Offshore Tax Amnesty Program Gains Popularity

According to a top U.S. Tax Official, approximately 14,700 Americans participated in the special tax amnesty program run by the IRS as part of the U.S. government’s case against Swiss bank UBS. (See blog entry “The Voluntary Disclosure Program and Swiss Bank Accounts” below for more information) According to the same tax official, taxpayers who had offshore accounts, and unreported income, in jurisdictions other than Switzerland also made voluntary disclosures through this special tax amnesty program.

There was no update from Canadian tax officials regarding the number of voluntary disclosures, involving offshore accounts, filed since August, 2009. However, unlike the special U.S. tax amnesty program, Canada’s voluntary disclosure program is still available for taxpayers with undeclared offshore assets and income. Without the deadline to take advantage of the voluntary disclosure program, it is likely that the participation rate in Canada was lower than that in the U.S.