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California Announces New Assault Against Abusive Tax Shelters

by Leroy Baker, Tax-News.com, New York

05 December 2003


California’s Franchise Tax Board Chair and Controller Steve Westly has announced a Voluntary Compliance Initiative to encourage state residents who may have used illegal tax shelters to amend their tax returns and escape potentially harsh penalties.

The scheme is effective until April 15 next year and the Board has written to 7,500 individuals and companies in the cash-strapped state who it suspects may have invested in tax shelters, inviting them to voluntarily come forward.

"During these difficult financial times, when we are making tough choices, everyone needs to play by the rules," declared Westly

"We need to focus on the promoters that are systematically violating the law and advising clients to enter into illegal tax shelters," he added.

Legislation signed in October this year has increased the enforcement powers of the FTB in the realm of tax law and it allows the board to impose heavy fines on offenders. It has also signed an information sharing agreement with the IRS in order that both agencies can cooperate in the tracking down of those suspected of tax crimes.


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