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Tag Archive for offshore

IRS Crackdown And The Future Of Tax Amnesty Programs

Ephraim Moss

With the recent heavy focus on Congress and the Trump’s administration’s tax reform proposals, it can be easy to forget that the IRS continues to proactively crackdown on offshore tax evasion. Read more

Commentary on the The Panama Papers & The Disclosure of 14,000 Clients’ 214,000 Offshore Companies Files and Assets

A leak of searchable 11.5 million files, that’s 2.6 terabytes of data, from the embattled offshore services provider Mossack Fonseca. Every email, client note, asset and income statement, instruction, communication, .. since 1977!  2.6 terabytes of data, 11.5 million files, is a lot of files and scanned documents to comb through, so this leak is potentially, and probably, more significant than the 2014 ICIJ reported on leak or even the HSBC and UBS’ leaks. Read more

FATCA 2015 Roundup: It’s All Serious Business!

TaxConnections Member Manasa Nadig

A lot has been written about the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act {FATCA} in the past year. As this year comes to a close and I write up this post, I wanted to give you all, my dear readers a synopsis at your finger-tips, a round-up, if you will of some major FATCA events for 2015:

1. FBAR Deadlines Changed:

On July 31, 2015 President Obama signed the Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015 into law, which modified the due date of several key forms for Americans with foreign income and Americans living abroad. That includes the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, or Form 114, colloquially known as the FBAR.

Any U.S. person with a financial interest in, or signatory authority over, foreign financial accounts must file the FBAR, if at any time, the aggregate value of their relevant foreign account or accounts exceeds $10,000. An account over Read more

Tangible Property – Section 482 and International Financial Centers

Introduction

Corporate structures in global enterprise find the use of conduit offshore corporate entities a requisite to accommodate the anomalies inherent in maximizing efficiencies and cost savings. Common ownership of inter-related corporate structures encounter arms length pricing scrutiny. (See TaxConnections April 24, 2014, Introduction to Section 482 and International Financial Centers.)

Arm’s length standards of Section 482 are applicable to a transfer of tangible property rights in transactions when deemed between controlled entities. When the possession, use or occupancy of tangible property that is owned or leased by one member of a group of Read more

Former Credit Suisse Banker Pleads Guilty

Josef Dörig, 72, of Switzerland, pleaded guilty on April 30th to conspiring to defraud the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in connection with his work as the owner of Dorig Partner AG, a trust company in Switzerland.

In a statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, Dörig admitted that between 1997 and 2011, while owning and operating a trust company, he engaged in a wide-ranging conspiracy to aid and assist U.S. customers in evading their income taxes by concealing assets and income in secret bank accounts held in the names of sham entities at Credit Suisse.  In 1997, the Credit Suisse subsidiary spun off these sham entities into a trust company, Dorig Partner AG, owned and operated by Dorig, the Justice Department said. Read more

So Where Does The Oft Cited $150 Billion Figure Of Offshore Evasion Come From?

Well known tax author and journalist Denis Kleinfeld suggests the following answer to this question.

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) provided a Memorandum of July 23, 2001 referencing an inquiry made by the House Majority Leader as to the method used by attorney Jack Blum to construct the estimate of $70 billion of illegal tax evasion losses due to tax havens. This figure was contained in Jack Blum’s Affidavit submitted in support of the government’s request from the federal court for a John Doe summons for records from MasterCard and American Express.

Dennis Kleinfeld states that, according to the CRS:* Read more

How Much Is Actually Lost Each Year To Offshore Noncompliance?

The Senate Subcommittee staff reported that: “According to the IRS, the current estimated annual U.S. tax gap is $450 billion, which represents the total amount of U.S. taxes owed but not paid on time, despite an overall tax compliance rate among American taxpayers of 83 percent. Contributing to that annual tax gap are offshore tax schemes responsible for lost tax revenues totaling an estimated $150 billion each year.”

To justify the reporting of the number of $150 billion a year of lost tax revenue due to “offshore tax schemes”, the Senate Report primarily cites its own investigatory reports and third party articles that refer to transfer pricing issues.  While transfer pricing regulations have been under scrutiny, at least by the Democrats, in the Senate, it is certainly not commonly held by those same Democrats that transfer pricing is illegal or constitutes an “offshore scheme”. Read more

Too Many FATCA Loopholes?

According to the 175-page bipartisan staff report FATCA’s implementing regulations have created multiple loopholes, without statutory basis, in the disclosure requirements.

Among other problems, the Senate Subcommittee stated that the FATCA regulatory loopholes will:

1. require disclosure of only the largest dollar accounts;
2. permit banks to ignore, in most cases, bank account information that is kept on paper rather than electronically;
3. allow banks to treat accounts opened by offshore shell entities as non-U.S. accounts Read more

106 Swiss Banks Seek Non-Prosecution from US Justice Department

106 Swiss banks (of approximately 300 total) filed the requisite letter of intent to join the Program for Non-Prosecution Agreements or Non-Target Letters (the “Program“) by the December 31, 2013 deadline.  Renown attorney Jack Townsend reported on his blog on February 14th provided a list of 49 Swiss banks that had publicly announced the intention to submit the letter of intent, as well as each bank’s category for entry: six announced seeking category 4 status, eight for category 3, thirty-five for category 2.  106 was a large jump from the mid-December report by the international service of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (“SwissInfo”) that only a few had filed for non prosecution with the DOJ’s program (e.g. Migros Bank, Bank COOP, Valiant, Berner Kantonalbank and Vontobel).

What is the Program for Non-Prosecution Agreements or Non-Target Letters for Read more

Credit Risk – Offshore Financial Centers – Settlement Systems

Introduction

An all important credit risk for purposes of evaluating Offshore Financial Centers is the risk that an intermediary party to a transaction poses with respect to transactions of counter-parties. Offshore Tax Havens provide extraordinary tax regimes and reduced or negligible regulation costs. They are a conduit necessity of international corporate structure in the global economy. But the risks associated with different legal systems and a non-regulatory environment must be part of the evaluation of an Offshore Center. The intention of this writing is to provide an awareness of settlement systems of financial institutions servicing a particular Offshore Financial Center. Understanding the risk inherent in these processes better enables the risk to be managed. Management results Read more

Australian Tax Office Information Gathering Guide

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) recently released a guide on their approach to information gathering. The quite comprehensive 53 page guide provides an insight to both the principles adopted by the ATO in exercising their powers and the considerable extent of those powers.

Australia’s Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 (ITAA 36) confers many of the relevant information gathering powers. These powers include both the power to give formal notices requiring information to be provided and formal access powers.

For example, §263 of ITAA 36 allows an authorized ATO officer to “…at all times have full and free access to all buildings, places, books, documents and other papers” and to Read more