IRS FBAR Audit and IRC Section 6103 | FBAR Tax Attorney Minneapolis

This article explores a certain relationship between tax returns and an IRS FBAR Audit. In particular, the critical question that I seek to answer in this writing is when the IRS is able to use US tax returns as evidence to support and/or commence an IRS FBAR Audit.

IRS FBAR Audit and the IRS Examination of US tax Returns

In discussing the relationship between the US tax returns and IRS FBAR Audit, the focus is on the information uncovered by the IRS during the examination of US tax returns that may be used to commence or advance an IRS FBAR Audit. It is possible, however, for the IRS to use a taxpayer’s tax returns in other contexts, not just examinations, to further an IRS FBAR Audit.

In a previous article, I already discussed the enormous amount of useful information that US tax returns contain and that can be used by the IRS to commence an IRS FBAR Audit. In addition to the obvious Schedule B, the tax returns contain foreign income documents, tax fraud evidence, patterns of noncompliance and other useful evidence that can be used in an IRS FBAR Audit.

This means that, in a lot of cases, there is a direct relationship between tax returns and the subsequent IRS FBAR Audits.

Tax Return Confidentiality Under IRC §6103(a) Prevents Automatic Disclosure for the IRS FBAR Audit Purposes

Despite their utility, there is one problem with the ability of the IRS to use tax return information in an IRS FBAR audit – US tax return information is confidential and protected from disclosure under IRC (Internal Revenue Code) §6103(a). This protection extends to the disclosure of tax returns and tax return information within the IRS, especially for use in investigating a Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”) violation. Why are we discussing the BSA? The reason is simple – BSA is the legislation that created FBAR.

In other words, the tax return information (which is collected under U.S.C. (United States Code) Title 26 cannot be automatically shared within the IRS for the purposes of Title 31 FBAR violation. Rather, the IRS has to find a legal justification for the disclosure of this information. The usual proper statutory basis for this justification can be found in IRC §6103(h).

IRC §6103(h) and Authorization to Share Tax Return Information for the IRS FBAR Audit Purposes

The exploration of §6103(a) exceptions under §6103(h) leads us into a complicated world of tax analysis. I will try to simplify this analysis while reducing as much as possible the risk of leaving out important details.

In general, under IRC §6103(h), disclosure of returns and return information is authorized without written request to officers and employees of the Treasury Department as long as these officers’ and employees’ official duties require such disclosure for tax administration purposes. “Tax administration” is a term of art in this context – it is a fairly broad term that covers the administration, management and supervision of the Internal Revenue Code and “related statutes”, including assessment, collection and enforcement under the IRC and these “related statutes.” See §6103(b)(4).

The key question then is whether BSA is a “related statute”. If it is, then the IRS employees can use tax return and return information to commence an IRS FBAR Audit.

IRS FBAR Audit: Is BSA a “Related Statute”?

From the outset, it is important to emphasize that the IRS does not treat BSA as a “per se” related statute, because BSA reports are required a variety of purposes, not just tax compliance. For example, FBARs can be used for such government purposes as counter-terrorism, money-laundering investigations and law enforcement in general.

Therefore, the IRS will deem the BSA as a related statute only if there is a good-faith determination that a BSA violation was committed in furtherance of a Title 26 violation or if such violation was part of a patter of conduct that violated Title 26. See IRM (07-24-2012). In lay terms, the FBAR violation has to be related to a tax violation in order for the IRS to be able to utilize the taxpayer’s tax returns and tax return information in an IRS FBAR Audit.

Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut straightforward answer to when the FBAR is related to a tax violation. Rather, this determination should be made based on the facts and circumstance of each case.

IRS FBAR Audit vs. DOJ Criminal Investigation: IRC §6103(i)

It is important to emphasize that the “related-statute” limitation applies only to IRS examiners in a civil IRS FBAR Audit. If, however, a taxpayer is the subject of a criminal Department of Justice (“DOJ”) grand jury investigation, then the DOJ prosecutors are not subject to §6103(h). Instead they can use §6103(i) to access the taxpayer’s tax returns and tax return information.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Professional Help with an IRS FBAR Audit

If you are subject to an IRS FBAR Audit, contact Sherayzen Law Office as soon as possible for professional help. Without proper representation, an IRS FBAR Audit can lead to disastrous consequences to the taxpayer’s financial life due to imposition of the draconian FBAR Penalties.

