IRS Reduces Penalties if Tax Cheats Come Clean

STEPHEN OHLEMACHER | The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Internal Revenue Service is offering reduced penalties for international tax cheats who come clean.

IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said Tuesday that people who are hiding assets overseas can avoid jail and pay reduced fines if they turn themselves in and pay back taxes by Aug. 31. The offer is similar to one the IRS made in 2009 that netted 15,000 tax evaders.

Shulman said the new offer won't be as generous because he doesn't want to reward tax cheats who waited two years to come forward.

The IRS has long had a policy that certain tax evaders can avoid jail as long as they come forward before they are contacted by the agency. But without the program, penalties can sometimes far exceed the value of hidden accounts.

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