Offshore Tax Evasion-US and Swiss Make A Deal

After just reporting two days ago about the Cayman Islands reaching an agreement with U.S. taxing authorities, the U.S. and Swiss have finally reached a compromise deal for how Swiss banks will report account data on their American clients to the IRS. An ABC News article titled “US, Swiss Reach Deal on American Tax Evaders” reported that this agreement between the two countries will no doubt expose those American taxpayers who have yet to disclose their offshore bank accounts.

The article highlights the following details of the agreement:

  • It allows Swiss banks to settle any potential U.S. charges if they disclose extensive information about their American clients, the value of their accounts and any help they received from tax professionals.
  • The settlements would include penalties for Swiss banks that helped their U.S. customers avoid paying taxes.
  • The department could also use the information to prosecute Americans for tax evasion.
  • Officials speculate the total IRS penalties could top $1 billion.

The agreement is seen as a resolution for the two countries who have disputed this tax issue for years. As the article points out, this agreement gives Swiss banks the opportunity to turn over customer data without violating that country’s bank secrecy laws. Those same banks can also pursue legal settlements with the U.S. Justice Department and avoid criminal prosecution.

The hope of the IRS is that this agreement will encourage more taxpayers to come forward voluntarily disclose their foreign bank accounts and become compliant.

Here’s What Can Happen When the IRS Finds You

A Forbes article by Robert W. Wood titled “U.S. And Swiss Reach Deal On Evaders—More Guilty Pleas Over Offshore Accounts” tells a tragic story about the lengths some people are willing to go to evade taxes. The article focuses on the case of Henry Seggerman of New York, who pleaded guilty to charges that he and his family schemed to hide inherited assets.

According to prosecutors, Seggerman and his siblings inherited the money and the fraudulent set-up, but decided to continue it. Henry is the son of international investor, Harry Seggerman, who died in 2001 with an estate worth over $24 million; over half in undeclared foreign accounts. This case is an interesting read if not a bit intriguing due to the lengths the family was willing to go to communicate with British lawyer, Michael Little. (Little was also arrested and charged for participating in the 11-year tax fraud scheme).

Take a look at the code words Woods provided in the article that the Seggerman family used to communicate with Little:

  • “FDA” was the IRS;
  • “Beef” was money;
  • “Lbs” was units of $1,000;
  • “Small” was Michael Little;
  • “Moxly” was the Swiss lawyer;
  • “Leaky” was the Seggerman Family matriarch;
  • “BG” was a New Jersey accountant;
  • “Rusty nail” was a trust; and
  • A “Refrigerator” was an account to hold or transfer funds.

The Only Way to Resolve Offshore Non-Compliance Tax Issues is to Come Clean with the IRS

The Seggerman case shows that even wealthy Americans are not above the law when it comes to offshore tax compliance. Taking the proactive, voluntary disclosure approach means you will pay back taxes and penalties but not be prosecuted. If you have undisclosed offshore accounts or missed the June 30 FBAR filing deadline, you need tax relief now! Consult a certified tax resolution specialist who can help you in the following ways:

  • Take over all IRS communication
  • Make the required disclosures
  • File FBAR reports and amend your tax returns
  • Bring you back into compliance and in a more favorable position with the IRS
  • Negotiate a properly structured offshore tax settlement to pay of the tax debt

However, you need to ACT NOW to get more favorable treatment from the IRS, permanent IRS tax relief and peace of mind.

More Tax Help, IRS News and Tax Relief Tips:

  1. Cayman Island Tax Haven No Longer Secret Due to FATCA
  2. U.S. Investigates Swiss Bank Rahn Bodner for Secret Accounts
  3. FATCA-No Tax Relief for Americans Living Abroad
  4. To Avoid Tax Issues-Americans Give Up Passports
  5. Tax Problems-What to Do if You Inherit Them

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