US tax office hunts down wealthy tax evaders

| 31/03/2011

(Daily Mail): The IRS has dramatically increased the number of wealthy individuals being audited in a clampdown on tax evasion amongst the rich. Investigators inspected the books for 18 per cent of those earning more than $10million in 2010, a near doubling of the 10 per cent investigated the year before. Nearly one in five of the elite now must hand over their accounts for agents to trawl through for evidence of cheating the system. The clampdown is the first fruit of the Global High Wealth Industry unit set up in 2009 to investigate the complex finances of the nation’s wealthiest. Tax evasion has become a major problem in the US in recent years, with the rich paying accountants and lawyers to move their money around to ensure they pay as little tax as possible.

Last week itemerged that General Electric, the largest corporation in the U.S., paid no tax at all last year – and even got a $3.2billion ‘rebate’ from the government.

George Clarke, an attorney at Miller & Chevalier Chartered in Washington said: “The government has an obligation and a duty to make people believe that everybody is paying their fair share. And particularly with respect to the wealthy, there’s a view that they’re able to get out of their obligations.”

The IRS figures show the audit rates for all income groups went up with the second highest rise amongst those who earned between $5million and $10million, who saw a 55 per cent increase to 11 per cent of all those who filed.

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