If you thought you were safe from the IRS because your offshore bank account was with another bank besides UBS, think again. As a result of the IRS UBS settlement and the IRS' Voluntary Disclosure program, hundreds of account holders with undeclared assets have come forward to disclose their bank details in exchange for a lighter penalty and to avoid prosecution for tax evasion. Together with their personal information are coming loads of additional names of banks, attorneys, accountants, agents and other intermediaries that have helped them stash their cash offshore to dodge taxes. As a result, the IRS has plenty to investigate, including offshore banks other than UBS.
Some of the banks are located as far away as the Caribbean islands, Hong Kong and other Asian countries. If you have assets that have not been taxed in accounts in any of these banks, do not assume you are safe.
In Switzerland itself, the agreement involves the Swiss government looking into other banks besides UBS for similar practices of having American depositors who use their bank accounts to avoid taxes. One such Swiss bank is Credit Suisse. It is alleged that Credit Suisse has recently advised its American clients to close their Swiss accounts within the next few weeks, although the bank has made no comment about this. In line with the current developments, Credit Suisse has affirmed its compliance with acceptable banking standards, laws and practices.
Under the agreement between the IRS and UBS, the bank would hand over to the Swiss government information about its American clients which the IRS wants to know about and the government will in turn instruct the bank as to which clients' accounts are to be revealed to the IRS. It is expected that 4,450 account details will be handed over within a period of time during which the bank can advise its affected clients to lodge an appeal under Swiss law with the Swiss Federal Administrative court to keep their accounts secret. At the same time, they are to inform the US Justice Department of their appeals.
In a related development, the US Justice Department last Thursday indicted Hansruedi Schumacher, a Swiss banking executive with Zuercher Bank, a private bank based in Zurich on charges of assisting Americans hide their assets in Switzerland from US tax authorities. Schumacher joins Bradley Birkenfeld, a banker with UBS, against whom the IRS has begun criminal prosecutions. Birkenfeld has pleaded guilty and faces up to 5 years' imprisonment. He has been actively cooperating with the IRS, supplying them with additional information on other parties also involved. By doing so, his lawyers hope to commute his sentence to 2 œ years.
Darrin T. Mish is a veteran, nationally recognized tax attorney who has focused on providing IRS help to taxpayers for over a decade. He regularly travels the country training other attorneys, CPAs and enrolled agents on how to handle their toughest cases with the IRS. He is highly ranked among the top attorneys in the country, with an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell and a perfect 10 on Avvo.com. Martindale-Hubbell has also honored him with a listing in their Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers. He is a member of the American Society of IRS Problem Solvers and the Tax Freedom Institute. With clients on every continent but Antarctica, he has what it takes to solve your IRS problems no matter where you live in the world. If you would like more information about his practice and how he can help you, please call his office at (813) 229-7100 or toll free at 1-888-GET-MISH.