Credit Suisse and U.S. Department of Justice Reportedly In Negotiations for Possible Settlement: Time Running Out For U.S. Account Holders To Disclose Foreign Accounts
Kevin E. Thorn, Managing Partner of the Thorn Law Group discusses the recent negotiations between the U.S. Department of Justice and Swiss bank Credit Suisse and the effect that any potential settlement may have on the rest of the banking community and the U.S. Taxpayers who still may have undisclosed offshore accounts at foreign banks.
Washington, DC (PRWEB) May 13, 2014
Swiss bank Credit Suisse is currently negotiating a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in order to end the DOJ’s investigation of the bank’s role in allegedly helping U.S. taxpayers commit tax evasion through the use of offshore bank accounts. [“Credit Suisse in Talks to Pay $1.6 Billion to Resolve U.S. Tax Probe”, FoxBusiness, May 6, 2014 at http://www.fxn.ws/1qx2kOH.] Kevin E. Thorn of Thorn Law Group believes that any potential settlement between Credit Suisse and the DOJ will likely set a precedent for investigations into other foreign banks in the future. It is very important that U.S. taxpayers with undisclosed overseas accounts come forward now because once a foreign bank identifies the U.S. taxpayer with the undisclosed foreign accounts to the United States government; the taxpayers will no longer qualify for the IRS’s Offshore Voluntary Disclosure program.
Based on prior settlements, Thorn anticipates that any Credit Suisse settlement will require the Swiss banks to disclose U.S. taxpayer account information to the IRS and the DOJ. The information that the DOJ will likely receive from Credit Suisse and other foreign banks may allow the U.S. government to identify and prosecute American taxpayers who have not been reporting their foreign accounts.
Kevin E. Thorn, states that U.S. taxpayers with undisclosed offshore accounts should come into compliance with the IRS immediately by entering into the IRS’s Offshore Voluntary Disclosure program. He points out that the penalty for not disclosing offshore accounts can be devastating. “Foreign banks are making voluntary disclosures to avoid prosecution and severe penalties, and so should U.S. taxpayers with undisclosed foreign bank accounts. Once the DOJ and the IRS obtain the identities of U.S. taxpayers with hidden foreign accounts in these overseas banks, they will not allow those account holders to enter into the IRS’s Offshore Voluntary Disclosure program.” He adds that “non-disclosure and compliance may be significantly more costly and more difficult for taxpayers who do not come forward before the banks identify them to the Department of Justice and the Internal Revenue Service,” and anticipates that “the IRS and the DOJ will continue to put pressure on all foreign banks in order to obtain U.S. taxpayer information and bring those who have undisclosed overseas offshore accounts back into compliance.”
Mr. Thorn also notes that many foreign banks are sending letters to account holders informing them of the bank’s decision to participate in the voluntary disclosure program and advises them to do the same, and states, “If your bank sends you a letter advising you to enter the IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure program, consider it a warning that they are likely going to turn your identity and your account information over to the DOJ and IRS very soon.” Thorn recommends that account holders contact an experienced tax attorney as soon as possible in order to discuss their rights and options.