Dealing with Undisclosed Foreign Income and Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts
The purpose of this article is to provide you with a simple three-step plan on how to deal with a situation where you have not disclosed foreign income and foreign assets, including bank and financial accounts, to the IRS.
1. Call Sherayzen Law Office to Schedule a Confidential and Attorney-Client Privileged Consultation
The first step is to contact Sherayzen Law Office to set up a consultation. We offer three types of consultations to clients all over the world: in-person, over the phone, and online Skype video conference. Most of out-of-state clients agree to a phone consultation; most oversees clients (Australia, Bangladesh, Kuwait, Spain, United Kingdom, et cetera) prefer Skype video conferences; and a few others fly to Minneapolis for an in-person meeting. On the other hand, the vast majority of our Minnesota and Wisconsin clients opt for in-person consultation.
In scheduling consultations, we will try to be as flexible as possible to accommodate your agenda and sense of urgency.
When you call, briefly state your legal and tax issues, set up the exact time for the consultation, and agree on the mode of payment. Our experienced tax firm will guide you in what kind of documents and information you need to prepare for the consultation and how the consultation will be conducted.
Remember, you are calling a law office and everything you say to a lawyer is confidential!
2. Collect Documents to Assess the Extent of Non-Disclosure
The next step is to immediately gather as many of the required documents as possible. Usually, these documents only need to be sufficient to approximate the amount of undisclosed foreign income and the structure of undisclosed foreign assets. “Structure” here means what type of property you own overseas: bank accounts, retirement accounts (such as RRSP in Canada or a Superannuation Bond account in Australia), investment accounts, CDs (or GICs in Canada), real estate, business interests, and so on. You should be prepared to estimate the current balance on your foreign bank and financial accounts.
If you do not have all the documents by the time of the consultation, it is not a problem for consultation purposes. The consultation is conducted to: (i) identify the relevant legal issues and risks (including potential penalties), (ii) understand what solutions are applicable to your problems, and (iii) explore the options you have to achieve a speedy and least-painful resolution. Later, after the Retainer Agreement is executed, we will provide you with a detailed list of documents needed to work on your case. For the consultation purposes, just get what you can.
3. Conduct Efficient Consultation and Retain Sherayzen Law Office to Conduct the Case
In order to make the consultation as useful and efficient as possible, it is best to let the experienced tax attorney set the agenda. Usually, a consultation will begin with background exploration. Then, it will shift the consultation to specific fact gathering. Once the facts are solidified into a logical consistent framework, the attorney will draw legal conclusions and assess risks and penalties which may apply to your case. The consultation will usually end with the lawyer describing your options for the resolution of the case, recommending a particular route, and estimating the overall costs and length of the case. Prior to the end of the consultation, the attorney will also explain to you how you can retain Sherayzen Law Office to resolve your voluntary disclosure case.
This small article describes a three-step action plan on how to deal with a potentially disastrous situation of failure to disclose foreign income and foreign bank and financial accounts. Unsurprisingly, the plan centers around retaining the services of an international tax attorney, because the issues involved in these cases are usually extremely complex and should be handled by a tax lawyer.
There is one more issue that needs to be emphasized here – the urgency of the matter. It is highly important that you voluntarily disclose your foreign assets, income, and bank and financial accounts, before IRS commences an investigation against you. Otherwise, the voluntary disclosure option usually would not be available to you.
Call Sherayzen Law Office to avoid the worst-case scenario and let our experienced voluntary disclosure tax firm to help you!