FBAR Lawyers: When a U.S. person has unreported foreign accounts, they may need an FBAR Attorney to represent them. “FBAR Lawyers,” are licensed attorneys that specialize exclusively in FinCEN Form 114 offshore account disclosure. The FBAR is short for Foreign Bank and Financial Account Reporting. The failure to timely report foreign bank and financial accounts to the IRS may result in civil fines and sometimes criminal penalties as well.
Civil FBAR violations include willful and non-willful penalties.
When you are out of compliance, you should seek out an experienced FBAR Lawyer.
What is an FBAR?
The FBAR is the Foreign Bank and Financial Account Reporting Form. It is also referred to as FinCEN Form 114. The FBAR is required to be filed by U.S. persons with foreign accounts who meet the reporting threshold.
It is due to be filed when Tax Returns are due.
If a person files a late or incomplete FBAR — or never files the FBAR – they may become subject to fines and penalties. The penalties may include fines for civil non-willful & willful violations and/or criminal penalties.
But, criminal FBAR penalties are not common.
Luckily, the Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Government has developed various Offshore Amnesty Programs to assist Taxpayers both domestic and foreign.
Interviewing FBAR Lawyers
Here are some of very important Questions to Ask an FBAR Lawyer Before Hiring them.
How Long Has the Attorney Practiced Law?
Highly-effective FBAR Lawyers will have 20 years of attorney experience. Just passing the bar and working in a non-attorney position is not the same thing. Whether it is for an accounting firm, consultant firm or even the IRS, there is no substitute for attorney experience.
When it comes to offshore disclosure, one of the key components is developing and executing an offshore submission legal strategy. FBAR lawyers who specialize in this area of tax and law spend countless hours assessing client facts, to develop the best plan possible under the client’s specific circumstances. That is why you need an attorney with extensive experience, and a strong background in litigation and trial work.
Just working in a non-legal role for the IRS or an accounting or finance firm provides no experience to draw from when it comes to handling offshore voluntary disclosure. These smaller, less-experienced firms are notorious for submitting willful clients into the streamlined program to make a quick buck off the consumer.
We inherit these types of cases all the time:
Is the Attorney a Board-Certified Tax Law Specialist?
The Board-Certified Tax Law Specialist credential is the top tax credential in the practice of tax law. Most highly-experienced FBAR lawyers will have earned this credential. It is earned by less than 1% of attorneys nationwide.
The test is offered in many states, such as California, Texas, Florida, Arizona and more.
Since IRS tax law is federal law (a practitioner must only be licensed as an attorney in one state to practice federal tax law) and the credential is so coveted — many attorneys will seek out licensing in another state that offers the exam, just so they can sit for the exam, and become a board-certified specialist (the exam requires significant tax experience, education and recommendations from attorneys and judges).
*The credential requires several continuing tax law education classes in tax law every 5-years.
Has the FBAR Attorney earned a Master’s of Tax Law Degree (LL.M.)?
Most FBAR Lawyers have earned a Master’s of Tax Law is the highest degree a person can earn in tax (for practicing tax attorneys).
It requires many graduate level tax law classes in areas such as: International Tax, Estate Tax, Retirement & Pension Tax, and Corporate Tax.
How Many FBAR Disclosures Has the Attorney Prepared?
This is a crucial question.
Just earning a CPA or EA credential and/or LL.M., does not substitute for extensive offshore disclosure experience — it complements it.
They say it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill. We will tell you, NO ONE ever masters tax law. But, if your attorney has earned advanced tax credentials and handled several hundred streamlined cases and offshore voluntary disclosure program submissions, you will be in good hands.
When pressed, if the OVDP lawyers you are interviewing respond to this question with a “a good amount,” “a few dozen,” “countless,” or “many” – but refuse to provide you a solid number or range – it means they are probably not as experienced as they want you to believe.
Dually-Licensed Attorney Team Leader
In addition to having 20 years of attorney experience, being a Board-Certified Specialist and having earned a Master’s of Tax Law, the lead attorney should also be a licensed Enrolled Agent or CPA, and the attorney’s team should handle the entire matter, in-house — flat-fee, full-service.
Beware of False Marketing Scams
If you are out of compliance for not properly reporting the FBAR, then you should retain an FBAR attorney.
The problem is that in today’s market, you have to be careful.
There are only a handful of experience international tax attorneys worldwide who have earned the Board-Certified Specialist designation — along with the advanced credentials such as an LL.M. and licensing (Enrolled Agent or CPA) — and specialize exclusively in this area of International Tax Law.
There are many inexperienced counsel who falsely market to the general public. They lack the experience and credentials to effectively represent you.
Some Attorneys will claim they specialize in FBAR matters, but then you learn that these attorneys are only marketing that they specialize in FBAR, and are not board-certified.
Golding & Golding: About Our International Tax Law Firm
Golding & Golding specializes exclusively in international tax, and specifically IRS offshore disclosure and FBAR.
Contact our firm today for assistance with getting compliant.