UBS and IRS Voluntary Discloure Program: Interesting Convergence for IRS Whistleblower Program

Offshore tax abuses have been an IRS priority for some time, but the impending September 23, 2009 deadline for the IRS “Voluntary Disclosure” program–combined with the recent announcement that UBS has agreed with the IRS to release 4,450 names of U.S. account holders–has created a flurry of activity for the IRS.

Anxious taxpayers with exposure cannot be sure that their names are not on the list being produced. Last week, the IRS added a 52nd “FAQ” about the Voluntary Disclosure Program to explain its application to UBS account holders:

Q52. Are UBS account holders eligible to make a voluntary disclosure under the IRS’s offshore Voluntary Disclosure Practice (VDP) announced on March 23, 2009, and set to expire September 23, 2009?

Yes, provided that the UBS account holder is otherwise eligible under the VDP. However, a UBS account holder becomes ineligible to make a voluntary disclosure under the offshore VDP at the time the IRS receives information from any source, including from the Swiss Federal Tax Administration (“SFTA”), UBS, an informant, or otherwise, relating specifically to the account holder’s undisclosed foreign accounts or undisclosed foreign entities.

As part of the agreement with Switzerland and UBS announced by the IRS and the Department of Justice on August 19, 2009, UBS will be sending notices to account holders indicating that their information may be provided to the IRS under the agreement. If a UBS account holder gets this notification from UBS before September 23rd, this notification will not by itself disqualify the account holder from making a voluntary disclosure under the offshore VDP by the September 23rd deadline. Although many of these notices will not be sent by UBS to account holders until after September 23rd, the September 23rd offshore VDP deadline applies to all UBS account holders even if they have not received a notice by that date.(See https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=210027,00.html).

The IRS Whistleblower Program adds another element of suspense for non-compliant taxpayers. How many of these taxpayers may learn that the IRS Whistleblower Program has already identified them to the IRS?

And if not yet identified, how many taxpayers who will decline the benefits of voluntary disclosure by September 23 will be revealed to the IRS later through the very effective IRS Whistleblower Program?

Ever since the start of the new IRS Whistleblower Program, our whistleblower lawyers at Finch McCranie, LLP have represented whistleblowers in the new IRS Whistleblower program. We have represented clients with IRS Whistleblower claims in the hedge fund industry, other financial services industries, real estate, manufacturing, and many other businesses, as tax fraud, tax evasion, and other tax noncompliance are not limited to any one field.

Since the late 1980s, our attorneys also have worked with the nation’s other major whistleblower law, the False Claims Act. We have represented whistleblowers who reported fraud and false claims in many government programs, including contractor fraud in Iraq reconstruction, other military contracts, NASA programs, Hurricane Katrina and other disaster relief, and of course Medicare/Medicaid fraud.

For a free consultation about a possible whistleblower claim, please call us at 800-228-9159, or email us HERE.