Of the decisions made by the G-20 in London last week, the most relevant to U.S. taxpayers may be a crackdown on the hiding of assets in foreign banks. It is white-collar crime with a capital C.
For far too long, the Internal Revenue Service has been deprived of taxes by calculating cheaters. Estimates have run into the tens of billions. Switzerland has always been targeted as the main haven for concealing money. Swiss banks have historically been silent partners to the scheme.
When final details are announced, it should be firm on countries, with sanctions imposed for those who don't comply.
Perhaps it was just symbolic, but a federal grand jury in Boca Raton, Fla., indicted a CPA last week for hiding assets of his clients. With the April 15 tax deadline only a week away, it could be a warning sign to any taxpayers or accountants who are planning to avoid taxes due.
Confidence in the IRS ebbs and flows over time. In the Nixon administration, enemies of the president were targeted for phony audits. It was not a proud moment for the government.
Most taxpayers have their taxes withheld by their employers. They should expect equal treatment for the wealthy taxpayers. There is some feeling that the Obama administration is trying to soak the rich and entrepreneurs who provide jobs for workers. In the nation's progressive tax system, it is only fair that the wealthy pay more.
Ultimately, the coffers of the Treasury are certain to benefit if the G-20 plan succeeds. With all of us obliged to file returns on April 15, we need assurance all are paying their share—no more, no less.
A postscript on my column last week on gun control:
A few days after the column, 13 innocents were slaughtered in Binghamton, N.Y., by a gunman at an immigration study center. A day later, three police officers in Pittsburgh were murdered while answering a call about a domestic dispute. Friends of that gunman, who had several weapons including an AK-47, said he was worried the Obama administration would seize his guns. Where did he get that idea, since the president and Congress have been silent on any measure to control guns?
For readers of the column who used only insults as a response, there is no response. For those who want a dialogue on mass murders after Columbine, Virginia Tech, and recent killings, isn't it time?