Thursday, June 23, 2016

UBS Singapore Forced To Turn Over Records of US Taxpayer - What Are You Waiting For To Get Right With The IRS?

On August 28, 2013 we posted U.S. Turns Up The Pressure On Swiss Banks!  where we discussed the Swiss Banks and listed 2009 as when Switzerland’s biggest bank UBS agrees to turn over more than 4,450 client names and pay a $780 million fine after admitting to criminal wrongdoing in selling tax-evasion services to wealthy Americans.
Then UBS then decided that it would not turn their records of a client who had a UBS account in Singapore. The government claims that despite IRS requests, UBS AG has so far not turned over records related to funds held at UBS in Singapore by “noncompliant” American taxpayer Ching-Ye Hsiaw, and it asked the court to order the bank to do so.

The federal government asked a Florida federal court on February 23, 2016 to require Swiss bank UBS to cooperate with an IRS investigation into an American taxpayer allegedly holding funds at the bank overseas, saying the government has a strong interest in determining how much the man owes in taxes.

The government claimed that despite IRS requests, UBS AG has so far not turned over records related to funds held at UBS in Singapore by “noncompliant” American taxpayer Ching-Ye Hsiaw, and it asked the court to order the bank to do so.
On June 22, 2016 DoJ announced in its post that UBS AG has complied with an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) summons for bank records held in its Singapore office.  Because UBS has now produced all Singapore-based records responsive to the request and the IRS determined that UBS complied with the summons, the Justice Department has voluntarily dismissed its summons enforcement action against the bank.

The IRS served an administrative summons on UBS for records pertaining to accounts held by Ching-Ye “Henry” Hsiaw.  According to the petition, the IRS needed the records in order to determine Hsiaw’s federal income tax liabilities for the years 2006 through 2011.  Hsiaw transferred funds from a Switzerland-based account with UBS to the UBS Singapore branch in 2002, according to the declaration of a revenue agent filed at the same time as the petition.  UBS refused to produce the records, and the United States filed its petition to enforce the summons.
The Department of Justice and the IRS are Committed to making sure that Offshore Tax Evasion is Detected and Dealt with Appropriately,”

Acting Assistant Attorney General Caroline D. Ciraolo
of the Justice Department’s Tax Division said.
"Taxpayers with Offshore Assets who Underreported their Income Should Come Forward
Before We Come Looking for Them”!!!

The IRS keeps updating its list of foreign banks which are turning over the names of their US Account Holders, who are now subject to a 50% (rather than 27.5%) penalty in the IRS’s Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP). This penalty is based on the highest account balance measured over up to eight years. 

On March 9, 2016 the Justice Department Announced that Cayman National Securities Ltd. (CNS) and Cayman National Trust Co. Ltd.(CNT) are the 96th & 97th Offshore Banks to reached a resolution under the department’s Offshore Bank Program. See our post 97 Offshore Banks Are Turning Over Your Names To The IRS - What Are Your Waiting For?
The Tax Division aggressively pursues offshore tax evasion.  More information is available online about the Division’s Offshore Compliance Initiative and its Swiss Bank ProgramThese Banks, including UBS, have agreed to pay a total of about $5 billion in penalties and fines, turnover records of US taxpayers and aid the DoJ by being witnesses in any criminal prosecutions.

Under the program, banks are required to:
  • Make a complete disclosure of their cross-border activities;
  • Provide detailed information on an account-by-account basis for accounts in which U.S. taxpayers have a direct or indirect interest;
  • Cooperate in treaty requests for account information;
  • Provide detailed information as to other banks that transferred funds into secret accounts or that accepted funds when secret accounts were closed;
  • Agree to close accounts of account holders who fail to come into compliance with U.S. reporting obligations; and
  • Pay appropriate penalties.
Following the success of the Swiss Bank Program, the Justice Department is now looking beyond Switzerland to financial institutions in other countries that may be havens for secret offshore accounts or undisclosed assetsInvestigators are pursuing the wealth of leads generated through the Swiss Bank Program, and following those leads to countries such as: 
  • Belize,
  • the British Virgin Islands,
  • the Cayman Islands,
  • the Cook Islands,
  • India,
  • Israel,
  • Liechtenstein,
  • Luxembourg,
  • the Marshall Islands,
  • Panama and
  • Singapore 
Non Swiss Foreign banks and financial institutions that serve U.S. customers are well-advised to heed the lessons of the Swiss Bank Program and other Justice Department enforcement actions commenced to date. Not to mention a little thing like 30% FATCA withholding for noncompliant foreign banks!

For more on where will the IRS and the DoJ will turn next as they sift through a treasure trove of data gathered from Swiss banks and from more than 50,000 U.S. taxpayers who disclosed their accounts to avoid prosecution, see our posts:

Do You Have Undeclared Income From the Foreign Bank?

 Want to Know if the OVDP Program is Right for You?

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

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

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