No FBAR Penalties – Q&A 17 of the OVDP

There are some taxpayers who should not be using the official IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP). The IRS expressly singled out one category of such taxpayers in its Q&A 17 of the OVDP Rules.

Q&A 17 only applies to the taxpayers who reported and paid tax on all their taxable income for prior years but did not file FBARs. The key to the application of Q&A 17 is that there should be no underreported tax liabilities by the taxpayer and the taxpayer was not previously contacted regarding an income tax examination or a request for delinquent returns. In such a situation, the IRS is not likely to impose a penalty for the failure to file the delinquent FBARs.

Whether your situation falls within the scope of Q&A 17 should be determined by a tax attorney experienced in the area of voluntary disclosures. If your attorney determines that Q&A 17 applies to your case, you do not need to use the OVDP. Rather, your attorney should file the delinquent FBAR reports according to the FBAR instructions and attach a statement explaining why the reports are filed late.

While Q&A 17 appears to have a clear application, there are plenty of gray-area cases that almost reach the scope of this OVDP provision but still fall short of meeting all of the requirements. In such case, it will be up to the taxpayer’s attorney to determine the proper course of his client’s voluntary disclosure.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Voluntary Disclosure Help with Undisclosed Offshore Accounts

If you have unreported offshore accounts, contact Sherayzen Law Office for help with your voluntary disclosure options. Our experienced international tax firm will thoroughly review your case, assess your FBAR liability, identify the available voluntary disclosure options and implement the agreed-upon strategy (including preparation of all legal and tax documents).

New Version of the FBAR Form

In November of 2011, the U.S. Department of the Treasury issued a new version of Form TD F 90-22.1, now known as FinCen Form 114 commonly known as FBAR. All filers must now use this form in order to report their foreign bank and financial accounts.

The main difference between the previous (March 2011) version and the current (November 2011) version is the simplified process of amending the FBARs. However, you can still use the more thorough method described in the FBAR FAQ.

If you are filing the FBARs for previous years (perhaps as part of the voluntary disclosure), you should use the latest FBAR form. While it used to be Ok to use the 2008 version to file FBARs for the prior years, it is becoming doubtful whether the IRS would accept this version at this point. It is highly recommended that the taxpayers use only the latest version of the FBAR.

Any United States person who has a financial interest in or signature authority or other authority over any financial account in a foreign country, if the aggregate value of these accounts exceeds $10,000 at any time during the calendar year. Failure to comply with the FBAR requirements carries a very high penalty. Please, visit our Voluntary Disclosure and FBAR Center for details.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office to Comply with FBAR Requirements

If you need any legal help with FBARs, contact Sherayzen Law Office by telephone or email. Our experienced international tax firm will help you resolve all of your FBAR questions and help you comply with all of the FBAR requirements.