“Follow the money.”
So says Don Fort, a chief principal with the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation division, known for its relentless probing of Americans holding accounts abroad in foreign financial institutions.
Fort doesn’t care overly much about the one million or so taxpayers living overseas and having foreign accounts who dutifully filed mandatory Foreign Bank and Financial Account documents last year.
He is, however, steadfastly fixated on an estimated eight millions others who did not complete such forms.
“I think there are areas of offshore tax evasion that still have to be pursued,” he says.
As reported in a recent Financial Times article focusing upon suspected offshore tax evasion and investigatory efforts to uncover it, U.S. tax officials are most interested in so-called “leavers.” Namely, those are Americans who transferred funds from Swiss banks to other countries and institutions several years ago following a crackdown on covert Swiss holdings.
Reportedly, there is now a huge paper and online trail to follow in the wake of the notorious Panama Papers scandal that put a spotlight on potentially millions of undisclosed accounts held overseas that Americans have not lawfully paid taxes on.
And Fort and his special agents seem resolutely determined to follow that path wherever it leads, hoping that it points to new undeclared accounts across the globe.
“When individuals fled Switzerland, where did the money go?” he asks.
Fort pledges to carry out his tax-evasion probe with due earnestness going forward, with the IRS sparing no resources to uncover fraud.
Suspected wrongdoers could be targeted for criminal prosecution or, alternatively, civil audits that yield monetary penalties.