March 27, 2009

Nationalise the Rs. 250 lakh crore public loot in tax havens

http://sites. site/hindunew/ public-loot

The Swiss Bank Accounts as tax havens is only a tip of the iceberg. There are 71 other tax havens where the public loot has been parked. The total estimate of such a loot is $11 trillion of which India alone accounts for over $5 trillion (Rs. 250 lakh crores using an exchange rate of Rs. 50 to a dollar). The job is not over until the fat lady sings.

I hope JD(S) and BJP make this a serious election issue and follow-through in nationalizing these benami transactions. Let the owners prove that the holdings are legal and pay up the back-taxes and face criminal proceedings. No mercies should be shown to the crooks who have looted from the poor people of Hindusthan.


IRS Cuts Penalties to Lure Tax Evaders


Come in from the cold (Wall Street Journal, March 27, 2009)
The IRS is trying to encourage people with undeclared offshore bank accounts to pay what they owe. General details of the offer:
· Pay all taxes owed, plus interest, dating back six years
· Pay a penalty of 20% of the value of the accounts for the year in which those accounts had their highest value
· Avoid criminal prosecution
· Milder penalties; previously, someone could wind up owing more in taxes, interest and penalties than the value of the foreign account

Source: Internal Revenue Service

WASHINGTON -- The Internal Revenue Service is offering leniency to many wealthy Americans who volunteer to pay taxes owed on assets stashed in offshore accounts, in exchange for information on the bankers who helped them hide the money.Taxpayers who take part in a new program being offered over the next six months will face lower penalties than would otherwise be due, and will likely avoid criminal prosecution, the agency said.

A key part of the program, IRS officials said, is "developing intelligence" on bankers, lawyers, accountants and others who help the rich hide assets from tax authorities. This raises the likelihood that the IRS and the Justice Department could take aim at major financial firms, as they have against UBS AG, the Swiss bank that admitted in a settlement last month that some of its bankers had helped U.S. clients evade taxes.

Lawyers representing clients who are trying to make amends with the IRS said their clients are being prodded to name those who helped them set up offshore accounts, or risk losing the leniency they would receive by coming forward.

"The IRS is clearly interested in information about bankers, financial advisers, lawyers and intermediaries," said Scott D. Michel, a lawyer at Caplin & Drysdale who helps clients navigate the IRS's voluntary process to pay back taxes. "Lawyers who go in for voluntary disclosures are being asked to identify any such people with whom their clients interacted."

As the federal government struggles with rising deficits and public anger over financial bailouts, the White House and Congress have begun to focus on reducing tax evasion as a way to ease the financial strain. Recently, under pressure from the U.S. and other countries, Switzerland and several other countries seen as offshore tax havens have promised to increase information sharing with the IRS and other tax authorities to combat tax fraud.

For those holding accounts hidden from the IRS, "this is a chance to come clean on their own," IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said in a conference call with reporters on Thursday. "For taxpayers who continue to hide their heads in the sand, the situation will only become more dire." The IRS has warned that it will crack down hard on evaders who don't come forward voluntarily.

Under the new program, account holders must voluntarily disclose unreported offshore income and pay any back taxes, interest and penalties. That typically includes paying all back taxes and interest going back a maximum of six years, filing or amending returns, and paying a penalty equivalent to 20% of the value of an account during the tax year in which the account had its highest value.

