US expands probe against offshore tax evasion to India

Written by Press Trust of India | Washington | Updated: Feb 28 2014, 08:14am hrs
The United States has expanded its action against tax cheaters to countries like India, Israel and Liechtenstein, a top US official told lawmakers on Wednesday.

So far, the US action had been primarily focused against tax cheaters on Switzerland.

While the (Justice) Department's initial efforts and this hearing have focused on Switzerland, we have expanded our investigations to go after tax cheats and the banks assisting them in India, Israel, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, and several Caribbean countries, the deputy attorney general, James MCole, told a Congressional committee on Wednesday.

Since 2009, the Department has publicly charged 73 account holders and 35 professionals with violations arising from their offshore banking activities, and 72 individuals have plead guilty or were convicted at trial, he said.

Just as importantly our enforcement efforts have driven over 43,000 taxpayers with secret offshore accounts to identify themselves to the IRS disclose their offshore accounts, and to pay a total of over $6 billion in backtaxes, penalties and interest. And that number is growing, he said.

Cole said in 2013, the Department obtained four separate orders authorising the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to issue John Doe summonses seeking records from banks in the United States for the US correspondent accounts of banks located in the Caribbean, Switzerland, and other European countries and America has successfully compelled account holders to provide the US with their personal records of their foreign banking activities.