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FBAR Maximum Account Value Determination | FBAR Tax Lawyer & Attorney

Determination of the FBAR maximum account value is a problem with which every FBAR filer has to deal. In this article, I would like to provide the main guidelines for the determination of the FBAR maximum account value.

FBAR Maximum Account Value Determination: Background Information

The Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts or FBAR requires each filer to disclose his financial interest in or signatory authority or any other authority over foreign bank and financial accounts to the IRS. As part of this disclosure, the filer must calculate and report the maximum account value for each of his foreign accounts on his FBAR.

FBAR Maximum Account Value Determination: Definition of Highest Value

FinCEN defines the maximum value of an account for FBAR purposes as “a reasonable approximation of the greatest value of currency or nonmonetary assets in the account during the calendar year.” In other words, the IRS does not expect you to always get the highest possible value. A reasonable approximation of this value will do if the exact highest value is not possible to determine.

FBAR Maximum Account Value Determination: Usual Problems

There are two main problems that each FBAR filer faces whenever he tries to identify the maximum account value for FBAR purposes. The first and most obvious problem is the determination of the highest account value. How does one determine the highest value for a bank account? What about a securities account where stocks fluctuate all the time? What about a precious metals account which has investments in different precious metals?

Second, FBAR requires that all amounts be stated in US dollars. Hence, an issue arises with respect to proper currency conversion – i.e. what is the proper currency exchange rate? Should the spot rates be used? Or December 31 exchange rates?

Let’s discuss each of these problems in more depth.

FBAR Maximum Account Value Determination: Methodology

Determination of maximum account value depends to a certain degree on the type of an account for which the filer is trying to determine this value. There is no question that, with respect to checking and savings bank accounts, the IRS wants you to use the full-year statements to determine the day on which the highest value was achieved for each of these accounts. This is a simple and effective method.

Determining the maximum value of a securities account is much harder, because securities fluctuate on a daily basis. For this reason, the IRS allows you to rely on periodic account statements to make this determination, especially end-of-year statements. This method is allowed only as long as the statements fairly approximate the maximum value during the calendar year.

Even this method, however, is often insufficient when one deals with mixed-currency accounts, mixed-investment accounts, mixed-metal accounts, et cetera. These situations should be handled on a case-by-case basis by your international tax attorney.

Let’s illustrate the complexity of the issues involved here by a relatively simple example. Generally, an end-of-year statement for an investment account is a good approximation of the maximum value of the account. If, however, there was a withdrawal of funds from the account following a major sale of investments, then the end-of-year statement cannot be relied upon. Instead, one should try a different method to approximate the highest value. One possibility is to use a reliable and known financial website for valuing the remaining assets on the date of the sale plus the proceeds from the sale of investments. The method, however, may fail if the highest value of investments was at the beginning of the year, not the date of sale.

FBAR Maximum Account Value Determination: Currency Conversion

Unlike the identification of the highest account value with its various complications, the currency conversation part of the FBAR maximum account value determination is fairly straightforward. All filers must use the end-of-year FBAR rates published by the Treasury Department. These rates are officially called “Treasury Financial Management Service rates”, but they are commonly called “FBAR rates” by US international tax lawyers. The FBAR rates are division rates, not the multiplication ones. This is standard in US international tax law.

Hence, for the currency conversion purposes, you need to identify the currency in which your account is nominated, find the appropriate FBAR conversion rate for the relevant year and divide your highest balance by the relevant FBAR rate. For your convenience, Sherayzen Law Office also publishes FBAR rates on its website.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Professional Help With Your FBAR Preparation

If you are required to file FBARs, contact Sherayzen Law Office for professional help. We have helped hundreds of US taxpayers to comply with their FBAR obligations, and we can help you!

Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!

Miami FBAR Lawyer | Foreign Accounts Tax Attorney

Are you looking for a competent Miami FBAR Lawyer to help you with the filing current or delinquent FBARs? Then, you need to understand who is considered to be a Miami FBAR Lawyer and why you should retain the services of Sherayzen Law Office, Ltd. – an international tax law firm that provides FBAR services to Miami residents.

Miami FBAR Lawyer Definition: Legal FBAR Services Provided in Miami, Florida

The definition of a Miami FBAR lawyer is determined based on the geographical spread of a lawyer’s legal services (i.e. where a lawyer offer his legal services) rather than his physical presence. This means that as along as a lawyer offers his FBAR services in Miami, Florida, he will be regarded as a Miami FBAR lawyer.

The reasoning for this definition is rather straightforward – FBAR is a creation of federal law, not state law. This means a lawyer can provide his services in Miami in the area of US international tax law and specifically FBARs irrespective of his actual location (but as long as he is licensed to practice law in any of the 50 states or District of Columbia).   Mr. Eugene Sherayzen of Sherayzen Law Office, Ltd. is an excellent example of such a lawyer -he is physically located in Minneapolis, but successfully provides FBAR services to its clients who reside in Miami.

What are these FBAR services? Mr. Sherayzen helps his clients with current (on-going) FBAR compliance as well as FBAR voluntary disclosures in cases where his clients did not timely comply with their required FBAR filings.

Miami FBAR Lawyer Must Be an International Tax Lawyer

Unlike location, the competence of a lawyer should be the key factor in retaining the services of a Miami FBAR lawyer. The knowledge of FBARs and US international tax law should be the key consideration in this matter.

Why is competence in US international tax law so important? Two Reasons. First, FBAR forms part of a much bigger area of US international tax law. Second, in almost all cases, the FBAR issues are highly related to other international tax compliance requirements. In fact, the interaction between FBAR and other international tax issues is one of the main considerations that determines a taxpayer’s legal position. This is why your Miami FBAR lawyer should be an expert not just FBARs, but US international tax law in general.

Miami FBAR Lawyer: the Local Ease-of-Communication Myth

There is a substantial minority of persons who prefer, in spite of all of the factors in favor of a, for example, Minneapolis-based Miami FBAR lawyer (better knowledge of the FBARs and international tax law, higher experience and sometimes even better fee structure), to retain a local Miami FBAR lawyer mainly due to their belief that it would easier to communicate and control a local lawyer.

This belief is nothing more than an illusion and can be highly harmful to a person’s case. First of all, the development of modern means of communication completely erase any purported advantages of ease of communication with a lawyer in your town. Email, Video Skype Conferences, telephone and text messages make your out-of-state Miami FBAR lawyer at least as equally accessible as your local Miami FBAR lawyer.

Second, it is simply naive to believe that your local lawyer will be meeting with you every day while the case lasts. In addition to the unnecessary expense of such a situation, the lawyer simply will not have the time or the necessity to do it. 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. The only exception may be your initial consultation and your final meeting; both of these meetings can be easily replaced by Skype.

Sherayzen Law Office is a Preferred Choice for Your Miami FBAR Lawyer

Sherayzen Law Office is one of the leading US international tax firms with respect to FBARs and US international tax law. Our strength lies in extensive knowledge of the subject matter and large experience concerning all major relevant areas of international tax law including offshore voluntary disclosures (in fact, we are one of the few firms which advised clients regarding all major IRS voluntary disclosure programs, including 2009 OVDP, 2011 OVDI, 2012 OVDP and 2014 OVDP, as well as Streamlined Procedures (Domestic and Foreign)).

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