several voluntary disclosure initiatives which hundreds of Orange County taxpayers have participated in. The IRS intends to aggressively pursue taxpayers that failed to take advantage of the OVDI programs.

One of the ways that the IRS is going to find the offshore accounts of California taxpayers is by pressuring banks with strict privacy rules to release the information of account holders. Commissioner Shulman also said that the IRS has started to mine the data that it collected through the OVDI program to catch others suspected of tax abuse.

"Indeed, we have been scouring the vast quantity of data we received from all of our different offshore programs and other sources," Commissioner Shulman said. "This data mining has already proved invaluable in supplementing and corroborating prior leads, as well as developing new leads, involving numerous banks, advisors and promoters from around the world. I can tell you that we now have additional cases and banks in our sights."

California residents with undisclosed offshore bank accounts should contact an experienced California tax law attorney. A tax attorney can help the taxpayer deal with the IRS and avoid as many penalties and criminal charges as possible.

Source: IRS, "Commissioner Douglas H. Shulman Speaks at the IRS/George Washington University 24th Annual Institute."

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