Who it is that gets to decide which “innocent private individuals” are to be left alone?
The papers, with data spanning over nearly 40 years, from 1977 through the end of 2015, revealed that some of the major companies were being used for suspected money laundering, arms and drug deals, and tax evasion. Mossack Fonseca claims to have set up about 250,000 businesses over four decades.
Wickileaks called for another massive, distributed effort to get to the bottom of a 2.4TB treasure trove of data which a handful of journalists will simply be unable to dig through – and on Twitter, accused the ICIJ of being a “Washington DC based Ford, Soros funded soft-power tax-dodge” which “has a WikiLeaks problem.”
#PanamaPapers may have been to benefit the last remaining global tax haven around, the United States itself, as well as the most notorious provider of “tax haven” services in in said country: Rothschild.
“Fiscal Year 2012 Report to the Congress on the Use of Section 7623.”
Section 7623 of the Internal Revenue Code requires the IRS to pay monetary rewards to whistleblowers if information which is provided substantially contributes to the collection of tax, penalties, and interest when the amounts in dispute are more than $2 million. The IRS has established a Whistleblower Office to administer those awards (more details available on the IRS website here).
All U.S. taxpayers with a financial interest in, or signature or other authority over, a foreign bank account are required to file the Form TD F 90-22.1, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (commonly known as the “FBAR” form) annually by June 30. Significant criminal and civil penalties can be imposed for the failure to do so. In addition, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (“FATCA”) now requires U.S. taxpayers to report certain foreign assets on Form 8938, Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets, that must be filed annually with personal tax returns.
The Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) currently offers the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program, an amnesty program designed to encourage U.S. taxpayers with undisclosed foreign bank accounts to come into compliance with U.S. tax laws and avoid criminal prosecution. To date, more than 35,000 Americans have taken advantage of the various offshore voluntary disclosure programs offered by the IRS since 2009. Currently, there is no deadline for participation in the 2012 program, although the IRS has stated that it could end the program, or modify its terms, at any time.
Meanwhile, the IRS and Justice Department continue their global enforcement campaign against foreign banks and tax haven jurisdictions that are believed to facilitate international tax evasion by U.S. taxpayers with secret bank accounts.
FATCA also requires foreign financial institutions (a broadly defined term that includes both traditional banks and non-bank financial institutions, including hedge funds) to register with the IRS and annually disclose to the IRS the names and account information of U.S. accountholders. Foreign financial institutions that refuse to register and make such disclosures are subject to a 30 percent withholding tax on U.S. source payments. The IRS issued final regulations implementing the FATCA regime in January 2013, and FATCA’s withholding and disclosure provisions are scheduled for implementation starting on January 1, 2014.