The taxman cometh

Open thread. Will Obama's new tax compliance initiatives drive more companies overseas or is it simply a way of getting tax cheats to pay their fair share to the public coffers?

President Barack Obama will flesh out a proposal included in his February budget blueprint seeking to curb the practice of parking foreign earnings in offshore tax havens indefinitely. By some estimates, $700 billion or more in U.S. corporate earnings have accumulated in overseas accounts in recent years. The plan to be announced Monday will go further. It aims to change the legal treatment of offshore subsidiaries and structures that companies have used to avoid not only U.S. taxes, but taxes in other developed countries as well.

In addition, the administration will strive to tighten rules that have encouraged thousands of Americans to open offshore bank accounts in an effort to duck U.S. taxes. The plan would increase information reporting and tax withholding as well as penalties, and make it harder for foreign account-holders to win cases in court. The administration promised new enforcement tools to crack down on tax-haven abuse.

Well, they're going to need more tax money, that's for sure. (Hat tip: Tigerhawk)