The Internal Revenue Service is giving those who missed their chance to come clean about evading taxes in offshore accounts during a previous amnesty program a second bite at the apple as it simultaneously continues to investigate overseas banks and new reporting requirements loom that could expose more to potential prosecution.
The new voluntary disclosure program will require those who come forward to pay up to 25 percent of the highest annual amount in the account from 2003 through 2010, plus back taxes, interest and other tax penalties for those years. The program expires Aug. 31.
“It gives people a chance to come in before we find them,” IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman said today from Washington on a conference call with reporters. He said the IRS is continuing to investigate “a number of” overseas banks, and that some of the inquiries are at “quite advanced” stages.
The program is part of the U.S. government’s efforts to crack down on offshore accounts and tax evasion. A similar program that ended in October 2009 attracted about 15,000 taxpayers who avoided prosecution by paying taxes on six years of undeclared income, plus a 20 percent penalty.