US launches new tax amnesty

THE US government has launched a second tax amnesty scheme to persuade citizens with money hidden offshore to declare it.

A statement from the Internal Revenue Service said taxpayers would face a penalty of up to 25% of the total sum held in foreign bank accounts. However, there are provisions for some account holders to pay only five or 12.5%.

Those choosing to use the amnesty must also pay back-taxes and interest covering up to eight years. However, participants will avoid criminal prosecution.

The US’ first amnesty closed in October 2009 with 15,000 disclosures. Around 3,000 other people have come forward since then seeking an arrangement with the IRS.

IRS commissioner Doug ShulmanIRS commissioner Doug Shulman said in a statement: “As I’ve said all along, the goal is to get people back into the US tax system.

“Combating international tax evasion is a top priority for the IRS. We have additional cases and banks under review.

“The situation will just get worse in the months ahead for those hiding assets and income offshore. This new disclosure initiative is the last, best chance for people to get back into the tax system.”

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