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the radiologist

The IRS flexing itself globally

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The Internal Revenue Service announced Wednesday that it has reached a deal with the Swiss government, gaining access to thousands of UBS AG accounts that Americans might have used to avoid paying taxes.


"Thousands of taxpayers who avoided paying taxes in the past are being brought into compliance," said IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman in a teleconference with reporters. "As this agreement demonstrates, the world of international taxes has drastically changed."


An IRS press release stated that 4,450 accounts held by rich American investors were included in the settlement.


In the teleconference, Shulman said the IRS expects to gain access to a total of more than 5,000 UBS (UBS) accounts, through the IRS-UBS settlement, combined with a voluntary disclosure program and "other sources." He said these accounts have held $18 billion in assets at one time, though he did not have a current tally for their value.


A UBS spokeswoman would not comment on the value of the accounts and referred questions to a company press release. In the release, UBS Chairman Kaspar Villiger said the settlement "helps to resolve one of UBS' most pressing issues."


"I am confident that the agreement will allow the bank to continue moving forward to rebuild its reputation through solid performance and client service," said Villiger. "UBS welcomes the fact that the information-exchange objectives of the settlement can be achieved in a lawful manner under the existing treaty framework between Switzerland and the United States."


Deterrent: The announcement is the result of a settlement that the IRS and Switzerland-based UBS reached earlier this month to track down and identify wealthy Americans who have avoided paying taxes by hiding their assets in offshore accounts. Shulman said the deal should deter Americans from evading taxes in the future.


Shulman said investors who evaded taxes through UBS can avoid prosecution by reporting their tax activity by the Sept. 23 voluntary disclosure deadline, so long as they meet certain requirements.


0:00 /0:45UBS loses $1.3 billion

"Although the clock is ticking, there is still time for you to come in and get right with your government," said Shulman. "Talk to your tax professional."


Asher Rubinstein, an offshore attorney with New York-based Rubinstein & Rubinstein, said that some of his clients have participated in the voluntary disclosure program. He said that taxpayers have to provide "complete and honest disclosure" and cannot participate if their funds are the proceeds of illegal activity.


"This is a government that is in need of cash, and the IRS is trying to raise the cash," said Rubinstein, explaining the incentive for the program.


He said that the IRS was initially seeking 52,000 accounts and received about 5,000, so it wasn't a complete victory. But still, he said the landscape has changed dramatically for U.S.-based tax evaders.


"The bottom line is that the days of tax havens are gone," said Rubinstein. "If you're a wealthy American, you can't just expect to stash your money in the Cayman Islands or Switzerland or Liechtenstein and expect to be off the IRS radar."


Shulman said during the teleconference that the IRS was "never interested in pursuing 52,000 accounts and this was never an IRS number. "Remember," he explained, "we filed this lawsuit when the Swiss government was taking the position that we could not have access to any of these accounts. That posture changed in the past month and we were able to gain access to the accounts we wanted."





I don't know if I feel the rich should pay more taxes to their country. Probably not, I don't know how different the taxation is on wealthy millionaires, but I'd bet they're getting fucked out of their money with ridiculous taxes, as the middleclass is. I think I'm more upset at the fact that Switzerland is letting the IRS into bank accounts over there that were supposed to be secure from the U.S. government prying in on them.

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please ---- this is not a libertarian argument etc.


these people are probably 90% bush votes, were all about running up the deficit big time on their tax breaks, getting us into 2 wars. they can't have it both ways, and that is bullshit that because they can afford clever lawyers, llc's, and accounts held in trust by lawyers, they don't have to pay the taxes that the middle class has to.


its an issue of fairness. if you're going to take advantage of being an american citizen, you gotta pay your dues (beeeelieeeeeve these people are benefitting from the ease of travel afforded by a us passport; the preferential trade agreements that the us has with most of the world; the relatively low inheritance tax; the increasing wealth gap caused by reagan, clinton, and the bushies; can i go on?)


now there all butt hurt cuz the govt. wants some money back at a time of record fuckery going on with accounting mishappenings? gtfo


finally, this has been in the works for months now. i bet the time frame is such that they won't even get the money theyre looking for (15 billion estimated). anyone that hasnt shifted their shift to liechtenstein, macau, panama, bahamas, etc. are dumbasses

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You would murder me in an open debate. Even though I agree with you that it's retarted to take advantage of being an american, I'm just being fair here, and admitting I have no idea how or how much millionaires get taxed. I guarantee you there are Chinese that owe their wealth to the United States. I'd bet they don't get taxed with their imported goods as much as other specific categories in a wealthy American's case. Plus, the whole idea of a one world government gets me going. This seems something like it. Some government branch that could put their hands in bank accounts of any other country they'd like. I just don't like the fact that big brother can touch you anywhere it wants. no/molesting.

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I personally don't like the idea of all these rich people putting their money away in these tax havens while us normal people pay or taxes like decent citizens, they should have to pay tax on all they earn, Taxes should be on a sliding scale the more you earn the more you pay

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I don't know how to feel about this, besides....well, besides conflicted. "It's about fucking time" is duking it out with "Uh-oh" in my brain.

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^haha, nice cartoon. and its dead on. the ubs has branches in the us, courts american customers, and misled them into thinking that they would be immune because the main branch/servers are in switzerland.


imagine a launderer of drug money: "i guarantee you won't get caught." when that drug dealer is on trial, he can't say, "but this money launderer guaranteed me the safety of this money". that ain't how it works. those rich ass people who decided they were too good to pay taxes broke laws and they deserve to be punished.


as far as the other argument, that the irs is flexing its muscles, is completely inaccurate. this wasn't something endeavored by the internal revenue service. this was a department of justice endeavor, hence the involvement of the attorney general.


come on guys

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