Another shoe dropped for offshore tax evaders today, in an encouraging sign for the IRS Whistleblower Office.
A Liechtenstein bank avoided prosecution by agreeing to turn over files on 200 U.S. customers and to pay $23.8 million for assisting U.S. taxpayers in opening and maintaining undeclared bank accounts from 2001 through 2011.
Liechtensteinische Landesbank AG (LLB-Vaduz) helped a significant number of U.S. taxpayers hide these offshore accounts, evade U.S. taxes, and file false tax returns with the IRS, according to today’s announcement.
The Justice Department praised the bank’s cooperation including its support for a 2012 change to Liechtenstein law that allowed DOJ to obtain the bank’s files of non-compliant U.S. taxpayers.
The government’s press release may be found here.
Offshore bank secrecy is giving way slowly, but surely–as long as the U.S enforcement effort continues. Although the government’s announcement does not state whether a tax whistleblower was involved, whistleblowers are uniquely able to ferret out such tax evasion.
This case–like the UBS case–shows the just-being-tapped promise of the IRS Whistleblower Program.