The Internal Revenue Service may subpoena additional Atlanta retailers’ credit card records and other data to identify tax evaders as part of a country-wide crackdown on hidden offshore bank accounts, according to James Nobles, principal of Nobles & Associates.

The IRS is becoming more aggressive in trying to identify offshore account holders by checking the credit card records of purchases made in the United States, the Atlanta-based international tax lawyer told GlobalFax.

          “The IRS already has information identifying consumers who pay for their BellSouth Corp. telephone services or Earthlink Inc. Internet services with offshore credit cards,” he said. “It’s just a matter of how and when it will prosecute.”

Offshore accounts, or bank accounts in tax-haven countries, are held by an estimated 2 million U.S. taxpayers, but only 117,000 taxpayers in 1999 notified the IRS of these accounts, he said.

          Mr. Nobles acknowledged that prosecuting all violators would be a daunting task, but taxpayers should assume the U.S. government will eventually prosecute all criminal tax violations. Voluntarily complying with U.S. tax laws before one of the agents “comes knocking on your door” is the best option, he added.

          He also said that using credit card records to identify tax evasion is tricky because the offshore credit card companies cannot be sure whether the card holder is a person obligated to pay U.S. taxes or not.

          For more information, contact Mr. Nobles at (404) 365-9600 or visit