Congress Continues to Prepare Assault on the Tax Gap

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The "tax gap," the difference between the total taxes owed and the total taxes paid in a given year, continues to be an alluring target for members of Congress. The IRS has estimated that in 2001, $345 billion in taxes due was not collected on time, and around $290 billion of that will never be collected. There is possibly much more tax evasion taking place in offshore tax havens.

A bill has been introduced in the House by Representatives Rahm Emanuel (D-IL), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) to crack down on offshore tax havens. A companion bill was introduced a few months ago in the Senate by Senators Carl Levin (D-MI), Norm Coleman (R-MN) and Barack Obama (D-IL). The legislation includes a presumption that offshore trusts and shell corporations in designated tax havens are controlled by the taxpayers funding them or directing them. It would also ban patents on tax strategies and would allow the federal government to order American banks to stop accepting or authorizing credit cards from foreign countries or banks not cooperating with U.S. tax enforcement laws. These reforms are important to anyone who pays her fair share - and is tired of subsidizing people who don't.

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