The John Doe summons is similar to the one filed on Swiss banking giant UBS, AG in 2008 which ultimately resulted in the turnover of the names of about 4,550 Swiss bank account owners, and which continues to provide the IRS with a continuing stream of criminal tax fraud prosecutions.
Our tax lawyers don’t expect that the IRS will have much difficulty getting its summons enforced. Indeed HSBC has already been quoted to the effect that “while we haven’t seen the summons, HSBC does not condone tax evasion and fully supports the U.S. efforts to promote appropriate payment of taxes by U.S. taxpayers.”
As previously discussed here, the willful failure to file an FBAR is a criminal tax offense, and also subjects the owner of the offshore account to civil penalties which can exceed 6 times the balance in the foreign bank account.
The IRS is currently conduction a partial tax amnesty known as the Offshore Voluntary Compliance Initiative (OVDI) which can insulate against tax evasion and criminal FBAR charges as well as lowering the civil penalties.
If you have foreign bank accounts at HSBC in India or anywhere else in the world, and don’t know what to do, call the tax controversy lawyers at Brager Tax Law Group, A P.C. for a confidential consultation.