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Czech Bank Accounts: Lawyer Finds Compliance Problems With FBAR and FATCA

For years, the Czech Republic has held a position within the top fifteen countries among our firm’s voluntary disclosure clients. At the end of May and early June of 2017, our firm’s owner, international tax attorney Eugene Sherayzen, made a trip to the Czech Republic to find out why there are so many clients with unreported Czech Bank accounts.

Ceska Narodni Banka

Ceska Narodni Banka

General Lack of Awareness of FBAR and FATCA With Respect to Czech Bank Accounts

While Mr. Sherayzen found Prague an astonishingly beautiful city, his investigation of FBAR and FATCA awareness confirmed what he already supposed for years – there are important gaps in awareness of these US tax compliance requirements. The results of his investigation also showed that while there were some signs of improvement in FATCA awareness, FBAR was still generally an unknown form.

While Mr. Sherayzen’s investigation was not done using any scientific method and his targeted sample cannot be considered as a properly representative survey, its results are nonetheless alarming.

They are particularly important for Czech citizens who are also US citizens or US permanent residents residing in the United States, especially if they opened their Czech bank accounts with Czech passports prior to moving to the United States. Mr. Sherayzen’s investigation identified this group of individuals as particularly vulnerable to failing to comply with US tax requirements, including FBAR.

Czech Bankers Often Do Not Inform Their Clients of FBAR and FATCA Obligations With Respect to Czech Bank Accounts

Additionally, Mr. Sherayzen found a general lack of awareness of the obligation of foreign bankers to inform their clients about FATCA and, especially, FBARs. Of the five banks chosen, Mr. Sherayzen was unsatisfied with level of FATCA preparedness of the Czech bankers. These results further supported Mr. Sherayzen’s original supposition that the Czech bankers’ lack of proper education about US tax requirements exacerbated and, in many instances, were directly responsible for his clients’ unawareness of their FBAR and FATCA obligations.

These results are too recent at this point and need further analysis and confirmation in the future. Yet, it is clear that all US persons with Czech bank accounts need to urgently re-evaluate their current US tax compliance, especially if it is based on advice from Czech bankers.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Help With US Tax Compliance Concerning Czech Bank Accounts

If you have undisclosed Czech bank accounts or any other foreign assets, contact Sherayzen Law Office as soon as possible. Failure to do it before the IRS initiates an investigation may result in imposition of draconian FBAR penalties.

We have helped hundreds of US taxpayers around the world to bring their tax affairs into fully compliance with US laws. We can help You!

Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!

FATCA Lawyer Update: India Signed FATCA Agreement

On July 9, 2015, India finally signed the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) to implement FATCA. The fact is that the Indian signed FATCA Agreement has significant implications for millions of Indian-Americans who reside in the United States as well as outside of the United States.

India Signed FATCA: Background Information on FATCA

The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) was enacted in 2010 to specifically target non-compliance by U.S. taxpayers using foreign accounts. Over the past few years, this law established a new global standard for promoting tax transparency and fighting tax evasion. More than 110 jurisdictions today operate under the worldwide reach of FATCA.

Generally, FATCA is a mechanism for US authorities to obtain information regarding foreign accounts held by US persons directly form the financial institutions. In essence, FATCA effectively turns all foreign financial entities that wish to comply with the law into IRS informants. In order to force other countries to accept FATCA, the US Congress armed FATCA with a global enforcement mechanism – the law requires U.S. financial institutions to withhold a portion of certain payments made to non-compliant foreign financial institutions (FFIs).

Governments have the option of permitting their FFIs to enter into agreements directly with the IRS to comply with FATCA under U.S. Treasury Regulations or to implement FATCA by entering into one of two alternative Model IGAs with the United States. India chose the latter route.

India Signed FATCA: Model 1 Agreement

On July 9, 2015, India signed FATCA Model 1 IGA. Unlike Model 2 IGA, Model 1 IGA will require Indian FFIs (banks, mutual funds, et cetera) to report information to India’s Central Board of Direct Taxes which will then turn over this information to the IRS. It is expected that various details and information regarding US-held Indian accounts will be provided to the IRS.

India Signed FATCA: US Will Provide Information to India Regarding Indian-held US accounts

India signed FATCA Agreement not only in order to provide information regarding US-held accounts in India, but also to obtain information regarding the assets held in the United States by Indian residents (so-called “black money”). – i.e. the FATCA Agreement signed by India is also a reciprocal Agreement. This means that the United States will also provide information to India regarding Indian-held accounts and assets in the United States.

India Signed FATCA: Implementation Schedule

India singed FATCA IGA with the agreement that the implementation of the IGA will begin on October 1, 2015. The automatic exchange of information between India and the United States is scheduled to begin on September 30, 2015. The reporting period due on October 1, 2015 will be July – December 2014.

India Signed FATCA: Consequences for Indian-Americans With Undisclosed Indian Accounts

For millions of Indian-Americans who have not yet disclosed their ownership of Indian accounts and other assets, the India FATCA IGA represents a potential disaster. They are facing the draconian civil and criminal FBAR penalties, income tax penalties (with interest), PFIC taxes, and other potentially devastating consequences.

The FATCA IGA started the clock for the Indian-Americans to immediately start exploring their voluntary disclosure options. If the IRS finds out about their non-compliance first, some or potentially all voluntary disclosure options may be closed for these taxpayers.

India Signed FATCA: What Should Indian-Americans With Undisclosed Indian Accounts Do?

If you are an Indian who is a US person with undisclosed foreign accounts, you should contact the experienced international tax team of Sherayzen Law office for professional help. Our legal team has helped hundreds of clients around the world, including Indians. We can hep you!

So, Contact Us to Schedule Your Confidential Initial Consultation Now!