In an address to the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) on June 2, 2009, IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman announced renewed IRS efforts to combat international tax fraud and tax evasion.
Shulman promised to create an inhospitable climate for tax evasion and offshore secrecy by continuing and expanding cooperation with G-20 heads of state, who pledged in unity this April to act against tax havens that impede legitimate tax enforcement. He hopes to enhance information reporting on offshore account holders, increase tax withholding on U.S. citizens with foreign bank accounts in countries deemed “tax havens,” double tax penalties for failure to file FBARs, and allow the IRS more time for investigation by increasing the statute of limitations from three years to six years.
The IRS’ effort to eliminate tax fraud and tax evasion is supported by the expansion of President Obama’s 2010 budget. The budget provides funds for increased reporting on cross-border wire transfers, which would allow the IRS to gather information and target individuals who transfer money to and from offshore accounts. Also included is funding for 800 new employees who will deal specifically with international tax enforcement.
In his address to OECD, Commissioner Shulman promised, “If you are a U.S. taxpayer holding overseas assets, you must pay your taxes or we will be very focused on finding you. It’s as simple as that.”