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IRS Offers Offshore Credit Card Amnesty
Source: Associated Press
Publication date: 2003-01-14

 The Internal Revenue Service is offering a get-out-of-jail-free card: Declare any offshore credit cards that you have used to hide income and you'll receive only minor penalties or no punishment at all.

The IRS, in an announcement planned for Tuesday, will give foreign-account holders until April 15 to cooperate, according to congressional sources briefed on the new initiative.

After that date, the IRS plans to pursue account holders and promoters aggressively, with tough statutes that carry prison sentences of up to 20 years.

The government estimates that 1 million U.S. citizens hold undisclosed credit cards from offshore banks. While the cards are not illegal, the law requires taxpayers to report ownership of foreign accounts.

Bank secrecy laws in 30 tax-haven countries have enabled people to hide large incomes, and evade U.S. income taxes, while living lavishly with their plastic.

The IRS began obtaining records in 2000 from Visa, MasterCard and American Express to target people for audits and prosecution for tax evasion. The IRS so far has about 1,000 active cases, including names of prominent and famous Americans, congressional sources said Monday.

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, "is pleased with the IRS' activity in this area and looks forward to tomorrow's announcement," said his spokeswoman, Jill Gerber. She would not discuss details of the proposal.

The investigation is among the largest ever to target the use of offshore bank accounts to hide income that should be subject to U.S. income taxes.

Some taxpayers even have sought bankruptcy protection from tax debts while continuing to draw on foreign accounts through credit cards issued by foreign banks.

Our firm can help you resolve your problems with the IRS in the event you have an offshore credit card and have not disclosed that account or have been hiding money abroad.  Don Nelson is an attorney and therefore all communications with him as a client are subject to attorney client privilege. Email, phone or fax for a consultation.


Don D. Nelson, Certified Public Accountant. Attorney
U.S. Phone (949) 481-4094   U.S. Fax (949) 218-6483
Toll Free: (866) 712-0320
Email: ustax@hotmail.com  or  email web form

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Don D. Nelson, Experienced  Internatinal U.S. Tax Attorney and C.P.A.