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Mark Matthews Talks to Tax Notes About Creating Greater Flexibility in the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program

October 28, 2013, Tax Notes

Caplin & Drysdale's Mark E. Matthews spoke with Tax Notes concerning the need for greater flexibility in the implementation of the offshore voluntary disclosure program (OVDP).   Some tax practitioners are calling for OVDP to be modified based on the circumstances of a particular taxpayer.  To read the full article, please visit Tax Notes' website (subscription required)

Excerpt taken from the article "IRS Official Defends OVDP Against Calls for Greater Flexibility"
by Andrew Velarde for Tax Notes

Mark E. Matthews of Caplin & Drysdale was not convinced of the OVDP's universal fairness, citing a degree of randomness in the program, depending partly on the agent handling a case.

Noting the diversity of OVDP cases, Matthews said there are numerous cases in which individuals who have made an honest mistake on a tax return should steer clear of the program and its "Kafkaesque bureaucracy."

Given the "horror stories" of accidental noncompliant taxpayers facing large penalties, practitioners are losing confidence in the way the program is working, Matthews said.

Matthews was also critical of the taxpayers the Department of Justice had selected to pursue for offshore account prosecution, citing the prosecution of Mary Estelle Curran as setting a bad precedent. (Prior coverage 2013 TNT 81-3: News Stories.)

Matthews noted that Curran had previously tried to participate in OVDP before her prosecution commenced and questioned why the DOJ would prosecute her over the multitude of other bad actors.

"It leads people to distrust the judgments that are being exercised in these cases," he said.

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