On Friday, the Government Accountability Office released a new Report to Congressional Requesters on “Offshore Tax Evasion”, which warns that the “IRS Has Collected Billions of Dollars, but May be Missing Continued Evasion”. It provides more in-depth information about the characteristics of OVDP participants, and also reveals some details about the treatment of (and government attitude towards) people who make quiet disclosures.
For those U.S. Persons abroad too busy or in too good a mood to deal with the depressing drudgery of being insulted by the GAO for seventy-two pages, Stephen Ohlemacher of the Associated Press
releases has helpfully regurgitated the contents of the report and all its fallacious assumptions, without bothering to commit any actual journalism such as, you know, interviewing actual “offshore” voluntary disclosure participants who have been well and truly screwed for daring to save where they live (as Amy Feldman did back in 2011), or breaking down some of the appalling statistics in the report.
IRS Yanks OVDPDeal From Taxpayers With Secret Bank Leumi Accounts – Forbes onforb.es/VMlXCI – Kicks those previously accepted out!
— U.S. Citizen Abroad (@USCitizenAbroad) March 7, 2013
The Internal Revenue Service this week sent faxes to tax attorneys nationwide informing them that clients who were previously accepted into its criminal amnesty program for those who disclose once-secret offshore accounts, have “upon further review” been disqualified. The faxes, signed by John R. Tafur, director of of Global Financial Crimes at the IRS’ Criminal Investigation division, affect dozens of American taxpayers who had undisclosed accounts at Bank Leumi le-Israel Ltd., Israel’s largest bank, says Robert E. McKenzie, apartner at Chicago’s Arnstein & Lehr , who queried fellow top tax attorneys on a private email listserve after he received one such fax this week. He called the IRS’ reversal “scary” and “extraordinary”. Edward M. Robbins Jr., of Hochman, Salkin, Rettig, Toscher & Perez, the big West Coast tax defense firm, confirmed in an email to Forbes that “numerous” Leumi related rescission letters have been received.
Complete article is here.
Jack has posted this blog post which should be of special interest to Canadians.
Hale Sheppard has a new article that should be of interest to Canadians. The article is introduced on his firm’s Blog, IRS Introduces Two Unique Remedies for U.S. Persons with Unreported Canadian Retirement Plans and Accounts, here. The article can be linked to in that blog entry or can be linked here. The summary of the article is:
Life isn’t fair. Neither is the IRS’s most recent settlement initiative designed to entice taxpayers to proactively resolve their international tax non-compliance, such as failing to report foreign income, foreign accounts, foreign entities, etc. In both instances, some people win and some people lose, often with little or no regard to what is equitable. Among those basking in the benefits of favored status lately are certain Canadians, residing either in the United States or the homeland, who have neglected their tax-related obligations with Uncle Sam. Continue reading
From the Press Release:
National Taxpayer Advocate Delivers Annual Report to Congress; Focuses on Tax Reform, IRS Funding and Identity Theft
WASHINGTON — National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson today released her 2012 annual report to Congress, identifying the need for tax reform as the overriding priority in tax administration. The Advocate also expressed concern that the Internal Revenue Service is not adequately funded to serve taxpayers and collect tax, and identified ways in which this chronic under-funding harms taxpayers and the public fisc. She also found that the IRS is not doing enough to assist victims of tax-related identity theft and return preparer fraud.
NUMBER ONE Problem: The most serious problem facing taxpayers — and the IRS — is the COMPEXITY of the Internal Revenue Code (the “tax code”).
Yes, we all know that, but of special interest to many readers here is item number 8.
Update from @Lisa. Thank you.
Jack Townsend is well known as a measured, serious, non hyperbolic Law Professor who has an excellant blog called Federal Tax Crimes. His analysis of court cases and his tireless fielding of questions, have helped me (and many other minnows) know more about tax law and the OVDP / OVDI processes then I have ever imagined possible. He discourages polemics, but has provided outlets for Open Forum recommendations to the IRS.
So, when you see a heading of a blog post like this one above, and he starts out like this:
“I write to rant about a practice inside the OVDI/OVDP civil penalty structure.”
and goes on to say,
My argument to that is the same as Vinny’s responsive argument in My Cousin Vinny, here, paraphrased, “That’s bullshit.”
You SHOULD pay attention, and frankly so should the IRS. :) I encourage you to go read this post for yourselves.
Like Petros, I have taken the opportunity to place a comment on Jack Townsend’s invitation to comment on an Open Forum. Below is my comment awaiting approval: Continue reading
Many readers here, also read Jack Townsend’s Federal Tax Crimes blog. His blog specifically says this:
This blog on Federal Tax Crimes is for tax professionals and tax students. It is not directed to lay readers — such as persons who are potentially subject to civil and criminal tax or related consequences.
However, over the course of the past 3 years he has provided a forum for minnows lay readers to express frustrations and get answers to some very specific questions about “what to do” as many became painfully aware of their non compliance. Frankly I have been amazed at his willingness to provide the time and effort with his responses, knowing how expensive his legal advice and guidance is should you decide to employ him. This is PRO BONO work that borders on “Sainthood” if you believe in that sort of thing! LOL Continue reading
Americans abroad — frustrated by the uncertainty of what FATCA will do to their financial lives, and facing repeated delays of the IRS’ promises to bring some clarity through proposed regulations — are increasingly turning to the politicians of the places where they live in an effort to get some answers. In the past week several government officials at the national or supranational level have brought up the issue of FATCA, in response to concerns expressed by constituents — both dual citizens who elected them, and banks and other institutions for whom FATCA amounts to yet another extra-territorial unfunded mandate by the US. A number of scholars have also released draft papers about FATCA and FBAR. Here’s the roundup for the past week or so. If you see any more, leave them in the comments: