- 1 How FBAR Lawyers Protect Foreign Accounts
- 2 What are the Options for Filing Late FBAR?
- 3 FBAR Attorneys are Proactive with Past FBAR Filing
- 4 FBAR Attorneys Help Assess Penalty Options
- 5 Flat-Fee, Full-Service FBAR Lawyers
- 6 Common FBAR Attorney Myths
- 7 An Experienced FBAR Lawyer can Benefit You
- 8 Our FBAR Lawyers Represent Clients Worldwide
How FBAR Lawyers Protect Foreign Accounts
FBAR Lawyers Can Protect Your Foreign Accounts & Assets: When a US Person has unreported overseas accounts, assets, and investments, one of the most important reporting requirements they may have is to file is the annual FBAR Form statement. An FBAR is a Form used to report Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts to the US government. It is technically a FinCEN Form (Form 114), but it is enforced by the Internal Revenue Service. When a US person has unreported overseas accounts, assets, or investments and has not properly disclosed them to the US government — they are at real risk for fines and penalties. This is the point in time in which the Taxpayer should consider hiring an experienced FBAR Attorney. Unfortunately, the current marketplace is inundated with inexperienced fear-monger Attorneys whose strategy it is to scare unsuspecting FBAR filers into believing their foreign account noncompliance is way more dire or serious than it actually is. Let’s take a look at how experienced FBAR lawyers can protect your foreign accounts and assets.
What are the Options for Filing Late FBAR?
An experienced FBAR Attorney can seamlessly guide you through the different options available in order to get into compliance with prior years FBAR filing. There are several different FBAR Amnesty Programs, but not all taxpayers will qualify for each program. Therefore, it is crucial that the Taxpayer has a solid understanding of what the different programs are; the different requirements for eligibility; and the pros and cons of applying to each program. Generally, taxpayers only get one bite at the offshore disclosure apple.
FBAR Attorneys are Proactive with Past FBAR Filing
The late FBAR submission process can be detailed, but it is also time-intensive — it is crucial that noncompliant Taxpayers make their submission before the US government identifies then someone who is FBAR noncompliant. That is because if the Taxpayer is audited or under examination (for any reason) before they submit, then they lose the opportunity to submit to one of the amnesty programs.
FBAR Attorneys Help Assess Penalty Options
Depending on which program the taxpayer applies for, there are different penalty assessments and outcomes. It is not uncommon for taxpayers to approach us after they have submitted to FBAR Amnesty with a less experienced firm, only to find that assets that the Attorney included accounts and assets that should have not been included as part of the Streamlined Domestic Offshore Procedures.
Flat-Fee, Full-Service FBAR Lawyers
Experienced FBAR Lawyers utilize a flat-fee, full service structure and both the tax and legal is handled in-house. This prevents the attorney from taking liberties and puffing your fees by charging you for items such as research and other communications with the Internal Revenue Service, which can be time-intensive — and should have been included as part of a flat-fee. Likewise, if the attorney retains an outside CPA, you have to be careful of the additional fees that seemed to crop up when these both professionals feel it important (read: it is not) to talk to each other about your case — and each bill you separately.
Common FBAR Attorney Myths
Here are some common myths to be aware of as you research FBAR Lawyers:
FBAR Criminal Liability
Yes, a person could be subject to criminal FBAR penalties — but the chances are rare. And when criminal FBAR issues do creep up, it is oftentimes because the individual is already under criminal investigation for other issues such as tax evasion, money laundering, and structuring.
No On Schedule B
Just because a taxpayer may have inadvertently included “No,” on schedule B does not mean they are automatically subject to willfulness. In fact, even the IRS acknowledges this fact on its website:
We realize that many taxpayers failed to acknowledge their financial interest in or signature authority over foreign financial accounts on Form 1040, Schedule B. If you (or your return preparer) inadvertently checked “no” on Schedule B, line 7a, simply provide your explanation.
FBAR Lawyers Issue Kovel Letters to Protect CPA Tax Preparation
There is probably no single misapplied concept by inexperienced tax attorneys than the Kovel Agreement. A Kovel Agreement is used for the very limited purpose of a situation in which an Attorney (typically not a tax attorney) requires assistance from an accountant in order for the attorney to provide legal advice to the client. There is absolutely no protection for tax return preparation under a Kovel Letter. Some inexperienced attorneys go so far as to issue Kovel Agreements to accountants/clients under the guise that the communications involving tax return preparation will be covered since the attorney issued the CPA or other accountant a Kovel.
An Experienced FBAR Lawyer can Benefit You
In conclusion, depending on the facts and circumstances of the US person who is out of compliance with foreign account reporting — they may benefit from hiring an experienced FBAR Attorney. Not all taxpayers who are out of FBAR compliance require an attorney, and the decision should be based on the totality of the circumstance of each individual Taxpayer. It is important to make sure that whichever firm you hire has the experience they claimed to have — and represents you on a flat-fee, full-service agreement for both tax and legal.
Our FBAR Lawyers Represent Clients Worldwide
Golding & Golding FBAR Lawyers specializes exclusively in international tax, and specifically IRS offshore disclosure.
Contact our firm for assistance.