Articles Posted in Opportunity Letter

IRS Reminds Taxpayers that the Aug. 31 Deadline Is Fast Approaching for the Second Special Voluntary Disclosure Initiative of Offshore Accounts

U.S. taxpayers hiding income in undisclosed offshore accounts are running out of time to take advantage of a soon-to-expire opportunity to come forward and get their taxes current with the Internal Revenue Service.

The IRS today reminded taxpayers that the 2011 Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative (OVDI) will expire on Aug. 31, 2011. Taxpayers who come forward voluntarily get a better deal than those who wait for the IRS to find their undisclosed accounts and income. New foreign account reporting requirements are being phased in over the next few years, making it ever tougher to hide income offshore. As importantly, the IRS continues its focus on banks and bankers worldwide that assist U.S. taxpayers with hiding assets overseas.

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Ft. Lauderdale Yacht Broker Second UBS Client Charged, First to Plead Guilty

WASHINGTON – Robert Moran, of Lighthouse Point, Fla., pleaded guilty on criminal information charging him with filing a false income tax return, the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced. Moran appeared today before Judge James I. Cohn in Ft. Lauderdale and accepted responsibility for concealing more than $3 million in assets in a secret bank account at UBS in Switzerland.

According to court records, on or about Oct. 14, 2008, Moran, a Ft. Lauderdale yacht broker, filed a U.S. Individual Income Tax Return Form 1040 for tax year 2007, which he signed under the penalties of perjury. The tax return failed to report that Moran had an interest in, or signature authority over, a financial account at UBS in Switzerland. Additionally, Moran failed to report the income he earned on any UBS Swiss bank accounts.

According to court records, Moran was the beneficial owner of a UBS account in the name of Winter Drive Investments S.A., a nominee Panamanian corporation. From 2001 through 2008, Moran communicated with bankers at UBS via email, telephone and in person about the purchase and sale of securities, and the conversion of investments from U.S. dollars to Euros.

Judge Cohn scheduled sentencing for June 26, 2009. Moran faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.

“With the filing deadline imminent, most American taxpayers are filing their tax returns and paying the taxes that they owe,” said John A. DiCicco, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Tax Division. “Honest taxpayers should rest assured that those who hide assets and income from the IRS face investigation, prosecution, and steep fines and jail time.”

In February 2009, UBS entered into a deferred prosecution agreement in which the bank admitted to helping U.S. taxpayers hide accounts from the IRS. As part of their agreement, UBS agreed to provide the U.S. government with the identities of, and account information for, certain United States customers of UBS’s cross-border business.

On April 2, 2009, another UBS client, Steven Michael Rubinstein, was charged with filing a false income tax return via a criminal complaint. Rubinstein, of Boca Raton, Florida, is alleged to have failed to report income and assets in a secret Swiss bank account.

<span Just two weeks ago, the Southern District of Florida and the Tax Division charged the first UBS client with filing a false tax return. This week, we charge yet another," said R. Alexander Acosta, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida. "We will continue to prosecute those who use offshore schemes to avoid paying their taxes. If you are hiding income abroad, I suggest you approach us."

“Combating offshore tax evasion continues to be one of the IRS’s top priorities,” said IRS Deputy Commissioner Linda Stiff. “With each passing day, it is increasingly clear the IRS is committed to pursuing people hiding income offshore. Anyone in this situation needs to immediately come in through our voluntary disclosure process before it’s too late. It’s better to come clean now instead of waiting and facing a heavier price later.”

Acting Assistant Attorney General DiCicco and U.S. Attorney Acosta commended the investigative efforts of the IRS agents involved in this case. The prosecution is being handled by Senior Litigation Counsel Kevin M. Downing and Trial Attorney Michael P. Ben’Ary of the Tax Division, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey A. Neiman.

United States citizens who have an interest in, or signature or other authority over, a financial account in a foreign country with assets in excess of $10,000 are required to disclose the existence of such account on Schedule B, Part III of their individual income tax return.

Battle over UBS secret accounts is before US court

Associated Press

MIAMI_U.S. tax authorities should quickly gain access to the secret accounts of 52,000 wealthy Americans at Swiss bank UBS AG to stop continuing tax evasion, U.S. lawyers told a federal judge.

“The United States does not believe justice is served by delay,” said Justice Department tax attorney Stuart Gibson in court papers. “Delay serves the cause of those U.S. taxpayers who continue to hide behind the actions” of the bank.

U.S. District Judge Alan S. Gold scheduled a hearing Monday to begin sorting through the government lawsuit. UBS claims that turning over the account names _ possibly in a matter of weeks _ would violate Swiss privacy law and jeopardize the bank’s license to stay in business. UBS wants Gold to slow down the process.

“Such violations would expose these (<span the UBS lawyers said in a court filing. “There is simply no reason to have, nor equity in having, such an expedited process here.”

Tax officials last week asked Gold to enforce so-called “John Doe summonses” seeking information about the 52,000 accounts that hold an estimated $14.8 billion in assets. The lawsuit was accompanied by dozens of internal UBS e-mails, memos and other material that U.S. tax agency the Internal Revenue Service contends shows a systematic, long-term scheme by bank employees to help wealthy Americans evade U.S. income taxes.

The lawsuit followed by one day an agreement in which the Justice Department would defer criminal prosecution of UBS in exchange for the identities of up to 300 U.S. customers and payment by the bank of $780 million. That deal did not cover the much broader list of 52,000 names now sought by the tax authority, but both sides knew the U.S. would ask for them.

UBS “knew this day was coming, and it knew this day would come sooner, rather than later,” Gibson said.

