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Monthly Archives: November 2014

Ex-UBS Exec & Ex-Mizrahi Banker Found Not Guilty In Tax Evasion Trials!

According to Law360, Miami (November 03, 2014, 5:04 PM ET) -- Jurors in federal court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, found former UBS AG executive Raoul Weil not guilty of conspiracy to defraud the United States for his alleged role in helping nearly 20,000 U.S. clients hide $20 billion in assets from the Internal Revenue Service.

The decision comes as a significant blow to federal prosecutors, who had focused their efforts on convicting Weil, formerly the third-ranked officer at the Swiss banking giant as the head of its wealth management and business banking division and the most senior individual they targeted.

According to Bloomberg this comes on the heels of Friday's (October 31, 2014) acquittal of a retired senior vice president at Israeli-based Mizrahi Tefahot Bank Ltd. in Los Angeles federal court on charges he helped U.S. customers conceal their assets from the Internal Revenue Service. 
Jurors deliberated four hours before clearing Shokrollah Baravarian, 82, of conspiring to defraud the U.S. and helping Mizrahi clients prepare false tax returns. Prosecutors claimed Baravarian helped clients who opened accounts in Israel, didn’t declare them to the IRS and accessed money through loans from the Los Angeles branch.

These acquittals represent a substantial setback 
to the seven-year U.S. campaign to curtail offshore tax evasion. 
 
Prosecutors have charged more than 70 taxpayers and three dozen offshore bankers, lawyers and advisers. More than 45,000 Americans avoided prosecution by voluntarily disclosing their offshore accounts to the IRS, paying $6.5 billion in taxes, penalties and interest. For a detailed list of successful federal prosecutions thus far, go to our post dated Friday, April 11, 2014 "Offshore Prosecutions Strikes Fear into US Taxpayers."
 
These 2 recent losses in foreign banker/promoter cases may have a chilling effect on the DoJ's desire to obtain prison terms for bankers/promoters currently under investigation and could possibly cause the DoJ to also rethink prison terms for U.S. Taxpayers with undisclosed offshore accounts. 

According to a Forbes article "DOJ Wants Prison For Undisclosed Offshore Accounts" the IRS and Justice Department want more prison time. They hoped to make an example of a decidedly fat cat, Beanie Babies creater Ty Warner. He is ranked #663 of Billionaires and #209 on the Forbes 400. Mr. Warner already plead guilty to criminal charges over a Swiss account and paid a whopping $53M for Offshore Tax Evasion.

But at his sentencing, he got probation, and that lack of Jail Time made prosecutors mad. The feds wanted at least a year behind bars. The 69-year-old entrepreneur’s lawyers argued successfully that he should get off with probation and community service because of his age and good works. Government appeals of sentences are not common.

The feds have lost few cases related to offshore accounts. The last thing they want is to look to be going easy on the ultra-wealthy. The U.S. has always taxed worldwide income, but it turns out more Americans had secret offshore accounts than ever could have been imagined. Government victories have been astounding. 

However, after these two back-to-back losses within days of each other and the resulting failure to convict both Raoul Weil and Shokrollah Baravarian; the IRS  may have to reconsider its policy.

Have Un-Reported Income From an Offshore Bank?
 
Value Your Freedom?
 

 Taxpayers who wish to take advantage of the OVDP 
Must Act Quickly!  
 

Contact the Tax Lawyers at
Marini & Associates, P.A.
 
 
for a FREE Tax Consultation Contact US at
or Toll Free at 888-8TaxAid (888 882-9243) 

Read more at: Tax Times blog

Panama Re-Examining the OECD's Automatic Exchange of Information!

According to the My Panama Lawyer Blog, The Ministry of Foreign Relations of Panama, headed by Vice-President Isabel de Saint Malo posted this communique in its website:
 

“Panama is in the process of re-evaluating its strategy to meet state requirements for financial transparency and exchange of information at international level, without neglecting national interests.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has established itself a new international standard for automatic exchange of information . However, its scope, methodology, limitations and other basics have not been defined. In this sense, it is premature for Panama to commit itself until it is fully developed.

The automatic exchange of information (AEOI) creates major challenges that have to be evaluated in light of Panamanian law, the interests of the country and the protection of guarantees to users of our services platform.  

Panama is a country that attracts foreign investment for legitimate reasons and must provide assurance to the users of our service platform. The country itself is prepared to take further measures to strengthen institutions to effectively fight against money laundering and terrorist financing, making sure we prepare properly for the development of policies of this nature which does not generate immediate impoverishment in our country.”

The communique is issued 1 day after the new OECD/G20 standard on automatic exchange of information was endorsed by OECD and G20 countries "as well as major financial centers" invited to the  annual  meeting of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes in Berlin. A large number of United Nations members did not attend.   A status report on committed and not committed jurisdictions will be presented to G20 leaders during their annual summit in Brisbane, Australia on November 15-16.   


