What a load of crap.  Looks like a lot of rich people got together with their rich lawyers to defraud the government (and us all) and now they’ll be able to settle up and pay only up to 50% of the regular penalty (depends on the shady transaction ). Over four thousand people are going to get the benefit of the doubt and the schemes “range from complicated, risk-free offsetting currency transactions to products sold to small businesses involving health insurance plans. The transactions were marketed to wealthy individuals, large corporations and small business taxpayers.”
I think if you do the crime, you should do the time. It doesn’t matter that you were given bad advice by an accountant, ignorance is not a defense !
The only reason why I think they’re even offering this is because the rules weren’t clear enough and the IRS doesn’t want to bring these people to court and have a long drawn out taxpayer-dollar wasting ordeal – which, on one hand, I do commend them for. The IRS is hardly known for outside the box type thinking. Also, it turns out that this is the way they handled other tax shelters in the past (Son of Boss).
Cheats have until Jan 23rd, 2006 to submit a settlement paper after which they’ll pay all the taxes owed, interest, and a penalty depending on the transaction.
This initiative reflects the outcome of a 30-month strategy to restore enforcement and deter abusive tax shelter deals. Intensified civil and criminal promoter investigations, targeted summons enforcement actions and litigation and a more robust oversight program of tax professionals have all played a key role in the effort to combat these transactions.