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FBAR and Offshore Account Disclosure

If you owe back taxes on undeclared funds in offshore bank accounts, being proactive about disclosing your foreign funds can help reduce your chances of criminal prosecution, minimize severe IRS penalties and work out a structured IRS payment plan.

Every year the government loses billions in tax revenues from offshore accounts held by Americans. In one of the latest - and among the highest stakes - battles for the U.S. government in its war on tax cheats, the IRS won an agreement that has given them an unprecedented amount of information on account holders at Swiss bank UBS. As the latest IRS crackdown on the use of offshore bank accounts proves, no one is safe from the wrath of the IRS - who is more determined than ever to investigate high-net-worth individuals, both at home and overseas.

Offshore bank account holders who missed the October 15, 2009, tax amnesty deadline for voluntary disclosure can still get tax help and possibly reduce severe IRS penalties on undeclared funds in overseas bank accounts.

If you believe that you have unreported assets and owe back taxes on your foreign accounts, you need to be proactive about disclosing your foreign funds. However, you will need a qualified attorney or tax resolution specialist to provide professional tax help and experienced representation to proceed in your best interest.

Tax Help for Declaring Offshore Bank Accounts:

If a U.S. taxpayer or U.S. resident was not able to file the voluntary disclosure memorandum by the October 15th filing deadline to qualify for tax amnesty, there is a heightened need for that account holder to get expert tax help as soon as possible.

All offshore reporting activity is being managed thru the IRS's Criminal Investigation Division (CID). The Foreign Bank Account Reporting (FBAR) penalties for not filing and meeting the amnesty guidelines are severe:

  • FBAR penalties can exceed 100% of the value of the asset, plus tax penalties and interest.
  • If CID makes a referral to the U.S. Department of Justice for felony indictment, the criminal sanctions can be as much as up to 5 years in prison.

Due to the severity of the financial penalties and criminal implications, it is not in the account holder's best interest to wait for the IRS to approach them. Even though the amnesty deadline has passed, the account holder should retain specialized tax representation now.

What is the Advantage of Having Professional Tax Help and Representation?

Offshore account holders must be prepared to follow rigid procedures to ensure they get favorable treatment from the IRS. In other words, coming forward before the IRS is not something you do by yourself; you will need help from a firm with years of experience successfully representing clients before the IRS.

Depending on the magnitude of the penalties, it may be appropriate to seek redress through the penalty abatement process - and a qualified tax professional can help ensure that you do everything necessary to minimize or reduce the impact of IRS penalties. For example, if you find yourself in trouble with the IRS but can prove you have a reasonable cause for your neglect or ignorance of the IRS rules, you have a chance at reducing your IRS tax penalties.

Effective representation also means that your experienced attorney or Certified Tax Resolution Specialist will take over all communications with the IRS, making the required disclosures, filing FBAR reports and amending tax returns typically for 2003 through 2008.

Complying with Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts Requirements:

It is not uncommon for Americans to hold foreign bank accounts, especially if they conduct business internationally. Due to the increases in IRS enforcement on offshore account, it is extremely crucial for you to understand everything you are required to do by law if you have a foreign bank account or if you have signatory authority over an offshore account. Failure to comply with IRS regulations regarding FBAR will result in severe tax penalties that could debilitate your financial well being for life.

Currently, taxpayers are required to report all income from domestic and foreign sources. In addition, taxpayers who have a financial interest in or signature authority over foreign accounts are required to file a Form TD F 90-22.1, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR), if the aggregate value of all such financial accounts exceeds $10,000 at any time during the calendar year.

Failure to report income in foreign bank accounts, or to file Form TD F 90-22.1, has serious consequences; there are civil and criminal penalties, and both can be imposed in appropriate cases.

Basically, for anyone with money abroad it's important to act now to achieve the closest thing to FBAR amnesty available - getting tax help can help you avoid huge penalties and even criminal prosecution for failing to file the appropriate FBAR reports for foreign accounts.

Our experienced team of attorneys, tax resolution specialists and CPAs can help you mitigate the severe IRS penalties and criminal sanctions for offshore account holders. Don't wait for IRS to come after you; we can help you resolve your IRS problems before it's too late. Call us at 866-IRS-PROBLEMS (1-866-477-7762) or for a free consultation.

Read our blog articles about offshore tax settlements:

Offshore Account Holders Who Missed the October 15 Tax Amnesty Deadline Can Still Get Tax Help Reducing Severe FBAR Penalties

First Prosecution of an Offshore Account Holder in a UBS Tax Case Sends Message: IRS Will Not Tolerate Offshore Tax Evasion

Tax Help for UBS Clients: All Overseas Bank Accounts More Vulnerable to IRS Scrutiny