In 2009 and 2011, the IRS has given tax evaders who have hidden money in offshore accounts a chance to come clean and avoid jail time. The two programs have netted the IRS at least $4.4 billion so far, but should the rules be relaxed for these people?
Taxpayers who disclose offshore accounts must pay a 27.5% penalty in addition to any back taxes, interest, and late charges for up to 8 years. But they avoid going to prison.
$4.4 billion is a nice chunk of change, and that lets the U.S. public off the hook for that much money. So maybe we should all be fans of these types of programs. Others will argue that the rich can just pay off their crimes and avoid any real punishment.
Tax evasion costs over $300 billion a year, so we want back as much as we can, right? Maybe $4.4 isn’t a huge number overall, but for the amount of offshore money hidden, it seems to be a decent pull.
I’m just starting to do my taxes and I’m doing everything I can to report properly and follow the laws. I’m not trying to avoid my tax duties. If I do, then it means someone else will have to make up the difference. I don’t like passing the buck on to someone else.
Based on our current economic situation, I am in favor of collecting these payments. The penalties are harsh enough to still make it hurt, and the benefit of a clean conscience, having the money back in the U.S., and not having even more penalties if they are caught instead of turning themselves in.
Readers, what do you think? Should we accept money we wouldn’t have otherwise have or should we be stricter with people who hide money from the government?