There are high chances that you might be hearing about cash-sniffing dogs for the first time. It is also a first for Italian police. They are now using trained dogs to sniff out cash at airports in an effort to bring down illegal transfer of tax money in and out of the country. The effort has been bearing fruits. In the first seven months, the tax police seized $47.6 million in cash, gold and silver from travelers who were trying to evade tax authorities.
According to official reports, articles as such shoe heels, underwear, cigarettes and tampons have been used to hide cash. The €500 rupee note is often used by smugglers.
The training dogs are Labradors and not German Shepherds. Labradors are better able to smell money, the smell of which is more subtle. German Shepherds, on the other hand, are used to sniff drugs. The reward the dogs receive for sniffing out large amounts of cash is the rubber ball. But they are not complaining. The police have trained the “cash dogs” to sniff 40 bank notes or more so that any amount of €10,000 or less is not checked.
With the authorities recovering millions of dollars, euros and pounds in cash, the government is happy with the new initiative. With the success of the project of Italian authorities, the IRS may take the cue. Tax evasion is an important tax issue in the United States. According to the IRS, the U.S. government has lost $3 trillion in tax evasion over the past decade. Using sniffer dogs for recovering illegal money going out of the country or being circulated within it can help the IRS bring down tax evasion drastically.
Due to tax evasion in the United States, every individual taxpayer has to pay extra to the government to compensate for the losses it suffers. Introduction of new methods to catch tax thieves can be good news for the taxpayers too, as in the end they are the ones who suffer due to the non-compliance of fellow citizens.
With U.S. taxpayers already under stress due to the recession, maybe it is the right time for the IRS to consider innovative methods to bring down tax evasion thereby helping conforming taxpayers to pay fewer taxes.