Streamlined Submission Procedures & IRS Disclosure Attorney Fees (Golding & Golding)

Streamlined Submission Procedures & IRS Disclosure Attorney Fees (Golding & Golding)

Streamlined Submission Procedures & IRS Disclosure Attorney Fees

Several years ago, Golding & Golding (the ONLY Board Certified Tax Law Specialist Team that practices exclusively in Offshore Disclosure) innovated a hybrid Tax and Legal model for Streamlined representation.

All work is completed in-house, and we have been highly-effective.

Since then, a few lesser-experienced, sole practitioners and small general practice firms have tried to change the model — for the worse.

These attorneys:

  • Are not dually-licensed as Attorney/Enrolled Agent or Attorney/CPA
  • Are not Board Certified
  • Do not understand how privilege works
  • Have no Litigation, Trial or Complex Audit experience
  • Have only been in private practice a few years
  • Doe not have a Master’s of Tax Law in Tax (LL.M.)
  • Use false and unethical marketing techniques to scare you
  • Misuse Kovel Letters (putting your confidentiality at risk)

4 Types of IRS Voluntary Disclosure Programs

There are typically four types of IRS Voluntary Disclosure programs, and they include:

Golding & Golding is Here to Help You

*Due to some recent scams, false and unethical marketing by lesser experienced sole-practitioner and general practice attorney firms, we have been asked by clients to provide a guide other people can use, to better understand how Streamlined Offshore Disclosure fees work.

IRS Streamlined Disclosure Lawyer Fees & Tax Prep – Fact vs. Fiction

Common Questions we receive about Streamlined Disclosure (in General)

While we have many posts dedicated to Streamlined Disclosure practices and FAQ, these are some of the more recent common questions we receive:

What is an IRS Streamlined Filing Disclosure?

It is a program designed to help non-willful clients gets into compliance for prior year unreported foreign and offshore assets, accounts, income and investments, with either a 5% penalty (Streamlined Domestic Offshore Procedures aka SDOP) or penalty waiver (Streamlined Foreign Offshore Procedures aka SFOP).

Who Handles the Tax Portion of the Streamlined Disclosure?

If you are using an experienced Attorney, it will be the Attorney and his or her internal team that handles the entire submission.

Experienced Streamlined Disclosure Attorneys do not risk client-confidentiality with a Kovel Letter, since the Kovel Letter can be rejected.

Who Handles the Legal?

You should always utilize an attorney, in order to protect the Attorney-Client Privilege.

Why Use a Dually-Licensed Attorney Specialist & Enrolled Agent?

Because the most effective representation you can have in IRS Streamlined Disclosure matters is a dually-licensed International Tax Attorney and Enrolled Agent Board Certified Tax Law Specialist Team that handles the entire disclosure from beginning-to-end).

Benefits of Dually Licensed Attorney and Enrolled Agent

Board Certified Tax Law Specialists comprise less than 1% of attorneys nationwide.

An Enrolled Agent is highest certification a Tax Counselor can achieve. Together, it is a highly-effective combination for IRS Streamlined Disclosure submissions – and protects your attorney-client privilege.

What is a Kovel Letter?

It is used primarily by non-tax attorneys who are not tax professionals.  They are severely limited in scope, and can be rejected by the courts.  In that case any legal discussions with your CPA or accountant are not protected, and not confidential.

Even with a Kovel, you only receive  a very-limited privilege. If you speak with the CPA about your Streamlined Disclosure case outside of the very specific issue, those communications are not covered if Kovel was even to attach.

By retaining a Dually Licensed Attorney and Enrolled Agent, you avoid discussing non-legal issues with a non-attorney (and unnecessarily putting your attorney-client privilege at risk).

Avoid IRS Streamlined Disclosures Lawyer Scams

Understanding How Streamlined Disclosure Fees Work

Each case is different, and the fees will vary based on each case. Any firm that offers a one-size fits all should be avoided.

I mean, do you and your toddler wear the same size shirt?

Some cases are more complex, and other are less complex. Some involve detailed analyses involving PFIC and CFC/GILTI — and others are less complex (but still difficult).

3 Main Options for Streamlined Disclosure Options

It’s all about a perspective.

Hiring a Board Certified Tax Law Specialist Team that Specializes in Streamlined

Streamlined Disclosures are never easy, BUT they should ALWAYS be Flat-Fee. There are many tax and legal facets to the disclosure, and many pitfalls to be aware of.

