The IRS means it this time. Really.
The tax man is giving owners of offshore accounts, suspected of being used to evade taxes, extra time to 'fess up.
The deadline was Wednesday, Sept. 23.
It's been pushed to Oct. 15.
Now if might look like the IRS is backing off in its attempts to clamp down on offshore accounts. Not so, says the agency.
IRS officials say they decided to extend this week's deadline after receiving repeated requests from tax practitioners and attorneys, who were themselves reacting to "an influx of taxpayer requests." That seems to indicate that lots of folks are at least interested in turning over information to the feds.
So by extending the deadline for a short period of time, the IRS is providing relief for those well-intentioned taxpayers who are just having some "logistical and administrative challenges" in meeting this week's due date.
The extra three weeks should give tax preparers and attorneys who work with these account holders "the necessary time to interview and advise their backlog of taxpayers … and prepare the necessary paperwork to qualify for the special penalty provisions."
It's not that I doubt the sincerity of the offshore account holders. I'm sure they fully intend to the do the right tax thing … now that the IRS has renewed efforts to shut down offshore tax evasion schemes.
But this allowance of extra time also reminds me of kids who put off doing what their parents tell them to do until the folks finally put the hammer down. Too often, these kids know they can keep getting away with stuff and they take full advantage of the parental grace periods.
I sure hope the IRS is a stricter "parent," and is sincere in it's announcement that there will not be any more offshore account amnesty extensions.