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October 14, 2010 - Phil Hodgen

Tell your FBAR amnesty story to a major US publication

A certain large American publication is working on a story on the Voluntary Disclosure Program and how the IRS is treating taxpayers.  Your input is needed.

If you are willing to tell your story to the reporter working on this story, please contact me directly.  I will pass along your information.

If you are a professional

If you are an accountant or lawyer handling offshore voluntary disclosure cases, and you  can help the story along, contact me.  I will pass your contact details through to the person working on the story.

Anonymity if you are in the amnesty

If you are a taxpayer in the Voluntary Disclosure Program already, you ABSOLUTELY must keep your name out of the press.  Otherwise the IRS will play Whac-a-Mole with you, even worse than they’re doing right now.

I know the reporter and will help you assure your anonymity while providing the reporter with the necessary verification so that the truth will be told.

Anonymity if you aren’t in the amnesty

The IRS needs to hear the impact of what they are doing on Americans who have offshore bank accounts but decided–for whatever reason–to not participate.

I will help you assure your anonymity in this situation as well.

If you are current “out of compliance” you certainly don’t want to draw attention to yourself.  Tell your story, and say WHY you’re out of compliance and what it would take for you to voluntarily bring yourself into compliance.

If you’re up-to-date but have experience with the byproducts of the IRS witch-hunt

If you’re completely legal with the IRS and up to date with all of your U.S. tax filing obligations but you’re having trouble living abroad because you have the magic U.S. passport, please tell your story.

What do I mean by “byproducts” of the witch-hunt?  For instance, this morning I spoke to a gentleman who reported:

  • He attempted to open an ordinary investment account in another country at a very major bank that you would recognize instantly, and was turned away because he is a U.S. citizen.  He was told that there was too much paperwork associated with dealing with American accounts.
  • The same gentleman wants to go into a joint venture with three non-Americans.  The business venture will never touch the United States.  The other three partners do not want to have him participate in the new company because they fear that having one American owner will draw the attention of the tax authorities in the other country.

I will not be your lawyer

I will not be your lawyer in your tax fight with the IRS.  I am just a messenger helping you communicate efficiently with a reporter who can tell the story of the FBAR amnesty.  I will be turning away business that comes through this pipeline.

Email or call me

Email me.  phil at hodgen dot com.  If you are concerned about your identity, set up a throwaway email address for the initial communications with me.

Call me if you have questions.  Mobile +1-626-437-2500.

Verification later

Ultimately, people who work at reputable publications require independent verification of information.  This reporter is no exception.  Whatever ends up in the article will need to be verified somehow.

But for the initial discussions, keep it anonymous.

Why am I doing this?

I do not want more business from this.  We are busy enough as it is.  I want my clients — and others like them — to be treated fairly and decently.  “Fairly” means follow the Internal Revenue Manual procedures for assessing penalties.  It is too much to ask for decency from the IRS brass, so I won’t.

Something must be done.  There is great cleansing power in publicly pointing out shameful behavior.  Sunshine.

That’s why I’m doing this.

Voluntary Disclosure