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A Tale Of Two Amnesties

It's not just JPM and GS beating expectations these days. With the IRS's tax "amnesty" deadline hours away, head tax cop Doug Schulman gave his troops a pat on the back for a job already well done getting would be tax evaders to fess up. So far 7500 people have either been scared straight or lacked a passport required to play the tax amnesty arbitrage game elsewhere. Assuming all of those seeking forgiveness were UBS clients, that places the success rate at a robust 14% or so of the 52,000 accounts the government wanted the Swiss to hand over.

"We have seen a very strong response to the program and I am very pleased with the results," Shulman said.

The IRS may be pleased that the hit rate on the scare campaign has eclipsed zero, but with people still trying to decide which is the more terrifying prospect, coming forward and placing their fate in the IRS's hands or continuing to make a run for it, the risk/reward proposition seems to still be open to interpretation. If only there was another way. A way that would flush out tax evaders once and for all and eliminate the government's need to spend countless millions adding tax offices and bounty hunters around the world.

Italian tax evaders, lured by the country's third amnesty since 2001, are repatriating funds at a record pace as the recession prompts them to pump cash into their companies.
"We've already received interest for twice as many funds that may be repatriated as in the previous amnesty," Luca Caramaschi, head of private wealth management at Deutsche Bank AG in Italy, said in a telephone interview from Milan.

IRS Intensifies Global Hunt for Secret Offshore Bank Accounts [Bloomberg]