In this week’s issue, Tax Notes cited Birkenfeld’s successful effort to reveal “what goes on in the wealth protection units of the world’s major banks.” Birkenfeld, the magazine wrote, “single-handedly made 2009 the year in which the world finally got serious about cracking down on tax evasion.”
Due to his efforts, Tax Notes explained, UBS AG admitted helping U.S. clients evade taxes; UBS provided information on thousands of U.S. account holders that made its way to U.S. authorities; numerous criminal prosecutions of Americans with undisclosed bank accounts are working their way through the courts; the IRS expanded its voluntary disclosure program to enable taxpayers to come clean in exchange for reduced penalties and no jail time; European leaders declared an end to the era of cross-border tax evasion; and the OECD renewed its counter-tax-haven campaign.
Other “notable and talented figures” whom Tax Notes considered for “person of the year” were IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman; House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles B. Rangel; former Treasury Acting Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy Michael Mundaca; American Enterprise Institute economist Alan D. Viard; TaxProf blogger Paul L. Caron; Hochman, Salkin, Rettig, Toscher & Perez partner Charles P. Rettig; PricewaterhouseCoopers partner Ken Kuykendall; New York State Bar Association Tax Section Chair Erika W. Nijenhuis; and Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal partner David T. Cowart.
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