Senators Max Baucus, D-Mont. and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman and ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, announced they would introduce six new measures to curb offshore tax evasion. The steps include: * Lengthening the statute of limitations for prosecuting individuals who fail to file a foreign bank account report. * Clarifying IRS authority to enforce filing requirements for these reports. * Clarifying the information that must be included in these reports. * Requiring taxpayers to file the reports with their individual and corporate income tax returns. * Revising the definition of ownership to include beneficial ownership of a corporation. * Including the reports in the Tax Code section that causes the statute of limitations not to expire before three years after the taxpayer furnishes the required information. The announcement was made at a hearing to discuss the findings of the Government Accountability Office investigation into the Ugland House, a law firm's office building in the Cayman Islands and the registered home to thousands of corporations. "Plainly, there's a lot of financial activity in the Caymans," said Baucus. "There's a virtual feast going on down there. That has led to some crowded halls in the Ugland House. And up to half of those Ugland House tenants - around 9,000 entities - are Americans." The investigation into Ugland House is somewhat misguided, according to Daniel J. Mitchell, senior fellow at Cato Institute. "The implication is there can't be 10,000 businesses in this building, but where a company is registered has nothing to do with where they conduct business. Companies are registered in Delaware because they have very good corporate and tax law. No one will argue that it's not normal to go to a jurisdiction that is very well regulated and regarded and where the courts are honest, as in the Cayman Islands."
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