Any Texas resident who regularly reads business-related and legal news stories knows well -- and, indeed, is routinely reminded by a steady stream of reports -- that white collar criminal offenses and financial crimes generally are a top-shelf concern for law enforcers and prosecutors.
As we note on our criminal defense website at the Houston law firm of Hilder & Associates, P.C., "Federal and state governments have made the investigation and criminal prosecution of various frauds a high priority."
And in the pantheon of cited offenses, it is hard indeed to find a more intense regulatory focus than that which is aimed upon alleged tax evaders, especially those who investigators say are using offshore financial institutions to surreptitiously store untaxed wealth.
The federal government adopted legislation a few years back to deal with individuals, families and businesses it says are unlawfully depriving the IRS and state organs of their rightful share of tax proceeds. The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) was enacted into law during the Obama administration with the express goal of finding, taxing and punishing persons and entities committing tax fraud.
The program has been aggressively administered and relentless in its pursuit of alleged wrongdoers.
Is it about to expire, though?
Although that is of course arguable, there are certainly some signs that it is losing traction. Critics lambast FATCA for its intrusions on privacy, for the growing number of occasions that it is enticing citizens to surrender passports and forgo U.S. citizenship, and for its demonstrated effect on discouraging foreign investment.
There is no question that the Republican Party -- now in control of all three federal government branches -- loathes FATCA, with its official platform calling for the law's repeal.
It might now have a chance to act upon its anti-FATCA sentiments, following introduction of a bill by two Republican senators earlier this month calling for FATCA to be overturned.
We suspect that FATCA is about to become a front-page news item and intensely debated topic on Capitol Hill. We'll keep readers advised of any significant developments that occur with the legislation.