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We are the only State Bar Board Certified Tax Law Firm that specializes exclusively in IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure!
If you recently received a FATCA letter, FATCA Notice, FATCA email, or just happened upon FATCA in your research…you are probably wondering what it means, and how it impacts you and your taxes.
Most likely the reason why FATCA may impact you, is because the foreign financial institution in which you maintain a bank account or other financial account believes that you are a U.S. person.
It is important to note that a US person does not mean a US citizen, or even someone who lives in the United States – the definition is much broader.
Who is a U.S. Person?
A US person (for tax purposes) is classified as any person who is either a United States Citizen, Legal Permanent Resident/Green Card Holder, or U.S. Visa Holder who meets the Substantial Presence Test.
If you are a U.S. person, then the bank is going to report your information to the U.S. Government. It does not matter whether you reside in the United States or in a foreign country, and it does not matter if you are a Dual Citizen and/or Permanent Resident of a foreign country outside of the United States – the institution will still report you.
What are the Consequences for Not Being in FATCA Compliance?
There are two factors to consider: what is the foreign bank going to do and what is the IRS going to do.
Foreign Bank Actions
Chances are, the foreign bank will freeze your account and prevent you access to the funds. In more recent months, foreign banks have been going so far as actually closing your account, suspending your funds, and refusing to allow you access to your account until you have proven compliance with FATCA. If you received a FATCA notice from your bank, then you are already on their radar.
IRS/U.S. Government Actions
If the IRS catches you, the penalties can be staggeringly high. Depending on whether you were out of compliance for FATCA, FBAR (Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts), and/or several other forms that may have been required (which depends on the type of accounts and investments you have overseas), the penalties can reach as high as 100%. In addition, the IRS is authorized to: lien/levy your assets or accounts, revoke/deny your passport, issue a customs hold, or impact your ability to renew a Green Card or Visa.
How can the IRS find out about your noncompliance? The foreign bank is supposed to comply with FATCA and report your personal information to the IRS. Thus, when you receive a FATCA letter, you’re already in the system. Another way some people get “caught” is when their CPA or bookkeeper gets audited or in other trouble with the IRS. Also, sometimes a simple transfer of money between a foreign country and the United States can get you on their radar – for example, the sale of a foreign property or receipt of an inheritance, etc.
What Type of Attorney Should I Hire?
IRS Voluntary Disclosure is a specialized area of law. An IRS Voluntary Disclosure is a complex undertaking. It requires the coordination of several moving parts, including strategy development, Tax Preparation, Legal Analysis, Negotiation and more.
You should hire a Tax Attorney who has the following credentials:
- ~20 Years of Private Practice experience representing his/her own clients
- Experienced in Criminal and Civil Tax Litigation
- Experienced representing clients in Eggshell and Reverse Eggshell Audits
- Advanced Tax Degree (LL.M.)
- EA (Enrolled Agent) or CPA (Certified Public Accountant)
- Preferably a Board Certified Tax Law Specialist
Sean M. Golding, JD, LL.M., EA (Board Certified Tax Law Specialist)
Our Managing Partner, Sean M. Golding, JD, LLM, EA earned an LL.M. (Master’s in Tax Law) from the University of Denver and is also an Enrolled Agent (the highest credential awarded by the IRS, and authorizes him to represent clients nationwide.)
Mr. Golding and his team have successfully handled several hundred IRS Offshore/Voluntary Disclosure Procedure cases. Whether it is a simple or complex case, safely getting clients into compliance is our passion, and we take it very seriously.
He is frequently called upon to lecture and write on issues involving IRS Voluntary Disclosure.
Less than 1% of Tax Attorneys Nationwide are Board Certified Tax Law Specialists
The Board Certified Tax Law Specialist exam is offered in many states, and is widely regarded as one of (if not) the hardest tax exam given in the United States for practicing Attorneys. Certification also requires the completion of significant ethics and experience requirements.
In California alone, out of more than 200,000 practicing attorneys (with thousands of attorneys practicing in some area of tax law), less than 350 attorneys are Board Certified Tax Law Specialists.
Beware of Copycat Law Firms
Unlike other attorneys who call themselves specialists or experts in Voluntary Disclosure but are not “Board Certified,” handle 5-10 different areas of tax law, purchase multiple keyword specific domain names, and even practice outside of tax, we are absolutely dedicated to Offshore Voluntary Disclosure.
*Click here to learn the benefits of retaining a Board Certified Tax Law Specialist with advanced tax credentials.
Reduced Fee Consultation
We do not offer “free” initial telephone consultations, because free initial telephone consultations are nothing more than “Sales Pitches” designed to misinform and scare you into making a brash decision.
When you are ready to discuss the specifics of your case, please email us to schedule a Reduced Fee Telephone Consultation with an experienced IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Lawyer.
We offer consultations in 30-minute, 60-minute, and 90-minute increments.
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.)
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