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Monthly Archives: May 2016

Cayman Islands Says They Will Not Show Theirs Until the US Shows Theirs 1st

We previously posted UK lists 40 Countries That Agree to Automatically Exchange of Beneficial Ownership Information where we discussed that the UK government has released a list of jurisdictions it says have committed to its initiative for automatic exchange of beneficial ownership information. The list includes the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and Jersey, but not Guernsey or the British Virgin Islands, though Afghanistan and Nigeria are on the list.

However subsequent to this meeting, The Cayman Islands has indicated that it will not adopt a mechanism for the exchange of beneficial ownership data that is not implemented by the United States. Speaking at a press conference on May 17, 2016, Premier Alden McLaughlin called for a level playing field in terms of financial transparency and stated that a standard without U.S. participation “is not a global standard.”

While acknowledging that the Cayman’s participated in the summit which was predicated on it joining an initiative for the automatic exchange of beneficial ownership data; this initiative of 40 countries aims to develop a global standard for the automatic exchange of beneficial ownership data between law enforcement agencies and tax authorities of the partner countries; however he insisted that it must be done on a 'level playing field', and that Cayman has merely agreed to 'participate in the global discussion that will lead to the development of such a mechanism'.

 A Standard Without US Participation, he said,
'Is Not a Global Standard'.

Even when implemented, it is far from certain that all OECD and G-20 countries are going to adopt it. Although represented at the summit by secretary of state John Kerry, the US advised that it was not in a position to even sign the summit communique, which outlined the steps needed to combat corruption as agreed by attendees.

Cayman Islands’ financial services minister Wayne Panton criticized the hypocritical stance of the US in singling out overseas territories for a lack of transparency.

Referring to a 2008 comment by president Barrack Obama that a single address in the Cayman Islands “supposedly houses 12,000 corporations”, Panton pointed to the US state of Delaware where one address alone reportedly has 285,000 companies registered there.  

The Cayman Islands also announced that it will repeal its Confidential Relationships (Preservation) Law, commonly known as the ‘secrecy law, by September 2016. In addition, the government has passed legislation that completely abolishes the use of bearer shares, which can be used to conceal the identities of beneficial owners. Bearer shares were immobilized in 2000.

Do You Have Undeclared Offshore Income?
 
 
All These Information Exchange Agreements
Making You Uncomfortable?
 
Want to Know if the OVDP Program is Right for You?
Contact the Tax Lawyers at 
Marini& Associates, P.A.  
 
for a FREE Tax Consultation
Toll Free at 888-8TaxAid (888) 882-9243

Sources:
Cayman Compass
Cayman Islands Government

 

Read more at: Tax Times blog

UK lists 40 Countries That Agree to Automatically Exchange of Beneficial Ownership Information

The UK government has released a list of jurisdictions it says have committed to its initiative for automatic exchange of beneficial ownership information. The list includes the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and Jersey, but not Guernsey or the British Virgin Islands, though Afghanistan and Nigeria are on the list.
 
Since the unveiling of the new agreement at the IMF meeting in April 2016, more countries have committed to the initiative to share detailed data on beneficial ownership.

The following countries have committed to the initiative to automatically exchange information on beneficial ownership:
 

1 Afghanistan
2 Anguilla
3 Austria
4 Belgium
5 Bermuda
6 Bulgaria
7 Cayman Islands
8 Croatia
9 Cyprus
10 Czech Republic
11 Denmark
12 Estonia
13 Finland
14 France
15 Gibraltar
16 Germany
17 Greece
18 Hungary
19 Iceland
20 Ireland
21 Isle of Man
22 Italy
23 Jersey
24 Latvia
25 Lithuania
26 Luxembourg
27 Malta
28 Mexico
29 Montserrat
30 Netherlands
31 Nigeria
32 Poland
33 Portugal
34 Romania
35 Slovakia
36 Slovenia
37 Spain
38 Sweden
39 United Arab Emirates
40 United Kingdom

 
The U.S. is not one of the 40 countries on this list?


 

Do You Have Undeclared Income
From One of These Countries?
 
 
Is Your Name Being Handed Over to the IRS?
 
Want to Know if the OVDP Program is Right for You?
Contact the Tax Lawyers at 
Marini& Associates, P.A.  
 
for a FREE Tax Consultation
Toll Free at 888-8TaxAid (888) 882-9243




 

 


Read more at: Tax Times blog

97 Offshore Banks Are Turning Over Your Names To The IRS – What Are Your Waiting For?

The IRS keeps updating its list of foreign banks which are turning over the names of their US Account Holders, who are now subject to a 50% (rather than 27.5%) penalty in the IRS’s Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP). This penalty is based on the highest account balance measured over up to eight years. 

