On March 29 the Senate Finance Committee Democratic staff issued a report titled “Credit Suisse’s Role in U.S. Tax Evasion Schemes of its investigation of Credit Suisse’s compliance with a 2014 plea agreement with the Department of Justice involving the bank’s participation in a conspiracy to hide offshore accounts from the IRS.
Per Committee chair Senator Ron Wyden’s (D-OR) press release, the report details Credit Suisse’s role in a “potentially criminal tax conspiracy” involving accounts of a U.S. based family that were closed 10 years ago, recycles the Clinton/Bush era tax evasion case by U.S. businessman Dan Horsky, and discusses large undeclared accounts belonging to 23 ultra-high net worth U.S. citizens.
We are surprised that such a large and well-resourced committee working for two years was unable to unearth so little misconduct at a mega-bank that has now collapsed due to mis-management. Most outrageously, the report states that “Dual citizenship affords unique opportunities for cross-border tax evasion,” which gives the impression that ordinary Americans living abroad are prone to criminal tax evasion.
AARO has a meeting scheduled with Senator Wyden’s office in May during our annual Overseas Americans Week, during which we will express our extreme dissatisfaction with this characterization. We will let you know if there are any developments.
AARO deserves thanks and credit from all Americans overseas for publicly pushing back on the report created and published by the Democrat led Senate Finance Committee. The report is outrageous, a waste of public funds and appears to be a “back handed attempt” to justify the hiring of more IRS agents and increasing/justifying the imposition of FBAR penalties. The report is NOT (contrary to media reports) really about Credit Suisse. The report uses Credit Suisse as a “prop” to remind the people of America, that there are some people in America (it all took place ten years ago), who deliberately attempt to evade the payment of U.S. tax. The modus operandi includes moving their money to financial institutions and entities outside the United States. Yes, it’s true. Of course, as an added benefit the Senate Finance Committee gets to demonize Swiss banks (in general) and Credit Suisse (in particular). But make no mistake. The Senate Finance report is NOT about Swiss banks. It’s an advertisement to justify the hiring of more IRS agents funded by the Inflation Reduction Act, to legitimize the imposition of more FBAR penalties and to suggest that Republicans are (somehow) soft on tax evasion.
Why this report is dangerous for U.S. citizens generally and for Americans abroad specifically
This is another post in what is becoming a series about “travel documents” for U.S. and Canadian citizens and permanent residents. To travel the world you need to be able to get easy access to and from different countries. “Travel documents” are required. Travel documents include (but are not limited to): passports, permanent resident cards, Global Entry cards and NEXUS cards. Different rules may apply in different contexts (are you traveling by air, land or sea)? My previous posts about “travel documents” have been:
Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada
This post is a reminder for Canadian citizens traveling outside of Canada who wish to return to Canada by air! YOU NEED THE RIGHT KIND OF “TRAVEL DOCUMENT” TO RETURN TO CANADA!
Section 6 of Canada’ Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the right of Canadian citizens to enter Canada.
6. (1) Every citizen of Canada has the right to enter, remain in and leave Canada.
Yet, certain travel documents are required as proof of identity and citizenship.
There is a distinction between a “travel document” and one’s “citizenship or immigration status”. The “travel document” is generally considered to be “proof” of the “citizenship status”. A Canadian “permanent resident” card, which is valid for at most five years, is proof of having the status of “permanent resident” of Canada. A U.S. Green Card, which is subject to renewal, is a document that is proof of having the status of being a lawful permanent resident of the United States. All travel documents are valid for finite periods of time and must be renewed.
The expiration of the “travel document” does not affect the “citizenship” or “immigration” status. For example, the failure to renew the U.S. Green Card does NOT mean that you lose the right to live permanently in the United States. (You will be required to file U.S. taxes until your status as a lawful permanent resident has been terminated. The recent cases of Mr. Topsnik, discussed here and here, confirm that Green Card holders are subject to U.S. taxation until their status as permanent residents has been terminated.) Continue reading →