IRS release - UK and Australia to join United States in sharing tax information of offshore assets 

May 9:  The IRS today announced that the tax administrations of the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom plan to share tax information involving trusts and companies holding assets on behalf of residents in jurisdictions throughout the world.

According to today’s IRS release (IR-2013-48), the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom each has acquired data revealing extensive use of entities organized in certain jurisdictions—e.g., Singapore, the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, and the Cook Islands—and the data contains both the identities of the individual owners of these entities.

The IRS, Australian Tax Office, and HM Revenue & Customs have been working together to analyze this data; have uncovered information that may be relevant to tax administrations of other jurisdictions; and have developed a plan for sharing the data, as well as their preliminary analysis, if requested by the other tax administrations.

The IRS further expects this type of multilateral cooperation and coordinated effort may allow many other countries to process this information efficiently and effectively enforce their tax laws.

Lastly, today’s IRS release reminds U.S. taxpayers holding assets through offshore entities that they may review their tax obligations with respect to these holdings, seek professional advice if necessary, and participate in the IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program when appropriate in order to avoid significant penalties and possible criminal prosecution.

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