As most of us were growing up in the second half of the 20th Century, the phrase Swiss Bank Account always meant the integrity of the Swiss Banking System to keep accounts identified only by number, not traceable to their owners. Now in the second decade of the 21st Century that image of the Swiss Bank Account is going the way of the Marlboro Man, Your Father’s Oldsmobile, and vinyl records.
The agent of change for offshore bank accounts is found in a law passed by the United States Congress in 2010, the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA), which gives offshore banks and offshore financial institutions in countries which have entered into an agreement with the Internal Revenue Service a choice to either disclose the identity information of U.S. account holders or be subject to 30% withholding on transfers into the offshore bank account.
The number of signatory countries to FATCA which then obligates those countries’ offshore banks and financial institutions to FATCA continues to rise. The most recent countries to join or believed to be close to joining in FATCA agreements are Norway, Spain and Germany.
These FATCA agreements increase the urgency of taxpayers with undisclosed offshore bank accounts to take advantage of the IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) and minimize the failure to disclose penalties.
Horowitz Law Offices has represented and continues to represent numerous taxpayers in all phases of the various IRS offshore disclosure programs. For more information on FACTA, offshore disclosure, or other civil or criminal tax concerns, contact Horowitz Law Offices.