Thursday, May 9, 2013

IRS, UK and Australia Joint Efforts on Offshore Accounts (5/9/13)

Reports are that the IRS is teaming with UK and Australian tax authorities to chase down taxes on income in offshore accounts.  Michael Cohn, IRS, UK and Australian Tax Authorities Uncover Information on Offshore Tax Evaders and Advisors (Accounting Today 5/9/13), here.  Exceprts are:
The Internal Revenue Service is teaming up with tax authorities in the United Kingdom and Australia to battle offshore tax havens after uncovering new information on specific taxpayers and advisors. 
The tax administrations from the U.S., Australia and the U.K. announced a plan Thursday to share tax information involving trusts and companies that hold assets on behalf of residents in jurisdictions throughout the world. The IRS said the three nations have each acquired a substantial amount of data revealing extensive use of such entities organized in a number of jurisdictions including Singapore, the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands and the Cook Islands.  
The data they have acquired purportedly contains both the identities of the individual owners of these entities, along with the advisors who assisted in establishing the entity structure. 
The IRS said it has been working together with the Australian Tax Office and the U.K.’s HM Revenue & Customs to analyze the data they have acquired and have already uncovered information that may be relevant to the tax administrations of other jurisdictions. The IRS said they have also developed a plan for sharing the data, along with their preliminary analysis, if requested by those other tax administrations.
I did not realize this earlier, but the key new information in the article is pretty much taken from IR-2013-48, May 9, 2013, titled "IRS, Australia and Unite Kingdom Engaged in Cooperative Effort to Combat Offshore Tax Evasion," here.


  1. I don't understand why you have allocated a single terse and perfunctory blog post for a story of this nature. Do you understand what is going on in this story? The vast data leak that previously was believed to have gone solely to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has in fact wound up in the hands of the IRS and the tax authorities in the UK and Australia.

    The ICIJ data leak comprised hundreds of gigabytes of data; the ICIJ described it as "A cache of 2.5 million files has cracked open the secrets of more than 120,000 offshore companies and trusts, exposing hidden dealings of politicians, con men and the mega-rich the world over."

    The ICIJ had stated that it would not make all of its data public or turn over any data to any tax authority, but would instead only report on select taxpayers that the ICIJ deemed newsworthy. That appears to be moot now. The latest reports indicate not only that the tax authorities have somehow acquired these data, but that they may have a further 160GB that were not leaked to the ICIJ.

    I cannot understand why you aren't covering this as the bombshell that it is. It is a much bigger story than UBS.

  2. It is interesting that you mention this. I just read this story (google translate from German) from Der Standard. It does appear there was a purpose and agenda in the "so called Leak". I wondered about the timing at the time, but saw that all the public media lapped it up, (PBS Newshour) without a skeptical question about where the data came from and why?

    Offshore Leaks: The Curious "Media Coop"

    After the "big bang" of three states to the disclosure of secret data from tax havens just on the eve of the G-7 meeting: The online portal Carta tells the story somewhat differently - especially with regard to the question why it was not tumbled in 2010.


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