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Indian Americans seek Obama’s intervention on new foreign bank accounts policy of IRS
si Team
Monday, August 1, 2011
Several Indian American civic and professional groups have sought President Barack Obama's intervention in a joint campaign seeking relief on penalties stipulated by U.S. tax rules on foreign bank accounts. The letter to Obama by the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO), National Federation of Indian American Association (NFIA), American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) and Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) follows a similar plea to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

The letter expresses the community’s concern that new U.S. immigrants of Indian origin are facing unfair and unprecedented penalties for failure to disclose and do tax filing of foreign bank accounts by the 31st of August. Copies of the letter were also sent to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The joint letter affirmed the community's recognition of the necessity for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to take needed actions and enact rules to track money flowing to terrorists, drug transaction and money laundering in safe havens outside the United States. However, the groups urged the IRS to review and reconsider the rules towards ‘more practical and prudent application.’

The IRS had announced on the 8th of February this year, the voluntary disclosure initiative designed to bring offshore money back into the U.S. tax system that will be available through August. Among other things, the Indian community has requested that stipulated 25 percent Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) penalty on assets of law abiding citizens be eliminated and the IRS deadline for voluntary disclosure be extended to Dec 31, 2012. The groups have also asked the government to publicize the amnesty program in ethnic newspapers and other community media in multiple languages, as well through print, radio and television media interviews.

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