offshore voluntary disclosure lawyers Minneapolis

Offshore Voluntary Compliance Draws 100,000 Taxpayers and $10 Billion

On October 21, 2016, the IRS announced that more than 100,000 US taxpayers participated in its Offshore Voluntary Compliance programs paying a total of more than $10 billion. Let’s explore these Offshore Voluntary Compliance numbers in more depth.

OVDP is Still the King of Offshore Voluntary Compliance but Its Impact is More Targeted

The IRS flagship Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) is still the most profitable program for the IRS in terms of actual amount of dollars paid by the taxpayers. More than 55,800 taxpayers have come into the OVDP to resolve their past US tax noncompliance. They paid a total of more than $9.9 billion in taxes, interest and penalties since 2009.

These numbers are very impressive, but they also point to a more targeted influence of the OVDP compared to its past. In October of 2015, the IRS reported that more than 54,000 taxpayers entered into the OVDP and paid more than $8 billion. In other words, in the past year (November 2015 – October 2016), about 1,400 taxpayers entered into the OVDP and paid an additional $1.8 billion.

What this means is that the IRS was highly successful in properly addressing the basic original injustice of the OVDP program which was equally painful to small taxpayers and large taxpayers as well as non-willful taxpayers and willful taxpayers. The OVDP now draws a more limited number of people with substantial foreign assets who pay a higher penalty for their prior noncompliance.

The only danger that still remains is the issue of incompetent tax advisors who might be entering their wealthier clients into the OVDP irrespective of their willfulness or non-willfulness.

Streamlined Procedures is the Favorite Offshore Voluntary Compliance Option for “Smaller” Taxpayers

The IRS data also reflects the tremendous popularity of the Streamlined Procedures among the middle-class taxpayers with limited international asset exposure. According to the IRS, as of October of 2016, 48,000 taxpayers have made use of various Streamlined Procedures (SDOP and SFOP) to resolve their prior non-willful US international tax noncompliance. These taxpayers paid a total of about $450 million in taxes, interest and penalties.

In the prior report (October of 2015), the IRS stated that only 30,000 taxpayers used the Streamlined Procedures; 20,000 of them after June of 2014. This means that the Streamlined Procedures continues to attract the great majority of the taxpayers with smaller foreign assets.

Offshore Voluntary Compliance is One of he Key Strategies to Resolve Prior US International Tax Noncompliance

Undoubtedly, Offshore Voluntary Compliance options offer the key strategies to resolve prior US international tax noncompliance. The other options, such as Reasonable Cause Disclosure and Quiet Disclosure, are much more limited in scope and application. In fact, in the case of a Quiet Disclosure, this option may put the taxpayers into a position more dangerous than they were in before their quiet disclosure due to the increased danger of detection without any protection offered by the Offshore Voluntary Compliance options.

Doing nothing is also not a good option for noncompliant taxpayers, because of the increased risk that their prior noncompliance will be deemed willful once the IRS discovers their noncompliance.

The risk of the IRS detection of prior tax noncompliance is very high in today’s world. This detection may come not just from the IRS investigations of a specific taxpayer, the massive disclosures by the banks already being investigated by the IRS or even from the banks that provided information as a result of the Department of Justice’s Swiss Bank Program. Today, the primary danger of detection comes from the third-party reporting under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and the network of inter-governmental agreements (IGAs) between the U.S. and partner jurisdictions.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office to Secure Professional Help With Your Offshore Voluntary Compliance Case

If you have undisclosed foreign accounts or any other foreign assets, you should contact Sherayzen Law Office as soon as possible for professional help with your voluntary disclosure.

Sherayzen Law Office is a leader in offshore voluntary disclosures which will help you with your entire case, including: the original determination of the best Offshore Voluntary Compliance option; the implementation of this option, including the preparation of all relevant legal documents and tax forms; the filing of the voluntary disclosure package; and the defense of your voluntary disclosure positions against the IRS.

We have helped hundreds of US taxpayers around the world to bring their US tax affairs into full compliance in the least painful and most beneficial way, and we can help you!

Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Initial Consultation!

Hapoalim Prepares for Settlement with DOJ | FATCA Tax Attorney

On October 6, 2016, Israeli bank Hapoalim Ltd. announced that, in order to cover the costs of a future settlement with the US Department of Justice (DOJ), it will add a $70 million charge to an existing $50 million provision in its third-quarter results. The expected settlement will cover Hapoalim’s role in helping US tax residents to evade their US tax obligations.

