I was asked recently, “why should I make a Voluntary Disclosure when my offshore money is not in a Swiss Bank?”
This is a very important question. First, no lawyer admitted in California is going to advise a client to commit a future crime. The crime(s) would likely be charged as “willful failure to file an FBAR ” and subscribing to a false income tax return (by answering “NO” to the offshore account questions). These FBAR crime is punishable by up to ten years in prison the false statement crime is punishable by up to five years in prison. The prison sentence is in addition to monetary penalties, under the criminal statutes plus the income tax, penalties and interest. The act of providing advice on how to commit a future crime is NOT subject to the attorney client privilege and may result in criminal charges against the lawyer for aiding and abetting, as well as State Bar disciplinary actions and professional liability. So, obtaining legal advice is just a first barrier. There is no accountant - client privilege that would attach in these circumstance and the same aiding and abetting rules apply to accountants as well as well as potential action against the account by the IRS under Circular 230.
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