George Landegger, CEO of Parsons & Whittemore, pleaded guilty in federal court of “failing to file a required report to the IRS about the account.” The CEO admitted that he failed to disclose $8.4 million held in an account at a Swiss Bank in Zurich. And, he also admitted that he actively took steps to conceal his ownership in these accounts.
The CEO apparently created a sham trust, through a Zurich lawyer, to hold his undeclared accounts at the Swiss Bank. The CEO also apparently discussed coming clean in 2009 after the IRS started to crack down on taxpayers hiding foreign assets, but instead, the CEO decided to transfer assets out of the Swiss account and into an account in Canada.
The CEO agreed to a civil penalty of more than $4.2 million and back taxes in the amount of $71,000. Furthermore, he also could receive a five-year prison sentence, but any prison sentence is likely to be significantly less due to his previous record.
In 2012, the IRS continued an open-ended Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program for taxpayers to disclose their interests in offshore accounts and reduce tax penalties. Notably, the 2012 OVDP program allows “taxpayers with undisclosed income from offshore accounts another opportunity to get current with their tax returns.”
Failure to disclose certain offshore accounts and assets can result in significant civil or criminal penalties, or both. The potential criminal and civil penalties depend on the type of violation, but the penalties can be significant. For example, a taxpayer guilty of tax evasion is subject to a five-year prison term and a fine up to $250,000. If a taxpayer has failed to disclose certain assets, the OVDP program is helpful because it allows one to avoid substantial civil penalties and generally avoid criminal prosecution for tax noncompliance and for failing to disclose foreign accounts.
Any taxpayer with assets in foreign accounts should understand what assets and information must be disclosed to the IRS. A Nevada tax attorney can help one understand the IRS’s rules regarding disclosure of foreign accounts and assets.
Those who may be embroiled in criminal indictments due to fraud or other felonies, remember, you should never hide assets or attempt to offload them. This implicates you whether you are guilty or innocent. Also, never lie to the IRS. It is better to have no tax returns than to end up with what George Landegger had.
If you have any questions regarding the IRS’s Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program, a Nevada federal tax attorney at the LV Criminal Defense can help you understand the program and its potential benefits. The firm employs a team of experienced tax attorneys who have substantial experience in offshore, federal, state, and local tax controversy issues. Additionally, attorney Nick M. Wooldridge provides a wide range of comprehensive tax services, including tax preparation, audit defense, penalty appeals, and various other issues.
Contact Nick M. Wooldridge, one of Nevada’s most prestigious attorneys, today to understand your tax liabilities and obligations. There is a free consultation the firm offers to those who may have IRS tax fraud complaints or indictments pending against them.