Tax Expert – Is Your Tax Attorney a Self-Proclaimed Expert in Tax Law?
No matter what an Attorney wants you to believe — a Tax Attorney is probably not an expert in tax.
Over the years we have worked with some of the most talented tax, business, divorce, and litigation attorneys in various specialty and sub-specialty areas of law.
We can safely say that we have never worked with a single attorney who we would absolutely consider to be an expert in their chosen specialty — ever refer to himself, or herself as an expert.
- 1 Tax Attorneys are Probably Not Tax Law Experts
- 2 Why is this important?
- 3 Experts in Tax Law, FATCA, FBAR, etc.
- 4 Tax Lawyers as Experts?
- 5 Board-Certified Tax Law Specialist
- 6 Were you Misled by an “Expert” Tax Attorney
- 7 Is Your Issue Involving IRS Offshore Disclosure?
- 8 We Specialize in Safely Disclosing Foreign Money
- 9 What Should You Do?
- 10 Be Careful of the IRS
- 11 4 Types of IRS Voluntary Disclosure Programs
Tax Attorneys are Probably Not Tax Law Experts
The Internet is a curious thing.
While a 35-year proven veteran of tax law is skeptical to ever refer to herself as an expert (no matter how many other people refer to that attorney as an expert) there are attorneys with 5-10 years in private practice (even less) advertising themselves online as experts in FATCA, experts in OVDP, experts in FBAR etcetera, etcetera.
Have you ever noticed that the only person who refers to the attorney as an expert… is the attorney.
Why is this important?
It is important, because as tax filing due dates approach (and anxieties rise) some tax attorneys get overly-aggressive, and make false representations to the general public. This is especially true in the realm of offshore/foreign IRS disclosure.
Why? Because unfortunately, the potential penalties involving offshore non-compliance are far more severe than the level of the non-compliance would presume the penalty would be.
The general public then relies on these false misrepresentations – and oftentimes is placed into a situation that is WORSE position than before the client started the process.
A potential client calls us in early April, frustrated with her attorney. The attorney advertised himself as an expert, leader or pioneer (real words these attorneys use) in Offshore Disclosure. The attorney has not returned the client’s calls (of course, he is still billing her hourly for research and analysis.)
The client then asks us a simple question like this:
“Don’t I have until June 30th to file the FBAR?”
Hmmm….we explain that the FBAR filing date rule changed a few years back, and now it is due when your tax returns are due (including extensions). She says the attorney never mentioned that, and in a condescending tone, her attorney told her to calm down, because she has a few months before FBAR Filing is due.
We take a look, and see the Attorney has 10 different websites — each one touting “Expertise” in the particular area of law advertised in the specific domain name.
Another Common Example
“If you go Streamlined, you’ll end up in jail.”
Yes, if you were willful, you cannot qualify for Streamlined, BUT not everyone is willful, and tens of thousands of non-willful individuals successfully complete the Streamlined Program without risking ending up on C-Block.
*Here is a case example of the danger of going streamlined when you were willful.
*Here are some clients (like you) we have assisted undoing the mess caused by the prior “expert.”
Experts in Tax Law, FATCA, FBAR, etc.
Back in 2013 the American Bar Association published a great article “Think Twice Before Calling Yourself an Expert“ about how the going theme is that attorneys with about 10-years’ experience, and a focus on one specific area of law, suddenly start referring to themselves as experts – and how it is very dangerous territory.
Tax Lawyers as Experts?
In reality, Tax Attorneys are not experts. The American Bar Association, along with several other Bar Association’s across the country take very serious issue with any attorney calling themselves an expert.
Board-Certified Tax Law Specialist
The closest any Tax attorney can probably get to being hailed an “expert” is to become a Board-Certified Tax Law Specialist – and that still doesn’t make them an expert.
Becoming a Board-Certified Tax Law Specialist is a very difficult credential for a Tax Attorney can achieve – less than 1% of tax attorneys nationwide.
Were you Misled by an “Expert” Tax Attorney
Good News for you!
You can probably sue the attorney, no problem – since they claimed to be an expert….so, any mistake they make is probably actionable.
Is Your Issue Involving IRS Offshore Disclosure?
If it is, we may be able to assist you.
If you are out of compliance for not properly disclosing foreign income, accounts, assets, and/or investments — and are not under audit or examination — you may consider submitting to IRS Voluntary Disclosure (IRM, Streamlined or Reasonable Cause) in order to get into compliance.
We Specialize in Safely Disclosing Foreign Money
We have successfully handled a diverse range of IRS Voluntary Disclosure and International Tax Investigation/Examination cases involving FBAR, FATCA, and high-stakes matters for clients around the globe (In over 70 countries!)
Whether it is a simple or complex case, safely getting clients into compliance is our passion, and we take it very seriously.
What Should You Do?
Everyone makes mistakes. If at some point you discover that you should have been reporting your foreign income, accounts, assets or investments, the prudent and least costly (but most effective) method for getting compliance is through one of the approved IRS offshore voluntary disclosure programs.
Be Careful of the IRS
With the introduction and enforcement of FATCA for both Civil and Criminal Penalties, renewed interest in the IRS issuing FBAR Penalties, crackdown on Cryptocurrency (and IRS joining J5), the termination of OVDP, and recent foreign bank settlements with the IRS…there are not many places left to hide.
4 Types of IRS Voluntary Disclosure Programs
There are typically four types of IRS Voluntary Disclosure programs, and they include:
- Traditional (IRM) IRS Voluntary Disclosure Program
- Streamlined Domestic Offshore Procedures (SDOP)
- Streamlined Foreign Offshore Procedures (SFOP)
- Reasonable Cause (RC)