Wednesday, August 19, 2009

IRS Overseas Income Amnesty

"Wealthy taxpayers have inundated the [IRS] in recent weeks with requests to come clean for past tax evasion, amid a government crackdown on undeclared income from overseas accounts. ... The IRS disclosure program, which began in March and is set to end Sept. 23, offers Americans the possibility that they may face civil charges, which can carry lower penalties than criminal charges for volunteering details of tax evasion. ... The UBS matter represents the government's highest-profile efforts to capture some of the billions of dollars in revenue lost to offshore tax evasion annually. ... The US and UBS continue to wrangle over how many account-holder names the bank will turn over. On Wednesday, a UBS attorney told Judge Alan Gold, of the US Southern District of Florida in Miami, that the bank was close to reaching a settlement. In a statement Wednesday, UBS said the parties are having 'productive discussions' but have yet to reach an agreement", Laura Saunders and Carrick Mollenkamp at the WSJ, 30 July 2009, link:

Will the IRS have the DOJ file criminal charges, or is this a bluff? With 115 million tax returns filed annually in a typical year, only 1,000 persons are charged with criminal tax evasion. The DOJ even settled with Olenicoff, my 20 May 2008 post, link:, for no prison time. How much time will the DOJ allot to this instead of Wall Street malfeasance? Billions, hah? How much did Uncle Sam spend on AIG? Consider sending Eric Holder a letter telling him you think the DOJ has better things to do with its time than harass these UBS account holders, like say, find something to charge Lloyd Blankfein with.


Anonymous said...

I don't think Eric Holder is smart enough to understand financial markets enough to prosecute Lord Blankfein... but here is an easy one for him to prosecute:

"Even though she had no previous training nor experience in finance, Gorelick was appointed Vice Chairman of Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) from 1997 to 2003.

She served alongside former Clinton Administration official Franklin Raines.[2] During that period, Fannie Mae developed a $10 billion accounting scandal.[3]
On March 25, 2002, Business Week interviewed Gorelick about the health of Fannie Mae. Gorelick is quoted as saying, "We believe we are managed safely. We are very pleased that Moody's gave us an A-minus in the area of bank financial strength -- without a reference to the government in any way. Fannie Mae is among the handful of top-quality institutions."[4]

One year later, Government Regulators "accused Fannie Mae of improper accounting to the tune of $9 billion in unrecorded losses".[5]

In an additional scandal concerning falsified financial transactions that helped the company meet earnings targets for 1998, a "manipulation" that triggered multimillion-dollar bonuses for top executives,[6] Gorelick received $779,625.

Investigation by the OFHEO detailed in their official report on the accounting scandal in 2006 on page 66 that from 1998 to 2002 Gorelick received a total of ,$26,466,834.00 in income.

Come Mr. Attorney General... it's all laid out in Wikipedia...

Independent Accountant said...

Don't sell Holder short. He went to the pre-affirmative action Stuyvesant High School in NYC, an entrance exam admission school. I think he's smart enough. Prosecuting Gorelick would be a hoot. Gorelick was a deputy attorney general in the Clinton Administration.

Anonymous said...

There is a greater subtlety to this. Any tax on production, whether on employers or the employed in the supply chain, is mirrored as a cost to the consumer. Employers and the employed are merely involuntary tax collectors taking money from consumers and passing it on to government. Effectively, this produces a general tax on consumption that we pay out of our real disposable income when we spend, and no one escapes it, rich or poor.

Paradoxically, in this way the consumer benefits by executive tax avoidance because the cost of executives paying taxes would otherwise appear in consumer prices. You could say that the executives pocket the tax saving and keep selling prices high, but that assumes that market forces between executive pay and consumer prices are suspended throughout industry. You would also have to believe that taxes do not increase consumers prices.