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2014 OVDP, New Frequently Asked Questions

Posted by: Zaher Fallahi
Posted On: Jun 20, 2014

Question:  What if the government is investigating the foreign financial institution where I hold my account or another facilitator who assisted in establishing or maintaining my offshore arrangement?

Answer:   Beginning on August 4, 2014, any taxpayer who has an undisclosed foreign financial account will be subject to a 50-percent miscellaneous offshore penalty if, at the time of submitting the preclearance letter to IRS Criminal Investigation:  an event has already occurred that constitutes a public disclosure that either (a) the foreign financial institution where the account is held, or another facilitator who assisted in establishing or maintaining the taxpayer’s offshore arrangement, is or has been under investigation by the IRS or the Department of Justice in connection with accounts that are beneficially owned by a U.S. person; (b) the foreign financial institution or other facilitator is cooperating with the IRS or the Department of Justice in connection with accounts that are beneficially owned by a U.S. person or (c) the foreign financial institution or other facilitator has been identified in a court- approved issuance of a summons seeking information about U.S. taxpayers who may hold financial accounts (a “John Doe summons”) at the foreign financial institution or have accounts established or maintained by the facilitator.  Examples of a public disclosure include, without limitation:  a public filing in a judicial proceeding by any party or judicial officer; or public disclosure by the Department of Justice regarding a Deferred Prosecution Agreement or Non-Prosecution Agreement with a financial institution or other facilitator.   Here is the list:

Foreign Financial Institutions or Facilitators

1. UBS AG

2. Credit Suisse AG, Credit Suisse Fides, and Clariden Leu Ltd.

3. Wegelin & Co.

4. Liechtensteinische Landesbank AG

5. Zurcher Kantonalbank

6. swisspartners Investment Network AG, swisspartners Wealth Management AG, swisspartners Insurance Company SPC Ltd., and swisspartners Versicherung AG

7. CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank Limited, its predecessors, subsidiaries, and affiliates

8. Stanford International Bank, Ltd., Stanford Group Company, and Stanford Trust Company, Ltd.

9. The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited in India (HSBC India)

10. The Bank of N.T. Butterfield & Son Limited (also known as Butterfield Bank and Bank of Butterfield), its predecessors, subsidiaries, and affiliates

Once the 50-percent miscellaneous offshore penalty applies to any of the taxpayer’s accounts or assets in accordance with the terms set forth in the paragraph above, the 50-percent miscellaneous offshore penalty will apply to all of the taxpayer’s assets subject to the penalty (see FAQ 35), including accounts held at another institution or established through another facilitator for which there have been no events constituting public disclosures of (a) or (b) above.

For assistance with tax preparation, tax planning, IRS representation, disclosing undeclared foreign bank accounts (offshore voluntary disclosure program, OVDP), report of foreign bank & financial accounts (FBAR, Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), contact  Zaher Fallahi, Tax Attorney, CPA at (310) 719-1040 (Los Angeles), ( 714) 546-4272 (Orange County) or e-mail : taxattorney@zfcpa.com