More Information Sharing About Offshore Accounts is Taking Place

Offshore Account Update

Posted on September 30, 2016 |

Throughout the world, there are certain countries which developed a reputation for keeping financial accounts private. Many people chose to bank in these countries in order to maintain more privacy regarding their investments and finances.  In some cases, offshore accounts were also used by accountholders to avoid 100 percent compliance with tax obligations. 

Now, however, countries which have long been protective of their strict privacy laws for the banking industry have begun cooperating with global efforts to fight tax evasion. More and more countries are signing on to agreements in which account information is shared, which is making it harder and harder for people to hide money without the government finding out about it. Just recently, several additional countries joined the long list of jurisdictions which have committed to the exchange of account data and financial information by 2018.

For accountholders who were expecting their accounts to continue to be kept confidential, the increased number of countries cooperating means there is an ever-greater likelihood of their financial data being turned over to the governments of their own country. If and when this happens, serious consequences could follow if the accountholder hasn't complied with tax laws.

A New Jersey tax evasion attorney should be consulted by anyone who is concerned that their account information will be provided to the government and trigger tax problems.  There may be options for voluntary amnesty to avoid criminal penalties and limit civil penalties and fines, but you often must act before the government actually obtains your data. An attorney can help you to decide on the best approach.

More and More Tax Information is Being Exchanged

There are currently more than 100 jurisdictions throughout the world which are participating in agreements to share financial account data, including Switzerland and Hong Kong.  Singapore and Australia have also recently agreed to the bilateral exchange of information. 

Many of the countries which are sharing information are some of the most popular locations for offshore accounts, like Switzerland.  Singapore, in particular, has been under significant pressure to agree to information sharing because it is a trading hub for commodity companies which are some of the largest in the world. 

Amidst suspicion they are using units in Singapore to evade taxes, companies claim they want to be in this jurisdiction because of access to trade routes and local expertise, not to mention access to Asian clients since the region accounts for a growing share of commodities businesses. Resource-producing countries like Australia, however, believe that the real goal is to evade taxes.

Singapore has now agreed to participate in the sharing of financial information with Australia because taxing authorities have been made confident that the confidentiality of the information can be kept secure. This guarantee of data security, however, does not help accountholders who didn't want the government aware of their offshore financial details because they aren't in compliance with tax rules.

As governments get data about offshore accounts, they will use it to go after people with unpaid taxes. If you suspect you could be one of the government's targets, now is the time to get legal help from a tax evasion attorney like Kevin Thorn. Contact him today.


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