If a debt is canceled or forgiven, other than as a gift or bequest, the debtor generally must include the canceled amount in gross income for tax purposes. A debt includes any indebtedness for which the debtor is liable or which attaches to property the debtor holds.
“I’ve represented clients who paid large sums of money to each of those companies and were disgruntled with the services they received,” said Robert McKenzie, a partner in the Chicago-based law firm Arnstein & Lehr.
Chicago tax lawyer Robert E. McKenzie worries those with still secret offshore accounts may be less likely to disclose because they figure that if they’re found out and prosecuted, they’ll avoid jail as Warner has. But McKenzie tells prospective clients the same thing he wrote recently on Forbes: “Many other less lucky offshore depositors have been sentenced to prison by other judges. One distinguishing factor for Warner was he was a billionaire whereas those sent to prison were merely millionaires.”