On March 9, 2016 the Justice Department Announced that Cayman National Securities Ltd. (CNS) and Cayman National Trust Co. Ltd.(CNT) are the 96th & 97th Offshore Banks to reached a resolution under the department’s Offshore Bank Program.
Under the program, banks are required to:
  • Make a complete disclosure of their cross-border activities;
  • Provide detailed information on an account-by-account basis for accounts in which U.S. taxpayers have a direct or indirect interest;
  • Cooperate in treaty requests for account information;
  • Provide detailed information as to other banks that transferred funds into secret accounts or that accepted funds when secret accounts were closed;
  • Agree to close accounts of account holders who fail to come into compliance with U.S. reporting obligations; and
  • Pay appropriate penalties.

From at least 2001 through 2011, CNS and CNT, which are both located in Grand Cayman and organized under the laws of the Cayman Islands, assisted certain U.S. taxpayers in evading their U.S. tax obligations to the IRS, and otherwise hiding accounts held at CNS and CNT from the IRS (hereinafter, “undeclared accounts”).  CNS and CNT did so by knowingly opening and maintaining undeclared accounts for U.S. taxpayers at CNS and CNT.  Specifically, and among other things, in furtherance of a scheme to help U.S. taxpayers hide assets from the IRS and evade taxes:

  • CNS and CNT opened, and/or encouraged many U.S. taxpayer-clients to open, accounts held in the name of sham Caymanian companies and trusts (collectively, “structures”), thereby helping U.S. taxpayers conceal their beneficial ownership of the accounts.
  • CNS and CNT treated these sham Caymanian structures as the account holders and allowed the U.S. beneficial owners of the accounts to trade in U.S. securities.
  • CNS failed to disclose to the IRS the identities of the U.S. beneficial owners who were trading in U.S. securities, in contravention of CNS’s obligations under its Qualified Intermediary Agreement (“QI”) with the IRS.
  • After learning about the investigation of Swiss bank UBS AG (“UBS”), in or about 2008, for assisting U.S. taxpayers to evade their U.S. tax obligations, CNS and CNT continued to knowingly maintain undeclared accounts for U.S. taxpayer-clients, and did not begin to engage in any significant remedial efforts with respect to those accounts until 2011 and 2012.

            The sham Caymanian structures that CNT set up for U.S. taxpayer-clients included trusts, which were nominally controlled by CNT trust officers, but which in fact were controlled by the U.S. taxpayer-clients; managed companies, for which CNT ostensibly provided direction and management services, but which in truth were shell companies that served only to hold the assets of the U.S. taxpayer-clients; and registered office companies, which were shell companies for which CNT simply supplied a Caymanian mailing address.  CNS treated these sham Caymanian structures as the account holders and then permitted the U.S. taxpayer-clients to trade in U.S. securities, without requiring them to submit Form W-9s, which are IRS forms that identify individuals as U.S. taxpayers, as CNS was obligated to do under its QI obligations for accounts held by U.S. persons that held U.S. securities.  CNS and CNT agreed to maintain these structures for U.S. taxpayer-clients after many of them expressed concern that their accounts would be detected by the IRS.

          At their high-water mark in 2009, CNS and CNT had approximately $137 million in assets under management relating to undeclared accounts held by U.S. taxpayer-clients.  From 2001 through 2011, CNS and CNT earned over $3.4 million in gross revenues from the undeclared U.S. taxpayer accounts that they maintained.

         As part of their plea agreements, CNS and CNT have agreed to cooperate fully with the Office’s investigation of the companies’ criminal conduct. 

To date, CNS and CNT have already made substantial efforts to cooperate with that investigation, including by:

  1. facilitating interviews that the Office conducted of CNS and CNT employees, including top level executives;
  2. voluntarily producing documents in response to the Office’s requests;
  3. providing, in response to a treaty request, unredacted client files for approximately 20 percent of the U.S. taxpayer-clients who maintained accounts at CNS and CNT; and
  4. committing to assist in responding to a treaty request that is expected to result in the production of unredacted client files for approximately 90 to 95 percent of the U.S. taxpayer-clients who maintained accounts at CNS and CNT. 

The complete list of Offshore Banks which are turning over the names of their US Account Holders, who are now subject to a 50% (rather than 27.5%) penalty in the IRS’s Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP)is as of 3/9/16: 

