If you're in the middle of a high asset divorce and believe that your soon-to-be ex-spouse is hiding assets from you and the court, it's time to get some serious help. If the assets are hidden in offshore accounts, one of the best sources of information may be the Internal Revenue Service.
The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act was enacted in 2010 as a means of improving tax compliance of offshore accounts and foreign financial assets. Under this act, taxpayers in the United States with certain foreign financial assets over certain thresholds are required to report the assets to the IRS. The IRS will receive the information from foreign financial institutions anyway.
A specified foreign financial asset is an account maintained by a financial institution outside of the U.S. This will include foreign bank accounts, foreign hedge funds, foreign mutual funds, foreign private equity funds and more. If you are filed jointly on your tax return, you may access any of the information. In addition, after a divorce, you may request in writing information on collection activities that were taken when you filed jointly.
While many offshore accounts won't be so easy to locate, if the accounts were not reported to the IRS, it is possible for your spouse to face civil and criminal charges. This alone may help keep your spouse from attempting to hide assets. There are many ways to do so, and offshore or foreign accounts are only one way.
An experienced divorce attorney will have the resources necessary to search for hidden assets. Finding those assets could mean a much larger settlement and the knowledge that you were able to walk away from the marriage with what is rightfully yours.
Source: American Bar Association, "How to Find Your Spouse’s Secret Offshore Bank Account," Gerald Shoemaker, Jr., Esq.,, G. Daniel Jones, CPA and Matthew Lee, Esq, accessed Jan. 01, 2016