Washington (Sept. 3, 2002) -- Continuing its crackdown on offshore accounts, the Internal Revenue Service went to court in an effort to force more than 40 companies, including AOL Time Warner, eBay, and American Airlines, to surrender information on customers the agency suspects are hiding income in offshore accounts, Bloomberg News reported.


The IRS reportedly filed summonses in federal courts in seven cities in an attempt to review documents from companies whose goods or services were purchased with credit cards linked to offshore accounts, Bloomberg said. Summonses were filed in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Newark, San Francisco, Seattle, and Alexandria, Va.


The agency is seeking records from airlines, hotels, car renters, Internet companies, retailers, and shipping companies. The companies, however, are not the targets of IRS investigations, according to the report.


The summonses were prompted by transaction information the IRS received in the last year from MasterCard and American Express. In some cases, said Dale Hart, a deputy commissioner, the name or address of the cardholder is not known; that is the information the agency is seeking from the merchants.


Offshore accounts cost the Treasury $20 billion to $40 billion a year in tax revenue, the report noted.


-- Electronic Accountant Newswire staff

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