BNA Daily Tax Report: Tax Evasion—DOJ Seeks John Doe Summons for Data On HSBC India Accounts of U.S. Residents

News / April 8, 2011

Baker Hostetler Washington, D.C., partner James N. Mastracchio was quoted in the article “Tax Evasion—DOJ Seeks John Doe Summons for Data On HSBC India Accounts of U.S. Residents,” which appeared in BNA Daily Tax Report on April 8, 2011.

On April 7 the Justice Department asked a federal judge to serve a “John Doe” summons on the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corp. of India (HSBC India) that would require the bank to turn over information on U.S. residents who may be using its accounts to evade U.S. taxes.

“This announcement is important, in several respects,” Mastracchio told BNA. “It was evident from the number of voluntary disclosures that we have handled over the past several years that taxpayers held assets at many different banks—both within and outside of the borders of Switzerland. Thus, it is not surprising that the information gathered from those disclosures and related investigations have provided evidence of potential noncompliance by other U.S. taxpayers at banks other than UBS.”

The John Doe summons, if allowed to proceed, will likely result in the disclosure of many U.S. taxpayers who never intended to evade taxes or willfully fail to file the FBAR form.

“The Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that all U.S. taxpayers meet their obligations to declare and pay taxes on foreign bank accounts,” said John DiCicco, principal deputy assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Tax Division, in a statement released by DOJ.