Rudolph Elmer, an ex Julius Baer executive turned over offshore bank account information to WikiLeaks today, according to Bloomberg News. According to the release, data on 2000 offshore bank accounts has been turned over, and WikiLeaks plans on making the data public; although it says it will take at least two weeks to verify the information, and release it.
We can be sure that the IRS will be reviewing that list, and seeing if Americans on it have filed timely Foreign Bank Account Reports (FBAR). Those U.S. persons who have a financial interest, or signatory authority over a foreign bank account are required to file a Foreign Bank Account Report on Form TDF 90-22.1 by June 30th of the following calendar year. Those that haven’t may find themselves the target of criminal tax fraud charges. Even if no criminal tax evasion charges are filed the IRS can impose a civil penalty which can reach 50% of the balance in the offshore account.
There may still be time for holders of Julius Baer offshore accounts to file a voluntary disclosure with the IRS in order to minimize the chances of criminal tax charges, and possible reduce the amount of the civil FBAR penalties.