The Paradise Papers were a massive leak of financial documents, with around 13.4 million confidential documents turned over to reporters. The Paradise Papers provided a glimpse into the world of offshore banking, similar to the insider look offered by previous leaks such as the Panama Papers. Those who have offshore funds whose information was revealed by The Paradise Papers could find themselves facing an investigation by taxing authorities and should contact a Boston tax evasion attorney for help.
While the Paradise Papers have revealed information about wealthy individuals with offshore funds, the leaked information also does much more than that. As The Guardian explained, the Paradise Papers have provided an insider look into the commoditization of tax evasion. In other words, the leaked materials have shown just how many businesses have built up around helping wealthy people to avoid paying taxes on their income.
Tax Evasion is Big Business
The information from the Paradise Papers reveals that there has been a substantial increase in the number of companies facilitating tax evasion since the financial crisis. These companies often bring together many service providers, including accountants, lawyers, and others in the financial industry, to provide essentially one-stop shopping solutions for wealthy people who want to open offshore accounts to hide money from governments in their home countries.
As the Guardian revealed, many of the businesses that help to facilitate tax evasion specialize in offshore accounts in specific parts of the world. They routinely advertise their services as part of a package deal, which wealthy people can shop for in a similar way they would shop for all-inclusive vacations. For example, you can find companies offering entire packages at a flat rate with packages typically including incorporation, opening an offshore business bank account, a business address, and other services necessary to create a secret offshore account.
The companies providing these package deals frequently include case studies on their websites to demonstrate how much the packages have saved people on taxes. The information on the sites typically indicates that people who chose to make use of these services are operating within a legal gray area.
However, some of the actions taken may actually cross the line into illegal tax evasion, especially as the United States has strict rules requiring disclosure of offshore funds. When the Paradise Papers and other financial leaks occur and taxing authorities in the U.S. and other jurisdictions are able to get a behind-the-scenes look at how companies and service provides are facilitating tax evasion, it is likely that countries will respond by launching investigations, initiating crackdowns and changing the rules. That means that individuals who have offshore funds could find themselves facing an increased risk of becoming caught up in an investigation.
If you are one of the many individuals in the U.S. with offshore financial accounts, it is important that you understand the risks of being caught up in an investigation and that you explore options for ensuring that you are in full compliance with U.S. tax laws. Kevin Thorn, a Boston tax evasion attorney, can help.