Emory Law Journal


Shu-Yi Oei


This Article critiques the United States¿ offshore tax enforcement initiatives, such as the Foreign Account Tax Compliant Act and the Internal Revenue Service¿s offshore voluntary disclosure programs. It argues that the United States has been overly focused on two policy priorities in designing enforcement at the expense of competing considerations: First, the United States has attempted to equalize enforcement against taxpayers with solely domestic holdings and those with harder-to-detect offshore holdings by imposing harsher reporting requirements and penalties on the latter. But in doing so, it has failed to appropriately distinguish among differently situated taxpayers with offshore holdings. Second, the United States has focused on revenue and enforcement, paying less attention to the significant compliance costs and potential social harms that its initiatives create.