You might hear a character on “The Sopranos” talk about stashing cash in offshore accounts, but the practice isn’t just for mob bosses. The Internal Revenue Service is investigating several cases of Iowans taking illegal steps to hide money in overseas bank accounts. Janine Meriweather, a special agent with the I-R-S’ Criminal Investigation unit, says it’s not illegal for Iowans to put money in offshore accounts but it -is- illegal if the transaction isn’t reported to the I-R-S. Meriweather couldn’t reveal details of the current investigations involving Iowans but says in general, it’s a challenging puzzle to track down people who illegally use offshore accounts as tax shelters. Meriweather says people who -have- illegally sent money to offshore accounts may consider taking advantage of the I-R-S’ Offshore Voluntary Compliance Initiative. Under the program, taxpayers who step forward and reveal their accounts will -not- face civil fraud charges, but would still face paying back taxes, penalties and interest. For more information on the voluntary compliance initiative, consult “www.irs.gov”.
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