Leading offshore law firm, DQ Advocates, hosted its Global Tax Enforcement conference in September 2015 in the Isle of Man in conjunction with global law firm Latham & Watkins. The conference was aimed at senior management of Isle of Man's financial services businesses and yet again was fully subscribed.

The aim of the conference was to provide delegates with an understanding of how international governments pursue tax investigations, how to prepare for such an investigation and the implications of various strategies for handling and meeting the challenges of an investigation. A key message from the conference was that with the first reporting under US FATCA this year, UK FATCA next year and the coming onstream of the Common Reporting Standard, the financial services industry is standing at the bottom of an inexorable upward curve in global tax enforcement.

DQ was delighted to welcome back US tax controversy specialist Chad Nardiello who spoke at the 2014 conference. Chad gave a practical insight into how the IRS pursues tax investigations, what new measures and enforcement tools they are using and what the future holds for FATCA. Chad was on his fifth visit to the Island and regularly advises offshore service providers who find themselves involved in US tax investigations. Delegates were very interested to hear Chad speak about the recent US Court challenge to the constitutionality of FATCA which is being pursued by US Senator and Presidential hopeful Rand Paul. Whilst we do not expect that Court challenge to be successful ultimately, it raises some interesting issues surrounding FATCA. Watch this space!

In addition, DQ was delighted to welcome Neal Levin to the Island for the first time. Neal is a partner of Chicago based law firm Freeborn & Peters LLP and heads up Freeborn's fraud and internal investigations practice group. Neal's expertise includes all aspects of fraud with a particular focus on understanding the psychology of the fraudster. Neal's insightful presentation on "The Psychology of Fraud, from Neanderthal to Madoff" was very well received by delegates. Neal also joined panel discussions advising delegates on how to recognise when your client may be engaged in criminal or fraudulent activity.

Whilst 2014's conference focused very much on US investigations, this year we had a more HMRC based theme and were thrilled to welcome Fiona Fernie, a partner leading Pinsent Mason's Tax Investigations team. Fiona addressed delegates on the current position of HMRC's enforcement regime as well as on anticipated future developments. Fiona has over 25 years' experience advising clients on complex HMRC investigations. Fiona was a very popular speaker at this conference and at our Gibraltar conference earlier this year.

We were delighted to have Ian Bancroft (member of IOM FATCA working party and MD of Cayman National) and Phil Morris (member of IOM FATCA working party and Tax Senior Manager, PWC) join a panel to discuss the many challenges which tax investigations raise for Isle of Man businesses.

DQ speakers at the conference were Sinead O'Connor, head of regulatory & compliance services, Annemarie Hughes, head of trusts & private client and Tom Maher, managing partner.

We would like to thank, as ever, Brian McManus and our friends in Latham & Watkins Washington DC for their support in co-hosting this event, Pinsent Masons for sponsoring lunch and Buchanan BMW for providing the conference cars.

DQ will continue to run this conference as an annual event.

DQ's Expertise

DQ has a specialist team with extensive experience of advising clients in relation to international tax, securities and criminal investigations, TIEA requests and multi-jurisdiction insolvencies in the Isle of Man and the BVI. For further information on Isle of Man matters, please contact Tom Maher, Annemarie Hughes, Sinead O'Connor, Giles Hill or Adam Killip. For more information on BVI investigations or disclosure requests, please contact head of DQ's BVI law practice, Stephen Dougherty.

Photo shows DQ and international speakers (l-r): Chad Nardiello, Fiona Fernie, Neal Levin, Sinead O'Connor, Tom Maher, Annemarie Hughes (photo courtesy of Isle of Man Newspapers).

For a copy of the conference programme, please click here.

Posted in Tax, Regulatory & Compliance, Isle of Man News on 17th September 2015 -

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