In 2013 Fresno’s population passed the 500,000 milestone making it the fifth largest city in all of California. This rapid growth is characteristic of the city throughout the 20th century and the open decade of the 2000s. The rapid growth in the greater Fresno area means that many business opportunities are available. Consider that for decades Sony has based its music and video game distribution business out of Fresno. Businesses like these reach across oceans and national borders and can require those engaged in it to travel overseas frequently or to temporarily live in a foreign nation as an expatriate. This can result in individuals having an offshore or overseas accounts for practical purposes and needs.
However merely having an account at a foreign bank or financial institution can trigger a disclosure obligation for U.S. taxpayers regardless of where they are living. For expatriates who are not part of tax conversations in the domestic media, keeping track of these responsibilities can be difficult. But even a simple mistake regarding non-disclosure of foreign accounts can lead to harsh penalties and serious tax consequences.How can an FBAR Lawyer Help With Offshore Account Problems?
To begin with, the term FBAR lawyer simply describes a tax attorney who can handle concerns regarding the disclosure of foreign accounts. FBAR or, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts is an obligation that must be filed due to amendments to the Bank Secrecy Act, also known as the Currency and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act of 1970. While the law was initially concerned with international money laundering, the law’s focus has been broadened. Today, the law is also used as a tool to identify and prosecute taxpayers who conceal taxable income in foreign accounts.When Must FBAR be Filed by a Taxpayer?
In general, an FBAR obligation exists when a U.S. taxpayer has signature authority over a foreign financial account or when the taxpayer holds an interest in said foreign accounts. When either of these conditions is present and the balance or aggregate balance of the foreign account or accounts exceeds $10,000 at any time during the tax year, an FBAR filing obligation exists.
While in the past there was an option to file on paper documents through the postal service, that option is generally no longer available. Today, the only way to file an FBAR is to do so online. Working with a tax professional can help put you mind at ease regarding your FBAR filing obligation.Can a Taxpayer be Punished for not Filing?
A taxpayer can face serious consequences for a failure to file FBAR and disclose foreign accounts. However, the most severe consequences are reserved for those who show intent, or willfulness, in their violation of the U.S. Tax Code. A non-willful failure to file FBAR would include acts like forgetting to file or inadvertent oversights. In circumstances like these, a taxpayer can face a fine of up to $10,000 for each instance where a foreign account went undisclosed. However there is always the risk that other actions or behavior may cause the IRS agent to interpret your actions or failures as being willful in nature. If you are targeted with a willful FBAR violation extremely harsh penalties can apply. You could face a fine of the greater of 50% of the foreign account balance or $100,000.FBAR Problems in Fresno?
If you have concerns regarding your obligation to file FBAR, the Brager Tax Law Group can help advocate and negotiate to resolve your offshore account issues. Depending on your circumstances, we may recommend the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program, or one of its offshoots. However the reduced penalties offered by OVDP is only available If the taxpayer comes forward voluntarily, and timely. If the taxpayer comes under investigation, he or she cannot qualify for the program and may soon find him or herself the target of a criminal tax investigation. By contrast, coming forward voluntarily often results in less severe penalties and the IRS and Department of Justice refraining from pursuing criminal charges. To schedule a confidential FBAR and offshore account consultation call the Brager Tax Law Group at 800-380-TAX-LITIGATOR today or contact us online today.
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