At a Tax Council Policy Institute conference the IRS ‘comissar’ Douglas Shulman has reiterated his desire to target individuals and companies with secret offshore bank accounts,
”Clearly there have been some high profile cases in the
news recently. We have been steadily increasing pressure on
offshore financial institutions that facilitate concealment of
taxable income in the U.S...That pressure will continue under my watch,”
Although he would not comment on the UBS case, Mr.Shulman urged US citizens with offshore bank accounts to utilize the IRS’s Voluntary Disclosure Program and thereby ‘most of the time’ avoid criminal prosecution or worse.
Despite already reaching a first settlement with UBS, the US goverment is now suing the Swiss Bank to reveal even more offshore account holders, clearly not satisfied with its current share of the estimated 52,000 American offshore accounts held at the bank.
It is not clear whether the IRS really hopes to get them all or if they are just using the threat of litigation on such a giant scale to encourage US clients at UBS (and offshore account holders worldwide) to start reporting.
Shulman said US authorities were scoping out “a wide range
of options to address offshore tax abuses,” without going into further details.
It is thought that possible measures could include economic sanctions against tax haven countries, given that many are highly dependent on high-tax countries for their own livelihood.
UBS for its part has sworn to fight back against these latest charges.