Bloomberg reports that the U.S. Internal Revenue Service is going to give the big-wig tax dodgers one more chance to come clean and divulge the assets they are hiding outside the country (and naturally, the earnings on those assets). You remember that there had been an amnesty already, which coincidentally dug up the UBS scandal (a Swiss-based bank marketing tax evasion schemes to Americans, but taking offense when Washington began characterizing UBS as a criminal syndicate . . . )
When I hear about this, I can’t help but think of the late Finn Caspersen. Mr. Caspersen was a large presence in the New Jersey Republican Party for many years, and based in my old home area of Somerset County, (where my family lived for generations before mostly moving to Pennsylvania.)
Mr. Caspersen did himself in, under unfortunate circumstances, in September 2009, and I leave it to the interested readers to read the details as it isn’t my point to elaborate on them. What I want to point out is that, at the time Caspersen died, there was the cloud of an IRS investigation over him.
There aren’t any particular details out, but it sounds like Finn Caspersen, through various asset management companies, was advising people to hide their financial wealth offshore in these very sort of dodges that UBS bank was selling so well, into the second Bush Administration.
When the investigations started, a lot of wealthy people realized that they were going to end up owing Uncle Sammy a boatload of money. It is said that Caspersen himself was in such a predicament, having evaded federal taxes that everyone else was paying.
The irony was that Caspersen was one of the biggest donors to Harvard Law School, his graduate-school alma mater. I also recall that he helped to finance the inauguration of Governor Thomas H. Kean of New Jersey (1982-1990), with a horse drawn carriage and a lot of other pomp.
He was giving all this money away as a Great Guy, for influence and prestige. And yet there surfaced this evidence that he might not have been paying all of his taxes. How nice if we could all just give our tax money away to “causes” and political friends.
What surprises me, is that few people make the connection that tax dodgers who are liberal with the gifts aren’t really doing anyone a favor–especially versus people who pay their taxes in full and on time.
Now that the IRS is going out and looking to confiscate more of these accounts, particularly in Southeast Asia, I wonder what is going to be revealed when more stones are unturned?
Oh, and by the way, I think this is a heads up to any American nonfilers overseas. If the Service is out there looking to stick it to people who are dodging for serious money, how likely do you think it is that it will also look the other way on your simple failure to file a U.S. income tax return on your Japan earnings?