It has recently been reported that the United States has disclosed to the Israel Income Tax Authority the names of 40,000 Israelis who hold bank accounts in the US. This should not come as a surprise as we are living in a digital age and such information is easily transferred and digested.
We have had a great deal of experience over the past 10 years assisting US citizens who held bank accounts outside of the US that were not disclosed to the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS). We therefore know with certainty that when bank account information is being shared between countries the smartest thing for a taxpayer to do is voluntarily disclose any unreported income before the tax authorities contact them.
Israel has recently reopened its Voluntary Disclosure Program which allows people to report the unreported income, pay the tax and be exempt from penalties. If you are someone who may be at risk regarding an account or accounts that have not been properly disclosed, we recommend the following steps:
- Contact an attorney or accountant who has experience in these disclosure programs
- Share your situation with that professional in order for him/her to understand your options and exposure
- Weigh your alternatives and then proceed with one that will remove any exposure to criminal proceedings and will lessen your exposure to penalties
Remember that the technology that all of us enjoy today is also in the hands of government authorities, and that in this digital age it is very hard to keep a secret. In other words, don’t assume that financial information that you always thought was private will not find its way onto some list that government authorities will have easy access to.
For more information, contact us.
The writer is the CEO and President of Philip Stein and Associates