Internal Revenue Service (IRS) commissioner, Douglas Shulman, said he doesn’t intend to stay in the job after his five-year term expires in November. “My plan is to leave at the end of my term,” he said during a question-and-answer session today at the National Press Club in Washington. Shulman had previously served as vice chairman of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.
During the speech, Commissioner Shulman recounted the IRS’s achievements during his tenure. He discussed the IRS’s progress integrating technology into their taxpayer service and enforcement functions. Of particular note, he also discussed the IRS’s efforts to crackdown on offshore assets, specifically the IRS’s foreign accounts initiatives:
Over the past four years, we have significantly increased our resources and focus on offshore tax evasion, and the results have been substantial. We upped the ante in a meaningful way with our work on Swiss financial institutions – where for the first time in history, a bank secrecy jurisdiction turned over thousands of names and account numbers.
As we increased our enforcement efforts and gained significant momentum, we gave taxpayers a chance to come in voluntarily and avoid going to jail. In a typical year, we used to get 100 or so taxpayers who used our voluntary disclosure program. For this program, we thought that figure would rise to maybe 1,000.
So, we are very pleased that through the end of 2011, we’ve had approximately 33,000 voluntary disclosures from individuals who came in under several special programs we started in 2009. To date, these individuals have paid back taxes and stiff penalties amounting to more than $4.4 billion, and the number continues to grow. We are now mining the information we have received to date and have launched our next wave of investigations on banks, bankers, intermediaries and taxpayers.
To read Commissioner Shulman’s prepared remarks click here.