October 2015 Foodman CPAs & Advisors

The money is leaving the Swiss Banks, but where is it going? The I.R.S. and the Department of Justice think Singapore and Israel. They know because the Swiss Banks have told I.R.S. agents where the money went. The Swiss Banks have done what everyone thought would be inconceivable; they have “come clean” as to how they helped Americans evade taxes.

Over 100 Swiss Banks have sought non-prosecution agreements, and during this year, 41 banks have actually signed amnesty agreements with the U.S. Department of Justice. As a result of the cooperation of the Swiss Banks, the I.R.S. has an inflow of information as to where the money is moving from Switzerland.

The targets are different jurisdictions that include Hong Kong, Lebanon, Lichtenstein, Cyprus, Belize – all in addition to Singapore and Israel. I.R.S. Agents will follow all leads, wherever that leads them to, no matter how secret or remote the location might be. The I.R.S. works with other Governments and law enforcement agencies to share knowledge through the I.R.S. Criminal Investigation Unit (CI); known as the law enforcement arm of the I.R.S. International tax compliance is a top priority for the I.R.S., and its main objective is to have its collection tentacles secure a worldwide reach. CI has what are known as “attaches” assigned to key foreign government consulates and embassies.

These attaches develop strong ties with their counterparts in these jurisdictions, and develop a buddy system to share information about financial crimes. CI works very closely with the INTERPOL, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the Terrorist Finance Working Group (TFWG) and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). These specially trained I.R.S. examiners are focused on aggressive international tax planning that has the objective to hide income and assets offshore to evade taxes. This also includes corporations, entities and structures that are established in foreign jurisdictions.

So, if you are asking if the I.R.S. is watching, the answer is YES. Very much so. Did you know that the I.R.S. can tell when people enter and exit the country? There is a website that can be used to tell whenever people enter and exit the United States: https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/consent.html.

Lying on immigration forms and tax returns is a federal offence. The bottom line is that there are consequences for evading taxes. They will include the payment of additional taxes, and can also include fines, interest, substantial penalties and jail time. Words to the wise: Remember that the I.R.S. has said: people may be able to run, but they can’t hide.

Overseas tax havens can no longer be found. Global partnering by the I.R.S., together with tough legislation, and the criminal investigation skill set, have made the tax evasion era days numbered. Finally, the I.R.S. is proud of its Scorecard for solving international tax compliance crimes. Please visit: https://www.irs.gov/uac/Examples-of-International-Investigations-Fiscal-Year-2015 to see their “scores”.