Previously, IRS penalties could be so severe that a taxpayer might wind up paying more in back taxes, interest and penalties than the value of the foreign account.
In addition, if taxpayers come forward voluntarily before the IRS has launched an audit, they likely would escape criminal proceedings.
The IRS devised the program as the federal government neared a victory in its battle with UBS over its role in encouraging tax evasion by U.S. account holders. UBS admitted to abetting tax evasion as part of a deal with the Justice Department that allowed it to avoid criminal prosecution. The bank also paid $780 million in fines and turned over information on more than 250 accounts. UBS continues to fight an IRS subpoena seeking information on 52,000 other accounts, arguing that disclosing the information would violate Swiss bank-secrecy laws.
As a result of the UBS case and other ongoing efforts, the IRS said, the number of people who have come forward to declare offshore accounts has more than doubled this year over the same period in 2008.
Jack Blum, a Washington tax attorney and expert on offshore tax jurisdictions, said the new IRS program seems aimed at helping tax authorities in new cases against banks in the same business for which UBS got in trouble.
It is unclear exactly how many Americans are hiding taxable income in secret bank accounts abroad, or how much in taxes they are evading.
A report issued by the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations last July said the U.S. each year "loses an estimated $100 billion in tax revenues due to offshore tax abuses." The report estimated that offshore tax havens hold trillions of dollars in assets belonging to citizens of other countries, including the U.S.
Write to Evan Perez at evan.perez@wsj. com and Tom Herman at tom.herman@wsj. com
http://tinyurl. com/debzmx
US offers tax deal for holders of offshore accounts
6 hours ago
WASHINGTON (AFP) — US tax authorities are offering a deal including reduced civil penalties and a guarantee against criminal prosecution to holders of offshore bank accounts who agree to pay back taxes.
A directive from the Internal Revenue Service, a copy of which was obtained Friday by AFP, states that tax collectors will agree to forego criminal penalties and potentially higher fines for account holders who step forward within the next six months.
The memo from deputy IRS enforcement chief Linda Stiff said the leniency would apply to persons who are not already under investigation and agree to pay back taxes over the past six years and a 20 percent civil penalty.
The directive also allows for an even smaller penalty of five percent for people who own the accounts but did not open or deposit money in them.
Tax specialists say the deal could avert tougher penalties of up to 50 percent and criminal charges that could lead to prison terms.
"Although there are accuracy and potential delinquency penalties, the significantly lower penalties on informational returns should be an incentive for many individuals who are considering a voluntary disclosure," said Jim Mastracchio, a Washington lawyer with the firm Caplin & Drysdale.
Mastracchio said the directive provides guidance to tax inspectors and formalizes a policy that may or may not be used for people who volunteer information on offshore accounts.
The action comes as Swiss banking giant UBS Wednesday faces pressure to name about 50,000 Americans holding secret bank accounts in Switzerland.
US senators have accused bankers at crisis-wracked UBS of helping wealthy Americans to flout US tax law through a variety of underhand methods down to encrypted laptops and lies to US customs officers.
Mastracchio said the incentives could bring account holders in to cooperate with US authorities, possibly providing information for a probe into UBS bankers.
http://tinyurl. com/cktvzx

JD-U goes after Indian holders of Swiss accounts

New Delhi (IANS): The Janata Dal-United (JD-U) Friday joined the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) in demanding that the government should ask the Swiss authorities to divulge the names of Indians who have stashed away ill-gotten money in secret bank accounts there.

JD-U president Sharad Yadav told reporters here: "India tops the list of countries whose citizens have deposited monies in Swiss banks and we must ask the government there to reveal the names."

CPI(M) leader Prakash Karat made the demand last week during the release of his party manifesto.
Without disclosing his source, Mr. Yadav said Swiss banks had "$1,456 billion belonging to Indians, followed by $470 billion belonging to Russians, $390 billion of Britons, $100 billion of Ukraine, and $96 billion of China." About his source, he said: "The source is reliable. This information is also available on the internet."
Mr. Yadav, also convenor of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance, said: "We demand that India should do everything possible to get the money back."
"It is unfortunate that our government has not asked the Swiss authorities to reveal the names, while the US has already done so. This inaction raises suspicion that the government is not interested in getting the money back," he said.
Mr. Yadav said with this money the country could increase its foreign exchange reserves "as well as eliminate poverty from the country and repay all debts".
http://www.hinduonn 941.htm
‘JD(U) wants $1456 bn from Swiss bank back’
New Delhi, Mar 27: Expressing shock over the reports of 1456 billion dollors of Indian money allegedly deposited in Swiss Bank, JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav on Friday demanded a thorough probe into it and steps to bring back the money.

"Government should not only ask the Swiss Bank to reveal the details of the accounts of Indians but should also do all the needful to bring back the money and prosecute those Indians, who have their accounts in the Swiss Bank," party chief Sharad Yadav told a press conference here.

He said if the NDA comes to power it will accord top priority to exposing such people. Yadav also called upon all political parties of the country to make their stand public on this issue.

"We are not only raising the issue. We will also include it in our election manifesto and try to make it the central issue in the election if the government does not act swiftly," Yadav said.

"It is a naked picture of corruption in the last sixty years of our independence. The money of the farmers and for the country's development was looted in which corporates and bureaucrats and above all politicians are involved," he alleged.

"According to the revelation, India with 1456 billion dollor deposit tops the list of countries whose money lie in the bank. But it is unfortunate that while all other countries of the world have responded to the disclosures, Government of India is yet to respond," he added.

Bureau Report
http://www.zeenews. com/nation/2009-03-27/518560ne ws.html

1 comment:

Sunil said...

These corrupt politicians will never took up these matters. They will blame it on each other. This time Mr. Prime Minister should take this matter to G 20 Summit and ask for what is ours like what others are doing.
I believe this could be one of the major menifest for the forth comming Lok shabha elections. So all voters please judge your candidate and vote. It is our (voter) power that can make or ruin our future.