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Tampa Foreign Accounts Lawyer and Attorney | Florida Tax Lawyers

Tampa Foreign Accounts Lawyer is an interesting specialty among international tax lawyers who offer their foreign account tax compliance services to residents of Tampa, Florida. The term Tampa Foreign Accounts Lawyer does not simply refer to a lawyer who is physically located in Tampa, but also covers lawyers who reside outside of Tampa. Let’s explore why international tax lawyer Eugene Sherayzen of Sherayzen Law Office, Ltd., can be considered a Tampa Foreign Accounts Lawyer.

Tampa Foreign Accounts Lawyer Definition: Foreign Account Tax Compliance Services Offered to Residents of Tampa Florida

Obviously, the definition of a Tampa Foreign Accounts Lawyer includes all FBAR lawyers who are physically located in Tampa, Florida, and offer their tax services there. However, this definition also includes every international tax lawyer who offers out-of-state foreign account tax services to residents of Tampa.

Why is this the case? The answer is simple – it is the federal tax law, not local law, that requires foreign account tax compliance (with the exception of a few states like New York and California; the main requirements, however, come from federal tax law). This means that an international tax lawyer licensed to practice anywhere in the United States is qualified to help residents of Tampa with their US tax compliance requirements concerning foreign accounts (such as FBAR and FATCA Form 8938).

Tampa Foreign Accounts Lawyer Definition: Knowledge of US International Tax Law is Required

Having stated the definition of a Tampa Foreign Accounts Lawyer so broadly, I do not mean to imply that any lawyer can offer foreign account tax compliance services to Tampa residents. On the contrary, in order to help his clients, a Tampa Foreign Accounts Lawyer must be an international tax attorney who specializes in the area of foreign accounts tax compliance. Otherwise, the lawyer simply would not have the required expertise to practice in this area of law.

Tampa Foreign Accounts Lawyer: Modern Technologies Eliminated the Advantages of Hiring a Local Lawyer

There is still some hesitance on part of many taxpayers to retain the services of an out-of-state tax lawyer. This hesitance comes from a false myth that working with a local attorney is more convenient.

This myth is false for two reasons. First, the development of modern means of communication has completely resolved the communication problems of the past. Email, Video Skype Conferences, telephone and text messages make your out-of-state Tampa Foreign Accounts Lawyer as equally accessible as your local Tampa Foreign Accounts Lawyer.

Second, in reality, almost the entire course of communication between you and your local lawyer is going to be exactly the same as it would be between you and your out-of-state lawyer – i.e. email, telephone and even regular mail.

Sherayzen Law Office is Your Preferred Choice for Your Tampa Foreign Accounts Lawyer

Sherayzen Law Office is a highly experienced international tax law firm which specializes in the area of foreign account tax compliance. We have been helping our clients worldwide with their FBAR and FATCA issues for a very long time; in fact, we are one of the few firms which advised clients with respect to all major IRS voluntary disclosure programs, including 2009 OVDP, 2011 OVDI, 2012 OVDP, 2014 OVDP and Streamlined Submission Procedures (Domestic and Foreign). We can help you!

Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!

Receiving FATCA Letter from Your Foreign Bank

Since July 1, 2014, the most feared US legislation regarding international tax enforcement – Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (“FATCA”) – is being implemented by most banks around the world. As part of this compliance, foreign banks are sending out so-called FATCA letter to their customers seeking to verify certain type of information. In this article, I would like to introduce this FATCA letter and what the FATCA letter may mean to a US taxpayer with undisclosed foreign bank and financial accounts.

What is FATCA?

FATCA was signed into law in 2010 and codified in Sections 1471 through 1474 of the Internal Revenue Code. The law was enacted in order to reduce offshore tax evasion by US persons with undisclosed offshore accounts. There are two parts to FATCA – US taxpayer reporting of foreign assets and income on Form 8938 and reporting by a foreign financial institution (FFI) of foreign bank and financial account to the IRS.  Here, I will concentrate on the latter, because it is an FFI that sends out the FATCA letter.

FATCA generally requires a foreign payee (i.e. FFI) to identify certain US accountholders and report their accounts to the IRS. Such reporting is done either through an FFI Agreement directly to the IRS or through a set of local laws that implement FATCA.

If an FFI refuses to do so or otherwise does not satisfy these requirements (and is not otherwise exempt), US-source payments made to the FFI may be subject to withholding under FATCA at a rate of 30%. Note that FATCA information reporting and withholding requirements generally do not apply to FFIs that are treated as “deemed-compliant” because they present a relatively low risk of being used for tax evasion or are otherwise exempt from FATCA withholding.

FATCA Implementation and FATCA Letter

As of July 1, 2014, the FATCA went into full effect, which means that FFIs now have to report the required FATCA information to the IRS. However, it appears that the IRS is not likely to fully enforce the penalties until the end of 2014 just to give FFIs enough time to comply.

Nevertheless, many FFIs are making a full effort to comply with FATCA. As part of this effort, FFIs around the world have been sending out “FATCA letters”. A FATCA letter is basically a letter from your bank or other financial institution which introduces FATCA to their customers and asks them to provide answers to a various set of questions aiming to find out information specific to FATCA compliance. Often, instead of asking all of these questions directly a FATCA letter would simply list out a series of forms that contain these questions (for example, W9, W8BEN, et cetera).

If the customer refuses to answer the questions or provide the necessary forms, the financial institution would often close the account and report it as a “recalcitrant account” to the IRS.

Impact of FATCA Letter on US Taxpayers with Undisclosed Accounts

A FATCA letter may have a very profound impact on a US taxpayer with foreign accounts which were not properly disclosed to the IRS (usually on the FBAR and/or Form 8938). Let’s concentrate on two most important aspects of receiving a FATCA letter. First, a FATCA letter puts the taxpayer on notice that he is required to report his foreign financial accounts and foreign income to the IRS. This may have a big impact on whether the taxpayer can later certify his non-willfulness for the purposes of the Streamline Filing Compliance Procedures.

Second, a FATCA letter starts the clock for the taxpayer to beat the bank’s disclosure of his account to the IRS. If the taxpayer intends to participate in the IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (“OVDP”), it is imperative that he files his Pre-Clearance Request before the IRS finds out about his non-compliance with respect to his foreign accounts. If the latter occurs, the taxpayer may not be able to enter the OVDP.

In essence, receiving a FATCA letter forces the taxpayer to quickly choose the path of his voluntary disclosure under significant time pressure.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office if You Received a FATCA Letter

If you received a FATCA letter from your bank or any other financial institution, you should contact Sherayzen Law Office immediately to assess your situation and determine the path of your voluntary disclosure. Our highly experienced team of international tax professionals will thoroughly analyze your case, prepare all of the required documentation (legal documents and tax forms), conduct the voluntary disclosure and defend your interests before the IRS.

Remember, time is of the essence in these matters. So, Call Us Now to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!