| Foreign Bank Account Reporting (FBAR) |
FALG attorneys have assisted many clients seeking to report offshore assets. Typical clients include U.S. citizens residing abroad (e.g., Canadian residents), who were entirely unaware of their obligation to file U.S. tax returns or foreign bank account reporting forms (FBAR forms, or Forms TD F 90-22.1), and U.S. residents who are citizens of foreign countries and were unaware of their obligation to report accounts from their “home” country.
Our attorneys understand the complex array of reporting requirements, the severe magnitude and potential scope of penalties and criminal consequences, and the methods for effectively “coming clean.” This includes, where appropriate, formal voluntary disclosure, such as the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP), or potentially the streamlined filing procedure.
While we understand the intent of the administration in pursuing undisclosed assets, we have found that in the vast majority of “FBAR” cases, persons with reporting problems were simply unaware of their reporting obligations, and had no intent to hide assets or evade taxes. Our goal in such cases (as well as in the rare cases of willful failure to report) is to assist clients in disclosing, to minimize the financial impact of disclosure, and to manage the significant risks associated with a past failure to report.
If you are a person who has recently learned that you may have failed to report assets, you should understand that options may be significantly limited if you are already under audit, or if your failure to report is recognized before you take appropriate steps to come clean. In addition, we expect the current trends to continue, including more foreign financial institutions reporting with respect to U.S. accountholders. Thus, we do recommend that you undertake to report as soon as possible. Finally, given the sensitivity and substantial risks associated with these issues, we do recommend that you engage counsel to assist you in these matters, whether with us or another firm.