Politico Quotes Mark Matthews on Panama Papers Impact on Unreported Foreign Accounts
Mark E. Matthews spoke with Politico about the recent leak of the so-called Panamanian Papers and what this means for taxpayers with unreported foreign accounts. For the full article, please visit Politico's website.
Excerpt taken from the article.
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What's the Impact of the Panama Papers?:
It's game over for tax cheats, if you ask Mark Matthews, the former chief of the IRS's criminal investigation division. "The notion that there's some remaining safe place where you can hide your assets and income is utterly false," Matthews told Pro Tax on Monday, adding that the Panama Papers disclosures will only add to global investigators' motivation to go after offshore evasion.
The number of Americans implicated in the leak isn't yet clear. But Matthews, now at Caplin Drysdale, noted that the "leaver lists" — lists of clients who closed accounts in banks that went on to settle with the government under the Swiss Bank Program — give U.S. investigators plenty of targets. In fact, Matthews has already noticed an uptick in the number of grand jury investigations of American account holders: "We have a lot of clients come to us when it's too late, they've got a grand jury letter and can't participate in the offshore voluntary program."
It's all a sign, Matthews said, that the federal government is winning the fight right now — something he didn't really see coming when he was criminal chief at the start of the century. "One of our worries was that the Internet would sort of take tax evasion to the masses — it was a lot easier to open up a foreign bank account," he said. "I wouldn't have bet that the U.S. government would be where it is right now."