In the financial markets, there are several investment instruments that one can pursue. Times have changed and the capital driven markets have increased in popularity in recent years. Its of essence to note that the majority of these investment instruments normally have some correlations with the market data such as sector indexes, currency prices, and commodity prices. Out of the investment opportunities available out there, foreign exchange trading and commodities trading are considered to be the most risky.
The foreign exchange market is more volatile than the commodities market. Generally, the movements witnessed in the moving averages and the Relative Strength Index (RSI) is larger in the forex market than in the commodities market. This is to say that the level of trading activity in the commodities market is not as much as in the forex market. A trader risking 30 pips in the forex market is likely to experience loss faster when the trade goes against his or her expectations.
The risk of trading in the commodities market is lower because the daily movement of prices does not tend to be much. For example, in a day, the price of gold may move by about 1-10 pips. Therefore, losing 10 pips or gaining the same amount of pips is not very risky. Lets take an example of EUR/USD currency pair in the forex market: the pair usually moves by about 50-150 pips per day. Thus, this increases the level of risk a trader is exposed to.
The movement of currencies in the foreign exchange market is determined by several factors, chief of which is the economic health of the country a particular currency represents. At one time a currency may be depreciating in value because of the release of some poor economic data, and moments later, the same currency may start appreciating because of some impressive data. As such, success in the forex market requires someone with an active personality who can stay up-to-date with the events in the world. On the other hand, the movement of commodities is not influenced by such many factors; therefore the risk of investing in them is much lower.
To this end, it goes without saying that investment in the foreign exchange market is riskier than investment in the commodities market. Apart from its many benefits, investment in the foreign exchange market is a considered to be a more risky choice of trading.
Undisclosed Offshore Accounts are being hunted down with FBAR (Foreign Bank Account Reporting) information requests of U.S. Taxpayers suspected of hiding assets in the wake of the UBS AG fallout and IRS Offshore Settlement Initiative.
What is in store for undisclosed account holders?
In 2009, the IRS and U.S. Department of Justice commenced a highly publicized investigation into Swiss bank UBS AG and U.S. account holders who essentially hid their assets from the U.S. Government. However, the investigation did not conclude with UBS. To entice taxpayers to come clean and disclose their foreign assets in exchange for lesser penalties, the IRS instituted the Offshore Settlement Initiative Voluntary Disclosure Program (the Initiative). Although the deadline to participate in the Offshore Settlement Initiative is long gone, it is clear that offshore tax evasion will continue to be a top IRS enforcement priority. Now, what can U.S. taxpayers with undisclosed offshore accounts who did not make the October 15, 2009 Offshore Settlement Initiative deadline expect coming up?
The IRS will be ramping up their Information Document Requests or IDRs targeting offshore bank accounts.Taxpayers may receive a Form 6564, Information Document Request, to obtain necessary books, papers, and other information relevant to the IRS examiner inquiry into the truthfulness of a tax return. The Information Document Request is a proper and structured process for the IRS to request and get information from taxpayers, including information regarding offshore bank accounts. Although not as formal as a subpoena, an IDR carries with it consequences for failure to comply and can lead to further inquiry and possible sanction.
The IRS will focus Information Document Requests on U.S. taxpayers with offshore assets and accounts that failed to disclose these interests to the U.S. government on their Form 1040, U.S. Individual Tax Returns, and file a corresponding Form TD F 90-22.1, Foreign Bank Account Reporting FBAR. If IRS agents discover that a taxpayer has not reported an interest in an offshore account or income accruing on such accounts during the course of an audit, the IRS may impose steep penalties including the greater of $100,000 or 50% of the offshore account balance for willful failure to file an FBAR for each account. These penalties, compounded with interest and fraud penalties, can essentially wipe out the taxpayers foreign assets. Additionally, taxpayers could be subject to criminal prosecution and jail time for tax evasion.
The issues surrounding these IDRs are extremely delicate and should be approached with considerable caution. Taxpayers who have been sent an Information Document Request by the IRS are best served by getting in touch with a tax attorney who is experienced at resolving disputes with the IRS quickly. An attorney can direct the taxpayer how best to answer an Information Document Request and will be able to talk with his attorney the most appropriate course of action. Otherwise the Internal Revenue Service can seek formidable fines and possible criminal prosecution against those U.S. Taxpayers believed to be hiding assets in undisclosed offshore accounts.