2019 Offshore Tax Roundup: 10 Important IRS Offshore Updates

2019 Offshore Tax Roundup: 10 Important IRS Offshore Updates

2019 Offshore Tax Roundup: With 2019 over, we wanted to provide you with our Top Ten important IRS offshore tax issues that are crucial for our clients across the globe.

Top 10 Offshore Tax Issues for 2020

Here are 10 Important updates heading into 2020:

FATCA is Still An Enforcement Priority

There was a time when tax professionals across the globe believed that once the new president was elected, he would end FATCA. That turned out not to be the case. In addition, in countries such as Canada and France – the foreign courts have ruled in support of FATCA. Presumably (at least for now) FATCA is here to stay.

FBAR Turns 50-Years Old

While FATCA is relatively new, FBAR (aka FinCEN Form 114) has been around for half-of-century. The FBAR was developed by FinCEN, but since 2003 it has been enforced by the IRS. The new due date for the FBAR is April, and is currently on automatic extension.

FBAR Willfulness Does not Mean “Willful”

Commonsense would dictate that in order to be willful, you have to have acted with intent. Well, that is not the case. In fact, according to the IRS —  a person can be found for willful violations as a result of willful blindness or reckless disregard – and the courts agree.

Switzerland reported 3.1M Accounts to 75 Countries

Switzerland was once the mecca of tax havens. That is no longer the case. When it comes to the U.S. and FATCA, the Swiss banks are actively reporting. When it comes to CRS (Common Reporting Standard), the Swiss have provided 75 countries more than 3.1 Million Accounts.

Canada Reported more than 900,000 Account Holders to IRS

Canadian courts have upheld FATCA. In addition, the foreign financial institutions in Canada are actively reporting. In 2019 Canada forwarded the IRS U.S. account holder information for more than 900,000 accounts.

1040 Schedule B is the Gateway to FBAR Penalties

If a person intentionally puts no for Schedule B, question 7 and 8, it may present a difficult situation for the individual to prove non-willfulness. While the Schedule B may not present any of its own stand-alone penalties, it is the gateway to FBAR and FATCA penalties.

Willful FBAR Fines are not Limited to $100,000 per year

The Willful FBAR Violation statute and regulations are not in sync. The regulation (which limits the Willful FBAR Penalty to $100,000 per year) was never updated. Aside from a few isolated instances (which will presumably be challenged on appeal), courts have held the penalty is not limited to $100,000 per year.

Non-Willful FBAR Fines are not limited $10,000 per year

This is a losing argument. It has been attempted and seemingly rejected at every turn. The IRS actually has the right to penalize a person $10,000 per account, per year – with limitations on the total penalty amount (See IRM).

Streamlined & FBAR Audit are on the Rise

We have been contacted by more people than ever since the program’s inception back in mid-2014 about being selected for a streamlined audit. The IRS is taking a deeper look into many streamlined applications, which is why you should be careful about being misled by inexperienced counsel.

Golding & Golding broke the 1,000 Submission Mark

A small pat on the back for our tax and law firm. We have successfully completed more than 1,000 submissions, and have worked with thousands of clients in all aspects of FBAR, FATCA, international penalty mitigation, avoidance and abatement. We have helped several clients who turned to us when they were oversold by less experienced firms that underperformed.

Golding & Golding (Board-Certified Tax Law Specialist)

We specialize exclusively in international tax, and specifically IRS offshore disclosure.

We have successfully represented clients in more than 1,000 streamlined and voluntary offshore disclosure submissions nationwide and in over 70-different countries. We have represented thousands of individuals and businesses with international tax problems.

We are the “go-to” firm for other Attorneys, CPAs, Enrolled Agents, Accountants, and Financial Professionals across the globe.

We are the “go-to” firm for other Attorneys, CPAs, Enrolled Agents, Accountants and Financial Professionals worldwide.

Less than 1% of Tax Attorneys Nationwide Are Certified Specialists

Sean M. Golding is one of less than 350 Attorneys (out of more than 200,000 practicing California Attorneys) to earn the Certified Tax Law Specialist credential. The credential is awarded to less than 1% of Attorneys.

Recent Golding & Golding Case Highlights

  • We represented a client in an 8-figure disclosure that spanned 7 countries.
  • We represented a high-net-worth client to facilitate a complex expatriation with offshore disclosure.
  • We represented an overseas family with bringing multiple businesses & personal investments into U.S. tax and offshore compliance.
  • We took over a case from a small firm that unsuccessfully submitted multiple clients to IRS Offshore Disclosure.
  • We successfully completed several recent disclosures for clients with assets ranging from $50,000 – $7,000,000+.
How to Hire Experienced Streamlined Counsel?

How to Hire Experienced Streamlined Counsel?

How to Hire Experienced Offshore Counsel?

Generally, experienced attorneys in this field will have the following credentials/experience:

  • Board Certified Tax Law Specialist credential
  • Master’s of Tax Law (LL.M.)
  • Dually Licensed as an EA (Enrolled Agent) or CPA
  • 20-years experience as a practicing attorney
  • Extensive litigation, high-stakes audit and trial experience

Interested in Learning More about Golding & Golding?

No matter where in the world you reside, our international tax team can get you IRS offshore compliant. 

Golding & Golding specializes in FBAR and FATCA. Contact our firm today for assistance with getting compliant.