Justice News

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Department of Justice Asks Court to Serve Summons for Offshore Records

WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice today asked a federal court in Denver to approve service of a John Doe summons on First Data Corporation. "John Doe" summonses allow the IRS to obtain information about United States taxpayers whose identities are not yet known. The information expected in response to the summons will help the IRS identify merchants who use offshore accounts to evade their United States tax liabilities. The petition alleges that the merchants have opened bank accounts in offshore jurisdictions and directed their payment card processor, in this instance First Data, to deposit the proceeds from their debit or credit card transactions directly into the offshore accounts.

The courts have previously approved numerous John Doe summonses on credit card companies and third-party credit card processors allowing the IRS to identify individuals who were using debit and credit cards issued by offshore banks to evade their taxes. With this summons, the Department of Justice ratchets up the pressure on tax evaders by seeking the identities of merchants who attempt to hide their business income in offshore accounts.

"Some United States taxpayers are evading billions of dollars per year in United States taxes through the use of offshore accounts. The Department of Justice will ensure that the IRS obtains all the necessary information to identify these taxpayers, whether they are individuals or businesses," said John DiCicco, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Tax Division.

"The IRS will not hesitate to use all the tools available to combat offshore tax evasion by individuals and businesses," said Linda Stiff, IRS Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement.

More information about the Justice Department’s Tax Division is available at www.usdoj.gov/tax.

09-349