|If you were paying any attention in the 90’s – you are familiar with Beanie Babies. The Ty Warner Company (later Ty Inc.) launched the toy phenomenon in 1993, and by 1995 they became not only an in-demand toy, but also a collector’s item. The company was formed by H. Ty Warner, a businessman and former actor. Warner is back in the news, but this time for narrowly avoiding prison for tax evasion.
Warner was accused of hiding at one point more than $100 million dollars in Swiss accounts over the course of 11 years. He had maintained a secret account at UBS since 1996, and once the U.S. started to request account information from this bank, he shifted his money to another bank and had even requested the destruction of some records, in accordance with the bank’s policies. He was also charged with not reporting $24.4 million in gross income to the IRS from 1999-2007.
U.S. District Court Judge Charles Korocas decided to go against the prosecutor Michelle Petersen’s recommendation of a year in prison, citing Warner’s charitable history and was quoted to say that, “Society will be better served by allowing him to continue his good works.” Aside from detailing his charitable history, the defense stated that once he realized the U.S. was investigating UBS and the investors that he had done business with, he contacted his attorney. This is when he learned of the IRS offshore voluntary disclosure program. Warner applied with the IRS for the program in September of 2009; however, he was not accepted. He later learned that he was on the list of names that UBS turned over to the U.S. Justice Department in February of 2009 that precluded him from joining any offshore voluntary disclosure program.
Warner plead guilty to one count of tax evasion, and was sentenced to two years of probation, ordered to do 500 hours of community service at local Chicago high schools, pay $16 million in back taxes and over $53 million in Report of Foreign Bank Accounts (FBAR) penalties.
With the 2013 filing season upon us, it is important to keep in mind that if you have a financial interest in an account or signature authority over at least one account that is maintained outside the U.S. with the aggregate value at any point in the year over $10,000, you will have a FBAR filing requirement. The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) also requires the filing of additional forms if you have an interest in foreign assets, which differs from an interest in a bank account. Please consult your tax advisor as there are significant penalties for noncompliance.
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Check out the below table to learn what holidays people are celebrating around the world in January!
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Happy 2014 Where in the World readers! Below are five fun New Year’s facts.
- New Year’s Day is the oldest of all holidays, as it was first observed in ancient Babylon as many as 4,000 years ago
- Eating for good luck is a popular tradition. The Spanish ritual on New Year’s Eve is to eat twelve grapes at midnight. The tradition is meant to secure twelve happy months in the coming year. In Holland, donuts are consumed because the round shape is believed to express a full circle of life from one year to the next. Many Orientals will eat sticky rice around midnight on New Year’s Day to ensure a year of prosperity and good fortune. In the Southern United States, eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day is thought to bring prosperity throughout the year.
- Noise making and fireworks on New Year’s Eve is believed to have originated in ancient times, when noise and fire were thought to dispel evil spirits and bring good luck.
- Kissing at midnight was originally started within a family to ensure that it celebrated the year with those nearest and dearest to their hearts in order to maintain complete affection for the coming year. The tradition was later expanded to also include friends.
- The song “Auld Lang Syne” is sung at the stroke of midnight in almost every English-speaking country in the world to bring in the new year. Does anyone know what Auld Lang Syne means?
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