The Swiss government has been urging about 300 Swiss banks to come forward and disclose their American account holdings to the U.S. The deadline set by the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) for the Swiss banks to participate in a voluntary program whereby they disclose assets of their American clients was December 31, 2013. By disclosing the assets and paying fines, the banks would be avoiding criminal prosecution.
In recent years, the U.S. has been cracking down on American tax evaders and the banks that help them. In 2009, Swiss banking giant UBS admitted they were aiding tax evaders and paid out $780 million in a settlement with the U.S. Another bank, Wegelin & Co., folded because of pressures from the DOJ investigation.
In turn, the Swiss banks have been pressuring their U.S. clients to come forward and disclose their assets to the IRS. In December 2013, Swiss banks sent out letters to their American clients urging them to fess up. The hope is that if more account holders come forward, the banks will pay less in fines and penalties.
Over 80% of Swiss Banks surveyed had stated that they have implemented the steps to participate in the DOJ Disclosure Program and that they are sending information on U.S accountholders to the DOJ.
If you have never reported your foreign investments on your U.S. Tax Returns, the IRS has established the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative (OVDI) which allows taxpayers to come forward to avoid criminal prosecution and not have to bear the full amount of penalties normally imposed by IRS. Taxpayers who hire an experienced tax attorney in Offshore Account Voluntary Disclosures should result in avoiding any pitfalls and gaining the maximum benefits conferred by this program.
Let the tax attorneys of the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. resolve your IRS tax problems, get you in compliance with your FBAR filing obligations, and minimize the chance of any criminal investigation or imposition of civil penalties.