Indian/Americans are Targeted by IRS for Offshore Accounts

In April the Justice Department filed a lawsuit that sought to force HSBC India to reveal the names of U.S. customers with secret accounts, and a U. S. District subsequently granted the IRS authority to issue John Doe Summons for the names of U. S. residents of Indian descent who have had NRE accounts (Non-resident External Rupee Accounts) at the bank.

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Money Laundering and Foreign Bank Accounts

Under the Bank Secrecy Act, U.S. residents or a person in and doing business in the United States must file a report with the U.S. Treasury if he or she has a financial account in a foreign country with a value exceeding $10,000 at any time during the calendar year. Taxpayers comply with this law by noting the account on their tax return and by filing Form 90-22.1, the Foreign Bank and Financial Account Report (FBAR). Willfully failing to file an FBAR report can be punished under both civil and criminal law.

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IRS Aggressively Pursuing Offshore Accounts

IRS will step up its efforts to find Americans utilizing tax haven banks. Since September 11 the U. S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network has developed a coordinated program to find money laundering, foreign banking activity, and tax evasion. In most white collar crime cases the Justice Department offers plea bargains to individuals like Birkenfeld in return for cooperation in charging others involved in illegal activity. Therefore with increased resources being allocated to seeking out foreign bank activities by Americans we can anticipate will the first of many bankers who cooperate to reduce their potential jail time.

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