There has been a growing trend of US taxpayers contributing non-cash assets, such as appreciated property, securities and cryptocurrency, into Maltese pension plans since the US-Malta Tax Treaty went into effect in 2011. These transactions were marketed to many US taxpayers as a way to cash in on their earnings without being subject to US federal taxation. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is now investigating these transactions as possible tax fraud and evasion.
In light of the massive leak of the Appleby files this weekend (i.e., the “Paradise Papers” leak), it is increasingly important for US taxpayers to know the rules regarding reporting of their offshore financial accounts and assets. We have previously written on this subject here.
The latest document release from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists includes over 13.4 million files spanning a time period of more than 60-years, including a large cache from the Bermudan law firm, Appleby, and a fiduciary service provider, Estera. According to news reports, covered jurisdictions include Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, the Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, the Cook Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Lebanon, Malta, the Marshall Islands, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, and Vanuatu.
Practice Point: Voluntary disclosure to the Internal Revenue Service may still be an option for affected individuals and entities; therefore, all options should be considered when evaluating the consequences of this leak.