Florida readers may have heard that the latest chapter in the Internal Revenue Service's investigation into offshore accounts held in Swiss banks was supposed to involve Wegelin & Co.'s appearance in U.S. District Court. But Wegelin representatives failed to appear for a scheduled arraignment in the federal courthouse, leading the presiding judge to suggest that the bank's partners be arrested. But prosecutors did not prepare a bench warrant for the judge to sign, which would have given law enforcement the authority to take bank representatives into custody.
Florida taxpayers with large tax debts may be interested to know that the Internal Revenue Service has eased some of the requirements for offers in compromise. The important changes come as part of the agency's "Fresh Start" program, which has instituted a series of measures over the past few years to help people with tax debts.
Failing to pay required taxes can expose a person to additional financial penalties imposed by the Internal Revenue Service as well as possible criminal charges. This is true whether the taxable income was the fruit of legal activity or not. Oftentimes, defendants alleged to have committed some type of fraud or other white collar crime may face charges of tax fraud or evasion.
Florida residents may have read about the continuing story concerning Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin. After news broke that he potentially saved tens of millions of dollars in taxes by renouncing his citizenship ahead of Facebook's initial public offering, Congressional legislators sprung into action. U.S. Senator Charles Schumer has created proposed legislation that has the potential to impose significant penalties on those who give up their passports allegedly to incur a lower tax bill.
Two recent posts on this blog have discussed the potential tax consequences of Facebook's initial public offering and the increasingly complex reporting rules for offshore accounts that are motivating some people to give up their U.S. citizenship. A recent development in the story of Facebook's wildly popular IPO finds itself at the intersection of those two prior posts.
Facebook is a ubiquitous presence in Florida, across the country and around the globe. The buzz surrounding the company is its upcoming initial public offering, which is drawing significant investor interest. But there is an additional angle to the IPO, which concerns the method the company has chosen to compensate its employees.
Florida is home to nearly one-quarter of the time share resorts in the country, which is a greater percentage than that found in entire collections of some states. This is not surprising, given our state's long-held reputation as a vacation destination. But Florida is also the location of a number of instances of reported fraud relating to the resale of time shares. That subject generates the greatest number of complaints for the Florida Attorney General's Office.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is taking steps to address the rise in tax fraud and identity theft occurring in South Florida. This week, the agency announced the arrest of three ex-football players--two of whom were teammates at one time in the National Football League--who are charged with cashing fraudulently obtained tax refund checks.
The investigation into offshore accounts used for tax evasion was intended to increase compliance with the Tax Code while capturing taxes on previously sheltered income. But it has had an additional consequence. According to the Federal Register, more Americans living abroad--perhaps some formerly from Florida--are renouncing their citizenship, particularly those residing in Switzerland, where the Internal Revenue Service has focused the brunt of its examination into offshore accounts.