If you have a foreign bank account or any other kind of foreign financial account or asset and never reported it to the IRS on the Foreign Bank Account Report (FBAR), you are exposed to severe criminal and financial consequences!
Experienced FBAR tax attorney Andrew L. Jones offers US taxpayers living overseas immediate, free, thorough, and completely confidential consultations regarding their potential tax and reporting violations.
We are currently accepting clients around the world, which means that no matter where you are currently located, you do not need to rely on local, inexperienced tax counsel (or high-volume, low-expertise ‘expat tax services’) to address your FATCA violations, FBAR violations and/or US tax violations. Experience matters – and when you work with us, you’ll be working with a US tax attorney with a practice exclusively dedicated to foreign account disclosure and FBAR compliance / FATCA compliance.
We are available by phone at (415) 745-1924. We answer your calls from 9 am-9 pm Pacific Standard Time, 7 days a week. After hours, please leave a voice mail providing only your name, a preferred call-back number (and time to call back) or send us an email (address provided at our contact page) and we will reply the next morning. If you’re concerned about working at a distance with a tax attorney, read more here.
With the help of The Law Offices of Andrew L. Jones, you can discover whether you’ve committed a Foreign Bank Account Report (FBAR, also known as FinCEN Form 114, and formerly as Form TD F 90-22.1) reporting violation or other US tax reporting violation. If you have, we can solve address your FBAR violation quickly and for the least possible cost.
How do I know if I committed an FBAR (Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts) violation and should consult with a tax attorney immediately?
If you can answer ‘yes’ to the following four questions, you very likely have committed one or more FBAR form violations and require the services of a skilled FBAR tax attorney:
1. You are now or in the last six years were a US citizen, a US permanent resident (‘green card’ holder), US work visa holder, or ‘substantially present’ in the US
2. In one or more years since 2008, you owned or controlled a foreign financial account of any kind
(Foreign financial accounts are any of the following types of accounts held with an institution located outside the US: checking and/or savings, brokerage account, investment account, private wealth management account, certificate of deposit/time deposit, cash-value life insurance or annuity, or options or commodity futures account)
3. Your foreign account(s), at any time in the year(s), aggregated (totaled) in excess of $10,000 (US dollars)
4. In the year(s) when conditions 1-3 were met, you did not report the existence of the account to the IRS via the Foreign Bank Account Report form (formerly titled TD F 90-22.1, now filed online as FinCEN 114) and/or since 2011, you did not report these same details (and others) on the IRS’ Form 8938 (‘Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets’).
In a separate but closely-related area, you may have committed other foreign asset reporting violations if you failed in any year to disclose:
- Your interest in a foreign corporation on the Form 5471,
- Your interest in a foreign partnership on the Form 8865,
- Your receipt of gift(s) from a living foreign person and/or inheritance(s) from a foreign estate, of $100,000 (USD-equivalent) or more, in a single calendar year, on the Form 3520,
- Your interest in or transactions with a foreign trust, on the Forms 3520 and/or 3520-A, or
- Your interest in a Passive Foreign Investment Corporation on the Form 8621.
Failing to report any of these, especially foreign bank and financial accounts, is a significant civil violation and could also expose you to criminal prosecution.
Civil FBAR penalties
– The penalty for a willful failure to file the FBAR form is equal to the greater of $100,000 or 50% of your undisclosed foreign accounts’ value. The IRS has indicated that it may impose this penalty cumulatively for up to six years, and in the recent Zwerner case, secured a jury verdict imposing the 50% penalty for three years cumulative (the US Department of Justice ultimately settled in June 2014 for two years’ 50% willfulness penalties, the rough equivalent of the entire account value).
– $10,000 per account, per violation for non-willful (negligent) failure to failure where the taxpayer can show no reasonable cause for the failure to file. This penalty can and often will be imposed cumulatively.
– Finally, in narrow circumstances that an FBAR tax attorney is best equipped to analyze and review, a taxpayer may obtain a no-penalty result if he/she shows there was reasonable cause for the failure to file.
Criminal FBAR penalties
– If the IRS determines that your failure to file the FBAR form was willful, and the failure to report your foreign financial account also resulted in your not reporting a significant amount of taxable earnings to the US, you are at particular risk for prosecution both under the laws establishing FBAR violations (Title 31 of the US Code) and the laws establishing tax violations (Title 26 of the US Code). Only an attorney can competently advise you on these issues. This is why you must consult with an attorney – discussions with a CPA or any other non-attorney is not fully confidential and risks disaster.
Why Choose An Experienced FBAR Tax Attorney for Your Voluntary Foreign Account Disclosure?
