Failure to Disclose Overseas

Failure to Disclose Overseas

Undisclosed Overseas Accounts & Assets 

Failure to Disclose Overseas Accounts & Assets: The failure to report overseas accounts and assets is very common. Here is a typical example of a situation we come across often: an otherwise law-abiding and ethical Taxpayer has been IRS tax compliant with their domestic income. Then, whether it is from their own online research — or possibly from working with a new tax professional, they realize they are out of compliance for prior year unreported foreign accounts, assets, investments , and/or income. The Taxpayer had no intention at all to skirt the US Tax System — they simply misunderstood the international tax and offshore reporting requirements for overseas accounts and assets. The Taxpayer then conducts some online research and comes across various “self-proclaimed tax experts.” These experts unnecessarily scare the Taxpayer into believing they are “willful” and need to immediately sign up with the attorney before speaking with any other attorneys (of course) and rush to get into compliance before the IRS and DOJ hunt them down and launch an international criminal investigation against the Taxpayer.  Don’t take the bat. Here are some important facts about undisclosed foreign accounts & failing to disclose overseas assets, investments and income that you should know:

Everyone Makes Offshore Filing Mistakes

First, everyone makes mistakes. You are not the first person to have missed filing the FBAR or filed an incorrect Form 8938 — and you surely will not be the last. These are very common issues — so before you go off and sign with the first attorney who scares you into believing you are willful and at serious risk for prison, take a deep breath and do your best to keep your wits about you.

Failure to Disclose Overseas Accounts & Assets is Not Per Se Criminal 

Just because you missed filing some foreign accounts or reporting overseas assets is not criminal per se. In fact, you are probably not willful either. The majority of the time, noncompliance with offshore disclosure and reporting is civil and non-willful.

Your Failure to Disclose Overseas Accounts & Assets are Probably Non-Willful

When it comes to civil failures to disclose foreign accounts, it falls into two-different categories: willful vs non-willful. The majority of the time, Taxpayers who missed FBAR or FATCA are non-willful. If the IRS want to show the Taxpayer acted with willfulness, they must present facts sufficient to show — at a minimum — reckless disregard.

Most Offshore Account Noncompliance is not Criminal

Unless there are ancillary issues of money laundering, tax evasion, tax fraud, structuring, smurfing, etc. — foreign account violations are almost always civil and not criminal.

Criminality Requires a Beyond Reasonable Doubt Standard

If the US Government wants to file criminal charges against the Defendant for the failure to disclose overseas accounts and assets — they have the same burden as they would in any criminal case — which is to prove the Taxpayer’s criminal willfulness — beyond a reasonable doubt.

Golding & Golding: About Our International Tax Law Firm

Golding & Golding specializes exclusively in international tax, and specifically IRS offshore disclosure and Failure to Disclose Overseas Accounts and Assets.

Contact our firm today for assistance.