Sherayzen Law Office, Ltd. Conducts Foreign Inheritance Seminar | News

On January 17, 2019, Mr. Eugene Sherayzen, an international tax attorney and owner of Sherayzen Law Office, Ltd., conducted a foreign inheritance seminar for the International Business Law and Probate and Trust Law Sections of the Minnesota State Bar Association. The title of the seminar was “Foreign Inheritance – the Pandora’s Box of U.S. International Tax Reporting Requirements.”

Foreign Inheritance Seminar

Foreign Inheritance Seminar, MSBA, 01/17/2019

This foreign inheritance seminar was well-attended; there were close to 50 attendees. The majority of the attendees were business and estate planning lawyers; there were also a few immigration lawyers.

Mr. Sherayzen defined the main goal of the seminar as broadening the awareness of the U.S. international tax implications of receiving a foreign inheritance. He first focused on the definition of the concept of “foreign inheritance”, exposing the complexity behind this term. Mr. Sherayzen further explained how this term is defined for income tax versus estate tax purposes. He concluded this first part of the seminar by going over a set of hypothetical situations and explaining the U.S. tax consequences the foreign inheritance definition would have in each of them.

During the second part of the seminar, Mr. Sherayzen explained the reporting requirements associated with foreign inheritance. He also explained the difference between the taxability of a foreign inheritance and the reporting of a foreign inheritance. A foreign inheritance may still be required to be reported to the IRS even if it is not taxable.

Mr. Sherayzen devoted the third part of the foreign inheritance seminar to pre-inheritance transfers of assets by a foreign decedent. He explained how an international tax attorney has to analyze each of these transfers in the context of three main strategic issues: classification, income recognition and information reporting. The attorney then focused on the example that embodied all three of these issues – the usufruct.

During the final part of the seminar, Mr. Sherayzen focused on the post-inheritance U.S. tax compliance issues. The attorney described, in a broad manner, the income tax and information tax reporting requirements associated with various classes of assets.  Additionally, Mr. Sherayzen separately discussed the concept of a foreign trust, stated its main reporting requirements and introduced the complications concerning the foreign trust income tax recognition.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Professional Tax Help With Your Foreign Inheritance Reporting to the IRS

If you are about to receive or already received a foreign inheritance, contact Sherayzen Law Office for professional help. We are a team of tax professionals highly experienced in U.S. international tax reporting of a foreign inheritance as well as offshore voluntary disclosures which involve inherited foreign assets. We have helped hundreds of U.S. taxpayers with their IRS foreign inheritance issues; and We can help You!

Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!

South Korean Inheritance Leads to Criminal Sentence for FBAR Violations

On January 25, 2018, a South Korean citizen and a US Permanent Resident, Mr. Hyong Kwon Kim, was sentenced to prison for filing false tax returns and willful FBAR violations; additionally, he had to pay over $14 million in FBAR willful civil penalties. I already discussed Mr. Kim’s guilty plea and the main facts of his case in an earlier article last year, but I would like to come back to another aspect of this case: South Korean inheritance. In particular, I would like to trace how a South Korean inheritance led to Mr. Kim’s guilty plea and a criminal sentence for FBAR violations.

From South Korean Inheritance to Swiss Account FBAR Violations

According to the US Department of Justice (“DOJ”), Mr. Kim became a US permanent resident in 1998. The DOJ describes him as a sophisticated business executive who ran family businesses with operations in the United States and internationally.

At some point after he became a US tax resident, Mr. Kim inherited tens of millions of dollars from his family in South Korea. Instead of properly reporting his South Korean inheritance (which would not have been subject to US taxation at that time), he decided to hide it in foreign accounts. You can find the details of his efforts to hide his accounts in this article.

In the end, despite his ingenuous efforts, the IRS was able to identify Mr. Kim as a willfully noncompliant taxpayer who deliberately failed to file FBARs and filed false income tax returns for the years 1999 through 2010. As a result of his willful FBAR and income tax noncompliance and as part of Mr. Kim’s guilty plea, U.S. District Court Judge Brinkema sentenced Mr. Kim to six months to prison, imposed a fine of $100,000 and ordered him to pay $243,542 in restitution to the IRS. Moreover, Mr. Kim already paid $14 million in willful FBAR penalties.

In other words, as a result of his actions, Mr. Kim lost the majority of his South Korean inheritance and all earnings on that inheritance in addition to going to be jail.

