FBAR Lawyers

2017 FBAR Deadline | FinCEN Form 114 FBAR Lawyer & Attorney

FinCEN recently confirmed the 2017 FBAR deadline and the automatic extension option.

2017 FBAR Deadline: FBAR Background

FinCEN Form 114, the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, is commonly known as FBAR.  US taxpayers should use this form to report their financial interest in or signatory authority over foreign financial accounts. Failure to timely file the FBAR may result in the imposition of draconian FBAR penalties.

2017 FBAR Deadline: Traditional FBAR Deadline

Prior to 2016 FBAR, the taxpayers had to file their FBARs for each relevant calendar year by June 30 of the following year. No filings extensions were allowed. The last FBAR that followed this deadline was 2015 FBAR (its due date was June 30, 2016).

2017 FBAR Deadline: Changes to FBAR Deadline Starting 2016 FBAR

The Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015 (the “Act”) changed the FBAR deadline starting with 2016 FBAR.  Section 2006(b)(11) of the Act requires the FBARs to be filed by the due date of that year’s tax return (i.e. usually April 15), not June 30.

Furthermore, during the transition period, the IRS granted to US taxpayers an automatic extension of the FBAR filing deadline to October 15. The taxpayers do not need to make any specific requests in order for extension to be granted.

In other words, starting 2016 FBAR, the Act adjusted the FBAR due date to coincide with the federal income tax filing deadlines. Moreover, the new FBAR filing deadline will follow to the letter the federal income tax due date guidance. The federal income tax due date guidance states that, in situations where the tax return due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the IRS must delay the due date until the next business day.

2017 FBAR Deadline

Based on the new law, the 2017 FBAR deadline will be April 17, 2018 (same as 2017 income tax return due date). If a taxpayer does not file his 2017 FBAR by April 17, 2018, then the IRS will automatically grant an extension until October 15, 2018. Failure to file 2017 FBAR by October 15, 2018, may result in the imposition of FBAR civil and criminal penalties.

FBAR Safe Deposit Box Reporting | FBAR Tax Lawyer & Attorney

One of the most common questions that US taxpayers have is regarding FBAR Safe Deposit Box reporting requirements. While the general answer is clear, there may be complications in certain cases.

General FBAR Safe Deposit Box Reporting Requirements

In general, a safe deposit box is not considered to be a financial account and, therefore, not reportable on FBAR.

This is a general rule and it is important to understand that it applies only to a safe deposit box – i.e. an individually secured container, usually held within a larger safe or bank vault. It is important to understand that the bank vault itself is NOT a safe deposit box. In fact, if you were to store gold in a bank vault with bank employees able to directly and legally access the contents of your storage, you would create a reportable account.

The most common example of accounts created by storing items in a bank vault are precious metals, particularly gold and silver (but also any other similar accounts, such as rare minerals accounts).

Exception: FBAR Safe Deposit Box Reporting May Arise If Custodial Relationship Is Established With Respect to the Safe Deposit Box

The great majority of cases are easily resolved under the general rule. However, as I hinted at above, an FBAR safe deposit box reporting requirement may arise if the owner of a safe deposit box enters into a custodial relationship with respect to this safe deposit box.

In such situations, a foreign financial institution is usually given direct legal access to the safe deposit box, is responsible for the safety of its contents and may change the contents according to the instructions from the box’s owner. Of course, in such a case, a safe deposit box can hardly be called in such a way and becomes very similar to a regular bank vault account.

This exception is very rare. I have personally encountered such exceptions only in the context of precious metals accounts.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Professional Help With Your FBAR Reporting Requirements

If you need professional help with your FBAR filings, or if you have not timely filed your FBARs for past years and need to resolve your past tax noncompliance, please contact Sherayzen Law Office. Our experienced legal team of tax professionals, headed by our international tax attorney Eugene Sherayzen, will thoroughly analyze your case, determine the US tax reporting requirements that may apply to your case, develop your voluntary disclosure plan and implement it.

Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!

A Senior Citizen With Offshore Accounts in Panama Pleads Guilty | IRS News

On May 26, 2017, the IRS scored another victory against Offshore Accounts in Panama and again against a senior citizen. This time, Ms. Joyce Meads, a 73-year old Texas resident, pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the United States by using offshore accounts in Panama to conceal more than $1.3 million in royalty income that she earned from oil wells.

Offshore Accounts in Panama: Facts of the Meads Case

According to documents and information provided to the court, from approximately April of 1997 through April of 2010, Ms. Meads conspired with offshore promoters to disguise more than $1.3 million in royalty income (from oil wells) as scholarships and loans from a foreign corporation that she set up.

In particular, Ms. Meads set up nominee companies in Delaware and Panama in the name of W.G. Holdings Corporation. Then, she transferred her interest in the oil wells to the nominee entity in Delaware, which resulted in all of the royalty checks to be issued to W.G. Holdings and sent to a Miami post office box. The checks were picked up there and sent by a courier to Panama to be deposited into Ms. Meads’ nominee accounts. Later, as it was mentioned above, the funds were repatriated as scholarships or loans from W.G. Holdings to herself. Ultimately, the funds ended up on her bank accounts and the accounts that were opened in her mother’s name.

