by Brian Mahany
LinkedIn can be pretty boring. The Asset Protection Planning group is even more so (unless you are a tax geek like me). To hear a lawyer member of the group using the language identified in the title of this post and defying the IRS to catch his clients because “none of them pay tax on their foreign income” is both reckless and stupid.
We understand that no one likes paying taxes. The current IRS and DOJ ‘scorched earth” policy towards those who have unreported foreign accounts is especially troublesome. We don’t compare IRS special agents to “Nazi like thugs,” however, and we certainly would not brag about a client who willfully commited a felony.
At best, that false bravado exposes clients to severe economic harm (audits are expensive) and every lawyer has a unique IRS assigned “CAF” number making it easy to identify his tax clients. At worst, the attorney is setting himself and his clients up for a Klein conspiracy – that’s a felony conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government.
I mention this because according to others in the group, this particular lawyer offers asset protection services. Asset protection is best when its kept quiet. Beating one’s chest and poking the beast (in this case the IRS) in the eye with a sharp stick is never a good strategy. In the short term it may provide some temporary gratification but in the end, the beast will bite back.
Anyone, repeat ANYONE, who advertises or suggests that hiding money in a Costa Rican bank account or Zug (Switzerland) nominee account can protect you from the IRS is not looking out for your best interest. They may truly believe in their product and it might even work for a few but in the end, the stakes are simply too high.
This gentlemen’s post suggests I am a sellout for telling people to obey the law. Perhaps I am but our goal is to keep clients out of prison and prevent them from having to spend their life looking over their shoulder.
If you are going to play “audit roulette” with the IRS, do it quietly and tell no one. The better plan, however, is to consider the current Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (often called OVDI) or some other type of traditional voluntary disclosure. The penalties may be steep for some but its hard to put a price on freedom.
To learn about all your options, contact us. The tax lawyers at Mahany & Ertl have helped many people with a wide range of offshore tax reporting: FBAR filings, the new FATCA law, voluntary disclosures, OVDI, opt outs and many other issues surrounding unreported foreign bank and brokerage accounts.
Mahany & Ertl – America’s Tax Lawyers. Proudly giving taxpayers’ a voice. Offices in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Detroit, Michigan; Portland, Maine & Minneapolis, Minnesota. IRS tax services worldwide.