GFI and Others Voice Support for Tax Evasion Crackdown in US Tax Extenders Bill

December 9th, 2009

Global Financial Integrity released the following press release this morning:

WASHINGTON, DC — Global Financial Integrity joined leading civil society groups in calling for swift passage of H.R. 4213, the Tax Extenders Act of 2009, expected to go to the House floor today for a vote. Multiple groups, ranging from the AFL-CIO to U.S. Public Interest Research Group (US PIRG), signed a letter voicing support for the bill which includes language that would tackle banking secrecy and tax evasion.

The letter states:

H.R. 4213 also includes a proposal introduced by Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel to prevent wealthy Americans from cheating on their U.S. taxes by hiding their income in offshore tax havens.

While this proposal is not as strong as we would prefer, it would be an important step forward to ensure that all Americans pay their fair share in taxes. Middle-income Americans typically have few opportunities to hide their income from the IRS. But wealthy Americans have access to lawyers and accountants who help them hide their income in offshore tax havens. Tax havens are countries that have a very low income tax (or no income tax) and laws that prevent their banks from cooperating with IRS enforcement efforts.

While the vast majority of taxpayers at all income levels do the right thing and pay their fair share, a minority of wealthy Americans are engaging in these activities that are both illegal and unfair. The Baucus-Rangel proposal would create strong incentives for foreign banks to provide information that would help the IRS identify tax cheats without creating any significant burden on the banks or their honest customers.

“Following a year where tax evasion scandals rocked the American public, legislators promised to enact measures to crack down on offshore tax cheats,” said GFI Legislative Director, Heather Lowe. “The Baucus-Rangel provision in the tax extenders bill represents a golden opportunity to start fulfilling those promises, while increasing overall transparency and accountability in offshore finance.”

Other groups signing the support letter include:

  • American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
  • Americans for Democratic Action, Inc.
  • Citizens for Tax Justice
  • Global Financial Integrity
  • National Women’s Law Center
  • OMB Watch
  • Public Citizen
  • Tax Justice Network (U.S.A.)
  • United for a Fair Economy
  • U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG)

Click here to read the whole letter.


Written by Clark Gascoigne

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