Tax Twitter Tuesday 11.17.2009
NY bagel maker charged with tax evasion

Tax carrot + stick nab 14,700 scofflaws

Federal investigators are feeling pretty darn good about themselves right now. 

After a persistent effort to get info on taxpayers they believe hid money subject to U.S. taxes in offshore accounts, the Department of Justice and IRS announced yesterday that more than 14,700 taxpayers have 'fessed up about their previously-undisclosed foreign bank holdings.

"We have now gained access to thousands of taxpayers and bank accounts that we have never had before," said IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman, adding that it had sent "a shock wave around the world."

You can forgive the commish for being perhaps a bit hyperbolic. It's not every day that you get almost 15,000 folks to confess to trying to evade taxes.

Of course, having an amnesty period in which offshore account holders could turn themselves in certainly helped.

But joining that carrot was the stick that includes penalties for folks who keep hiding their money from the IRS but eventually get caught.

And getting caught might be easier in the near future, as the Swiss are said to be considering new safeguards to cover their derrieres when it comes to foreign account owners.

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