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MILWAUKEE, WI, February 28, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Gordon Lee, a CPA in South San Francisco with deep ties to the Chinese American and other ethnic communities, has announced a joint venture with Mahany & Ertl, a leading law firm specializing in IRS offshore reporting requirements. The two plan an aggressive educational outreach to taxpayers with unreported offshore accounts.
The IRS and U.S. Department of Justice have begun a major crack down on taxpayers with unreported foreign accounts. Federal law requires most taxpayers to annual report overseas bank accounts, brokerage accounts, hedge funds and even some insurance products with an investment component. The penalty for non-compliance could include a 50% penalty on the highest balance of the account and in certain "willful" cases, prison.
Next year, foreign financial institutions will begin disclosing accounts owned or controlled by Americans. Experts believe that millions of people are about to get caught with unreported accounts. While some folks intentionally evade taxes by hiding money offshore, most people with foreign accounts simply don't understand the law. They were born outside the United States, have overseas business interests or simply retired to another country. Most of these folks are unaware of the IRS reporting requirements and the severe penalties for noncompliance.
"The San Francisco Bay Area is a true melting pot. We enjoy a very diverse population, but unfortunately one that does not always understand the complexities of the U.S. Tax Code," said Gordon Lee.
Attorney Brian Mahany echoed those concerns. "The United States is one of only two countries that requires worldwide reporting and disclosure. Many people from India, China and other countries simply don't understand that they must tell the IRS about monies and accounts they have in their home countries."
Both experts say that the IRS is currently offering an amnesty plan called the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program that offers a break in penalties and a way to avoid criminal prosecution and audit. For some taxpayers, there may even be better alternatives. One thing is for certain, taxpayers must act quickly. "The IRS operates on a first contact basis. If they find you first, the amnesty program is no longer an option," said Mahany.
For more information, contact Brian Mahany at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at (414) 704-6731 (direct) or visit the Mahany & Ertl website at http://www.mahanyertl.com. Brian's firm offers a no charge initial consultation to help those with foreign assets determine if they must file. He is also available to provide background information to journalists.
About Mahany & Ertl - Mahany & Ertl is a boutique tax law firm with offices in South San Francisco, Milwaukee, Detroit, Portland and Minneapolis. They are the CPAmerica organization of accounting firms preferred legal services provider of foreign reporting services. Brian Mahany is licensed to practice before the United States Tax Court.
About Gordon Lee - Gordon Lee is a Chinese American CPA practicing in South San Francisco. It was his idea to team up with a law firm to be able to offer clients specialized tax advice and assistance. Gordon can be reached at (650) 588-4333.
Mahany & Ertl, LLC is a national boutique law practice with offices throughout the United States. They assist taxpayers with a wide variety of tax issues including offshore reporting, FBARs, the new FATCA law and audit defense.
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