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Whistleblowers – America’s True Patriots

July 4, 1776 – Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, John Adams, Robert Livingston and Roger Sherman penned these words – “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Those [...]

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Are FBAR Penalties Unconstitutional? In Many Cases Yes.

Calling the IRS’ FBAR penalties unconstitutional is a bold statement but in many cases we think they are. To better understand the argument, some history and discussion is necessary. The Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution says, “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” Although usually [...]

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LNR Partners, CWCapital – New Concerns in the CMBS Servicing Arena

Special servicers – these are the folks that take over the handling of loans that are delinquent or in default. In large, commercial mortgages, special servicers are typically given sweeping powers to protect the rights of the noteholders and insure that all amounts due under the note and mortgage are collected. A new probe launched [...]

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Should Whistleblower Awards Extend to State Taxes

Mississippi is considering qui tam (whistleblower) legislation that would allow whistleblower awards for unpaid state taxes. The federal False Claims Act specifically excludes taxes from the law. Presently New York and Illinois are the only two states that permit such awards and although Illinois excludes income taxes. So what is the big deal and why [...]

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7 Days To Comply – Urgent News For Those With Unfiled FBARs

  In seven days, the amnesty rules change dramatically for folks with unreported offshore accounts in certain banks. As of July 1st, the IRS unveils a new amnesty program for unreported foreign bank accounts. Called OVDP 2014 (Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program), the new plan increases penalties for people with unreported accounts at the following banks: [...]

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2014 OVDP – Many Changes, Many Questions & Few Answers

The changes to the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program are significant. They are so sweeping that as of July 1st, the IRS has given the program a new name – 2014 OVDP. (The prior programs were 2009, 2011 and 2012.) For many expats and certain others, the changes are welcome news. Penalties for these folks may [...]

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73 Year Old Manhattan Faces 5 Years Prison for Unreported FBAR

Federal prosecutors and the IRS convicted a 73 year old Manhattan man for failing to report an offshore account held at UBS, a prominent Swiss bank. Gabriel Gabella pleaded guilty last week in a Brooklyn courtroom to a single count of Willful Failure to File a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR). There [...]

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Do Whistleblowers Pay A Price? Unfortunately, Many Do

There is a wonderful feature article in the Financial Times by William Cohan. The article starts with these words, “Whistleblowing is not for the fainthearted, especially on Wall Street.” Are those words true? Unfortunately, in many cases they are. President Obama and many politicians publicly praise whistleblowers who expose corruption and fraud but industry hates [...]

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Foreign Reporting – Got a Letter from Your Bank? What Next?

Many clients have reported receiving letters from their foreign bank in recent weeks. This is especially true with Swiss banks. Invariably, the letter demands proof that the account holder has properly notified the IRS of their account. What should you do if you receive such a letter? To best answer this question, some brief background [...]

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OVDP Program Changes Help Taxpayers With Unreported Offshore Accounts

This month the IRS announced major changes in their offshore account tax amnesty program (called “Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program” or OVDP). The changes will reduce penalties for many taxpayers with unreported foreign financial and bank accounts. The OVDP program is the third amnesty program offered by the IRS since 2009. In September of 2012, we [...]

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