In a continuation of my favorite story of the year, the IRS announced a few days ago that they are ramping up a new investigative unit to find more offshore tax cheats, with an emphasis on those that are using dummy corporations with multiple layers to hide their wealth. They’ve named it the “Global High Wealth Industry Group”.
With new offices in various countries, it appears the IRS is also acknowledging that high finance is a global game for many people. And my government isn’t alone. According to Reuters, “tax authorities in Japan, Germany and the UK have also created similar units.”
From IRS Commissioner Shulman in a recent speech:
At least initially, we will be looking at individuals with tens of millions of dollars of assets or income. Going forward, we will take a unified look at the entire web of business entities controlled by a high wealth individual, which will enable us to better assess the risk such arrangements pose to tax compliance and the integrity of our tax system.
Shulman acknowledged that there are plenty of valid reasons to have complicated overseas business entities, but we’ve all seen enough TV dramas to know that if you’re going to hide the money you owe, that’s how you go about it.
I imagine a lot of people are going to be losing sleep over this new tactic, but there’s an easy way to resume a good night’s sleep: stop cheating. And if you’ve been cheating without realizing it (“it was all that crooked accountant’s fault!”) then not to worry, you still make more than ten million dollars a year, and you can afford to pay what you owe.
IRS hires “hundreds” for new wealth unit, Kim Dixon, Reuters, 11 Dec 2009