by Brian Mahany
For months I have tried to build a case for participation in the IRS’ offshore tax amnesty program (called the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative). Yet only 10% of the people who contact us and qualify elect to participate. The remainder remain sitting on the fence or have simply decided to play audit roulette with the IRS.
Today, internationally noted asset protection guru and colleague Jay Atkinson weighed in after a story appeared on the latest prosecution of an American taxpayer for failure to file a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR). The story is especially interesting because many of our prospective clients think they are too small to be prosecuted.
To the average businessperson, only the guys with tens of millions secretly stashed in Swiss bank accounts get prosecuted. Don’t tell that toMichael Schiavo. He was just prosecuted for hiding money in a Swiss account back in 2003. How much money does the IRS say he owed hid? A whopping $90,000. That’s it.
But wait, there is more to the story. Schiavo attempted to do a quiet disclosure DURING the 2009 amnesty but instead of filling out the amnesty paperwork, he simply trusted that by coming forward voluntarily he could avoid criminal prosecution.
Wrong on all counts.
The take away here is that nothing is too small for the IRS and nothing is too old.
This is old news, I have said this before and even about the Schiavo case. Let’s hear what Jay Atkinson said,
“So, to save a whopping $40,624 in taxes, this guy risks a felony conviction and prison time, not to mention steep penalties that could very easily eat up the entire $90,000, and also his criminal and civil defense costs.
Recalls that line from the movie Rocky when trainer Mickey learns that Rocky has negotiated wearing an advertisement for a meat-packing plant in exchange for the robe:
“Shrewd, shrewd …………………”
Well said Jay. The shrewd ones are the 10% coming forward and not having to look over their shoulder for the next 10 years.
Time is running out. The tax amnesty runs through August but it takes at least 30 days to jump through all the hoops. In most cases we can handle the entire process for a very reasonable flat fee. Peace of mind rarely comes at such a reasonable price. For that price we will also fight hard to knock the penalties down even more. Remember, the IRS can go as low as 5%.
Want more information? Call attorney Brian Mahany at (414) 704-6731 (direct) or by email at All inquiries strictly confidential. We are a full service law firm concentrating in tax resolution. From our offices in Milwaukee, Portland and Detroit, we represent people across the U.S. Find out why we are America’s tax attorneys.