US rejects Indian-Americans’ plea on disclosing offshore accounts

Washington:  The US Treasury Department has turned down the Indian-American community’s plea to extend the deadline for disclosing offshore accounts from Aug 31 to Dec 31 and reduction in penalties for non-disclosure.

“At this time, we do not contemplate granting an across-the-board deadline extension for all taxpayers,” the department said in response to a letter to US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner by Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) in June.

Turning down GOPIO’s plea for the reduction in penalties, it said the 2011 Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative (OVDI) “provides a way for taxpayers with undeclared assets offshore to resolve their tax problems.”

Referring to GOPIO’s complaint that the OVDI has not been publicised in ethnic newspapers and other community media in multiple languages, the Department said it had promoted OVDI awareness by posting information about the OVDI in eight foreign languages, including Hindi, on IRS.GOV.

“We have also released information through traditional media, both national and local, as well as social media websites such as Twitter. We will continue this extensive outreach effort as the August 31, 2011, deadline nears,” it said.

The Indian community groups, however, have decided to keep up their efforts for reconsideration by the Treasury and relief as requested in a July 19 letter submitted to President Barack Obama, GOPIO said.

Four organizations spearheading the move are GOPIO, National Federation of Indian American Associations (NFIA), American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) and Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA). By Arun Kumar