Saturday 24 September 2011 Hong Kong
By Winstone Group Inc. | Attorney Salazar, Alberto
Earlier this week, the US Department of Justice website noted the intention to commence world wide criminal investigations of offshore institutions assisting Americans to evade taxes. Such written intention was taken off the website within 24 hours. No listing of the financial institutions had been noted on the website as it would have been a Federal crime.
SCOPE - Taxpayers should not be fooled into believing that the U.S. Justice Department solely investigates financial institutions that have U.S. branches and U.S. operating licenses. Investigations have expanded to include entities with representative offices or no formal US presence.
Based on history, the institutions may avoid prosecution by paying fines and revealing detailed data on the accounts held by US citizens. According to the Justice Department website ( www.justic.gov/tax/offshore_compliance_intiative.htm ), "the Tax Division's top litigation priority is the concerted civil and criminal effort to combat the serious problem of non-compliance with our tax laws by U.S. taxpayers using secret offshore bank accounts"- a problem that a 2008 Senate report concluded costs the U.S. Treasury at least $100 billion annually. The result will be thousands of accounts handed over to the IRS by the financial institutions.
The US government's amnesty program has successfully resulted in nearly 18,000 taxpayers in an 18-month period concluding in February 201 to "come in from the cold" and voluntarily disclose to the IRS their previously hidden foreign accounts and also to agree to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to the U.S. Treasury.
IMMEDIATE ACTION TO BE TAKEN: File Form TD F 90-22.1 Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts pursuant to the instructions on the form. The forms may be downloaded at www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f90221.pdf for no charge. Please understand that "I didn't know I had to file form TD F 90-22.1" is not a valid legal excuse.