Swiss Firm Settles With DOJ

Offshore Account Update

Posted on September 1, 2017 |

A New Jersey tax law firm can provide representation to U.S. affiliated taxpayers who have offshore accounts held at foreign financial institutions or managed by foreign financial entities.  If you have an offshore account and you are not fully in compliance with all U.S. tax rules, including those requiring you to report your account and pay taxes on gains, there is a significant likelihood you will come under investigation if you are not being investigated already. 

Your chances of an investigation are high because many foreign financial institutions are cooperating with the IRS and turning over accountholder information in order to avoid criminal prosecution and serious penalties for aiding in tax evasion. Just recently, another Swiss asset management firm joined the long list of foreign entities entering into agreements with the Department of Justice to turn over information on accountholders.

A Swiss Asset Management Firm Will Turn Over Accountholder Information

The Swiss asset management firm that has entered into a non-prosecution agreement with the DOJ is called Prime Partners.  Prime Partners was in charge of overseeing around $270 million in assets belonging to U.S. affiliated taxpayers in 2008. The firm was accused of helping U.S. taxpayers to avoid taxes. It began cooperating with the DOJ very early on, providing detailed information about its U.S. affiliated investors.  More than 175 un-redacted client files were provided by Prime Partners to the DOJ, and the DOJ explained its tactics for helping American investors to evade their tax obligation.

Because of the extraordinary degree of cooperation shown by Prime Partners, prosecutors will not be pressing charges against the asset management firm. Instead, the firm will pay $5 million in penalties to settle the charges it helped facilitate tax evasion. It will also continue its cooperation in helping to provide the DOJ and IRS with information about U.S. affiliated individuals with ownership interests or signatory authority in foreign accounts.

Prime Partners is one of many foreign financial institutions that has entered into non-prosecution agreements, paid millions in fines, and provided valuable and detailed information to the U.S government.  The IRS even set up a special Swiss Bank Program, which was an amnesty program for foreign institutions to voluntarily come forward, pay fines and report accountholders to avoid the threat of being prosecuted for their own role in tax evasion.

When the IRS gets information from Prime Partners or these other institutions and the IRS begins using that information to investigate offshore investors, the offshore investors who are under scrutiny will no longer have options for trying to enter into amnesty programs like the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP). OVDP and streamlined filing can both lessen penalties faced by offshore investors with undisclosed offshore accounts, but are open only to those not already under IRS investigation.

If the IRS has your information already, you should consult with a New Jersey tax law firm right away to find out what options are available to you to try to reduce your penalties. If you are not yet under investigation, talk with attorney Kevin Thorn about the proactive steps you can take to try to lessen the possible consequences that could be associated with your past failures to comply with U.S. rules for offshore accounts.

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