by Brian Mahany
The U.S. Treasury has hinted that it may again offer an amnesty program for taxpayers hiding undeclared money in offshore accounts. Just before Christmas, IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman commented about the success of 2009’s amnesty.
Many tax professionals question just how successful the last amnesty was.
Shortly after the highly publicized legal action against Swiss bank UBS began, the IRS offered an amnesty to Americans with undeclared foreign bank accounts.
According to federal money laundering laws and IRS regulations, businesses and individuals holding more than $10,000 in offshore accounts are required to complete an annual Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR). Having offshore bank accounts and foreign hedge funds isn’t illegal but failure to disclose them is.
The UBS suit alone estimated that 52,000 Americans were holding offshore funds at UBS. Many, if not most, of those accounts were not properly reported. Enter the Obama administration and the IRS’ amnesty plan.
Under the old plan, American taxpayers with undeclared foreign accounts could come forward without fear of prison. The government says the plan was suucessful with some 7,500 taxpayers coming forward. One taxpayer reportedly came clean on over $100,000,000 in unreported foreign holdings.
As worldwide pressure continues and the number of tax havens that have not yet signed tax exchange agreements with Uncle Sam dwindles, the pressure is on.
Schulman says that he next amnesty will not have as favorable terms, although taxpayers can still avoid prosecution by coming forward first.
There is no word on when a new amnesty may begin or what the terms will be.
Mahany & Ertl assists customers across the United States with tax compliance issues and aggressive white collar and criminal tax defense. Our Milwaukee, Wisconsin based tax lawyers can help you assess your risks, come into compliance or defend you if you are charged with money laundering, being a non-filer, tax evasion, filing false returns, fraud or conspiracy to defraud the United States.
In our experience, there is still time to avoid potential prosecution even though the old amnesty has expired but that time usually runs out if the IRS makes first contact with you.
For a no nonsense, no obligation consultation, contact Brian Mahany today at (414) 704-6731 or through the firm’s website, https://www.mahanyertl.com