Tax Time, Jail Time?

tax-evasion-226717_1280Today is Tax Day in the United States. It’s the last day Americans can file (submit) their personal income tax forms to the U.S. government. (Tax Day is normally April 15th, but since the 15th falls on a Saturday this year, the deadline (date something is due) has been moved to the 18th.)

Every American is supposed to pay his or her personal income taxes, but sometimes people hide their money to avoid paying. That’s why the U.S. government created tax amnesty programs.

A tax amnesty program is a program that allows taxpayers (people who pay taxes, or who should pay taxes) to admit to having committed tax evasion (the crime of trying to avoid paying taxes) and pay a penalty (punishment, usually money to be paid) that is less than what the penalty normally would be.

For instance, under a tax amnesty program,  a taxpayer may be allowed to disclose (share information about) previously unreported income (money earned or received that was not reported to the government) and pay the taxes owed on it without having to pay interest (a percentage of money owed calculated every month or year based on the amount owed) or fines (money that must be paid as a punishment).

The IRS offers offshore amnesty programs specifically for taxpayers who have hidden money in offshore accounts (bank accounts in other countries). The Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program was offered in 2009 and 2011, and then as an open-ended (without an ending date; continuing until further notice) program in January 2012. In 2012, the IRS commissioner (head or leader of the agency) announced that the IRS had collected (arranged to received) more than five billion dollars ($5,000,000,000) in back taxes (taxes that should have been paid in the past, but weren’t) as a result of voluntary (according to a person’s will or wish, without being forced to do something) disclosures (telling others about secret information).

Why do taxpayers voluntarily disclose their offshore holdings (things you own that has value or worth)? Because the penalties they pay for voluntary disclosure are significantly (a lot) less than the penalties they would pay if their wrongdoings (the bad things people have done) are discovered and prosecuted (taken to court and charged with a crime) by the IRS.

So if you have been hiding money from the U.S. government and are afraid of getting caught (having your crime discovered), you can fess up (confess; tell others about your wrongdoing) before the cops (police) get wind of it (learn/hear about it).

~ ESLPod Team

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* This post was adapted from the “Culture Note” from Daily English 1124. To see the rest of the Learning Guide, including a Glossary, Sample Sentences, Comprehension Questions, a Complete Transcript of the entire lesson and more, become a Select English Member.
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9 Responses to Tax Time, Jail Time?

  1. Peter says:

    Guys ,guys ,guys
    Where have u been hiding?
    U know
    Eslpod and I go way back.
    I like to think that I ardent participant of the blog activities at eslpod.
    I have been doing it for ,oh boy ,7 years or so.
    Well ,to tell the truth ,eslpod and I drifted apart from time to time over the span of 7/8 years when I have had the privilege to be a part of eslpod cyber community.
    Well ,as u may know , life throws you a curve or two sometimes. Things come up in life which deviate you from your main course. It did happen to me too. I had my share of dealing with unexpected occurances in life which ,in time, lowered my presence at eslpod realm.however , it had always been a temporary deviation. It has never been a departure.

    I mean ,despite of all difficulties ,I always found my way back to eslpod ,in particularly ,ealpod blog activities. U know why ?
    Because ,over years, I found blog writing here at this very centre a powerful means to gain ,then improve ,and then hone up my eslpod blog-earned writing skills.

    Guys , it is not just a sheer publicity or something here.
    I have proofs
    As I said ,I had been with this blog off and on -mostly on – for years.
    You can simply track my comments to the very beginning of Eslpod. I think the only person among us who beats me is my dear cyber friend Emiliano. At some point my foot print around eslpod will disappears. Yet ,u will find Emiliano was still going strong Further back to the inception of our very eslpod , back in 2005.

    So , Emiliano if I m on the right here.back me up bro

    All I m trying to say here is -as a long attendance of eslpod blog posts ,rather forum-having a voice here is a very powerful tool to enhance your writing skills.

    Back in 2007 ,I was a writer couldn’t put together even one short coherent paragraph that makes sense.
    Now ,all bragging aside ,looking at me go.
    And, people the only practice I have been getting for writing -for shy of a decade -was and has been on this very blog.

    Express yourself here , and gain a set of valuable skills in the process.

    We are all students here entitled to make mistakes.


  2. Peter says:

    Spooky subject ,eslpod team.
    Well,The word on the street is US taxation system is not a joking matter. I mean, they mean business!
    it is not pretty much the question of if, but the question of when.
    By that I mean, U will eventually pay the piper , There is no leeway Abbot it.
    I hear the tax code in the US is air tight.
    the people who enforce it are tough.
    They are very strict!!
    Well,generally speaking ,I heard that US taxation system follows a set of strict rules and policies to the letter.
    There is one thing ,though , I don’t understand.
    Doesn’t US levy taxes on the worldwide income of Americans -citizen and non citizen.
    In fact , a few months back there was a controversy on the subject.
    It was all over the news for a couple of months.
    Basically , unless they are an off-shore-tax haven , there is no evading it.
    U pay what u owe.

    Canada taxation system is pretty much the same.
    Fundamentally , these two neighbouring countries -US and Canada, follow the same economic model.
    However ,Canadians paying higher annual taxes than their counterparts in US. Well ,in all fairness ,Canadians are generously compensated for the difference by the government in the health care sector where
    “OHIP “covers almost all the
    Necessary and basic Heath needs.
    the relatively long waiting time aside , Canada Heath care system -Medicare -is a publicly funded system.
    So ,comparatively ,all the extra annual taxes Canadians pay go towards a nation wide state-health care coverage.
    it is a very lush coverage.
    I m telling you folks Canadians both citizen and landed immigrants enjoy an extensive health care services that almost covers all the areas from a simple doc visit to complex surgeries.