Our experienced and highly-knowledgeable legal team, headed by Mr. Eugene Sherayzen, can help you! Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!

IRS FBAR Audits Caused by Tax Returns | FBAR Audit Lawyer

IRS FBAR Audits can lead to catastrophic consequences for noncompliant US taxpayers. While there may be a numbers of factors that influence the IRS decision to commence such an audit, one of the leading sources of the IRS FBAR Audits are the US tax returns. In this article, I would like to explore the main types of documents that the IRS is searching for during a tax return examination in order to uncover the information that may lead to the commencement of IRS FBAR Audits (I will not discuss here the right of the IRS to disclose US tax return information for Title 31 FBAR Audit; this topic is reserved for a subsequent article).

IRS FBAR Audits and IRS Title 26 Examinations

From the outset, it should be made clear that filing of US tax returns does not automatically lead to IRS FBAR Audits. Rather, a great percentage of the IRS FBAR Audits arise from the IRS Title 26 Examinations of these returns– i.e. IRS examinations and audits of US tax returns pursuant to the various provisions of the Internal Revenue Code. During these examinations, the IRS analyzes the audited tax returns and may uncover information related to FBAR non-compliance which usually serves as a cause of the subsequent FBAR audit.

Tax Return Information that May Trigger IRS FBAR Audits

So, what kind of evidence is the IRS looking for that may trigger IRS FBAR audits? First and most logical is Schedule B, particularly looking at whether box in Part III (which has questions related to foreign accounts and foreign trusts) is checked. If there is a discrepancy between the information provided to the IRS and Schedule B, this may lead to IRS FBAR Audits.

Second, foreign income documents from the tax examination administrative case file (which includes the Revenue Agent Reports). Here, the IRS is looking for income related to foreign bank and financial accounts that was not reported. A combination of unreported foreign income and undisclosed foreign accounts is precisely the toxic mix that lays the foundation for IRS FBAR Audits.

Third (and this is a very interesting strategy), copies of tax returns for at least three years before the opening of the offshore account and for all years after the account was opened, to show if a significant drop in reportable income occurred after the account was opened. The analysis of the returns for three years before the opening of the account would give the examiner a better idea of what the taxpayer might have typically reported as income before the foreign account was opened. This strategy shows just how analytical and creative the IRS can be in looking for cases that should be subject to IRS FBAR Audits.

Fourth, copies of any prior Revenue Agent Reports that may show a history of noncompliance. This strategy confirms once again the notion that a large history of noncompliance may lead to more frequent IRS examinations, including IRS FBAR Audits.

Fifth, IRS is also looking into “cash accounting’ – two sets of cash T accounts (a reconciliation of the taxpayer’s sources and uses of funds) with one set showing any unreported income in foreign accounts that was identified during the examination and the second set excluding the unreported income in foreign accounts.

Finally, the IRS makes a connection between tax fraud and FBAR noncompliance – the IRS is looking at any documents that would support fraud in commencing IRS FBAR Audits. Such documents include: false explanations regarding understated or omitted income, large discrepancies between actual and reported deductions of income, concealment of income sources, numerous errors which are all in the taxpayer’s favor, fictitious records or other deceptions, large omissions of certain types of income (personal service income, specific items of income, gambling winnings, or illegal income), false deductions, false exemptions, false credits, failure to keep or furnish records, incomplete information given to the return preparer regarding a fraudulent scheme, large and frequent cash dealings that may or may not be common to the taxpayer’s business, and verbal misrepresentations of the facts and circumstances.

Of course, the IRS is not limited to these six types of tax return documents; however, this is the most common evidence that the IRS uncovers during a tax return examination that may lead to subsequent IRS FBAR Audits.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Legal Help with IRS FBAR Audits

If you are subject to an IRS FBAR Audit or a tax return examination that involves foreign assets and foreign income, or you have undisclosed foreign assets and you are looking for a way to bring your legal situation into compliance with US tax laws, then contact the international tax law firm of Sherayzen Law Office, Ltd. Sherayzen Law Office is one of the best law firms in the world dedicated to helping US taxpayers with foreign assets and foreign income. Our highly experienced team of tax professionals, headed by an international tax attorney Eugene Sherayzen, provides effective, knowledgeable and reliable legal and tax help to its clients throughout the world, and we can help you deal with any IRS problem.

Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!