The federal government is ramping up its efforts to find and collect taxes on offshore accounts held by American citizens. For years, many people have placed funds in accounts abroad to take advantage of more lenient banking rules and more attractive incentives (like higher rates of return and shielding from discovery). While some have declared these accounts as legitimate assets to state and federal tax authorities, others have neglected to do so.
As 2016 came to an end, you may have missed an announcement from the US Department of Justice. The Swiss Bank Program that started in the summer of 2013 has officially been completed.
A New Year's resolution can be a way to finally focus on and tackle a problem that has been nagging at you. If you are a U.S. citizen or resident with financial interests in offshore bank accounts or other overseas assets, make 2017 the year you talk to an attorney to get a handle on your U.S. government reporting obligations related to those assets.
The IRS is very diligent when it comes to enforcing tax laws. It is particularly concerned that all earnings are reported, and that federal income taxes be paid on all earnings - even money earned outside of the United States. Failing to report international income can result in fines and penalties, as well as criminal charges.
A strange story involving a Canadian baby who also has U.S. citizenship, her bank, the Canadian Revenue Agency and the IRS raises legal issues that will be important to other U.S. citizens living in Canada (and in other countries) with (and without) dual citizenship. iPolitics reported in April that a baby girl in Canada not yet a year old received a letter from her Canadian bank asking for documentation because she may be a "U.S. person" whose account is subject to Canada-U.S. bank record-sharing requirements.
The global media has about exhausted the number of angles they can report on the so-called "Panama Papers." The leak has become synonymous with using offshore accounts and companies to avoid tax obligations.
One way is prosecuting banks that have allegedly helped taxpayers avoid their U.S. tax liabilities. For instance, the Swiss Bank Program required banks to pay hefty fines and disclose information on accounts held by U.S. persons as part of non-prosecution agreements.
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.
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.
The IRS has served John Doe summonses to a number of banks in Belize, seeking information about American account holders, as the U.S. federal government continues its onslaught against offshore tax evasion. Long known as a tax haven, Belize has been a popular destination for wealthy individuals seeking to avoid taxes by holding assets offshore.