The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has hunted down those who attempt to hide assets in foreign accounts for decades. In 2010, members of Congress and President Barack Obama gave the agency one of its strongest tools against this form of tax evasion: the Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) led to major tax reform that likely impacted every taxpayer. Provisions throughout the law change everything from the basic to the complex. One of the more complex matters changed by this law: taxation of foreign assets.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently sent a representative to a meeting of legal professionals from throughout the country. At the meeting, held by the tax section of the American Bar Association, the agency’s representative stated the IRS will continue to review taxpayers’ foreign accounts and would continue to look for evidence of United States taxpayers’ holding and failing to report such accounts.
The United States government takes attempts to avoid tax obligations very seriously. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) ramped up its efforts to hold those who evade tax obligations through the use of foreign accounts over a decade ago after a Senate report found taxpayers avoid an estimated $100 billion in tax obligations every year by utilizing secret foreign accounts.
The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) came with a stick as well as carrots. The federal law requires foreign financial institutions to share U.S. taxpayer information for holdings whether through direct ownership or another foreign entity. The aim was to make it harder to hide assets offshore to avoid federal tax.
In 2010, a L.A. taxpayer failed to report more than one million dollars sitting in his Israeli Bank Leumi account on a FBAR (now FinCEN Form 114). He also requested that the bank refrain from mailing statements to the United States and tapped the funds through a loan scheme.
For criminals seeking sensitive identity information, posing as the IRS – whether on the phone or in letters and emails – has been a successful tacit. Their targets change as quickly as the IRS warns of the latest scheme, however.
The current Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program will wind down with a closing date of September 28, 2018, according to a recent IRS announcement.
The first tax court decision of 2018 came down to the wording of a statute. As is often the case, the IRS and the taxpayer each argued the wording was perfectly clear. Then each side reached different interpretations.
One of the precursors for sharing information requires systems to speak to each other. Similar data must be gathered and then entered into automatic annual exchanges.