- 1 OVDP & Streamlined Attorney Fees
- 2 Advanced Degrees, Experience & Credentials
- 3 Flat-Fee, Full-Service (Tax and Legal)
- 4 Attorneys who Set Time Allocated to Prepare the Application
- 5 Kovel Protection
- 6 Going Streamlined When You are Willful
- 7 Golding & Golding, A PLC – We Specialize in IRS Voluntary & Streamlined Offshore Disclosure
Streamlined Disclosure & OVDP Attorney Fees – How to Avoid Scams
When it comes to making a decision about hiring representation in IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure matters (Streamlined, Post-OVDP aka Traditional Offshore Voluntary Disclosure, and Reasonable Cause), it is important to understand your different options.
OVDP & Streamlined Attorney Fees
In offshore disclosure (VDP, Streamlined, Reasonable Cause, Delinquency, etc.) Attorney’s Fees, Tax Preparation fees and IRS Audit/Examination Defense fees should be rolled into a single Flat-Fee, Full-Service arrangement.
This is the most cost-effective for the client.
If the attorney refers you out to an outside CPA, your confidentiality may be at risk — even if a Kovel Letter is issued.
Here are a few simple tips, traps and pitfalls to be aware of:
Advanced Degrees, Experience & Credentials
Each and every FBAR case is complex. By submitting to the streamlined program, you are making an affirmative representation to the IRS, under penalty of perjury — which is a big deal.
The submissions require that the attorney and his or her team representing you have extensive tax and legal experience.
In addition to many years of tax experience, specialists will also have advanced degrees and credentials. This is because the additional education (and ongoing “Continuing Education” requirements) significantly helps to continually expand the attorney’s knowledge base of complex tax issues.
The additional tax knowledge greatly benefits the lawyer (and client) in all aspects of FBAR Disclosures.
Attorneys without the additional advanced tax education will oftentimes miss these issues.
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 of Attorney law firm experience as a practicing attorney
- Extensive litigation, high-stakes audit and trial experience
Flat-Fee, Full-Service (Tax and Legal)
Experienced FBAR Lawyer firms handle both the entire tax and legal matter in-house.
Not only does it provide the client added protection, but it allows the firm to offer a flat-fee, full-service for both and legal — along with any additional follow-up with the IRS and audit/examination that may stem from a streamline disclosure.
When a firm uses an outside CPA, the individual is at the mercy of the outside CPA’s billing rates, scheduling, etc.
Most CPAs charge their own rates in addition to what the attorney charges you. And, if the client (you) is then audited — those fees may skyrocket.
Attorneys who Set Time Allocated to Prepare the Application
How come experienced specialists do not provide estimates for the time it takes to prepare an FBAR submission?
Because experienced specialists do not treat FBAR submissions as an “assembly line” or “routine.” Each case is unique, and each case comes with its own set of facts and circumstances; it is impossible to determine from the outset how many hours a project will take.
Oftentimes, the most complicated and complex tax aspects of the submission are either hidden in plain-sight, or buried far below the surface. It takes significant time to properly analyze a client’s facts and circumstances.
We know, because when a case comes to us after it was handled by a less-experienced firm, we find that these attorneys usually missed several complex issues that they simply did not spot — because they do not have the knowledge or experience to spot them.
*The one thing you can take away from the fact that the firm is telling you much time they will spend on the case, is that they will not spend any additional time on your submission than they allocated — even if your case requires it.
A Kovel Agreement is used in very rare circumstances, in which an attorney utilizes an outside accountant/forensic accountant in highly complex accounting scenarios which will impact tax liability (usually involving foreign business and a multi-jurisdictional reconciliation(s).
Kovel letters never attach to tax return or preparation, and can be rejected by the courts.
If a firm sends you out to another CPA instead of handling the matter in-house, they are unnecessarily putting your confidentiality risk.
Because if a client speaks with an outside CPA about legal issues (which is very common) the privilege may be lost. This can be prevented by keep the matter in-house for tax and legal representation.
Going Streamlined When You are Willful
If you were willful, unfortunately neither the streamline program nor reasonable cause is an option. It doesn’t matter if it was just a small amount of money or not. (There is an updated OVDP/VDP process, which actually benefits some clients more than the Streamlined Procedures do.)
*Here is a case study example of what happens when you’re willful, but convince to go streamlined.
Golding & Golding, A PLC – We Specialize in IRS Voluntary & Streamlined 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.
- Learn more about the Board-Certified Tax Lawyer Specialist credential
- Learn more about the Enrolled Agent credential
- Learn more about Golding & Golding’s Case Accomplishments
- Learn more about Golding & Golding Testimonials from prior clients
We are the go-to firm for businesses, CPA, Accountants, Lawyers, Entrepreneurs, and individuals in all phases of their career (and life).
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 complete disclosures for clients with assets ranging from $50,000 – $7,000,000+.
Sean holds a Master's in Tax Law from one of the top Tax LL.M. programs in the country at the University of Denver. He has also earned the prestigious IRS Enrolled Agent credential. Mr. Golding's articles have been referenced in such publications as the Washington Post, Forbes, Nolo, and various Law Journals nationwide.