IRS Claims Success for Offshore Voluntary Compliance Initiative

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Tuesday, July 1, 2003
Bruce Zagaris
Within days after the April 15, 2003 deadline for taxpayers to apply for relief under the Offshore Voluntary Compliance Initiative (OVCI), the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) announced that more than 1,200 persons had applied to participate and the cases had enabled the IRS to identify more than $50 million in uncollected taxes and 80 new offshore promoters. According to the IRS, a diverse group of taxpayers applied to participated in the OVCI, including lawyers, dentists, business executives, estate heirs and numerous occupations. Applicants included people filing returns as individuals, domestic and foreign corporations and trusts and estates. Since October 2000, the IRS has issued a series of summons to a variety of financial and commercial businesses to obtain information on U.S. residents who held credit, debit or other payment cards issued by offshore banks. The John Doe summons investigation has led to a number of leads on tax evasion and fraud. At present, the IRS has more than 1,000 offshore payment cardholders under audit. Already the IRS has referred dozens of cases to Criminal Investigation for possible action. IRS Commissioner Bob Wenzel urged taxpayers who did not come forward under OVCI to rectify their affairs with the IRS by filing amended returns or following the terms of the Voluntary Disclosure Initiative, which the IRS announced in news release, IR-2002-135.