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The Panama Papers: Guidance for Tax Counsel to Mitigate Client Tax Penalties and Criminal Prosecution

Conducting Account Reviews to Identify Legal Exposures, Designing Disclosure Strategy, Leveraging OVDP

Recording of a 90-minute premium CLE/CPE webinar with Q&A

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Conducted on Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE/CPE course will provide tax counsel and advisers with guidance for clients with offshore holdings who may fall under the scope of the “Panama Papers” or similar disclosure of shelter holdings. The panel will discuss due diligence requirements and processes, disclosure strategies, Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (ODVP) opportunities, and other relevant topics.


The April 2016 release of the Panama Papers hit a nerve with American companies and individuals holding offshore accounts. While the first leak of the papers seemed to show the majority of questionable accounts held by non-U.S. taxpayers, subsequent disclosures indicate American taxpayers may have tax liabilities and even criminal exposure arising from interactions with Mossack Fonseca, the law firm at the hub of the controversy. Tax counsel should immediately review client holdings to determine any legal and tax exposure due to undisclosed foreign assets.

The U.S. Justice Department opened a criminal investigation into the offshore tax schemes exposed by the Panama Papers leak and the apparent widespread use of opaque foreign structures to avoid disclosure of offshore holdings by high net worth individuals and corporate entities. Foreign banks must turn over records regarding their dealings with the Mossack Fonseca firm. Whether specifically identified in the Panama Papers or not, the beneficial owner of an offshore company must act immediately to identify and mitigate risks of criminal and tax sanctions.

For taxpayers with exposure risks, counsel must start by considering several critical questions, starting with when and whether to disclose the existence of accounts and whether to look to the OVDP to negotiate a settlement with the IRS.

The Service has not yet announced whether taxpayers implicated in the Panama Papers leak will be eligible for OVDP protection. Counsel to taxpayers who have any reason to be concerned about being named in the Panama Papers database must act quickly to explore alternative strategies to mitigate client’s legal and tax consequences.

Listen as our experienced panel discusses what tax counsel and advisers must do to prevent serious tax, financial and even criminal sanctions for taxpayers who may be caught up in the Panama Papers leak.



  1. Scope of Panama Papers leaks/disclosures
  2. Potential impact on U.S. individuals and entities
  3. Conducting review to determine if potential exposure exists
  4. OVDP and other voluntary disclosure programs and provisions
  5. Designing a strategy
  6. Illustrations


The panel will discuss these and other important issues:

  • Conducting a client review of holdings to identify exposure due to possible inclusion in the Panama Papers/Mossack Fonseca database
  • Identifying tax havens implicated by Panama Papers release
  • Discovering “shell” or nominee entities
  • Understanding the mechanics of OVDP participation
  • Consdiering other available disclosure programs
  • Developing strategies for disclosure in circumstances where the IRS may determine that the accounts “disclosed” are already public record


Lee, Matthew
Matthew D. Lee

Fox Rothschild

Mr. Lee is a former U.S. Department of Justice trial attorney who concentrates his practice on all aspects of white...  |  Read More

Rosenfeld, Jeffrey
Jeffrey M. Rosenfeld, Esq.

Blank Rome

Mr. Rosenfeld concentrates his practice in the area of business tax law. He counsels clients in a broad array of tax...  |  Read More

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