IRS Uses Panama Papers to Identify Noncompliant Taxpayers

In April of 2016, the IRS acknowledged its participation in meetings with Joint International Tax Shelter Information and Collaboration network (“JITSIC”), International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank to take advantage of the data about more than 200,000 offshore companies identified in the Panama Papers. At the same time, the IRS urged noncompliant U.S. taxpayers to come forward before the IRS finds them.

JITSIC and IMF/World Bank Meetings on Panama Papers

The JITSIC meeting regarding Panama Papers brought together senior tax officials from more than forty countries to discuss, per OECD, “opportunities for obtaining data, co-operation and information-sharing in light of the ‘Panama Papers’ revelations”. The IRS officials said they could not discuss who participated and what, specifically, was discussed. But in its statement to NBC News, the IRS described the meeting as “productive and timely” and said “governments around the world are working together cooperatively” to respond to the information released in the Panama Papers, with JITSIC setting itself up as a coordinator.

The following day, the IRS further discussed Panama Papers in gatherings that were part of the annual IMF and World Bank meetings.

After those meetings regarding Panama papers, bankers and finance ministers from the world’s twenty largest economies warned tax havens about their future efforts to punish governments that continue to hide billions of dollars in offshore accounts. The IRS also encouraged any U.S. citizens and companies that may have money in offshore accounts to do a voluntary disclosure with respect to these accounts.

Panama Papers Increase Pressure on IRS to Move Forward Against Cayman Islands, Singapore, Bermuda and Other Tax Shelters

According to media reports, the Panama papers may contain information on potentially thousands of U.S. citizens and firms that have at least an indirect connection to offshore accounts affiliated with Mossack Fonseca. The Panama papers, however, are not likely to contain any spectacular information with respect to U.S. taxpayers because these taxpayers mostly prefer to use Cayman Islands, Singapore and Bermuda.

Nevertheless, while the Panama papers might not be very informative about the U.S. citizens, these documents have increased the political pressure on the IRS to move forward against other tax shelters. Therefore, we should not be surprised if we see new bold IRS initiatives in Cayman Islands, Singapore and Bermuda.

This means that the U.S. taxpayers who have undisclosed foreign assets in Cayman Islands, Singapore and Bermuda should analyze their voluntary disclosure options before it is too late. After the IRS discovery, most (and, perhaps, all) of their voluntary disclosure options will be foreclosed due to IRS examinations.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Professional Help With Your Offshore Voluntary Disclosure

If you own, directly or indirectly (through a domestic or foreign corporation, LLC, partnership or trust) undisclosed foreign accounts, you should contact the professional legal team of Sherayzen Law Office as soon as possible. Our highly-experienced legal team is headed by one of the leading experts in U.S. international tax law, attorney Eugene Sherayzen. We will thoroughly review the facts of your case, analyze your current U.S. tax exposure and available voluntary disclosure options, prepare all of the necessary legal documents and tax forms and defend your case against the IRS until its completion. We have helped U.S. taxpayers around the world and we can help You!

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