Five Stone Tax Advisers' Take on an Important Tax-Related Article:
The Hawkins case provides an analogy for the definition of willfulness that could be applied for offshore voluntary disclosure and streamline filing cases. In the Hawkins case the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reviewed an appeal from the Northern District of California.
One of the main issues revolved around whether lavish spending by a taxpayer could be construed as “willful” behavior in an effort to evade paying taxes. The Ninth Circuit ruled that it did not amount to “willful” behavior. This ruling could lend persuasive weight to those taxpayers that had significant amounts of money in offshore accounts, spent lavishly and are now trying to come into compliance. When conducting a determination of “willful” versus “non-willful” behavior, based on the Ninth Circuit’s ruling this particular factor could weigh more towards non-willfulness.
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