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Boston Tax Evasion Attorney Takes a Closer Look at Swiss Bank Amnesty

Offshore Account Update

Posted on October 23, 2015 |

The Department of Justice has entered into non-prosecution agreements with 15 foreign banks as of July 2015. The non-prosecution agreements were negotiated as part of the Swiss Bank Program. The Swiss Bank Program grants amnesty and ensures banks will not have to face criminal charges for helping to facilitate tax evasion.

In exchange for the banks not having to face criminal charges, the banks must turn on their own employees and provide enough details that U.S. authorities can use to go after American individuals and businesses who did not follow U.S. tax law.

If you have or had undeclared offshore accounts, or if you did not pay taxes on income earned on offshore investments, now is the time to contact a Boston tax evasion attorney. The DOJ anticipates that a total of 80 banks are going to provide information to U.S. authorities including specific details about U.S. accountholder identities and the balance of funds held in offshore accounts.

You could potentially enter into an amnesty program intended for individuals to avoid prosecution if it is not already too late. An attorney can also help you deal with charges if amnesty is no longer an option for you.

Non-Prosecution of Banks Could Lead to Prosecution of Accountholders

Banks that wish to participate in the Swiss Bank Program are obliged to comply with treaty requests for information on U.S.-affiliated accountholders. The banks have to give details on who owns offshore accounts, including both U.S. individuals and U.S. entities with funds offshore.

Details must be provided on whether U.S. securities are owned by offshore investors, the balances of the offshore accounts, how money was moved, how transactions were structured and what specific relationship the accountholders had with the offshore funds.

The information the banks are required to provide is extremely comprehensive and authorities are getting enough details from institutions participating in the Swiss Bank Program that they can move forward with investigations into individual investors and bank employees.

Privatbank Von Graffenried AG became the 15th offshore institution to give up the requested information to the DOJ, along with other banks, including Société Générale Private Banking SA, Berner Kantonalbank AG, Bank Linth LLB AG, Bank Sparhafen Zurich AG, and Ersparniskasse Schaffhausen AG.

Any accountholders at these institutions should be very concerned that the DOJ and IRS know about their offshore investments. However, no one’s privacy is safe with so many more banks expected to also participate in the Swiss Bank Program.

Individual investors may have the option to limit their penalties and avoid criminal charges through participation in the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP). However, if your bank has already given your information to authorities and you are already being investigated, you may be excluded from taking advantage of this opportunity.

You need to consider whether OVDP participation is right for you and you need to explore your other options for protecting your money and trying to avoid a criminal case against you. A tax evasion attorney in Boston is ready to help you now, as U.S. officials continue to aggressively go after banks and investors who didn’t comply with U.S. tax laws. Contact Kevin Thorn today.

For a consultation, contact Kevin E. Thorn, Managing Partner, at ket@thornlawgroup.com or (617) 692-2989

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