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Colombian Bank Accounts | International Tax Lawyer & Attorney Miami

Even today many US owners of Colombian bank accounts remain completely unaware of the numerous US tax requirements that may apply to them. The purpose of this essay is to educate these owners about the requirement to report income generated by these accounts in the United States as well as the FBAR and FATCA obligations concerning the disclosure of ownership of Colombian bank accounts to the IRS.

Colombian Bank Accounts: Individuals Who Must Report Them

Before we discuss the aforementioned requirements in more detail, we need to determine who is required to comply with them. In other words, is every Colombian required to file FBAR in the United States? Or, does this obligation apply only to certain individuals?

The answer is very clear: only Colombians who fall within one of the categories of US tax residents must comply with these requirements. US tax residents include US citizens, US Permanent Residents, an individual who satisfies the Substantial Presence test and an individual who properly declares himself a US tax resident. There are important exceptions to this general rule, but, if you fall within any of these categories, you need to contact an international tax attorney as soon as possible to determine your US tax obligations concerning your ownership of Colombian bank accounts.

Colombian Bank Accounts: Income Reporting

All US tax residents are subject to the worldwide income reporting requirement. In other words, they must disclose on their US tax returns not only their US-source income, but also their foreign income. The latter includes all bank interest income, dividends, royalties, capital gains and any other income generated by Colombian bank accounts.

The worldwide income reporting requirement also requires the disclosure of PFIC distributions, PFIC sales, Subpart F income and GILTI income. These are complex requirements which are outside the scope of this article, but US owners of Colombian bank accounts need to be aware of the existence of these requirements.

Colombian Bank Accounts: FinCEN Form 114 (FBAR)

FinCEN Form 114, the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (commonly known as “FBAR”) mandates US tax residents to disclose their ownership interest in or signatory authority or any other authority over Colombian bank and financial accounts if the aggregate highest balance of these accounts exceeds $10,000. Every part of this sentence has a special significance and contains a trap for the unwary.

The most dangerous of these traps is the definition of an “account”. The FBAR definition of account is much broader than how this word is generally understood by taxpayers. For the purposes of FBAR compliance, this term includes checking accounts, savings accounts, fixed-deposit accounts, investments accounts, mutual funds, options/commodity futures accounts, life insurance policies with a cash surrender value, precious metals accounts, earth mineral accounts, et cetera. In fact, it is very likely that the IRS will find that an account exists whenever there is a custodial relationship between a foreign financial institution and a US person’s foreign asset.

FBAR has its own intricate penalty system which is widely known for its severity. The FBAR penalties range from incarceration to willful and even non-willful penalties which may easily exceed the value of the penalized accounts. In order to circumvent the potential 8th Amendment challenges and make the penalty imposition more flexible, the IRS has implemented a system of self-imposed limitations, but it is a completely voluntary system (i.e. the IRS can, and in fact already did several times, disregard these limitations).

Colombian Bank Accounts: FATCA Form 8938

While Form 8938 is a relative newcomer (since tax year 2011), it has occupied a special place among the US international tax requirements. In fact, one could argue that it is currently as important as FBAR for US taxpayers with Colombian bank accounts.

The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (“FATCA”) gave birth to Form 8938, making it part of a taxpayer’s federal tax return. This means that a failure to file Form 8938 may render the entire federal tax return incomplete, and the IRS may be able to audit the return. Immediately, we can see the profound impact Form 8938 has on the Statute of Limitations for the entire tax return.

Given the fact that it is a direct descendant of FATCA, it is not surprising Form 8938’s primary focus is on foreign financial assets. Form 8938 requires a US taxpayer to disclose all Specified Foreign Financial Assets (“SFFA”) as long as he satisfies the relevant filing threshold. The filing thresholds differ depending on the filing status and the place of residence (i.e. inside or outside of the United States) of the taxpayer.