As far as fees go, our fees range in the middle (in comparison to other highly experienced firms with advanced degrees), and we are known for exceptional client-servicing, with clients in over 70-countries.

At Golding & Golding, Voluntary Disclosure (Post-OVDP) and Streamlined is ALL WE DO.

Our team has handled more than 1000 offshore disclosures.

The team is led by Mr. Sean M. Golding, JD, LL.M., EA a Board Certified Tax Law Specialist with a Master’s in Tax Law . All work is done in-house, on-site by an Enrolled Agent and supporting team members.

We stand by our work, and provide audit defense on the back-end.

We designed the model.

There are a few, lesser experienced copycat firms, but we are the original — and still the best.

Hiring a Large Firm

Some firms are large, and have departments dedicated to Offshore Tax. We get referred to these firms to act as consultants on highly-complex cases – and some of the firms handle their own cases in-house as well.

These firms can be very effective.

They tend to cost more, but the quality of work is usually good. 

Small, Less-Experienced and More General Practice Tax Firms

A sole practitioner or small more “generalized firm” that handles more than just Offshore Voluntary Disclosure, is not “Board Certified,” does not have a “Master’s in Tax Law (LL.M.), and is not an Enrolled Agent or CPA is going to charge less — because they have less experienced.

Working with these firms on a Streamlined Disclosure is like riding shotgun with a driver who looks like a deer in headlights.

  • The work tends to be sub-par.
  • The Attorneys cannot answer tax questions.
  • You are at the mercy of whichever CPA they send you to.
  • The CPAs they refer you to are sub-par.

Oftentimes, we are called on to fix these cases. 

Examples of recent cases we had to takeover from less experienced Attorneys can be found by Clicking Here (Case 1) and Clicking Here (Case 2).

What if I am Out of FBAR, FATCA & Offshore Compliance?

If you are out of FBAR compliance, the penalties can be severe. Therefore, you may consider entering the IRS offshore voluntary disclosure/tax amnesty, before it is too late.

What Should You Do?

Everyone makes mistakes. If at some point 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 program.

IRS Penalty List

The following is a list of potential IRS penalties for unreported and undisclosed foreign accounts and assets:

Failure to File

If you do not file by the deadline, you might face a failure-to-file penalty. If you do not pay by the due date, you could face a failure-to-pay penalty. The failure-to-file penalty is generally more than the failure-to-pay penalty.

The penalty for filing late is usually 5 percent of the unpaid taxes for each month or part of a month that a return is late. This penalty will not exceed 25 percent of your unpaid taxes. If you file your return more than 60 days after the due date or extended due date, the minimum penalty is the smaller of $135 or 100 percent of the unpaid tax.

Failure to Pay

f you do not pay your taxes by the due date, you will generally have to pay a failure-to-pay penalty of ½ of 1 percent of your unpaid taxes for each month or part of a month after the due date that the taxes are not paid. This penalty can be as much as 25 percent of your unpaid taxes. If both the failure-to-file penalty and the failure-to-pay penalty apply in any month, the 5 percent failure-to-file penalty is reduced by the failure-to-pay penalty.

However, if you file your return more than 60 days after the due date or extended due date, the minimum penalty is the smaller of $135 or 100 percent of the unpaid tax. You will not have to pay a failure-to-file or failure-to-pay penalty if you can show that you failed to file or pay on time because of reasonable cause and not because of willful neglect.

Civil Tax Fraud

If any part of any underpayment of tax required to be shown on a return is due to fraud, there shall be added to the tax an amount equal to 75 percent of the portion of the underpayment which is attributable to fraud.

A Penalty for failing to file FBARs

The civil penalty for willfully failing to file an FBAR can be as high as the greater of $100,000 or 50 percent of the total balance of the foreign financial account per violation. See 31 U.S.C. § 5321(a)(5). Non-willful violations that the IRS determines were not due to reasonable cause are subject to a $10,000 penalty per violation.

A Penalty for failing to file Form 8938

The penalty for failing to file each one of these information returns is $10,000, with an additional $10,000 added for each month the failure continues beginning 90 days after the taxpayer is notified of the delinquency, up to a maximum of $50,000 per return.

A Penalty for failing to file Form 3520

The penalty for failing to file each one of these information returns, or for filing an incomplete return, is the greater of $10,000 or 35 percent of the gross reportable amount, except for returns reporting gifts, where the penalty is five percent of the gift per month, up to a maximum penalty of 25 percent of the gift.

