The Internal Revenue Service has collected over $5.5 billion in revenue from taxpayers who came forward and reported on their foreign holdings under its Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Programs, but it could be missing billions more in revenue...
The median account balance of the more than 10,000 cases closed so far from the 2009 OVDP was $570,000. Participant cases with offshore penalties greater than $1 million represented about 6 percent of all the 2009 OVDP cases, but accounted for almost half of all offshore penalties.
Taxpayers from these cases disclosed a variety of reasons for having offshore accounts. More than half of them had accounts at the Swiss bank UBS, which signed a deferred prosecution agreement in 2009 with the IRS under which it agreed to pay $780 million in fines, penalties, interest and restitution and later agreed to turn over thousands of names of its U.S. account holders.
Using 2009 OVDP data, the IRS identified bank names and account locations that helped it pursue additional noncompliance. Based on a review of the cases, the GAO found examples of immigrants who stated in their 2009 OVDP applications that they were unaware of their offshore reporting requirements. IRS officials from the Offshore Compliance Initiative office said they have not targeted outreach efforts to new immigrants. Using information from the 2009 OVDP, such as the characteristics of taxpayers who were not aware of their reporting requirements, to increase education and outreach to those populations could promote voluntary compliance, the GAO noted.
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