  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
  11. Sovereign Management & Legal, Ltd., its predecessors, subsidiaries, and affiliates (effective 12/19/14)
  12. Bank Leumi le-Israel B.M., The Bank Leumi le-Israel Trust Company Ltd, Bank Leumi (Luxembourg) S.A., Leumi Private Bank S.A., and Bank Leumi USA (effective 12/22/14)
  13. BSI SA (effective 3/30/15)
  14. Vadian Bank AG (effective 5/8/15)
  15. Finter Bank Zurich AG (effective 5/15/15)  
  16. Societe Generale Private Banking (Lugano-Svizzera) SA (effective 5/28/15)
  17. MediBank AG (effective 5/28/15)
  18. LBBW (Schweiz) AG (effective 5/28/15)
  19. Scobag Privatbank AG (effective 5/28/15)  
  20. Rothschild Bank AG (effective 6/3/15)
  21. Banca Credinvest SA (effective 6/3/15)
  22. Societe Generale Private Banking (Suisse) SA (effective 6/9/15)
  23. Berner Kantonalbank AG (effective 6/9/15)
  24. Bank Linth LLB AG (effective 6/19/15)
  25. Bank Sparhafen Zurich AG (effective 6/19/15)
  26. Ersparniskasse Schaffhausen AG (effective 6/26/15)
  27. Privatbank Von Graffenried AG (effective 7/2/15)
  28. Banque Pasche SA (effective 7/9/15)
  29. ARVEST Privatbank AG (effective 7/9/15)
  30. Mercantil Bank (Schweiz) AG (effective 7/16/15)
  31. Banque Cantonale Neuchateloise (effective 7/16/15)
  32. Nidwaldner Kantonalbank (effective 7/16/15)
  33. SB Saanen Bank AG (effective 7/23/15)
  34. Privatbank Bellerive AG (effective 7/23/15)
  35. PKB Privatbank AG (effective 7/30/15)
  36. Falcon Private Bank AG (effective 7/30/15)
  37. Credito Privato Commerciale in liquidazione SA (effective 7/30/15)
  38. Bank EKI Genossenschaft (effective 8/3/15)
  39. Privatbank Reichmuth & Co. (effective 8/6/15)
  40. Banque Cantonale du Jura SA (effective 8/6/15)
  41. Banca Intermobiliare di Investimenti e Gestioni (Suisse) SA (effective 8/6/15)  
  42. bank zweiplus ag (effective 8/20/15)
  43. Banca dello Stato del Cantone Ticino (effective 8/20/15)
  44. Hypothekarbank Lenzburg AG (effective 8/27/15)
  45. Schroder & Co. Bank AG (effective 9/3/15)
  46. Valiant Bank AG (effective 9/10/15)
  47. Bank La Roche & Co AG (effective 9/15/15)
  48. Belize Bank International Limited, Belize Bank Limited, Belize Corporate Services Limited, their predecessors, subsidiaries, and affiliates (effective 9/16/15)
  49. St. Galler Kantonalbank AG (effective 9/17/15)
  50. E. Gutzwiller & Cie, Banquiers (effective 9/17/15)
  51. Migros Bank AG (effective 9/25/15)
  52. Graubundner Katonalbank (effective 9/25/15)
  53. BHF-Bank (Schweiz) AG (effective 10/1/15)
  54. Finacor SA (effective 10/6/15)
  55. Schaffhauser Kantonalbank (effective 10/8/15)
  56. BBVA Suiza S.A. (effective 10/16/15)
  57. Piguet Galland & Cie SA (effective 10/23/15)
  58. Luzerner Kantonalbank AG (effective 10/29/15)
  59. Habib Bank AG Zurich (effective 10/29/15)
  60. Banque Heritage SA (effective 10/29/15)
  61. Hyposwiss Private Bank Genève S.A. (effective 10/29/15)
  62. Banque Bonhôte & Cie SA (effective 11/3/15)
  63. Banque Internationale a Luxembourg (Suisse) SA (effective 11/12/15)
  64. Zuger Kantonalbank (effective 11/12/15)
  65. Standard Chartered Bank (Switzerland) SA, en liquidation (effective 11/13/15)
  66. Maerki Baumann & Co. AG (effective 11/17/15)
  67. BNP Paribas (Suisse) SA (effective 11/19/15)
  68. KBL (Switzerland) Ltd. (effective 11/19/15)
  69. Bank CIC (Switzerland) Ltd. (effective 11/19/15)
  70. Privatbank IHAG Zürich AG (effective 11/24/15)
  71. Deutsche Bank (Suisse) SA (effective 11/24/15)
  72. EFG Bank AG (effective 12/3/15)
  73. EFG Bank European Financial Group SA, Geneva (effective 12/3/15)
  74. Aargauische Kantonalbank (effective 12/8/15)
  75. Cornèr Banca SA (effective 12/10/15)
  76. Bank Coop AG (effective 12/10/15)
  77. Crédit Agricole (Suisse) SA (effective 12/15/15)
  78. Dreyfus Sons & Co Ltd, Banquiers (effective 12/15/15)
  79. Baumann & Cie, Banquiers (effective 12/15/15)
  80. Bordier & Cie Switzerland (effective 12/17/15)
  81. PBZ Verwaltungs AG (effective 12/17/15)
  82. PostFinance AG (effective 12/17/15)
  83. Edmond de Rothschild (Suisse) SA (effective 12/18/15)
  84. Edmond de Rothschild (Lugano) SA (effective 12/18/15)
  85. Bank J. Safra Sarasin AG (effective 12/23/15)
  86. Coutts & Co Ltd (effective 12/23/15)
  87. Gonet & Cie (effective 12/23/15)
  88. Banque Cantonal du Valais (effective 12/23/15)
  89. Banque Cantonale Vaudoise (effective 12/23/15)
  90. Bank Lombard Odier & Co Ltd (effective 12/31/15)
  91. DZ Privatbank (Schweiz) AG (effective 12/31/15)
  92. Union Bancaire Privée , USP SA (effective 1/6/16)
  93. PHZ Privat - und Handelsbank Zürich AG reorganized as Leodan Privatbank AG (effective 1/25/16)
  94. Hyposwiss Privatbank AG reorganized as HSZH Verwaltungs AG (effective 1/27/16)
  95. Bank Julius Baer & Co., Ltd (effective 2/4/16)
  96. Cayman National Securities Ltd. (effective 3/9/16)
  97. Cayman National Trust Co. Ltd. (effective 3/9/16)
Outside of these banks, the norm within the OVDP remains 27.5%. That is far better than prosecution or much bigger civil penalties. Some taxpayers, including taxpayers with accounts at one of the 97 Swiss Banks listed abover can opt for the easier and less costly Streamlined program. This list does not impact the Streamlined programs because you must be non-willful to qualify. All of this is part of the June 2014 improvements to the OVDP, which sparked new interest in cleaning up offshore accounts.
 
