IRS Opens Tax Cases Based on Trove of Offshore Data

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service has opened cases and begun investigations based on what it calls a “substantial amount” of information it has received on offshore companies and trusts.

The U.S., the U.K. and Australia are working together to analyze the data for potential tax-law violations. The countries disclosed their work today and said the data show how residents of countries around the world use offshore accounts in Singapore, the British Virgin Islands, the Cook Islands and the Cayman Islands.

“It’s enough for us to move on in several cases at least,” Michael Danilack, an IRS deputy commissioner for international issues, said in a telephone interview today. “When we see information like that, we usually will pursue what we can on both the owner as well as any advisers that may be involved.”

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists released a report on similar -- if not identical -- data April 3. Danilack declined to comment when asked whether it was the same data. He also wouldn’t discuss how long the IRS has had the information or how it was obtained.

Danilack described the three-country coordination as an announcement to tax agencies around the world that they have information. He said the Canadian government has already requested information.

“The unique aspect of this is the multilateral effort that the three of us are essentially kick-starting,” he said.

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