During all of the relevant years, Ms. Meads never reported her income on her tax returns. Nor did she ever file an FBAR with respect to her offshore account in Panama. As part of the guilty plea, Ms. Meads admitted that she caused a tax laws of more than $250,000.

The IRS identified the promoters who helped Ms. Meads in her conspiracy to evade taxes. They are Marc Harris of The Harris Organization, Republic of Panama, and Boyce Griffin of Offshore Management Alliance Ltd., Republic of Panama. Both of them have already been convicted of conspiracy and other charges and were previously sentenced to prison.

Offshore Accounts in Panama: Potential Jail Time and FBAR Penalties

The sentencing of Ms. Meads is scheduled for August 4, 2017. Ms. Meads faces a statutory maximum sentence of five years in prison, a period of supervised release, restitution and monetary penalties. The penalties will likely include not only income tax fraud penalties, but also FBAR penalties.

Offshore Accounts in Panama: Lessons from the Meads Case

The Meads case is a classic example of a situation that leads to an IRS criminal investigation. Let’s focus on three main factors here.

First, Ms. Meads was diverting pre-tax US-source income from the United States to an offshore tax shelter. Based just on this fact, the IRS has sufficient incentive to make an example of her. In fact, diverting US-source income to a tax shelter might be the most important factor that led to criminal penalties in this case.

Second, Ms. Meads utilized a shell corporations to hide her income. Involving foreign companies in a tax evasion scheme is a very common factor that leads to an IRS criminal investigation.

Finally, Ms. Meads utilized secret offshore accounts in Panama in her tax evasion scheme – accounts that she never disclosed on her FBARs. By doing so, she granted to the IRS a very powerful weapon in the form of draconian FBAR penalties, not just criminal but also civil. This means that the IRS had a trump card in court to force Ms. Meads to agree to a guilty plea. In other words, with FBAR penalties as a major negotiation weapon, the IRS feels confident to press with the criminal charges for the entire case. While in the Meads case proving the rest of the charges might not have been very difficult, this is not the situation in a lot of other cases.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Professional Help With Disclosing Your Offshore Accounts in Panama and Any Other Foreign Country

If you have undisclosed foreign accounts or any other foreign assets, contact Sherayzen Law Office as soon as possible. Time may be of the essence, because an IRS investigation may prevent you from participating in any of the main Offshore Voluntary Disclosure initiatives.

With Sherayzen Law Office, you can feel confident that expertise, experience and convenience is on your side! We have helped hundreds of US taxpayers around the world to bring their tax affairs into full compliance with US tax laws, and We Can Help You!

Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!

Indianapolis FBAR Lawyer | Foreign Accounts Tax Attorney

One of the advantages of practicing US international tax law is that an international tax lawyer can offer his FBAR services throughout the United States. Why is this case? Why is an international tax lawyer who lives in Minneapolis considered as an Indianapolis FBAR Lawyer?

Indianapolis FBAR Lawyer: FBAR is Federal Law, Not State Law

The answer to the question above is not difficult and, in fact, very logical. FBAR is a part of US federal law and no local law plays a role in defining its requirements or its implementation. This means that any US international tax lawyer can offer FBAR services in any of the 50 states and the District of Columbia irrespective of his physical location. This further means that a lawyer in Minneapolis can be considered as an Indianapolis FBAR Lawyer even though he never visited the State of Indiana.

Indianapolis FBAR Lawyer Must Be a US International Tax Lawyer

It is worth emphasizing that an Indianapolis FBAR Lawyer must be a US international tax lawyer, not just any lawyer. This emphasis is very important because FBAR forms are part of the US international tax law and its penalty structure is deeply connected with a taxpayer’s overall tax compliance. In a voluntary disclosure situation, the relationship between FBAR and the overall US international tax compliance may play a determinative role in the legal position of a taxpayer.

A sophisticated reader might wonder why FBAR forms are part of the US international tax law if the FBAR was created as a result of the Bank Secrecy Act (i.e. Title 31 of the United States Code), whereas the entire Internal Revenue Code is located in Title 26 of the United States Code. The answer is not that simple and deserves a special article.

Nevertheless, I can provide a short answer here: FBAR is administered by the IRS and, as part of its historic evolution, the form became a tax enforcement mechanism.

Sherayzen Law Office Can Be Your Indianapolis FBAR Lawyer

If you are looking for an Indianapolis FBAR Lawyer, Sherayzen Law Office may be the perfect fit for you! Sherayzen Law Office is an international tax law firm that specializes in US tax compliance, including FBARs. We have profound knowledge of this area of law and the extensive experience in helping clients with international tax law issues, including offshore voluntary disclosures with respect to delinquent FBARs. We have helped hundreds of US taxpayers worldwide with their FBAR issues and we can help You!

Contact Sherayzen Law Office today to schedule Your Confidential Consultation!