IRS Deadline Arrives For Offshore Account Holders
RENEE MONTAGNE, host:
And today is the last day that Americans can turn over information about hidden overseas assets to the Internal Revenue Service and not be prosecuted. The amnesty is part of an IRS effort to crack down on offshore tax invasion.
NPR's Wendy Kaufman has this report.
WENDY KAUFMAN: For the past several months, lawyers specializing in offshore accounts have been inundated by individuals seeking advice. Some had money they knowingly tried to hide. Others had discovered assets they hadn't known about -for example, Swiss accounts setup by their great-grandparents trying to hide money from the Nazis.
New York Attorney Asher Rubinstein says some of his clients have broken down in tears.
Mr. ASHER RUBINSTEIN (Attorney): I have a lot of clients that you really have to hand them the tissue box. I had a woman resume smoking after 10 or 20 years because she was so nervous that the account would be discovered and she would go to jail.
KAUFMAN: Rubinstein said she subsequently disclosed the accounts, paid the penalties, and is now in compliance with tax rules.
IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman says as of yesterday, 7,500 people - far more than expected - had turned themselves in.
Mr. DOUG SHULMAN (IRS Commissioner): Whatever that we bring in from this program will be small in comparison to all of the future revenues that the U.S. government will get from having these people in the system and putting others on warning.
KAUFMAN: Tax evaders have until the end of the day to file under the government's voluntary disclosure program. If they report their accounts, pay back taxes and penalties, they won't be subject to even stiffer fines or criminal prosecution.
Wendy Kaufman, NPR News.
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