The Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI) and Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) co-hosted a three-day International Criminal Tax Symposium in Washington, D.C. on January 27 – 29, 2015. The symposium focused on combating offshore tax evasion and international financial crimes. It is worth mentioning that delegates from criminal tax and enforcement programs from Australia, Canada, The Netherlands, Norway and New Zealand also attended the symposium.
IRS states that, recognizing the increasing trends in sophisticated tax evasion and other financial crimes crossing international borders, the symposium participants discussed best practices and methods of effective investigations as well as other strategies to combat emerging issues.
“The IRS continues to enhance its international efforts through a number of strategies working with international law enforcement and actively participating in a number of international financial task force groups. We will continue our recent successes in international cases, following the money across the world to bring criminals to justice,” said Richard Weber, Chief, IRS-Criminal Investigation. “Those who believe they can cross international borders to commit financial crimes will find that they have far fewer places to hide.”
“HMRC is committed to tackling tax crimes through international collaboration and ensuring there is no safe haven for the proceeds of crime,” said Richard Summersgill, Director, HMRC Criminal Investigation. “The world is becoming a much smaller place for those who want to hide themselves and their assets behind anonymous corporate structures.”
Focus of the Symposium
The delegates focused on four key areas: combating beneficial ownerships and the use of shell companies, transnational organized crime, combating offshore tax evasion and refund crimes and repayment fraud.
Combating international financial crimes is a top priority for all of the participating countries and each actively pursues offshore tax evaders, promoters and financial institutions involved in hiding income and assets offshore. Currently, many countries coordinate through international and interagency task forces, exchange of information methods, joint investigations and other formal and informal methods of international cooperation. The IRS affirms that the symposium delegates discussed further enhancements to this international collaboration moving forward.
FATCA and Beneficial Ownership Issue
The beneficial ownership problem is one that is probably most difficult to trace for the IRS at this point, because it may not be as easily detectable through FATCA as, for example, individual or partnership ownership of foreign accounts. Therefore, it is not surprising that the symposium emphasized this aspect of international tax enforcement.
Symposium and Non-Compliant Foreign Accounts
This symposium is one more evidence of an ever closer cooperation between countries in terms tackling international tax enforcement. With FATCA being adopted as the global standard for tax enforcement, US owners of non-compliant foreign accounts are in ever-more present danger of discovery.
If the evidence is found that these owners used foreign entities to conceal their beneficial ownership of the foreign accounts, there is a very high likelihood of the IRS pursuing criminal penalties against non-compliant US taxpayers.
This is why it is so important for non-compliant US taxpayers to consider their voluntary disclosure options before it is too late (if the IRS commences an investigation of these accounts, the voluntary disclosure options may be entirely precluded).
Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Experienced Help with Undisclosed Foreign Accounts and Other Assets
If you are a US person with undisclosed foreign accounts, please contact Sherayzen Law Office to secure professional, experienced and creative legal help. Our experienced law firm will thoroughly analyze your case, discuss with you the available voluntary disclosure options, prepare and file your entire voluntary disclosure case (including all legal documents and tax forms), and negotiate the final settlement with the IRS.