Gerber & Co. CPAs: For Americans Holding Swiss Bank Accounts, the Most Dangerous Choice This Week May be to 'Do Nothing'

Jun 21, 2010, 17:47 ET from Gerber & Co. CPAs

LOS ANGELES, June 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Faced with two unappealing options, and forced to decide within days if not hours, U.S. holders of Swiss bank accounts may be at far greater risk remaining silent than by proactively disclosing their data to the IRS now.

"Getting to the IRS before they get to you can make a world of difference," says Selwyn Gerber CPA, partner at Gerber & Co. Inc. in Los Angeles.

Gerber says he started getting concerned calls the moment last week when lawmakers approved the settlement between UBS AG and the U.S., triggering the process of prompt transfer of names to the IRS.  "The law has been clear all along," he added, "but recent enforcement levels appear heightened and the penalties if convicted are severe."

In all probability, Swiss records will begin to be transferred sometime this week.

"We are urging every American holder of a Swiss Bank account to immediately review their status, and to seek experienced, professional advice," Gerber says. " While the leniencies of last year's voluntary disclosure program are no longer available, many experts believe that disclosure now, before the imminent data transfer, stands less of a chance of becoming a criminal matter."

Finally, there's the related (and crucial) deadline coming up in just one week for "Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts" (FBAR). Americans who own or have authority over any foreign financial account may be required to report the account by the absolute deadline of June 30.

"Many people mistakenly believe that if their 2009 return is on extension then that also applies to their FBAR," adds Richard Weisinger, CPA, Director of Tax Services for Gerber & Co. "This can be a very costly misperception."

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SOURCE Gerber & Co. CPAs