FBAR and Form 8938 Filings Continue to Grow

On March 15, 2016, the IRS announced that there was continuous growth in the FBAR and Form 8938 filings. While the IRS attributes this growth in FBAR and Form 8938 filings to the greater awareness of taxpayers, one cannot underestimate the impact of the FATCA letter and the increasing knowledge of foreign financial institutions with respect to U.S. tax reporting requirements.

Background Information for the FBAR and Form 8938 Filings

FBAR and Form 8938 are the main forms with respect to reporting of foreign financial accounts and (in the case of Form 8938) “other specified assets”. The Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, FinCEN Form 114 (commonly known as “FBAR”) should be filed by U.S. taxpayers to report a financial interest in or signatory authority over foreign financial accounts if the aggregate value of these accounts exceeds $10,000. This form is associated with draconian noncompliance penalties.

IRS Form 8938 was created by the famous Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (“FATCA”). Generally, U.S. citizens, resident aliens and certain non-resident aliens must report specified foreign financial assets on Form 8938 if the aggregate value of those assets exceeds the required thresholds (the lowest threshold is $50,000, but it varies by taxpayer). The noncompliance with respect to Form 8938 may result in additional penalties, including $10,000 per form.

IRS Registers Sustained Increase in the FBAR and Form 8938 Filings

Compliance with FBAR and, later, Form 8938 is one of the top priorities for the IRS according to the IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. Recent statistics with respect to the FBAR and Form 8938 filings support the conclusion that the IRS has been largely successful in achieving this task.

The IRS states that the FBAR filings have grown on average by 17 percent per year during the last five years, according to FinCEN data. In fact, in 2015, FinCEN received a record high 1,163,229 FBARs.

Similar, but far less successful trends can be seen with respect to Form 8938 filings. In 2011, the IRS received about 200,000 Forms 8938, but the number rose to 300,000 by the tax year 2013. However, it seems to have stagnated at the same number judging from the statistics for the tax year 2014.

While the lower number of Forms 8938 could be explained by the novelty of the form as well as higher thresholds, it appears that some Forms 8938 might not also be filed due to mistaken calculation of the asset base used to determine whether Form 8938 filing requirements were met.

Nevertheless, overall, it appears that the FBAR and Form 8938 filings have grown sufficiently for the IRS to be satisfied with its progress.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Professional Help with Your FBAR and Form 8938 Filings

U.S. international tax law is incredibly complex and the penalties are excessively high. If you were supposed to file FBARs and Forms 8938 in the past, but you have not done so, you need to contact Sherayzen Law Office as soon as possible. Mr. Sherayzen and his legal team will thoroughly analyze your case, assess your potential tax liabilities, determine the available voluntary disclosure options, and implement (including the preparation of all legal documents and tax forms) the voluntary disclosure option that fits your case best.

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Austin FBAR Tax Lawyer

A question that I would like to explore in this article is: Who is considered to be an Austin FBAR tax lawyer?

It seems to be an odd question, because a lot of people would say that an Austin FBAR tax lawyer is an attorney who resides in Austin and does FBAR law.

This, however, is an over-simplistic and incorrect view. First of all, there is no area of “FBAR” law. Rather, FBAR is a tax information return which is being administered by the IRS on behalf of FinCEN. This means that FBAR “law” forms part of a larger compliance framework within the area of international tax law. In essence, all “FBAR tax lawyers” are in reality international tax lawyers who must be knowledgeable not just about the FBARs, but about all relevant areas of international tax law.

However, despite its technical deficiencies, the term FBAR tax lawyers is commonly used to describe an international tax lawyer who helps his clients with FBAR compliance.

Second, an Austin FBAR tax lawyer does not mean that the tax lawyer must reside in Austin. FBAR is part of US federal tax law and can be practiced by an international tax lawyer who is licensed in any of the 50 states of the United States.

Thus, an international tax lawyer who is able to help his clients with FBAR compliance in Austin, Texas, is an Austin FBAR tax lawyer. This means that an Austin FBAR tax lawyer can actually reside in Minneapolis or any other city.

In this case, the modern means of communications usually come into play: email, Skype video conferences, telephone and regular mail. In fact, aside from initial consultation, your communication with an Austin FBAR tax lawyer who actually resides in Austin is likely to be limited exactly to these modern means of communication with very rare (if any) face-to-face meetings.

With this information in mind, we can now go back and answer my original question: Who is considered to be an Austin FBAR tax lawyer? The answer is as follows: An Austin FBAR tax lawyer is an international tax lawyer who is licensed to practice in any of the 50 states of the United States, resides anywhere in the United States (Minneapolis, for example) or any other country, and helps his clients in Austin with FBAR compliance with the help of modern means of communication.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office If You Are Looking for an Austin FBAR Tax Lawyer

If you are looking for an Austin FBAR tax lawyer, you should contact Sherayzen Law Office, Ltd., an international tax law firm that specializes in FBAR compliance and helps its clients in Austin, Texas.

Our professional legal team is highly experienced in FBAR compliance, including current FBAR compliance and FBAR voluntary disclosures. We have helped clients with every major IRS voluntary disclosure program (2009 OVDP, 2011 OVDI, 2012 OVDP and the currently-existing 2014 OVDP), both types of Streamlined Disclosures (Streamlined Domestic Offshore Procedures and Streamlined Foreign Offshore Procedures), Delinquent International Information Return Submission Procedures and Delinquent FBAR Submission Procedures.

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