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Opening Statement: Hearing on Foreign Bank Account Reporting and Tax Compliance

November 05, 2009

(Remarks as Prepared)

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Earlier this year this Subcommittee met to examine issues surrounding banking secrecy and illegal tax evasion.  At that hearing, we all agreed that criminal tax evasion should be Aggressively pursued and punished. 

I also said that I hoped our efforts in this area would remain focused on compliance; that the line between illegal tax evasion and legal tax practices used by U.S. taxpayers around the world is distinct, and to blur that line may only make our compliance efforts more difficult. 

I’m very pleased that you have called this hearing to discuss legislation recently introduced by Chairman Rangel and you that seeks to address the issues of illegal tax evasion.  During these challenging economic times, honest, hard-working taxpayers who play by the rules expect others to do the same.  I’m anxious to hear from our witnesses about some of the details of this bill and certainly hope it is a workable solution to the problem of offshore tax evasion that avoids unintended consequences.

I will note, however, that I am very pleased the bill does not blur the issues of evasion and legal tax practices, and does not include the most controversial international tax policy changes proposed by the Administration. 

We’ve heard a lot of rhetoric in recent months from the Administration and others designed to confuse these issues and characterize them as one in the same.  I’m pleased to see, Mr. Chairman, that you have cut through that and drawn a bright line separating the two.  I look forward to continuing to work with you on all of these issues in the days, weeks, and months ahead. 

Thank you to our witnesses for joining us today, I look forward to your testimony. 

With that, Mr. Chairman, I yield back my time.