The Internal Revenue Service's (IRS's) 2014 Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) officially ends on Friday, September 28, 2018. This program was offered to help taxpayers get into compliance with their foreign account reporting requirements. The end of the OVDP does not mean the IRS is less interested in offshore compliance --- to the contrary, "The IRS remains actively engaged in ferreting out the identities of those with undisclosed foreign accounts with the use of information resources and increased data analytics," said Don Fort, Chief, IRS Criminal Investigation, in the IRS' initial announcement about the program's end. "Stopping offshore tax noncompliance remains a top priority of the IRS."
A Californian pleaded guilty this week before the U.S. District Court, Central District of California, to willfully failing to disclose over $1 million held in offshore bank accounts. He and the bank also took other steps to hide and secretly access his funds. The man now faces up to five years in prison, supervised release, restitution, and other monetary penalties.
NPB Neue Privat Bank, a Swiss private bank based in Zurich, and the U.S. Department of Justice Tax Division signed a non-prosecution agreement on July 18, 2018, by which NPB will pay a $5 million penalty for aiding U.S. taxpayers in opening accounts to conceal assets and income from the U.S. government. Between August 2008 and December 2015, NPB managed approximately $400 million annually in both declared and undeclared assets. The bank failed to disclose the identities of American clients to the Internal Revenue Service after entering into a Qualified Intermediary Agreement in 2001 whereby it was to report U.S. securities transactions to the IRS on Forms 1099 and obtain Forms W-9 from new and existing U.S. clients to help verify their tax compliance.
For those taxpayers who may still be on the fence about whether to voluntarily disclose offshore assets, the time to decide is now! The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced that the 2014 Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) will close on September 28, 2018.
The IRS Large Business and International division (LB&I) is rolling out a series of campaigns focused on specific compliance issues. The division analyzed extensive data as well as suggestions from IRS compliance employees and the tax community to improve large business compliance activities.
Susanne D. Rüegg Meier, a citizen and resident of Switzerland, pleaded guilty on July 19, 2017, to conspiring with U.S. taxpayers and other Swiss bankers to defraud the United States as the head of a team of bankers for Credit Suisse AG between 2002 and 2011. She was responsible for the accounts of over 1,000 clients and handled approximately $400 million in assets. Her conduct led to an estimated U.S. tax loss of between $3.5 and $9.5 million. Sentencing in this case is scheduled for early September 2017; Rüegg Meier faces a maximum of five years in prison, a period of supervised release, and restitution penalties.
On June 1, 2017, U.S. Ambassador Margaret Ann Uyehara and Montenegrin Finance Minister Darko Radunovic signed an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) to combat offshore tax evasion by implementing the provisions of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). Banks from Montenegro will be able to share information about financial accounts of U.S. citizens with the IRS.