51 jurisdictions, many represented at Ministerial level, translated their commitments into action during a massive signing of a Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement (MCAA) that will activate automatic exchange of information, based on the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters.  


Pascal Saint-Amans, Director of the OECD Centre for Tax Policy and Administration (CTPA), tweeted that 89 countries committed themselves to AEOI,  However, absent from the OECD commitment report are :

  1. Madeira
  2. Kazakhstan
  3. Ukraine
  4. Nigeria 
  5. Vietnam
  6. Pakistan
  7. Jordania
  8.  Philippines
  9. Taiwan
  10. Thailand
  11. Serbia
  12. Bulgaria
  13. Guatemala
  14. Peru
  15. Ecuador
  16. Dominican Republic
  17. Venezuela 
  18. United States of America  

      This is odd especially in specially in light of the fact that Panama just signed a FATCA agreement with the US to share information on 5-1-2014 (see our post 92 FATCA Information Sharing Agreements Start Today!)




      Have A Tax Problem?



      Contact the Tax Lawyers at 
      Marini & Associates, P.A.
      for a FREE Tax Consultation

      Toll Free at 888-8TaxAid (888 882-9243).


      Read more at: Tax Times blog

      IRS Enhances Transcript Delivery System On-Line!

      Accounting Today reports that the Internal Revenue Service currently allows qualified tax professionals, who have a Form 8821, Tax Information Authorization or form 2848, Power of Attorney, on file to now request a client’s account transcript using the Transcript Delivery System.

      Get a record of your past tax returns, also referred to as transcripts. IRS transcripts are often used to validate income and tax filing status for mortgage applications, student and small business loan applications, and during tax preparation.

      You can download and print your transcript immediately, or request the transcript be mailed to your address on record.

      Get Transcript Online button

      • View and print your transcript immediately.
      • Choose among Tax Return, Tax Account, Record of Account, or Wage and Income transcripts or a Verification of Nonfiling Letter.

      Get Transcript by Mail button

      • Transcripts arrive in 5 to 10 calendar days.
      • Choose from either a Tax Return or Tax Account.
      • Transcript by Mail is available en Español.

      Form 8821 must be on file with the IRS’s Centralized Authorization File, or CAF, system naming the individual, not the individual’s business, as the appointee for the client, the IRS noted. Transcripts can be requested through the Transcript Delivery System if either Form 8821 or Form 2848 is on file with the CAF.

      As a reminder, the IRS pointed out in an email to tax professionals that users must meet the requirements of Circular 230 or be an Electronic Return Originator with five or more accepted returns in order to register and use the Transcript Delivery System, or TDS.

      A tax professional must still call the Practitioner Priority Service for all other issues. The IRS said it is currently working on program changes that will eliminate the notice to a client when their tax professional requests a transcript on an account with an identity theft indicator.

      Have A Tax Problem?

      Contact the Tax Lawyers at 
      Marini & Associates, P.A.
      for a FREE Tax Consultation

      Toll Free at 888-8TaxAid (888 882-9243).

      Read more at: Tax Times blog

      More Trouble for US Depositors in Israeli Banks!

      US depositors in Israeli banks face additional risks of being discovered. On Friday, October 31, 2014, we posted Bank Leumi to Face $300 Million Settlement Option to Close an Investigation Regarding Their Aiding Americans to Evade Taxes where we discussed are previous posts:

      Now Israel has announced that it will be joining an international mechanism for the sharing of information on financial accounts, according to its Finance Ministry who made the announcement announced Monday on November 3, 2014. The cross-border exchange of information, which is due to be in place by the end of 2018, is expected to make it more difficult to evade paying taxes on financial assets. 
       

      The announcement could have dramatic implications for 
      overseas investors with undeclared assets in Israel.  

      Once the new system is in place, the assets would be 
      automatically disclosed to participating foreign tax authorities.  

      It would also affect Israelis with undeclared financial holdings abroad, which the Israel Tax Authority could be informed of. The Common Reporting Standard, is expected to expand to a network of about 50 countries, the Finance Ministry noted. 

      Implementation of the Common Reporting Standard will take time in Israel, because it requires amendments to current legislation. It will also not be retroactive. Between now and when it comes into effect, it is reasonable to assume that some holders of undeclared assets will come clean, while others will move their money to new tax havens.  

      Have Unreported Income from an Israeli Bank?
      Felling a Bit Faclept?
      Contact the Tax Lawyers at 
      Marini & Associates, P.A.
      for a FREE Tax Consultation

      Toll Free at 888-8TaxAid (888 882-9243).


      Source:

      HAARETZ

      Read more at: Tax Times blog