The Paradise Papers: What’s in Them That Can Affect Your Offshore Accounts?

Hot Topics, Offshore Account Update

Posted on November 29, 2017 |

If you have undeclared offshore funds in a financial account, it is imperative you talk with a New Jersey international tax attorney about how you can come into compliance with your tax obligations.  The chances that your information will fall into the hands of taxing authorities are substantial, in light of both cooperation by many foreign financial institutions with U.S. as well as in light of recent and repeated leaks of financial information about offshore accounts.

Just recently, news broke of a fifth major leak of financial documents and information regarding offshore accounts. This leak is being referred to as the Paradise Papers and it is considered to be much more in-depth than prior leaks, including the Panama Papers which involved the leak of a larger volume of documents that were less comprehensive and detailed.

The Paradise Papers Reveals Offshore Financial Account Information

The Paradise Papers include approximately 13.4 million financial documents, which together amount to around 1,400 gigabits of data about offshore accounts at major financial institutions.  Approximately 6.8 million of the documents come from a company called Appleby, which is at the center of the leak. Appleby employee 470 people, including 200 lawyers, and it is one of the largest offshore law firms providing advice to individuals and organizations.

The remaining documents came from corporate registries across 19 different jurisdictions, as well as from Asiaciti Trust which is an international trust and corporate services provider. Experts believe that this leak is different from the prior leaks because the company that the leaked information came from was considered to be the “gold-plated” company, or one of the most elite companies used by celebrities, politicians and other very wealthy people who were looking to take advantage of offshore tax havens.

The documents that were made public in the leak include financial information spanning seven decades from 1950 to 2016. The documents were made available to Süddeutsche Zeitung, which is a German newspaper. They have now been shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, so close to 100 media partners from 67 different countries will be reviewing the documents.  The media partners who are conducting an investigation of the leaked material believe that it is in the public interest because past leaks have exposed wrongdoing by offshore investors.

The Paradise Papers incident is unlikely to be the last leak, especially as it is part of a pattern of financial information being released to the public.  While the details about celebrities and politicians’ accounts will make news, the release of these types of documents can still be damaging to the average offshore investor if financial information is revealed to taxing authorities. 

If those authorities obtain your information and begin an investigation into your offshore accounts, the consequences can be serious. You should talk with New Jersey international tax attorney Kevin Thorn about IRS voluntary disclosure options that could help you to potentially limit penalties if you are afraid your information will fall into the wrong hands. Contact attorney Kevin E. Thorn, Manager Partner at Thorn Law Group, today.

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