In its news release, Hapoalim stated that its representatives held an initial discussion with the DOJ on September 30, 2016, to discuss the future settlement. The bank did not indicate whether $120 million in charges that it booked to date is the actual amount that Hapoalim will pay under its settlement with the DOJ. Rather, the news release emphasizes the uncertainty that still exists with respect to the actual amount.

The issue of the DOJ investigation dates back to the year 2011. In its recent (June 30, 2016) financial statements Hapoalim confirmed that its Swiss subsidiary Bank Hapoalim (Switzerland) Ltd. had been notified by Swiss authorities in 2011 that it was being investigated by the US government as a result of the DOJ’s suspicions that the bank had assisted US clients in evading federal taxes. The Swiss subsidiary could not resolve this issue in 2013 in the DOJ’s Swiss Bank Program due to the fact that it could not be classified as a Category 2 bank.

It is important to remember that the DOJ is not the only institution that is going after Hapoalim. The State of New York is conducting its own review. In its news release, Hapoalim indicated that the $120 million charge is not related to the New York investigation.

While all of this legal uncertainty makes it difficult for Hapoalim to assess its future liability under any deferred prosecution agreement, one can compare its situation with Bank Leumi. In 2014, Bank Leumi Group entered into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the DOJ under which it paid $270 million ($157 million of this penalty was allocated to Bank Leumi’s Swiss accounts held by US taxpayers).

If we rely on this precedent, it appears that Hapoalim is greatly underestimating its penalty, because Bank Leumi and Hapoalim are fairly similar in size as well as their actions in soliciting US clients. One also must not forget about the possible future indictments of Hapoalim’s employees (at least in the United States) by the DOJ.

Houston OVDP Tax Attorney

Who is considered to be Houston OVDP tax attorney? Initially, most taxpayers would say that this is a strange question to ask, because the answer is very simple: Houston OVDP tax attorney is an attorney who resides in Houston and specializes in helping U.S. taxpayers disclose their undeclared foreign accounts.

This answer, however, is anachronistic and erroneous, because it does not take into account two important considerations. First, there is no “OVDP” law; OVDP is the IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program which is administered by the IRS for the purpose of allowing U.S. taxpayers with undeclared offshore assets and offshore income to voluntarily disclose these assets under a mitigated penalty. This means that, in reality, the OVDP “law” is simply a sub-area of international tax law and all “OVPD tax attorneys” are simply international tax attorneys who specialize in IRS OVDPs and are also knowledgeable in other relevant aspects of U.S. international tax law.

Nevertheless, the term Houston OVDP tax attorney is commonly used to describe an international tax attorney who helps his clients with the declaration of undisclosed foreign assets and foreign income.

The second and most important correction is that Houston OVDP tax attorney does not mean that the tax attorney should reside in Houston. OVDP is a federal tax program and can be practiced by an international tax attorney who is licensed in any of the 50 states of the United States. Hence, an international tax attorney who does offshore voluntary disclosures and helps his clients who reside in Houston, Texas, is automatically a Houston OVDP tax attorney.

This means that Houston OVDP tax attorney can actually reside in Minneapolis or any other city. Mr. Sherayzen of Sherayzen Law Office is an example of such a Houston OVDP tax attorney – he resides in Minneapolis but helps his clients throughout the world, including Houston, Texas.

We can now go back and answer my original question: who is considered to be Houston OVDP tax attorney? The answer is as follows: a Houston OVDP tax attorney is an international tax attorney who is licensed to practice in any of the 50 states of the United States, resides anywhere in the United States (Minneapolis, for example) or any other country, and helps his clients in Houston with OVDP disclosures.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office If You Are Looking for A Houston OVDP Tax Attorney

If you are looking for Houston OVDP tax attorney, you should contact Sherayzen Law Office, PLLC, an international tax law firm that specializes in offshore voluntary disclosures and helps its clients in Houston, Texas.

Our professional legal team is highly experienced in the OVDP disclosures; we have helped clients with every major IRS offshore voluntary disclosure program (2009 OVDP, 2011 OVDI, 2012 OVDP and the currently-existing 2014 OVDP), both types of Streamlined Disclosures (Streamlined Domestic Offshore Procedures and Streamlined Foreign Offshore Procedures), Delinquent International Information Return Submission Procedures and Delinquent FBAR Submission Procedures.

Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!