Former Congressman Barney Frank recently remarked that the financial reform law that partially bears his name is in a unique position, because “No program in American history could more clearly combine two elements: great success and absolute unpopularity.” While the jury is still out on the “great success” of Dodd-Frank, there is no doubt that everyone hates it.
Many Democrats, especially progressives like Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, don’t think the law went far enough towards reigning in the big banks. There is even talk in some quarters about blowing the dust off the Depression-era Glass-Steagall Act, which might effectively break up Wall Street banks the way the government broke up Ma Bell a generation ago. Read More
Wighead English jurist William Gladstone, the author of this famous quote, was obviously not a criminal defense lawyer. In many, if not most, cases, delay is a fundamental element of a successful defense, or even the lynchpin of the entire schmear. Over time, memories fade, evidence is lost (or at least becomes more difficult to find and use in court), witnesses relocate, and prosecutors lose interest in the case. All of these developments weigh in favor of criminal defendants.
To paraphrase Gordon Gekko: Delay is good. Delay is right; delay works. So, there were champagne corks popping all along Wall Street and into the uttermost parts of the earth when the IRS announced that it would delay certain FATCA bank withholding requirements until 2019. However, it remains to be seen whether the delay is a legitimate reprieve or Read More
Governments will try to get away with almost anything during wartime. In the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus so federal authorities could lock up suspected Confederate sympathizers and throw away the keys. This action was more than mere ink on paper; it was very vigorously enforced, especially in Maryland and other Border States. He also signed the Revenue Act of 1861, which put an income tax into effect. The government gave up in 1862, partially due to Constitutional concerns regarding the Apportionment Clause (all taxes must be apportioned between the states), but mostly because the Revenue Act simply didn’t raise much money.
Congress took care of that Constitutional technicality with the 16th Amendment in 1913. But it wasn’t until 1943 (yet another war) that the money started rolling in. (See Video Read More
In 1811, President James Madison started the Federal Conscience Fund, which allows guilt-ridden Americans to surreptitiously atone for their financial sins. Over the years, generous benefactors have achieved various levels of catharsis. Typical donors range from guilty individuals, such as a Massachusetts woman who mailed in nine cents, because she re-used three postage stamps, to a government contractor haunted by the ghosts of Christmas past who sent in some $400,000.
Predictably, many people send in offerings to clear their consciences “with the IRS and with God.” One anonymous woman generously offered a few hand-made quilts to settle her tax debt. But perhaps the best of all is a man who emptied his conscience by writing, “I cheated on my income taxes and haven’t been able to sleep. So, I enclose a cashier’s Read More
In a classic example of “be careful what you wish for,” the fictional Lt. Philip Nolan uttered these famous words during his treason trial as Aaron Burr’s accomplice, in Edward Everett Hale’s 1863 propaganda short story – “The Man Without A Country” (See Video Clip Below). As the narrative progresses, and Lt. Nolan is quite literally adrift on an ocean of uncertainty, he comes to realize the full implications of his bravado. While aboard the USS Levant, he dies alone in a tiny shrine dedicated to his faded memories of the United States.
Whether he knew it or not, Lt. Nolan fit the dictionary definition of “diaspora,” which is a people who have been scattered to multiple countries, but share a common longing for their homeland and an overwhelming urge to return. Jewish people are a classic Read More
Although it didn’t have the panache of Dark Justice, (Film Clip Below) a vastly underrated drama, in my humble opinion, the Law & Order (Film Clip Below) franchise was once almost as ubiquitous as stars in the sky or grains of sand on the seashore. These shows featured solid writing and good acting, along with a half cop show/half lawyer show format that resonated with audiences, at least until the CSI-esque programs took control of prime time.
As the FBAR crackdown enters its final phase, it’s almost like we’re halfway through a Law & Order episode. The setting is migrating from hard-boiled detectives tracking down leads generated by cooperative foreign governments, or tips from “concerned citizens,” to a courtroom showdown between the heroic district attorney and sleazy lawyers who rely Read More
The short-term highway funding extension was passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives and was signed into law by President Obama on July 31, 2015. It contains several important tax provisions (H.R. 3236 (https://www.congress.gov/114/bills/hr3236/BILLS-114hr3236ih.pdf)). The bill changes the due dates for several common tax returns, overrules the Supreme Court’s Home Concrete decision, mandates the reporting of additional information on mortgage information statements, and requires consistent basis reporting between estates and beneficiaries.
Broadly speaking, the act establishes new due dates for partnership and C corporation returns, as well as FinCEN Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR), and several other IRS information returns: Read More
India and Pakistan are basically the geopolitical Odd Couple, with a few important differences. First and foremost, Felix and Oscar are fictional. Any conflict between the two is resolved with an exchange of funny one-liners and forgotten by the time the end credits roll. Secondly, despite the show’s title, they do have some things in common. They’re both middle-aged guys, both divorced, both New Yorkers, and both reasonably successful professionals.
Other than their status as former British colonial subjects, India and Pakistan have basically nothing in common. More importantly, there is significant conflict between the two and there’s no laugh track to smooth things over. Although the region has been quiet recently, the two have fought five wars since independence in 1947. Even more Read More
Kentucky Senator and 2016 Republican Presidential hopeful Rand Paul recently announced that, in partnership with Republicans Overseas and five others, he would head to court to stop the vile Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act crackdown. At the risk of comparing the noted Republitarian/Libripublican figure with a certain single-cell cartoon villain, the effort may turn out like the video below.
The lawsuit, which was filed in an Ohio federal court, actually contains some pretty good arguments. In any other environment, this lawsuit might go somewhere. But they say that timing is everything, and the timing is just all wrong.
According to a Reuters article dated Wednesday, July 8, 2015, India and the United States are expected to sign a a tax information sharing agreement today, July 9, 2015, “under a new U.S. law meant to combat offshore tax dodging by Americans.”
Excerpts from the article can be found below:
“By signing the agreement, India hopes to garner Washington’s support for its own efforts to bring back illicit funds stashed by Indians in foreign tax havens and boost revenues.
Last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi joined leaders of G20 countries in Australia in agreeing to countries automatically exchanging tax information on a reciprocal basis by the end of 2018. Read More
The first half of Super Bowl XX between the Chicago Bears and New England Patriots is painful to watch, for everyone except die-hard fans of Da Bears. Chicago looked like it was playing fifteen guys on defense, and all of them were at or near the line of scrimmage.
Several weeks earlier, the Miami Dolphins provided the perfect blueprint for beating the seemingly un-beatable Bears: quick passes to outside receivers. But New England quarterback Tony Eason kept employing slow-developing pass plays to backs and tight ends. The result wasn’t pretty. For some reason, New England coach Raymond Berry eschewed a fundamental principle in offensive football tactics, to-wit, “take what the defense gives you.”
On June 19, 2015, the Department of Justice announced that two more banks reached resolutions under its Swiss Bank Program. Those banks are Bank Linth LLB AG (Bank Linth) and Bank Sparhafen Zurich AG (BSZ).
According to the terms of the non-prosecution agreements, each bank has agreed to cooperate in any related criminal or civil proceedings, demonstrate that it is implementing controls to stop misconduct involving unreported U.S. accounts, and pay penalties. In exchange, DOJ has agreed not to prosecute these banks for tax-related crimes.
In addition, each bank is encouraging its U.S. accountholders to come into compliance Read More