IRS announces International Tax Enforcement Group initiative

The fact that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is cracking down on offshore accounts and foreign tax compliance issues is not a new one. Media outlets have been covering this story for months. However, the agency recently took a big step that will push these efforts to the next level.

What was the big step? The agency recently stated that it will move forward with a new criminal investigation group that will specialize in international tax issues. The Criminal Investigation Division (CID) of the IRS clarified, noting the group will focus on enforcement of international tax issues.

The group is named the International Tax Enforcement Group. It is comprised of special agents that will use data analytics to review information about United States taxpayers and offshore holdings. 

Why could this step take the agency’s efforts to the “next level?” Part of the group’s job will involve sorting through the data the IRS already has in its possession. Data gathered from the Offshore Voluntary Compliance Program, Panama Papers and Swiss Banking Program to name a few. These agents will be tasked with sorting through this information to determine whether or not compliance issues are present that require a more thorough follow up.

The agency is currently short staffed. As such, a group of experienced and trained agents that can get through this material in a timely manner could increase the likelihood that any taxpayers who are not in compliance will get caught.

What does it mean for taxpayers with accounts overseas? Anyone with foreign assets can take this latest initiative as another sign of the continued attempts by the IRS to come after those who are not in compliance with tax obligations.

If you have interest in foreign assets it is wise to seek legal counsel. An experienced international tax attorney can review your overseas accounts and discuss the various options that are available for compliance.

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