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January 24, 2011 - Phil Hodgen

If by “entice” you mean “submit and be assimilated” then yes

We know it is coming.  A new amnesty.

(Aside.  The IRS people aren’t supposed to use the word “amnesty” in describing the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program.  Just like they’re not allowed to use the words “tax protestor.”)

In the Jan. 24, 2011 edition of Tax Notes Today, 2011 TNT 15-1, there is a report from the ABA Tax Section meeting in Florida.

Steven Miller, IRS deputy commissioner for services and enforcement, gave what are called “wide-ranging luncheon remarks.”  FTFA:

The IRS is close to announcing the details of a follow-up initiative to entice more taxpayers with unreported offshore accounts to voluntarily disclose them to the IRS, Steven Miller, IRS deputy commissioner for services and enforcement, said January 21.

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US Real Estate Investments Voluntary Disclosure
January 17, 2011 - Phil Hodgen

Bank Julius Baer leaks more client data

Bank Julius Baer continues to sit on the hot seat.  It is still my favorite as the next target for the U.S. government.

It is likely that some of its customers are about to get an uncomfortable letter from their country’s tax authorities.  I’m not saying that the employees of Bank Julius Baer have done anything evil.  I’m just saying that a lot of eyeballs are looking in that direction right now.

Rudolf Elmer is back

I have written about Rudolf Elmer before.  He’s a disgruntled former employee of Bank Julius Baer.  When he didn’t get the severance package he wanted, he leaked some files to Wikileaks.... continue reading

US Real Estate Investments
November 8, 2010 - Phil Hodgen

New Form 8938 – Son of FuBAR is here

Form 8938 (Draft Version 1, Nov 2010) (PDF). This is what’s facing you for the 2010 tax season, possums.

From John Nolan, a fellow tax lawyer in Frankfurt:

Here is the first look at the IRS’s brand new baby.

Looks like they’re going to get it to do double duty and use it for reporting PFICs – and just about anything else that you own that might be foreign and have some value.

Haven’t been able to score a copy of the instructions yet, though.

Those should be really entertaining.

Speaking of FUBAR and entertaining: have you glanced at the comments pouring in on the initial guidance on the new Chapter 4 (Son of QI) reporting requirements?

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US Real Estate Investments
September 17, 2010 - Phil Hodgen

Wholesale reassignment of amnesty cases to new auditors

We are seeing many of our offshore bank amnesty cases reassigned to new Revenue Agents for handling the civil audit.

I don’t know the reason for this, though I can think of several possible explanations:

  • The Revenue Agents who received cases initially were overworked and needed relief (OTOH aren’t we all overworked?);
  • The Revenue Agents who received cases initially were not sufficiently trained to handle the cases (not likely, given that there is a special training given to auditors who are assigned to these cases);
  • The amnesty cases were assigned without any systematic thinking (this one makes sense given that the geographic location of the Revenue Agents is frequently completely unrelated to the geographic location of the taxpayer); or
  • There are still amnesty cases to be assigned for civil audit (I know this to be true for a fact because we have an inventory of people who cleared Criminal Investigations but have not yet heard from a Revenue Agent).
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Americans Living Abroad US Real Estate Investments Voluntary Disclosure
September 13, 2010 - Phil Hodgen

Taxpayer beats FBAR penalty in court – United States v. Williams

Here is a September 1, 2010 opinion from the United States District Court in which a taxpayer, after pleading guilty to tax fraud and criminal tax evasion, beat the FBAR penalty that the government was trying to impose.

You can download the actual opinion (PDF) if you want, with the Judge’s signature and everything. Read Jack Townsend’s analysis on his blog.

I will only echo Jack’s opinion here: it shows the difficulty that the government has in proving willfulness for purposes of the penalty. Individual cases require individual assessment of the possibilities. But remember to factor in the high cost of getting all the way to a judge.... continue reading

US Real Estate Investments Voluntary Disclosure