Taxpayers participating in "Son of Boss" tax shelter settlements have so far paid in more than $3.2 billion, a figure that should top $3.5 billion when the project concludes in the coming months, according to the Internal Revenue Service. Son of Boss, an offshoot of an earlier shelter called Boss ("bond and option sales strategy") was an abusive transaction aggressively marketed in the late 1990s and 2000 primarily to wealthy individuals. Both the Boss and Son of Boss shelters were structured using derivatives, noted Selva Ozelli, CPA, an international tax attorney with RIA. "Derivatives were used because of their uncertain tax treatment, limited financial statement disclosure and uncertainty regarding their valuation," she said. The settlement initiative required taxpayers to concede 100 percent of the claimed tax losses and pay a penalty of either 10 percent or 20 percent, unless they previous disclosed the transactions to the IRS. "This was a particularly bad shelter, and we're glad so many chose to get right with the government," said IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson. "Despite the tough terms we offered, two-thirds of Son of Boss participants have come forward and paid up." Thus far, nearly 1,200 Son of Boss taxpayers have settled with the IRS. Typical settlements were about $1 million, while 18 taxpayers forked over $20 million apiece, and one paid a whopping $100 million. Based on disclosures that the IRS has received from promoter investigations and from investor lists from Justice Department litigation, the agency determined that over 1,800 people participated in Son of Boss. "For those who didn't come forward, we know who they are," Everson said. "We are going after them."

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