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text 2014-03-29 01:27
Swiss bankers set up Hong Kong firms to help clients dodge US tax

Hong Kong companies were used by Credit Suisse to help US taxpayers avoid taxes, a report by the US Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations found.

 

The bank discovered its Swiss-based bankers "were well aware that some US clients wanted to conceal their accounts from US authorities, and either turned a blind eye to the accounts' undeclared status, or actively assisted those account holders to hide assets from US authorities", the report said.

 

Credit Suisse said it acknowledged misconduct "centred on a small group of Swiss-based private bankers". "While that employee misconduct was unknown to our executive management, we accept responsibility for and deeply regret these employees' actions," it said.

 

The bank said it had provided US client information to the US authorities "to the full extent allowed by Swiss law", and was ready to provide more information but was unable to do so, because the US Senate had not ratified a double-taxation treaty between Switzerland and the US.

 

The Senate report pointed to the case of a former Credit Suisse US account holder, Jacques Wajsfelner, who used a trust expert of the bank, Beda Singenberger, to form a Hong Kong company, Ample Lion, in 2006, with Wajsfelner as the sole beneficial owner and Singenberger as the nominal corporate director. Singenberger assisted Wajsfelner in opening an Ample Lion bank account at Credit Suisse that contained nearly US$5.7 million at the end of 2007.

 

Wajsfelner was sentenced to six months' probation for failing to file information on his Swiss bank accounts to the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and was also ordered to pay US$74 million to the US government.

 

"By opening the Ample Lion account at Credit Suisse, Wajsfelner was attempting to obscure his ownership of the assets in the account from the IRS," the US Department of Justice said.

Source: www.scmp.com/business/banking-finance/article/1435866/swiss-bankers-set-hong-kong-firms-help-clients-dodge-us-tax
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text 2014-03-25 00:58
If The IRS Calls, Hang Up

The largest ever phone fraud scam of Internal Revenue Service impersonators is underway this tax season, and thousands of victims have lost more than $1 million as a result of the scam, according to the Treasury Inspector General for Taxpayer Administration. TIGTA, which has received reports of over 20,000 of the fake IRS calls, is warning taxpayers to be on the alert.

 

The IRS first warned taxpayers of the pervasive phone scams in November and included them on its Dirty Dozen tax scam list for 2014. The scammers appeared to first target to recent immigrants, but the scam has spread to the general population, and has hit nearly every state.

 

The scammers make unsolicited calls to taxpayers claiming to be IRS officials. Then the scammers threaten those who refuse to pay with arrest, deportation or loss of a business or driver’s license. Real IRS representatives will not make such threats, nor will they ask for debit card, money order, or bank account information over the phone.

 

The problem is the calls feel “real.” TIGTA says the scammers typically use common names, know the last four digits of the victim’s Social Security number, make caller ID information appear as if the IRS is actually calling, send bogus IRS e-mails to support the scam, and sometimes call a second time claiming to be the police or department of motor vehicles, and caller ID again supports their claim.

 

TIGTA is asking taxpayers who don’t owe federal taxes who get a call like this to call and report the incident to their integrity hotline at 1-800-366-4484. If you do owe federal taxes and get a call like this, TIGTA says to hang up and call the IRS at its official number, 1-800-829-1040 (that’s 1040 like the form number for your federal tax return).

 

I haven’t gotten a call from an IRS impersonator but I’ve hung up on other scam calls—repeated calls offering a free Medical alert system and calls offering computer technical support. If you get suspicious calls like these, check out AARP’s new fraud alert map to see state and local law enforcement alerts and scams others have reported in your state (both types of calls I received were on the watch list); you can see what scams are circulating whether or not you sign up to receive fraud alerts.

 

Source: www.forbes.com/sites/ashleaebeling/2014/03/21/if-the-irs-calls-hang-up
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