A Penalty for failing to file Form 3520-A

The penalty for failing to file each one of these information returns or for filing an incomplete return, is the greater of $10,000 or 5 percent of the gross value of trust assets determined to be owned by the United States person.

A Penalty for failing to file Form 5471

The penalty for failing to file each one of these information returns is $10,000, with an additional $10,000 added for each month the failure continues beginning 90 days after the taxpayer is notified of the delinquency, up to a maximum of $50,000 per return.

A Penalty for failing to file Form 5472

The penalty for failing to file each one of these information returns, or to keep certain records regarding reportable transactions, is $10,000, with an additional $10,000 added for each month the failure continues beginning 90 days after the taxpayer is notified of the delinquency.

A Penalty for failing to file Form 926

The penalty for failing to file each one of these information returns is ten percent of the value of the property transferred, up to a maximum of $100,000 per return, with no limit if the failure to report the transfer was intentional.

A Penalty for failing to file Form 8865

Penalties include $10,000 for failure to file each return, with an additional $10,000 added for each month the failure continues beginning 90 days after the taxpayer is notified of the delinquency, up to a maximum of $50,000 per return, and ten percent of the value of any transferred property that is not reported, subject to a $100,000 limit.

Fraud penalties imposed under IRC §§ 6651(f) or 6663

Where an underpayment of tax, or a failure to file a tax return, is due to fraud, the taxpayer is liable for penalties that, although calculated differently, essentially amount to 75 percent of the unpaid tax.

A Penalty for failing to file a tax return imposed under IRC § 6651(a)(1)

Generally, taxpayers are required to file income tax returns. If a taxpayer fails to do so, a penalty of 5 percent of the balance due, plus an additional 5 percent for each month or fraction thereof during which the failure continues may be imposed. The penalty shall not exceed 25 percent.

A Penalty for failing to pay the amount of tax shown on the return under IRC § 6651(a)(2)

If a taxpayer fails to pay the amount of tax shown on the return, he or she may be liable for a penalty of .5 percent of the amount of tax shown on the return, plus an additional .5 percent for each additional month or fraction thereof that the amount remains unpaid, not exceeding 25 percent.

An Accuracy-Related Penalty on underpayments imposed under IRC § 6662

Depending upon which component of the accuracy-related penalty is applicable, a taxpayer may be liable for a 20 percent or 40 percent penalty

Possible Criminal Charges related to tax matters include tax evasion (IRC § 7201)

Filing a false return (IRC § 7206(1)) and failure to file an income tax return (IRC § 7203). Willfully failing to file an FBAR and willfully filing a false FBAR are both violations that are subject to criminal penalties under 31 U.S.C. § 5322.  Additional possible criminal charges include conspiracy to defraud the government with respect to claims (18 U.S.C. § 286) and conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud the United States (18 U.S.C. § 371).

A person convicted of tax evasion

Filing a false return subjects a person to a prison term of up to three years and a fine of up to $250,000. A person who fails to file a tax return is subject to a prison term of up to one year and a fine of up to $100,000. Failing to file an FBAR subjects a person to a prison term of up to ten years and criminal penalties of up to $500,000.  A person convicted of conspiracy to defraud the government with respect to claims is subject to a prison term of up to not more than 10 years or a fine of up to $250,000.  A person convicted of conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud the United States is subject to a prison term of not more than five years and a fine of up to $250,000.

Contact Us Today; Let us Help You.

International Tax Lawyers - Golding & Golding, A PLC

International Tax Lawyers - Golding & Golding, A PLC

Golding & Golding: Our International Tax Lawyers practice exclusively in the area of IRS Offshore & Voluntary Disclosure. We represent clients in 70 different countries. Managing Partner, Sean M. Golding, JD, LL.M., EA and his team have represented thousands of clients in all aspects of IRS offshore disclosure and compliance during his 20-year career as an Attorney. Mr. Golding's articles have been referenced in such publications as the Washington Post, Forbes, Nolo and various Law Journals nationwide.

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, and has also earned the prestigious Enrolled Agent credential. Mr. Golding is also a Board Certified Tax Law Specialist Attorney (A designation earned by Less than 1% of Attorneys nationwide.)
International Tax Lawyers - Golding & Golding, A PLC