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Non-Prosecution Agreement for Tax Offenses

Offshore Account Update

Posted on September 25, 2015 |

The Swiss Bank Program created by the Department of Justice is an attractive offer to offshore banks. Banks that come forward voluntarily to provide information on activities related to tax evasion can avoid being prosecuted for tax crimes or for monetary transaction offenses under Titles 18, 26, and 31 of the U.S. code.

The banks will have to pay fines, but they will not be prosecuted for their activities and the fines will be more limited than the money the banks would likely need to turn over in forfeiture, restitution and other penalties if prosecuted criminally.

The banks that participate in the Swiss Bank Program have to offer information on U.S. accountholders to authorities. This means that anyone with funds in an offshore account is vulnerable to having their private account information turned over to U.S. authorities.

A multitude of banks have entered into non-prosecution agreements through the Swiss Bank Program, including Berner Kantonalbank AG. Accountholders with funds at this bank or any other bank participating in the Swiss Bank Program will need to turn to a Boston criminal tax attorney for assistance as soon as possible, because they may already be under investigation by U.S. authorities for their undeclared offshore funds.

Berner Kantonalbank AG to Turn Over Account Information

Berner Kantonalbank AG will pay just over $4 million in penalties and has agreed to a variety of conditions as part of its participation in the Swiss Bank Program. Among the conditions include turning over very specific details on U.S. accountholders and accountholders affiliated with the United States.

The bank must provide information on individuals and entities that had relationships with offshore accounts. Berner Kantonalbank AG has to provide details on the maximum dollar amounts within the accounts, as well as the relationship of the U.S.-affiliated person or entity with the account.

Turning over information on accountholders is not enough for participation in the Swiss Bank Program. Berner Kantonalbank AG will also have to cooperate with the IRS, the Department of Justice, and with other federal law enforcement agencies and authorities. Berner Kantonalbank AG must also close the accounts of U.S.-affiliated individuals and entities that are not in full compliance with all IRS reporting requirements.

The information provided by Berner Kantonalbank AG and other banks that participate in the Swiss Bank Program can lead to investigations into individuals and businesses who kept their money offshore and who may not have been in compliance with requirements to report all offshore accounts every year.

If you were an accountholder and you did not file a report detailing your foreign bank accounts to the IRS, you could find that your bank has just given information to authorities that will lead to an investigation and possible criminal charges.

Kevin Thorn, a criminal tax attorney in Boston, can help you explore the possibility of participating in an amnesty program if you are not already under investigation.

While there are significant penalties, the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) would allow you to avoid criminal charges if you come forward before you are under investigation. An attorney can also help if U.S. authorities have indicated an intent to pursue charges for non-reporting or tax evasion. Call Kevin today.

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

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