Leaked Documents Reveal Extent of Tax Shelter Abuse

by Joseph M. Donegan on April 17, 2013

The Internal Revenue Service has made going after Americans who violate U.S. tax law through the improper use of tax shelters a top priority. A new report that exposes millions of leaked documents reveals the large extent of tax shelter abuse occurring in the U.S.

Tax Shelter AbuseThe International Consortium of Investigative Journalists reports that 90 journalists from 47 countries have used new technology to examine roughly 2.5 million documents from the last 30 years. Their findings reveal that the large number of people relying on tax shelters to hide income far exceeds previous projections, and include American doctors and dentists, middle-class Greek villagers, a Spanish princess, family members of despots, Wall Street executives and ultra-rich from across the world. The list also includes the names of 4,000 Americans and celebrities.

"We expected to find only the mega rich using [offshore accounts]," said Gerard Ryle, director of the consortium. "But in fact we found it was being used by a much broader section of society."

The report has major implications for several countries around the globe, many of which are now launching probes into their own citizens as a result of the extensive information found. The group that published the report said the findings have significant consequences for the countries impacted by tax shelter abuse, as many have suffered sizable economic losses as a result of these crimes.

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