Failure to Report South Korean Inheritance Was the First Step that Led to Criminal FBAR Violations

While, undoubtedly, the entire history of willful failures to file FBARs and report foreign income on tax returns is the primary cause of Mr. Kim’s imprisonment in 2018, it is important to understand that his noncompliance was only possible because Mr. Kim did not properly report his South Korean inheritance.

In other words, had Mr. Kim disclosed on Form 3520 that he had received an inheritance from South Korea in the last 1990s, he would not have been tempted to hide his inheritance from the IRS. In fact, the disclosure of his South Korean inheritance, would have made it impossible for him to hide his foreign assets in Swiss banks afterwards.

Primary Lesson from Mr. Kim’s South Korean Inheritance Case

This is an important lesson from this case that many observers and tax attorneys have missed – Mr. Kim’s noncompliance began with failure to report South Korean inheritance, not from the failure to file FBARs and foreign income (even though, he was sentenced and penalized for the latter two activities).

In fact, a very high number of my offshore voluntary disclosure clients came from a similar background – they received an inheritance from a foreign country (and it could be any foreign country: Australia, Canada, China Colombia, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, South Korea, Thailand, et cetera) and they failed to report the foreign inheritance first (usually, due to lack of knowledge about proper reporting of foreign inheritance). This failure to report foreign inheritance later led to significant US tax noncompliance that could have only been corrected through a voluntary disclosure.

Starting in 2013-2014, I have also seen the steady rise in the “reverse discovery” inheritance cases – i.e. clients would receive a foreign inheritance and would come to me to discuss on how to best disclose it. Then, as a result of my due diligence checklist, we would uncover prior FBAR or other tax noncompliance with respect to other foreign assets my clients had prior to their foreign inheritance.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Proper Reporting of Your Foreign Inheritance

If you received a foreign inheritance, you should contact Sherayzen Law Office for professional help. Sherayzen Law Office is an international tax law firm that specializes in US tax reporting of a foreign inheritance. We can Help You!

Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!

Foreign Inheritance FBAR Reporting | FBAR Lawyer

Foreign Inheritance FBAR Reporting is one of the most common issues among U.S. taxpayers with foreign parents, uncles, aunts, siblings and other relatives. The issue discussed in this article is not reporting foreign inheritance itself (although this is an important concern which I already addressed in other articles), but whether FBAR needs to be filed upon the receipt of a foreign inheritance. Let’s explore this subject in more detail.

Foreign Inheritance FBAR Reporting: What is FBAR?

The Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, officially now called FinCEN Form 114 and also known as “FBAR”, is one of the main U.S. international tax requirements for reporting bank and financial accounts overseas. FBAR should be filed by every U.S. tax resident who has foreign financial accounts the aggregate value of which exceeds $10,000 at any time during the calendar year. The aggregate value should be calculated on all foreign bank and financial accounts in which this U.S. tax resident has financial interest or over which he has signatory or other authority.

The 2015 FBAR must be received by the IRS by June 30, 2016 without any extension possible; however, starting the reporting for the calendar year 2016 (i.e. 2016 FBAR) the FBARs are due on April 15 (an extension is possible).

Foreign Inheritance FBAR Reporting: Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts

A foreign inheritance may be received by a U.S. heir in a great variety of forms: cash, bank accounts, investments, business ownership, real estate, a foreign trust beneficiary interest, jewelry, art, intellectual property, et cetera. For the FBAR reporting purposes, it is important to understand exactly what the U.S. heir in inheriting.

Foreign Inheritance FBAR reporting becomes relevant when a U.S. heir receives either financial interest in or signatory (or other) authority over any foreign bank and financial accounts. It is important to emphasize that, no matter how brief is this financial interest or signatory authority, the foreign inheritance FBAR reporting will come into play as long as the aggregate value of all accounts exceeds $10,000.

I often see that U.S. heirs would set up foreign accounts in which foreign inheritance is deposited and they would believe that such accounts would not be reportable because they are simply depositing foreign inheritance. This is incorrect – as soon as foreign accounts are involved, foreign inheritance FBAR reporting considerations immediately become relevant whether these are inherited foreign accounts or accounts which are set up to receive the inheritance.

Contact Foreign Inheritance FBAR Lawyer for Professional Help

If you received a foreign inheritance, you need to contact Sherayzen Law Office as soon as possible for professional help. Mr. Sherayzen has successfully advised hundreds of U.S. taxpayers with respect to U.S. tax compliance foreign inheritance issues. He can help You!

Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!