SFFA includes an enormous variety of foreign financial assets, including foreign bank and financial accounts. In fact, with respect to bank and financial accounts, Form 8938 is very similar to FBAR, which often results in double-reporting of the same assets. It is important to emphasize that Form 8938 does not replace FBAR, both forms must still be filed. In other words, US taxpayers should report their Colombian bank accounts on FBAR and disclose them again on Form 8938.

Form 8938 has its own penalty system which contains some unique elements. In addition to its own $10,000 failure-to-file penalty, Form 8938 directly affects the accuracy-related income tax penalties and the ability of a taxpayer to use foreign tax credit.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Professional Help With the US Tax Reporting of Your Colombian Bank Accounts

US international tax compliance is extremely complex. It is very easy to get yourself into trouble, and much more difficult and expensive to get yourself out of this trouble. This is why, if you have Colombian bank accounts, you should contact the experienced international tax attorney and owner of Sherayzen Law Office, Mr. Eugene Sherayzen. Mr. Sherayzen has helped hundreds of US taxpayers with their US international tax issues, and He can help You!

Contact Mr. Sherayzen Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!

South Korean Citizen FBAR Guilty Plea| FATCA Lawyer

On October 27, 2017, the IRS and the DOJ announced that Mr. Hyung Kwon Kim, a South Korean citizen and a Legal Permanent Resident of the United States, pleaded guilty to failure to file correct FBARs.

Alleged Facts of the Case Which Led the South Korean Citizen to the FBAR Guilty Plea

Mr. Kim is a South Korean citizen who became a US permanent resident in 1998. At that time, he traveled to Switzerland to identify financial institutions at which he could open accounts for the purpose of receiving transfers of funds from another person in Hong Kong. Over the next few years, Mr. Kim opened accounts at several banks, including Credit Suisse, UBS, Bank Leu, Clariden Leu, and Bank Hofmann. By 2004, the aggregate value of Mr. Kim’s accounts exceeded $28,000,000.

Mr. Kim engaged in activities to conceal the funds from the IRS. In order to accomplish this, he also enlisted the help of several bankers, including Dr. Edgar H. Paltzer (who was convicted in 2013 for conspiring to defraud the United States). Dr. Paltzer and other bankers assisted Mr. Kim in opening of sham entities organized in Liechtenstein, Panama and the British Virgin Islands as well as bank accounts in the name of these entities.

Mr. Kim also utilized other means to conceal funds from the US, including directing his bankers to issue checks in the millions of dollars payable to third parties in the United States. This is exactly how the South Korean citizen purchased his personal residence in Greenwich, Connecticut.

In 2005, Mr. Kim created a nominee entity to hold title for the purchase of another home on Stage Harbor in Chatham, Massachusetts, for nearly $5 million. Here, Dr. Paltzer and Mr. Kim engaged in a purchase in such a manner as to create the appearance that Mr. Kim was renting a property from a fictitious owner.

Furthermore, between 2000 and 2008, Mr. Kim took multiple trips to Zurich and withdrew more than $600,000 in cash during these visits. He also brought his offshore assets back to the United States by purchasing millions of dollars’ worth of jewelry and loose gems. In 2008, for example, Mr. Kim purchased an 8.6 carat ruby ring from a jeweler in Greenwich, Connecticut, which he financed by causing Bank Leu to issue three checks totaling $2.2 million to the jeweler.

After the UBS case in 2008, Mr. Kim’s banker at Clariden Leu informed Mr. Kim that due to ongoing investigations in the United States he had to either disclose the accounts to the US government, spend the funds or move the funds to another institution. Mr. Kim chose to move the funds into nominee accounts at another bank.

In 2011, the South Korean citizen engaged in the ultimate strategy of concealment by liquidating the accounts by, among other things, withdrawing tens of thousands of dollars in cash and purchasing three loose diamonds for about $1.7 million from a Greenwich jeweler. Finally, as part of his guilty plea, Mr. Kim also admitted that he filed false income tax returns for 1999 through 2010, on which he failed to report income from the assets held in the foreign financial accounts that he owned and controlled in Switzerland.

