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Tag Archive for OVDP

IRS Agents To Hunt Tax Dodgers Overseas

On a recent airplane trip from the Bay Area to Southern California, I sat beside a distinguished-looking elderly man. I initiated a conversation with him and found out he was a former judge now living in Mexico. We talked about everything, including taxation.

The former judge admitted that he was an American citizen and he and some of his friends have problems sleeping because of Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). So, I asked him what about Foreign Bank Account Reporting (FBAR), as that was more serious than FATCA. But he had never heard about it. I wondered how many people are like the former judge and his friends who can’t sleep at night because of FATCA and who never heard of FBAR. Read more

IRS Extended A Sweetheart Deal On Valentine’s Day To U.S. Taxpayers With Undisclosed Foreign Bank Accounts

On June 18, 2014, the IRS announced major changes in the 2012 offshore account compliance programs, providing new options to help taxpayers residing in the United States and overseas. The changes are anticipated to provide thousands of people a new avenue to come back into compliance with their tax obligations and would largely waive these penalties if taxpayers come forward and show that they didn’t hide the money on purpose.

Separate from United States income tax returns, many U.S. persons are required to file with the U.S. Treasury a return commonly known as an “FBAR” (or Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts; known as FinCEN Form 114), listing all non-US bank and financial accounts. These forms are required if on any day of any calendar year an Read more

So What’s The New Buzz On Foreign Bank Accounts?

When looking for a picture for this post, I came across this one and remembered my college English Professor. She really loved the term, “Freudian Slip” for some reason! All I knew then was that Sigmund Freud was the father of psychoanalysis but I never quite understood how that related to a Business English class, unless that was the Professor’s way of telling us we were driving her nuts! Now I know that the term, “Freudian Slip” is a “mistake in speech that shows what the speaker is truly thinking” or “to do what one is truly thinking about”.

No, this post is not about defining psychoanalytic terms, dare I say more interesting than tax stuff? Not quite, but this post is about the latest buzz from the Internal Revenue Service, about some situations US taxpayers having foreign accounts might be in and their Read more

Thinking of Hiding Money Abroad? Don’t Be A “Dirty Dog!”

In a recent IR published on January 28, 2015, the IRS said that avoiding taxes by hiding money or assets in unreported offshore accounts remains on its “annual list of scams known as the ‘Dirty Dozen’ for the 2015 filing season.” The article is quoted below:

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today said avoiding taxes by hiding money or assets in unreported offshore accounts remains on its annual list of tax scams known as the “Dirty Dozen” for the 2015 filing season.

“The recent string of successful enforcement actions against offshore tax cheats and the financial organizations that help them shows that it’s a bad bet to hide money and income offshore,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “Taxpayers are best served by coming Read more

Hiding Money Or Income Offshore Among The List Of Tax Scams For The 2015 Filing Season

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen was proud to announce that “the recent string of successful enforcement actions against offshore tax cheats and the financial organizations that help them shows that it’s a bad bet to hide money and income offshore and he encouraged taxpayers to come in voluntarily and getting their taxes and filing requirements in order.”

Since the first Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) opened in 2009, the IRS reports there have been more than 50,000 disclosures and the IRS has collected more than $7 billion from this initiative alone. The IRS also has conducted thousands of offshore-related civil audits that have produced tens of millions of dollars. Finally, the IRS has also pursued criminal charges leading to billions of dollars in criminal fines and Read more

How Do You Know When You’re In Trouble With The Government? When The Name of Your Trust Is “Cappuccino” Spelled Backwards

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York issued a press release on January 20, 2015 announcing the guilty plea of a CEO for hiding over $ 8.4 million in offshore Swiss bank accounts. George Landegger, the Chairman and CEO of an international pulp mill company, pled guilty to willfully failing to file FBARs for accounts that he maintained at a Swiss bank located in Zurich, Switzerland.

Landegger owned these accounts for nearly ten years, from the early 2000s up until 2010. During that time, his undeclared assets reached a high value of over $8.4 million.

What got Mr. Landegger into this “hot mess?” At the most primitive level, Mr. Landegger failed to report numerous Swiss bank accounts that he held for nearly ten years. But like Read more

Sovereign Management In Panama Now Under DOJ/IRS Investigation

Important announcement to U.S. taxpayers that opened offshore bank accounts through a company called Sovereign Management & Legal, Ltd. Based in Panama, the company offers to help Americans open offshore bank accounts with nominee corporations. Knowing that many people who do take these actions are also committing tax evasion, the IRS and Justice Department obtained a John Doe summons from a federal judge. The IRS hopes to find Americans who used Sovereign to open accounts.

Federal Court Approves U.S. Government Issuance Of John Doe Summonses

A Federal Judge recently approved the Internal Revenue Service’s issuance of what is known as a “John Doe” summons to several entities in the U.S who utilized the services Read more

Walking The Sawdust Trail

Those who responded to the altar call after one of Billy Sunday’s sermons (see video below) were said to walk the sawdust trail, because the temporary venues he preached in back in the 1910s and 1920s often had sawdust on the floor as a deodorizer.

Before he became a travelling evangelist, and possibly even before he became a Christian, depending on what source you believe, Mr. Sunday played eight seasons of Major League Baseball between 1883 and 1890. During that time, he roamed the outfield for the Chicago White Stockings, Pittsburgh Alleghenys and Philadelphia Phillies. Mr. Sunday left the game with a lifetime .248 batting average, which was pretty good for the pre-modern era. He was also a speedy player who finished in the top ten in stolen bases three times and led the league in outfield putouts in 1888. Read more

U.S. Treasury Publishes Official FBAR Exchange Rates for 2014

Anyone filing an “FBAR” (Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts – FinCEN Form 114) or IRS Form 8938 (Statement of Foreign Financial Assets) for calendar year 2014 will be pleased to know that the official exchange rates for 2014 have been published. As U.S. law states that no other exchange rate is permitted, it is really helpful to have these exchange rates available so early in January.

Exchange rates for other currencies can be found by clicking here.

The rates for the major foreign currencies are listed below:

 

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National Taxpayer Advocate Lambasts IRS’s OVDP Programs And FBAR Penalties

Here ye, here ye! National Taxpayer Advocate, Nina Olson recently gave her annual report to Congress. And she didn’t mince words. She lambasted the IRS for relentlessly asserting onerous offshore penalties including its disproportionate treatment of non-willful taxpayers caught in the labyrinth of foreign asset reporting. Ms. Olson’s report asks the IRS to change its ways and to end the practice of branding every taxpayer who happens to have an offshore account with the letter “C” for “criminal.” Indeed, this is not the year 1652 and not every taxpayer who has an offshore account is the modern-day equivalent of Hester Prynne, the young woman found guilty of adultery in “The Scarlet Letter” and forced to wear a scarlet “A” (“A” was the symbol of adultery) on her dress to shame her. Read more

Don’t Believe The Seven Deadly Myths Of FATCA Non-Enforcement

This May Be Your One Last Opportunity to Avoid Criminal Prosecution and Increased Civil Penalties!

Since July 1, 2014, the most feared U.S. legislation regarding international tax enforcement – Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (“FATCA”) – is being implemented by most banks around the world. As part of this compliance, foreign banks from around the world are sending letters to account holders that they believe have, or had, a U.S. tax nexus (or other U.S. connection) requesting information to determine whether such account holders have disclosed their foreign bank accounts to the IRS. The letters from foreign banks generally require an account holder to disclose whether the account has been declared to the IRS through the filing of a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (commonly known as Read more

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