Monday, December 21, 2009


Billions of dollars will be flowing into the U.S. Treasury shortly, because of an incentive program that rested on a carefully crafted international publicity strategy. Without the latter, this “windfall” could never have occurred.

What was it and how did it happen? For years the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. tax collector, had been after Americans who had set up bank accounts in Switzerland to avoid paying taxes. At the center of this violation was the Swiss banking giant, UBS, which had admitted selling off-shore financial services that enabled tax evasion and agreed to a $780 million fine. UBS also agreed to turn over the names of about 4,450 American clients suspected of tax evasion. But this was just the tip of the iceberg.

According to an article last month in The New York Times, 14,700 Americans living and working in over 70 countries — with secret foreign bank accounts — took advantage of an aggressively publicized amnesty program for those who came forth by the mid-October deadline. They “were lured” to the program to avoid the risk of potentially ruinous fines, back taxes and possible jail time.

Some clients are challenged to measure the value of publicity. With the right public relations program – in this case, an amnesty opportunity – the value was not only in recovering tax revenues, but also in putting a halt to an illegal cross-border business practice that will most likely not happen again.

According to Lynnly Browning, the author of the Times story, the U.S. plans to expand its program to more countries and also take a closer look at the web of financial advisors, lawyers, accountants and others who help banks sell these illegal services. The attention-getting fear factor is once again at work.

Technorati Tags: Internal Revenue Service, Switzerland,
The New York Times,
Lynnly Browning, tax evasionpublic relations, business, Makovsky,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is extremely interesting for me to read this post. Thanx for it. I like such topics and everything connected to them. I would like to read more soon.

Monday, December 21, 2009 8:05:00 PM  

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