For many individuals who are in the United States on a work or investment visa (L-1, E-2, EB-5, H-1B, B1/B2, etc.) and/or were recently married and on a conditional green card, they are very much looking forward to the date in which they become Legal Permanent Residents without restrictions aka (Green Card Holders).
Unfortunately, for many individuals their failure to be in tax compliance and accurately complete their legal permanent residency application can cause a major disruption in their ability to obtain legal permanent residency status.
When it comes to reporting foreign accounts (or failing to do so) the main issue will be your state of mind in failing to do so. In other words, were you aware of the requirement to report foreign accounts? In the I-485 application, it specifically asks, “Knowingly committed any crime of moral turpitude…for which you have or have not been arrested?”
Notice that the question does not differentiate between whether you have been arrested aka (“caught”) or not – just whether you committed an act or failed to commit an act you were required to do. The term “ moral turpitude” is a legal term that deals with the concept of lying and cheating. And, for many people the crime of moral turpitude involves taxes, and the failure to properly pay or report income and earnings.
Did you Know you were Supposed to Report Foreign Accounts?
If you were aware of the requirement to report/disclose foreign accounts but knowingly or intentionally failed to do so, it is absolutely crucial that you speak with an experienced international tax/offshore disclosure lawyer in order to try and limit the damage it may do. With new FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) rules and regulations in place, and tens of thousands of foreign financial institutions in more than 100 countries reporting account holder information to the US government, you have a much more likelihood of getting caught than you may think.
If the IRS or USCIS speaks with you before you have a chance to get into compliance, it could spell trouble — including the denial of your application or renewal.
Getting into Compliance
Whether or not you live in the United States or in a foreign country, you may be eligible to enter Offshore Disclosure to try and get into compliance before you are audited or examined by the IRS (and subject to much higher fines and penalties), including possible passport or visa revocation.
Golding & Golding, A PLC
We have successfully represented clients in more than 1,000 streamlined and voluntary disclosure submissions nationwide and in over 70-different countries.
We are the “go-to” firm for other Attorneys, CPAs, Enrolled Agents, Accountants, and Financial Professionals across the globe.