FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
THURSDAY, AUGUST 22, 2002
TDD (202) 514-1888
FEDERAL COURT APPROVES SERVICE OF IRS SUMMONS ON MASTERCARD
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A federal court in Miami, Florida has issued an order authorizing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to serve a "John Doe" summons on MasterCard International for records of offshore credit cards issued by banks in 30 countries, including Liechtenstein, Switzerland and numerous Caribbean nations, such as Belize, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.
United States District Judge Ursula Ungaro-Benages signed this order after the Justice Department filed a petition on August 15, 2002, for approval of the summons, which permits the IRS to obtain information about possible tax evasion by people whose identities are not known to the IRS.
The information expected in response to the summons will help the IRS identify people who use offshore accounts to evade their United States income tax liabilities. The IRS suspects people have been evading taxes by diverting income and assets overseas and spending money in the United States by using credit, charge or debit cards issued by banks in offshore tax haven or financial privacy jurisdictions.
"We are pleased that the court acted promptly, as it will help the IRS locate people who evade taxes through offshore accounts," said Eileen J. O'Connor, Assistant Attorney General for the Department's Tax Division. "In turn, this information will enable the Justice Department to enforce the tax laws."