The IRS has picked its next target: American customers of HSBC. US citizens and certain aliens with accounts in India and Hong Kong are being targeted for accounts they held, but did not report to the IRS.
I have a suspicion why HSBC was the target over European banks, such as Credit Suisse. (Yes, true, HSBC is now based in London, but it's long-term clients — ones with considerable wealth — were original customers when it was known as "The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation"). The reason is that the IRS didn't want folks with money invested overseas in the Far East to think they are off-limits.
After all the press UBS received about its criminal charges and the intense pressure put on account holders, the word is out on the street when it comes to offshore accounts in Europe, no one is safe.
Now, Americans with offshore accounts at the other end of the world at HSBC must be worried (even if they pay their taxes).
Even if the account was inherited, even if the account made no money, even if it took a loss, it still must be reported. By failing to report the existence of the account, and any money it may have made, anyone could be found guilty of tax evasion.
The good news: The Voluntary Disclosure program is still available.
Better news: Depending on the facts, penalties may be reduced to a non-punitive amount.
The bad news: Once the IRS begins an investigation, the Voluntary Disclosure is no longer an option.
If you need assistance deciding if you should get into a program, or understanding which program is best for you, contact us. Call us at 888-727-8796 or email email@example.com.