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Understanding the Paradise Papers

Hot Topics, Offshore Account Update

Posted on November 29, 2017 |

A Boston international tax attorney can provide assistance to any individual or company with investments offshore who is concerned about the possibility that noncompliance with tax laws could be made public.  While there are many legitimate reasons for investing offshore, offshore accounts are inherently treated with suspicion — and if undeclared offshore accounts come to the attention of the IRS, the consequences could include financial penalties and even criminal prosecution if it is determined the accountholder failed to follow the rules.

Offshore investors have plenty of reason to be worried that the information about their offshore accounts could become known to the IRS. In fact, financial details about offshore investments could become public record and could be widely reported. This is because the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists is now reviewing information from a leak of financial documents. The leak is being called the Paradise Papers and it is one of the most substantial leaks of financial information in a long history of leaked details about offshore accounts.

The Paradise Papers Provide Insight into Offshore Investments

The leak of financial information is the fifth major leak that has occurred in the past four years.  While the Panama Papers leak last year was larger in size, containing around 2.6 terabits, the Paradise Papers leak is different because it provides more details on sophisticated offshore dealings on the upper-end of the scale.

The leaked information primarily came from a firm called Appleby, which has been described as a “gold-plated company” by the man who oversees the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.  Approximately 6.8 million of the leaked documents are from Appleby out of a total of 13.4 million documents that have been made public by the leak. The other documents that are part of the 1,400 gigabits of released data from Asiaciti Trust, a Singapore-based international trust and corporate services provider, or from corporate registries for 19 different jurisdictions.

The documents cover a total of seven decades worth of financial data, with the information in the documents spanning 1950 to 2016.  Media partners who are publicizing the information from the documents believe it is in the public interest to do so because an investigation into the world of offshore funding is likely to reveal wrongdoing. Past leaks have implicated heads of state and celebrities, and the Paradise Papers have already exposed the financial dealings of many high-profile individuals and businesses who keep their money offshore.

The information from these documents may not only be used to alert the public to alleged misconduct by politicians but could also be used by taxing authorities to go after ordinary individuals who may have invested offshore and who may not be in full compliance with tax rules for offshore investing.

If you are one of the taxpayers with offshore accounts and you are not certain if you have followed all the IRS rules applicable to you, you should consult with a Boston international tax attorney like Kevin Thorn as soon as possible to find out what your options are for resolving any potential tax issues that could arise if your financial information gets into the hands of the IRS. Contact attorney Kevin E. Thorn, Manager Partner at Thorn Law Group, today.

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

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