The Deadline Looms for Reporting Foreign Bank Holdings

tax evasion foreign bank holdngsIn some cases, the worry ends on April 15th. Decisions have been made, declarations, reports and forms have been filed. The dread is, in some cases, over. For those who have for years declined to report their foreign bank holdings, the dread might be heightened on April 15, with questions about whether or not the IRS and Department of Justice are taking steps that could one day result in criminal tax charges against you. Recent news from the DOJ won't ease that dread.


The department announced that the first Swiss bank has entered an agreement to avoid prosecution under the Swiss Bank Program. The program is part of the DOJ's relentless pursuit of not only taxpayers who have unreported offshore holdings, but also the banks harboring the assets and concealing the names of accountholders.

BSI SA is one of the biggest private banks in Switzerland. Its deal doesn't look like a favorable one in many ways: it agreed to a $211 million fine, and it agreed to hand over data on accounts of U.S. clients.  

It further agreed to close accounts of "holders who fail to come into compliance with U.S. reporting obligations." A ray of potentially good news for BSI U.S. account holders broke through the press release; it's still possible for them to declare their assets to the IRS and participate in the voluntary disclosure program.

That can mean a penalty of 27.5 percent of the account's value, but that might well be a price some are willing to pay. To determine what is best for you, your family and your assets, sit down with Cleveland tax attorneys who understand not only the nuances of the law, but also its short- and long-term repercussions.

Contact Robert J. Fedor, Esq.