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Swiss bank to settle tax evasion allegations with DOJ

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has joined in the fight against tax evasion. A recent case involving a Swiss bank provides an example of the government’s interagency efforts to hold those who evade tax obligations accountable for their wrongdoing. The agency has reached a settlement with the Swiss bank after it states the bank admitted to “conspiring to defraud the United States on taxes, commit tax evasion and file false federal tax returns from 2002 through 2012.”

What types of penalties come with the bank’s settlement? Ultimately, the bank agreed to pay the DOJ over $60 million to settle the matter. $17.2 million of that payment is designed to cover the cost of unpaid taxes, $29.7 million for fees and $13.5 million as a punitive fine.

The institution has also agreed to cooperate with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This means the bank will be providing the agency with information about account holders.  

What can taxpayers with offshore accounts learn from this case? When discussing this matter in a news release, the DOJ’s Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Tax Division stated that “the era of hiding money overseas to evade U.S. tax obligations is over.”  This serves as a reminder for those who have foreign assets to come into compliance with United States tax law.

Do I need a lawyer? It is wise for those who need to come into compliance to seek legal counsel. Various compliance options are available and your attorney can review your accounts and discuss the potential risks and benefits of each option. Act promptly to resolve this issue due to the government’s current focus on this area of tax evasion.

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