    Wait !!
    Wait folks
    Don’t start packing
    At least not yet !!!!:)

    There is a drawback to the fringe benefit 🙂
    Federal government dropped the ball on medication and dentistry department
    Medications and dentist visits are not covered by OHIP.
    And ,let me tell you, the cost of medication and dental care is though the roof around here unless u have an office job.


  3. emiliano says:

    Peter, incredible, I had a long long text to post and I don´t know what I have done and it vanished suddenly.
    Doesn´t matter at all, more clear and short now.
    I agree with your first post absolutely, even more, you are the senior here as much as emiliano could be.
    We shall remain, as in the song.
    You remain, I remain, that´s all my friend.
    Thanks to every one who made this blog possible, thanks to all who have written something in it, thanks to our dear teacher.
    After being here for so long I am a better person who thinks more clearly.
    Writing it is the best exercise to have an open mind and coordinate our thoughts
    properly but even more writing in a different language it is the best exercise a person could do to have the neurones in good condition.
    So yes Peter, you are absolutely right in all you said.

  4. Peter says:

    Hey eslpod team
    Now that u brough up the long standing issue of tax and tax payers.
    Please answer the following question that has been on my mind for quite sometime.
    It is as a valid question as any.

    What would be the altenative for the tax income revenue that the international communities,governments if you will, are so dependent upon ,with the inevitable rise job-destroying Robots.
    What would be the next main source of income for the governments in the soon -to-be robotized world once artificial intelligence took over.

    U know ,last time I checked , atrificial intelligence and robots are


  5. Peter says:

    Hey my old cyber friend Emiliano.
    We never met yet I feel close to u.
    I have always detected a big heart on u.
    You are a good person my friend-I can tell.And ,good things should happen to good people.
    You couldn’t be more right my friend.
    If you don’t mind my adding to what u mentioned.
    I ,for one , firmly belive nothing challenges one’s brain more than writing.
    It is a feat ,if u ask me
    It was not long ago that writing even a short paragraph was hell, to me.
    Now, try to stop me.

    Thanks for backing me up ,bro
    It is so true
    Our dear profs at eslpod Hub have been having a big role in where we stand today in terms of gaining a reasonable working English command.

    I couldn’t be more happier with them and eslpod.

    U know ,I m a member of eslpod
    Because ,in my book ,the monthly fee is laughable compared to the volume of fresh materials we get every month.

    It ,by far ,has been the biggest bang for my buck

    Did I ever mention that I m a fervent follower of learning guid and English magazine.

    I m telling you ,nothing beats the 11th digital pages -learning guid -. we get for
    every lesson.

    I m going out on a limb here by saying : Learning guid is the cream of the crop around here


  6. Peter says:

    U know
    Going back to the post st hand
    I m a pulpiest at heart.
    U know ,I personally think the tax on high earners are not high enough.
    I mean , I don’t know about US but in Canada
    Only people whose annual income falls on the highest income bracket -200k and above -are being taxed at a relatively higher rate.
    But , come on , I mean who are we kidding here.
    What percentages of population in any given countries does actually make that kind of money?
    5 -10 percent tops

    If u ask me ,the federal government must reexamine and adjust the existing tax code regularly, so it benefits little people but just a group
    Of echelon at the top of food chain.
    There are tons of loop holes ,provisions ,and clauses in the existing tax cod reflecting the interest of the group of elite on top while crushing little people like me.
    I stick my neck out here and say I believe it is not just the narrative up in Canada but almost everywhere.
    I m not saying that people with low incomes should get exempted.
    Absolutely not ,we all should pull our weight ,right !?
    I m just saying ,
    The government should improve tax rules and regulations so high brasses can not limbo under it.


  7. Peter says:

    My friend Emiliano
    I feel u
    It happens to me too, from time to time.
    It is a bummer!!
    U pour your heart on the piece u r writing and one wrong click-hoopla :)-all vanishes into thin air.
    Over time ,I some how develop a method to get around the problem.
    I write down my comments on iPhone digital notebook app. Then copy past it here.
    That way even if I press the wrong button,still have the original copy of it.
    So ,no biggie.
    I recopy and repaste it

    Don’t kick up urself my good man.

    It is not like, the mishap is always our faults. U know, here ,on this digital page , we have little to no control over the outcome.
    Even the slightest disturbance on the internet processing ,waves if u will , might render our notes out of whack !!!
    I would not think much of it


  8. Peter says:

    U know ,
    In my previous comment , I didn’t mean to be critical of the Canadian government. I was not insinuating that out beloved liberal government is doing a poor job ,in other words ,mishandling the taxation.
    All I was saying is
    The tax code in Canada has so many loopholes and caveats that it enables people to abuse the system get away with it


  9. emiliano says:

    My dear blog´s bro Peter, I don´t care any more if you and me are the only two
    who are writing here, it is free so every one could say or write which ever thing
    they like, so why are we going to be concern?
    I am concern about dear Tania, yes I am, because I don´t know if she is well
    or bad, even if she is alive or not.

    I knew she was bad, with a vinous and in Romania things have gone really
    bad about health care, so again are you there dear Tania? I am really very
    worried about you dear friend.

    About the rest, I don´t care any more.
    You and me, well it could be even amusing.

    Don´t you think so, Peter?

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