Washington (AP) - International tax evaders who come clean will be able to avoid jail and pay reduced fines under a new voluntary disclosure program announced by the Internal Revenue Service Tuesday.
Tax cheats will have until Aug. 31 to settle up with the
"If we find you, you face harsher penalties and the possibility of jail time," Shulman said. "If you come in voluntarily, you pay a steep price but avoid going to jail."
The offer is similar to one the
Shulman said the new offer isn't as generous because he doesn't want to reward tax cheats who waited two years to come forward.
Under the new program, tax evaders must pay back taxes, interest and delinquency penalties for the past eight years, if accounts have been held that long. In addition, they will have to pay a penalty of up to 25 percent of the highest annual amount in the overseas account from 2003 through 2010.
Shulman said the 2009 disclosure program provided the
"We've been getting better and better at detecting offshore accounts. Therefore, the risk of being caught is increasing," Shulman said. "We now have a number of other banks under investigation based on information we received from our first round of disclosures and from other sources. Tax secrecy continues to erode."
Shulman declined to provide details about any ongoing investigations.
Fewer than 100 people apply for the program in a typical year, in part because the penalties can far exceed the value of the hidden account, depending on how long the account holder has evaded
Shulman said the
"As I've said all along, the goal is to get people back into the