Thursday, April 2, 2015
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has decided that it will not move forward with a criminal-contempt prosecution of Lois Lerner, the former head of the IRS’s Exempt Organizations Division. As many may recall, Lerner had refused to testify before a House Committee investigating the IRS's handling of Republican organizations applying for tax-exempt status.
In a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, dated March 31, the DOJ said it was not pursuing the case because Lerner had not waived her Fifth Amendment privilege by making an opening statement and because she made only general claims of innocence.
House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Peter Roskam, R-Ill., said the decision came as no surprise and that he would continue to "investigate all the facts" and hold her accountable for any criminal wrongdoing to which she was a party. "It has long been clear that this administration has no interest in providing accountability for the innocent Americans who had their civil liberties violated by the IRS," said Roskam in a statement. "Justice’s decision not to prosecute Mrs. Lerner for her refusal to engage with Congress in no way clears her of wrongdoing."
People are divided on both side of the fence. You may recall that during the investigation the IRS destroyed all of Lerner's emails so they could not be provided to the Oversight Subcommittee charged to investigate the matter.
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Bank Leumi, an Israeli bank, has entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the Justice Department after disclosing that it had aided and assisted U.S. taxpayers to prepare and present false tax returns to the IRS by hiding income and assets in offshore bank accounts in Israel and elsewhere around the world. The agreement between the Bank Leumi Group and the Department of Justice marked the first time that an Israeli bank admitted to such criminal conduct which spanned over a 10-year period and included services and products designed to keep U.S. taxpayer accounts concealed at Bank Leumi locations all over the world.
The Bank Leumi Group has agreed to pay the United States a total of $270 million, of which $157 million represents the penalty for taxpayer accounts held at the Leumi Private Bank in Switzerland. The penalty permits certain Swiss banks to avoid prosecution by making a full and complete disclosure of their U.S. taxpayer-held accounts and paying substantial penalties. The agreement further provided that Bank Leumi Luxembourg and Leumi Private Bank will cease to provide banking and investment services for all accounts held or beneficially owned by U.S. taxpayers.
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen commented that the agreement against Leumi Bank was another historical event in the international tax area. He added that the IRS would not tolerate the use of offshore accounts to escape taxation, and that it would continue to focus on this priority area.
If you need assistance concerning the tax treatment of foreign assets, do not hesitate to contact a tax lawyer in Orange County. Not even the foreign banks are immune to the efforts being taken by the US government. The Orange County Tax Attorneys at Wilson Tax Law Group have experience in federal tax prosecutions and IRS matters concerning foreign assets. You can reach the Wilson Tax Law Group at 714-463-4430.