FBAR Criminal Penalties and Other Penalties that the South Korean Citizen Faces

As part of his plea agreement, Mr. Kim will pay a civil penalty of over $14,000,000 dollars to the United States Treasury for failing to file, and filing false FBARs. Separately, Mr. Kim faces the sentencing scheduled for January 26, 2018 before the US District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III. The South Korean Citizen faces a statutory maximum sentence of five years in prison. He also faces a period of supervised release, restitution, and monetary penalties, in addition to the FBAR penalty.

Denver FBAR Lawyer | Foreign Accounts Tax Attorney

Finding a good Denver FBAR Lawyer is not easy, especially if you do not know what exactly Denver FBAR Lawyer means. In this essay, I will define what lawyers fit into the definition of a Denver FBAR Lawyer and why you should retain the services of my firm, Sherayzen Law Office, Ltd.

Denver FBAR Lawyer Definition: Legal FBAR Services Provided in Denver, Colorado

Some of the readers may be surprised to learn that the definition of a Denver FBAR Lawyer is not limited by the physical presence of the lawyer. Rather, a Denver FBAR Lawyer is any international tax lawyer who offers legal and tax services related to FBARs in Denver, Colorado. This means that your FBAR lawyer can reside in Minneapolis and still be considered as Denver FBAR Lawyer even if he has never been to Denver.

Why is that? The reason is simple: FBAR is federal law, not state law; i.e. the city of Denver and the State of Colorado have absolutely nothing to do with the implementation of FBAR. Since there is no local input, the physical residence of your lawyer gives you no advantage whatsoever when it comes to legal services related to FBARs.

Denver FBAR Lawyer Must Be an International Tax Lawyer

While the physical location of a your FBAR lawyer is irrelevant, his competence in FBARs and the US international tax law is an indispensable quality. It is important to understand that, in the great majority of cases, the FBAR issues are tightly intertwined with other international tax compliance requirements, and it is the interaction between the FBAR and other international tax issues that is relevant to the determination of a taxpayer’s legal position. This is why your Denver FBAR lawyer should be highly knowledgeable in other areas of international tax law in addition to FBARs.

Denver FBAR Lawyer: the Convenience of Communication

Perhaps, while the readers agree that the definition of a Denver FBAR lawyer should include any experienced international tax lawyer who provides FBAR-related services in Denver, they may still point to old belief of the ease of communication with a local lawyer. In essence, this myth holds that while an out-of-state FBAR lawyer may be more competent in international tax law, it is better to rely on a local FBAR lawyer because it would be easier to communicate with him.

This myth is simply incorrect, because it does not take into account the development modern communications technology and it incorrectly represents a client’s communication with their Denver FBAR lawyer.

The modern communications technology has virtually eliminated the entire advantage of retaining a local Denver FBAR Lawyer. Email, telephone, fax and Skype video conferences provide ample opportunities to communicate with your lawyer wherever he is and at any point of time. In fact, as an international tax lawyer, I have continuously relied on these means of communication to successfully represent all of my out-of-state clients, including Denver, Colorado. There has not been a single case where my geographical location was of any importance.

Furthermore, it is important to understand that, aside from the initial consultation (which can also be conducted on Skype or telephone), almost all of your communication with a local Denver FBAR lawyer will be through the same modern means of communication – email and telephone. This means that 98% of communication between you and your lawyer will be done in the same manner irrespective of whether he resides in Denver!

Sherayzen Law Office is a Top Choice for Your Denver FBAR Lawyer

Sherayzen Law Office occupies a leading position in the world on this subject with extensive knowledge and experience concerning all major relevant areas of international tax law including PFIC compliance, Subpart F rules, all types of US international reporting returns, US income tax returns (individual, partnership and corporate) for domestic and foreign persons, et cetera. Furthermore, this is one of the leading international tax law firms in the world with experience in all major IRS voluntary disclosure programs, including 2009 OVDP, 2011 OVDI, 2012 OVDP and 2014 OVDP.

This is why, if you are looking for a Denver FBAR lawyer, you should contact Sherayzen Law Office, Ltd. today to schedule Your Confidential Consultation!