FBAR Tax Attorney:
What US Expats Need to Know About Tax Solutions
What is an FBAR?
Many U.S. citizens and residents have bank accounts, investment accounts, real estate and retirement plans in foreign countries. Recently, the IRS has targeted offshore bank accounts and assets. If any of these accounts exceed certain thresholds, the Bank Secrecy Act may require you to report the account yearly to the Department of Treasury by electronically filing a Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR).
Who has to file an FBAR?
Under IRS guidelines, United States persons including U.S. citizens and residents are required to file an FBAR if:
- the United States person had a financial interest in or signature authority over at least one financial account located outside of the United States; and
- the aggregate value of all foreign financial accounts exceeded $10,000 at any time during the calendar year reported.
Additionally, corporations, partnerships, or limited liability companies, created or organized in the United States or under the laws of the United States; and trusts or estates formed under the laws of the United States must file a FBAR.
Are There Any Exceptions to the FBAR?
There are several instances where there may be an exception to the reporting requirements for FBAR. For example, certain foreign financial accounts jointly owned by spouses, or accounts owned by a government entity or an international financial institution may present a filing exception. Persons who are owners and beneficiaries of a U.S. IRA, or who are participants in, or beneficiaries of, tax-qualified retirement plans, may qualify for an exception. Also, foreign financial accounts maintained on a United States military banking facility may be exempt. These are a few examples, but it’s important to review the reporting requirements in the FBAR instructions to understand all the available exceptions.
Why do I need an FBAR attorney?
An FBAR attorney is a tax attorney who specializes in tax law for US expats with interests in foreign banks or who have foreign assets.
If you are facing an investigation by the IRS due to FBAR issues, you will need an attorney who has tax law experience and knowledge to help you protect your rights and your assets. It is not as simple as contacting the IRS and paying back taxes. There are serious criminal and civil implications for people who don’t report their foreign bank accounts and assets on tax returns and FBARs. Individuals may face prison time and the loss of savings and assets. Corporations may be subject to exposure.
Without a representation by a tax attorney, the IRS will easily gain access to your personal and financial records to build a case against you. Representing yourself in an IRS investigation will most likely lead to higher penalties and fees.
An experienced tax attorney is trained to give you sound legal advice on tax issues to help you avoid inflated fees, penalties and possible jail time.
Additionally, an FBAR Attorney can provide information on everyday tax solutions such as when and what you do and don’t have to report to the IRS and how to avoid criminal and civil tax penalties and fines. Foreign tax forms can be tricky and errors are what cause most people to have problems with the IRS. It’s important to keep in mind that only tax attorneys are trained to protect your individual rights under US tax laws.
Retaining a tax attorney is a crucial step towards protecting your liberty and property rights, and to avoid criminal and civil exposure. As a U.S. Taxpayer you have rights, including the right to seek counsel and to benefit under the U.S. Tax Code.
More information about FBAR is available at http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Report-of-Foreign-Bank-and-Financial-Accounts-FBAR