Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Transfer pricing disagreement with IRS could result in large fines for Massachusetts company

In a statement released Tuesday, Boston Scientific Corp. said that the IRS is seeking $525.1 million, plus interest, for deficient tax payments relating to the company’s Guidant Corp. and subsidiary businesses.

The deficiency in payments from the Massachusetts company occurred in the 2001 through 2003 tax years. The company, which disagrees with the IRS’s assessment of deficiency, has said that the primary issue under dispute is “transfer pricing” involving technology licensing agreements between domestic and foreign subsidiaries of Guidant.

Boston Scientific Corp. disagrees with the “significant proposed adjustment” and with the “transfer pricing methodologies” used to calculate the deficiency.

Deutsche Bank pays for selling tax fraud schemes

Deutsche Bank AG has agreed to pay $553.6 million and admit to criminal wrongdoing to settle allegations that it helped U.S. clients avoid paying taxes by using fraudulent tax shelters.

The German bank will not be further prosecuted for its use of about 15 tax shelters, involving over 2,100 clients from 1996 through 2002, following a nonprosecution agreement with the IRS. The Wall Street Journal notes that some of the relevant tax shelters were marketed by KPMG LLP and Jenkins & Gilchrist PC, both of which have agreed to separate payments and penalties.

In the signed agreement, Deutsche Bank admitted that the transactions pertaining to the tax shelters were “intended to create the appearance of investment activity, but taxpayers were entering into these transactions for the primary purpose of avoiding taxes, as opposed to making profits on the transactions.”

Friday, December 17, 2010

New accusation suggests that tax fraud continues in Switzerland

A former UBS employee and Swiss citizen has been accused of advising wealthy Americans to conceal their offshore accounts so as to avoid paying taxes to the US government. The allegations of tax fraud date from 2000 up through this month.

Renzo Gadola, head of RG Investment Partners, was named in a criminal information filed by the United States attorney’s office in Miami. Mr. Gadola and another unnamed co-conspirator (also a Swiss citizen and former UBS employee) are alleged to have advised an American citizen not to participate in the IRS’s voluntary disclosure program and to have later withdrawn the client’s money to conceal any paper trail.

This accusation comes shortly after the end of an over-four-year investigation of UBS banking in Switzerland. Even as American authorities have continued to crack down on tax evasion in overseas accounts, some bankers reportedly have persisted in recommending and providing illegal tax havens for wealthy Americans.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Obama looks to cut budget deficit, considers tax overhaul

If President Obama is serious about finding ways to cut the budget deficit, he should start with the Internal Revenue Service. With its entrenched bureaucracy, the IRS is thwarting whistleblower cases that if pursued would allow the government to recover billions in unpaid taxes from Wall Street banks, hedge funds and corporations.

As a possible means of cutting the budget deficit, Obama has indicated that he would like to begin a conversation about overhauling the U.S. tax code, by directing his economic team to begin considering options for tax code reform.

As Obama is considering a report by his commission on reducing the federal deficit, Congress is preparing to vote on extending Bush-era tax cuts.

Monday, December 6, 2010

U.S. now more able to enforce tax law in Panama

The United States and Panama have entered into an agreement to share information about national taxes in both countries for both civil and criminal matters in any tax year after November 2007.

The new tax information exchange agreement (TIEA) was signed by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Panamanian Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs Juan Carlos Varela in a ceremony at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. “This bilateral agreement to provide for the exchange of tax information between our two countries reflects the commitment of the United States and Panama to the importance of transparency of tax information,” Secretary Geithner said of the TIEA.

Pursuant to the new TIEA, the United States will have access to information that will help it to enforce U.S. tax laws with respect to accounts held in Panama.