Australia, U.S. Enter FATCA Agreement to Disclose U.S. Taxpayer Account Information: Disclose Your Offshore Account Now

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Kevin Thorn, managing partner of Thorn Law Group observes that, “The U.S. and Australia have entered into an agreement simplifying requirements for Australian banks to provide U.S. accountholder information to the U.S. This will make it easier for the IRS and DOJ to identify and investigate U.S. persons with bank accounts in Australia.”

Kevin E. Thorn

Prosecution by the IRS and DOJ is not limited to U.S. taxpayers with Swiss accounts.

This week, the Australian Government, signed an intergovernmental agreement (“IGA”) with the United States to improve international tax compliance and implement FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act). [See Australian Government press release at, http://jbh.ministers.treasury.gov.au/media-release/017-2014/ . The IGA will simplify the requirements for Australian financial institutions to meet their reporting obligations under FATCA. The IGA is also intended to improve already existing tax information-sharing arrangements between Australia and the U.S. for the purpose of preventing tax evasion in both countries. [See Australian Government press release at, http://jbh.ministers.treasury.gov.au/media-release/017-2014/ .

FATCA is a U.S. law that establishes a reporting system for foreign banks to provide the U.S. government with information about their U.S. accountholders. The Government of Australia is supportive of the underlying policy goal of FATCA, which is to disclose foreign accounts held by U.S. taxpayers and improve tax compliance. Both countries have a longstanding and close relationship with respect to mutual assistance in tax matters.

The United States government has been coordinating tax reporting obligations under FATCA since March 2010 – the year of FATCA’s enactment. With the cooperation of many other foreign government, overseas banks and foreign financial institutions, the U.S. has successfully established due diligence and reporting systems intended to provide the U.S. government with identities of U.S. taxpayers with undisclosed foreign bank accounts as well as information about those accounts. [See, http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/tax-policy/treaties/Pages/FATCA.aspx.]

Kevin E. Thorn, of Thorn Law Group, PLLC, represents hundreds of U.S. citizens and residents with offshore accounts and business interests. He observes that “The agreement with Australia is the latest example of the United States’ efforts to make it as easy as possible for foreign institutions to provide U.S. taxpayer account information to the Internal Revenue Service and Department of Justice.” Thorn adds that “Prosecution by the IRS and DOJ is not limited to U.S. taxpayers with Swiss accounts. U.S. taxpayers with undisclosed offshore accounts anywhere in the world should come into compliance with the IRS immediately. The IRS is actively going after U.S. persons they find with hidden overseas accounts, as well as U.S. taxpayers with undisclosed foreign companies and trusts.”

Mr. Thorn advises American taxpayers to enter the IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure program in order to avoid prosecution and come back into compliance. He points out that the penalty for not disclosing offshore accounts, trusts or companies can be devastating. “The best way to avoid criminal prosecution and protect your interests is to come forward and make a voluntary disclosure of foreign assets to the IRS.”

The Intergovernmental Agreement to implement FATCA between the U.S. and Australia must still be accepted by the Australian legislature.

About Thorn Law Group, PLLC: Thorn Law Group, PLLC is a law firm dedicated to helping clients resolve complicated tax, criminal tax, and international tax problems.

Contact:
Kevin E. Thorn
Managing Partner Thorn Law Group, PLLC
202-270-7273
http://www.thorntaxlaw.com/

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