  1. With roughly 97 Swiss banks taking the DOJ deal and 
  2. FATCA requiring the entire world to report to the IRS
it is inevitable that this increased disclosure, will result in Every American eventually being discovered. Banks worldwide want to know if there US clients are compliant with the IRS.

Within the OVDP, people who pre-cleared before the various effective dates are generally safe from the higher 50% penalty. As additional banks are added to the list, only those American taxpayers that request pre-clearance before their bank is listed, will get the 27 1/2% OVDP penalty. The 50% penalty now applies to all taxpayers with accounts at financial institutions or with facilitators which are named, are cooperating or are identified in a court filing such as a John Doe summons.
 
Although the 50% penalty is high, willful civil violations can result in tax, penalties and interest totaling 325% of the highest balance in the account for the  most recent six years period. Recent guidance suggests that the IRS could be more lenient in the future, but the IRS’s definition of leniency can still make the OVDP a very good deal that provides certainty.  
 
Do You Have Undeclared Income from one of 
these Offshore Banks or

 Management Companies?
 
 
Is Your Name Being Handed Over to the IRS?
 
 
Want to Know if the OVDP Program is Right for You?
Contact the Tax Lawyers at 
Marini& Associates, P.A.  
 
for a FREE Tax Consultation
Toll Free at 888-8TaxAid (888) 882-9243

Read more at: Tax Times blog

Offshore Banks Liability For Client's Tax Evasion

According to Law360 Offshore Tax Havens and Nominee Entities pose a significant regulatory and compliance risks to international financial institutions.

Regulatory authorities around the world, including the U.S. Department of Justice, intensified their investigations into offshore tax havens after the April 3, 2016, publication of names associated with the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, widely known as the “Panama Papers,” and the firestorm of public outcry.

International financial institutions frequently open accounts in the name of offshore entities. In order to combat the risks of facilitating tax evasion, most financial institutions apply rigorous “know your client” and new client adoption procedures. Even with these processes in place, financial institutions retain limited insight into a client’s true intentions.

While account opening documentation usually includes language admonishing that the account holder solely is responsible for the tax compliance of the assets held in the account, the trend in international enforcement is to question the sufficiency of such clauses.

Regulatory regimes such as the U.S. FATCA and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Common Reporting Standard require financial institutions to report information on their account holders to tax authorities. Institutions that fail to implement the reporting schemes carefully and thoroughly face significant automatic withholding of payments from source jurisdictions and potential loss of access to dollar markets.

Financial institutions no longer can afford simply to delegate responsibility for tax compliance of accounts they hold for their clients. Banks and financial institutions that preemptively conduct rigorous risk assessments of offshore entity accounts and implement stricter compliance and oversight measures will be the best prepared to answer when the DOJ or another regulatory authority comes calling.

Does Your Financial Institution Have U.S. Taxpayers
With "Unreported Income" From Offshore Accounts?

Do You Need Them Come Clean NOW before
Their Illegal Activity is Identified! 

 
 
 
 We Can Counsel Them
on Which OVDP Program
is Right for Them?

 
Contact the Tax Lawyers at 
Marini & Associates, P.A.  
 
for a FREE Tax Consultation
Toll Free at 888-8TaxAid (888) 882-9243

 

Read more at: Tax Times blog