A skilled tax attorney with experience in foreign account reporting and voluntary disclosures will analyze your specific situation and provide a specific solution. A good FBAR and FATCA tax attorney will provide you with written and/or verbal advice based on your specific facts and circumstances, outline your foreign account reporting problem, and recommend the best solution for addressing your non-compliance after intensive discussion of your personal priorities.
Discussions with a tax attorney are protected by the robust attorney-client privilege. This is not true if you make the mistake of consulting with any non-attorney, even a CPA.
What does a FATCA attorney and FBAR attorney do for you?
At a minimum, your foreign account disclosure attorney will advise and determine:
– If applicable, why did you receive a FATCA letter from your foreign financial institution? Why is this bank or financial institution asking whether you are a US person, why is it asking you to fill out a Form W-8BEN or Form W-9 (or the bank’s self-created form essentially obtaining the same information as those two Forms), and does this letter mean that you have been making a fundamental US tax or FBAR reporting mistake?
– Did you actually have an FBAR reporting obligation? Your tax attorney will determine whether you actually had an obligation to file a Foreign Bank Account Report (FinCEN Form 114). Sometimes a taxpayer’s reporting obligation is very obvious, but in many more cases, a tax attorney’s detailed analysis of your specific facts and circumstances will confirm that your non-US account was not, for any number of reasons, reportable.
– Your options for solving your delinquent FBAR problem. If you did have an undisclosed foreign account and FBAR violations, the tax attorney’s written or verbal report will present the various tax solutions and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each.
You need a trustworthy expert to guide you through this stressful process. If you choose to make a voluntary disclosure to the IRS (either through the Streamlined Foreign Offshore program or another alternative), your tax attorney will be your guide through this complex process and ensure that every one of the dozens of necessary documents is prepared correctly and on-time.
FATCA Tax Attorney Andrew L. Jones – Experience
- Andrew has guided dozens of clients through the collective disclosure of over $27 million in previously-unreported foreign assets; the median disclosure was $360,000 (numbers as of 1/29/2015).
- Not a single one of Andrew’s clients’ Streamlined Domestic Offshore or Streamlined Foreign Offshore filings have ever been challenged or rejected by the IRS.
- Andrew personally handles every part of the legal process of your voluntary foreign account disclosure, responds personally and rapidly to all your calls and messages, and personally supervises the accounting phase (amendment of returns) of the client engagement. Ask our competition: we think you’ll quickly learn that no other law firm offers this personal service commitment.
Andrew earned his J.D. and LL.M. in Taxation, with distinction, from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, and has since 2009 limited his work as a tax attorney solely to international taxation and foreign account reporting controversies, compliance and planning.
Jones has assisted taxpayers with undisclosed foreign accounts in countries around the globe, including UK, Swiss, German, French, Chinese, Malaysian, Philippines and Japanese accounts. His clients include those with large private wealth management accounts in Switzerland’s most notorious criminal banks – banks that are under active US criminal investigation and banks that employed account managers now under US criminal indictment.
Andrew continually monitors this specialized field of tax law. His articles on the now-closed Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program were published in the Nob Hill Gazette (article written for individuals with undisclosed foreign accounts) and San Francisco Lawyer, the official quarterly magazine of the Bar Association of San Francisco (article written for non-tax attorneys who learned of clients with unreported offshore accounts). This expertise allows Jones to provide a prompt and brutally-honest assessment of his clients’ current civil and criminal tax risks.
In terms of account values, he has advised clients with undisclosed or hidden foreign bank accounts and financial assets ranging in value from $150,000 to high seven figures.
Clients have come to Jones with an enormous variety of additional factors complicating their offshore voluntary disclosures, including:
– Foreign account disclosure clients who are divorced, separated, and estranged from spouses.
– Husband-wife clients.
– The spouse who opened the foreign account is now deceased.
– Clients who received their accounts via a foreign inheritance.
– Clients who survived the Holocaust or who have other non-tax avoidance reasons for holding hidden foreign accounts.
– Clients who did not know of their obligation to report their accounts on the FBAR, or had a good-faith misunderstanding of the FBAR and/or US taxation of foreign bank account earnings.
– Elderly clients and their adult children/caretakers.
– Clients with signature authority over (but no beneficial interest) in hidden foreign bank accounts or with interest in foreign corporations, trusts or partnerships that controlled undisclosed foreign bank accounts.
– Clients who are US permanent residents (resident aliens) and are anticipating or are already in the process of acquiring US citizenship when they discover the issue of undisclosed foreign accounts.