Caplin & Drysdale Comments on ICIJ's Offshore Leaks Database
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, D.C. - June 17, 2013: On June 14, 2013, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) published a searchable Offshore Leaks Database, available at http://offshoreleaks.icij.org/, containing the names of over 100,000 companies and trusts created in 10 foreign jurisdictions—the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cook Islands, Singapore, Hong Kong, Samoa, Seychelles, Mauritius, Labuan and Malaysia—by two offshore service firms, Portcullis TrustNet based in Singapore and Commonwealth Trust Limited based in the British Virgin Islands. ICIJ says it has 2.5 million emails and documents from the two firms covering clients located in more than 170 countries and territories over a 30-year period ending in 2010. It expects to add information from Canada, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Denmark before year end.
The publication of the database has been well publicized, and it is reasonable to expect that the IRS will assign personnel to start reviewing the information to ascertain if any of the offshore entities may be related to U.S. taxpayers.
The IRS has a special "Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative" ("OVDI") that permits taxpayers to come forward and disclose previously unreported offshore bank accounts and other assets, pay required taxes, interest and penalties, and provide information about their offshore holdings. In return, participants receive protection from criminal prosecution and a reduction in the otherwise potentially applicable tax penalties. Critically, however, taxpayers are not eligible for the OVDI unless they approach the IRS before the IRS becomes aware of their potential tax non-compliance.
Anyone impacted by the public release of the ICIJ database should consider engaging tax representation immediately. Caplin & Drysdale's tax attorneys have handled over 1,000 cases in the past four years involving voluntary disclosures, civil examinations, and criminal investigations arising from unreported foreign bank accounts and assets.
For more information, please contact:
|Cono R. Namorato|
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