Washington (April 8, 2003) - As the deadline for the Internal Revenue Service’s Offshore Voluntary Compliance Initiative draws near, 10 states have announced they will grant special consideration to taxpayers who apply to the initiative. If individuals amend their state returns and pay all tax, penalties and interest by Oct. 15, they can avoid state prosecution.

“The actions by these states send another strong signal to people improperly using offshore credit cards. Now is the time to get things right,” said IRS Acting Commissioner Bob Wenzel. “We’re pleased many states are stepping forward and extending parallel offers to those offshore applicants who live in their states. The IRS and the states share a common goal of bringing people into compliance with the tax law.”

The states participating are California, Idaho, Louisiana, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Utah and Vermont. More states are expected to announce they will offer similar treatment to OVCI applicants. Many other states are assisting the IRS by sharing information about the Initiative on their state Web sites.

Taxpayers have until April 15, 2003 to apply to participate in OVCI. Launched in mid-January, the initiative is aimed at those individuals who have used offshore payment cards or other offshore financial arrangements to avoid U.S. taxes. The IRS has already collected millions of dollars from the compliance project.

Once taxpayers have been deemed eligible to participate, they have 150 days to provide all required documents and information to the IRS. Full details on terms, eligibility and how to apply can be found in the Revenue Procedure 2003-11. Those seeking information should e-mail queries to vci@irs.gov.

-- Electronic Accountant Newswire staff

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