A collective of American expats living abroad filed suit back in 2015 to challenge imposition of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) as it applies to their international financial accounts. The group, with the self-imposed name of "Republicans Overseas," engaged in a silent protest against FATCA prior to filing their legal claims: they each, to ensure that their funds were not subject to FATCA disclosure and taxation, drained foreign bank accounts below the mandatory reporting amount.
April 15 has become synonymous with tax day in the United States. This year is a little different, because the Internal Revenue Service is celebrating Emancipation Day. Public employees in Washington D.C. get the day off or the closest day when the April 16th holiday falls on a weekend.
The Fifth Amendment protects an individual from being forced to incriminate himself or herself, often referred to as "pleading the fifth." In the past, some have unsuccessfully attempted to assert the Fifth Amendment as a reason to avoid filing tax returns, or to file tax returns that don't report any income. These arguments, usually asserted by tax protesters, are generally considered frivolous by the IRS and federal courts.
The Department of Justice announced the conviction of an Alaskan doctor who used secret accounts in Costa Rica to hide assets from his wife, as well as to evade U.S. taxes. At his sentencing next March, he faces a maximum of 20 years imprisonment. He could also be forced to forfeit $4.6 million in seized funds.
The IRS has added four more foreign financial institutions to its list of "Foreign Financial Institutions or Facilitators." Those who had accounts at one or more of these institutions are required to pay an increased penalty of 50% if they wish to participate in the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP). The list is expected to continue to grow as the U.S. government continues its ongoing investigations of offshore tax evasion.
The Internal Revenue Service has released a draft version of the form that will be used by foreign financial institutions (FFIs) to report information about U.S. accounts under the terms of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). Passed into law in 2010, FATCA requires foreign financial institutions to report information about U.S. account holders on an annual basis. The Treasury Department has since negotiated Intergovernmental Agreements (IGAs) with more than 100 countries to implement the provisions of FATCA, including most of the world's top tax havens.
Senator Rand Paul and a group of American expatriates suffered a huge setback in their attempt to overturn the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), as the judge denied their motion for preliminary injunction, saying that they lack standing for the suit and are unlikely to succeed on the merits.
On July 31, 2015, the President signed into law H.R. 3236, the Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015. Buried in the bill are some important changes to due dates for returns, including FinCen Report 114 (FBAR).
At an annual Offshore Alert conference, the director of the IRS offshore voluntary compliance initiative revealed that the IRS recently issued John Doe summonses to seven more foreign private banks. While he did not reveal which banks the summonses were issued to, he did say that they were not limited to Switzerland.
As the Department of Justice continues its efforts to prosecute individuals involved in offshore tax evasion, approximately two dozen indicted Swiss bankers remain fugitives in Switzerland.