Another Miami federal judge in July 2008 approved the summonses seeking the account information, but UBS never complied. The new lawsuit asks Gold to enforce that earlier ruling, first by issuing an order requiring UBS to “show cause” why it has not done so.

Federal prosecutors in Miami previously charged a senior UBS executive, Raoul Weill, with conspiring to defraud the U.S. by helping American customers conceal some $20 billion from the IRS. Weill is a fugitive living in Switzerland, but his New York-based attorney has said he is innocent.

A former UBS banker, Bradley Birkenfeld, pleaded guilty last year in Fort Lauderdale to similar fraud conspiracy charges and has been cooperating extensively with U.S. investigators. Birkenfeld has not yet been sentenced.

Resolve your tax matters today by retaining the tax firm of Mike Habib, EA at 1-877-78-TAXES or online at

To disclose or not to disclose, that is the question.

Hiding Income Offshore is not the way to go.

Mike Habib, EA

For years, offshore accounts have been a hot topic in popular culture and for the IRS; most recently Liechtenstein has been mentioned, however the IRS is interested in accounts anywhere in the world that generate income for US taxpayers. The IRS is particularly interested in locating those people trying to hide income in offshore accounts as well as the promoters of off-shore tax avoidance schemes.

Individuals continue to try to avoid paying US taxes by illegally hiding income in offshore bank and brokerage accounts or using offshore debit cards, credit cards, wire transfers, foreign trusts, employee leasing schemes, private annuities or life insurance plans.

US taxpayers are required to report all foreign financial accounts if their total value exceeds $10,000 at any point during a given year. Failure to report the accounts can result in a penalty of up to 50 percent of the amount in the accounts. Yikes!

Hiding or not reporting income from foreign sources may be a crime. And the IRS, along with its international partners is pursuing those who hide income or assets offshore to evade taxes. There are specially trained IRS examiners whose focus is to examine aggressive international tax planning, including the use of entities and structures established in foreign jurisdictions. The goal is simply to ensure that U.S. citizens and residents are accurately reporting their income and paying the correct tax.

In addition to reporting your worldwide income, you must also report whether you have any foreign bank or investment accounts. The Bank Secrecy Act requires that you file a Form TD F 90-22.1, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR), if:

· You have financial interest in, signature authority, or other authority over one or more accounts in a foreign country, and

· The aggregate value of all foreign financial accounts exceeds $10,000 at any time during the calendar year.

There are serious consequences for unreported income or undisclosed foreign financial accounts if the IRS uncovers them. These can ranges from additional taxes, to substantial penalties, interest, fines and possibly imprisonment.

Just in the past month a federal judge agreed to allow the IRS to serve legal papers on Swiss banking giant UBS AG in an expanding investigation of U.S. taxpayers who may have used overseas accounts to hide assets and avoid taxes. The summons is one that allows the IRS to investigate a full range of people as it is not limited to one particular individual. The investigation was started after a former UBS private banker pleaded guilty to defrauding the IRS, and claims that UBS has about $20 billion in assets in undeclared accounts for U.S. taxpayers.

UBS is cooperating with Swiss and U.S. investigations and will disclose records involving U.S. clients who might have broken tax laws.

The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service recently announced their initiative to encourage the voluntary disclosure of unreported income hidden by taxpayers in offshore accounts. Under this new plan, eligible taxpayers have to pay back taxes, interest and accuracy and delinquency penalties, but will not face fraud and information return penalties. To obtain the benefits of the initiative, taxpayers will be required to disclose information about who promoted or solicited their participation in the offshore financial arrangement.

Do you have an offshore tax problem? Did you receive an opportunity letter? Contact us today to represent you before the IRS.

Judge: IRS can seek tax information from Swiss banking giant UBS in expanding investigation

Associated Press WorldStream via NewsEdge :

MIAMI_A federal judge agreed Tuesday to allow the IRS to serve legal papers on Swiss banking giant UBS AG in an expanding investigation into U.S. taxpayers who may have used overseas accounts to hide assets and avoid taxes.

The order from U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard came one day after the Justice Department requested authority for the IRS to issue “John Doe” summons to UBS . The summons are used in IRS tax fraud investigations when the identity of the people involved is not known.

Lenard said in a two-paragraph order that based on the government court filings, “there is a reasonable basis for believing such a group or class of persons may fail or may have failed to comply” with U.S. tax laws.

The summons will allow the IRS to obtain information about American taxpayers who have UBS accounts but did not file required forms detailing their taxable income.

“The order clears the way for the IRS to take the next steps against wealthy individuals who don’t pay their taxes,” said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman in a written statement. “People with hidden foreign accounts can no long rest easy.”

UBS has said it is cooperating with Swiss and U.S. investigations and will disclose records involving U.S. clients who might have broken tax laws.

U.S. taxpayers are required to report all foreign financial accounts if their total value exceeds $10,000 at any point during a given year, prosecutors said. Failure to report the accounts can result in a penalty of up to 50 percent of the amount in the accounts.

The Justice Department requested the summons after former UBS private banker Bradley Birkenfeld, 43, pleaded guilty in a Florida federal court to defrauding the IRS . Birkenfeld, who is cooperating with investigators, said in court that UBS has about $20 billion in assets in undeclared accounts for U.S. taxpayers.

Prosecutors said Birkenfeld and others helped California billionaire Igor Olenicoff hide $200 million in assets overseas. Olenicoff, who controls a real estate empire, pleaded guilty last year to tax charges and agreed to pay the IRS more than $52 million.

Do you have an IRS offshore tax problem? Did you receive an “opportunity letter” from the IRS? CONTACT US Today to get tax resolution, we can represent you before the IRS.