- 1 Garrity – Summary and Excerpts
- 2 Procedural Background
- 3 Willfulness Includes Reckless Conduct
- 4 Criminal-Like Penalty Means Higher Standard of Proof, Right?
- 5 Standard of Proof – Preponderance of the Evidence
- 6 Shouldn’t It At Least Be Clear and Convincing Evidence?
- 7 IRS Chief Counsel Believes it Should be Clear & Convincing
- 8 The Court’s Rationale re: Memo
- 9 No Precedence re: FBAR and Clear/Convincing Evidence
- 10 What This FBAR Decision Means To You?
- 11 If I was Only Willful for a Few Years, Do I Need OVDP?
- 12 Ending OVDP
- 13 What Happened to OVDP?
- 14 We Specialize in OVDP
- 15 No Case is Too Big; No Case is Too Small.
- 16 Who Decides to Go OVDP
- 17 OVDP
- 18 Offshore
- 19 Voluntary
- 20 Disclosure
- 21 Program
- 22 How Does an OVDP Case Work?
- 23 Why OVDP?
- 24 OVDP Penalties
Willfulness FBAR Penalty (Update) – What Does Willfulness Mean?
When it comes to the IRS, and civil willful penalties, “willfulness” can mean many different things:
- Intentional Omissions
- Intentional Misrepresentations
- Reckless Disregard.
Willfulness & FBAR Penalty
In the relatively recent case of Garrity, the court affirmed two major Issues:
– Willful Penalties apply to Reckless Disregard; and
– The Standard of Proof is “Preponderance of The Evidence” which is the LOWEST Legal Standard permitted under law.
Garrity – Summary and Excerpts
In the current case, Plaintiff filed this suit to reduce to judgment a civil penalty the Internal Revenue Service assessed against Paul G. Garrity, Sr., under 31 U.S.C. § 5321(a)(5), for his alleged willful failure to report his interest in a foreign account he held in 2005, in violation of 31 U.S.C. § 5314.
More specifically, the U.S. Government is seeking collection from Mr. Paul G. Garrity, Sr.’s estate.
The Government filed this action on February 20, 2015 to collect an outstanding civil penalty, known as the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (“FBAR”) penalty, from the estate of Mr. Garrity, Sr., who died in 2008.
The Government had assessed the penalty against Mr. Garrity, Sr. for his allegedly willful failure to timely report his financial interest in, and/or his authority over, a foreign bank account for the 2005 calendar year, as required by 31 U.S.C. § 5314
and its implementing regulations. (ECF No. 1.)
The balance of the penalty as of February 20, 2015 was $1,061,181.09. Jury selection is currently scheduled for June 6, 2018.
Willfulness Includes Reckless Conduct
The court noted that: “Defendants point to no other authority that would warrant deviating from the Supreme Court’s holdings that statutory willfulness in the civil context covers reckless conduct.”
“Defendants concede that numerous courts have found that willfulness in the civil FBAR context includes reckless conduct. (ECF No. 106 at 11.) See United States v. Williams, 489 F. App’x 655, 658 (4th Cir. 2012) (reversing the district court’s ruling, as “at a minimum, Williams’s undisputed actions establish reckless conduct, which satisfies the proof requirement under § 5314”);
• United States v. Kelley-Hunter, 281 F. Supp. 3d 121, 124 (D.D.C. 2017)
• United States v. Katwyk, No. CV 17-3314-GW, 2017 WL 6021420, at *4 (C.D. Cal. Oct. 23, 2017)
• Bedrosian v. United States, Civ. No. 15-5853, 2017 WL 4946433, at *3 (E.D. Pa. Sept. 20, 2017);
• United States v. Bohanec, 263 F. Supp. 3d 881, 888-89 (C.D. Cal. 2016)
• United States v. Bussell, No. CV 15- 02034 SJO, 2015 WL 9957826, at *5 (C.D. Cal. Dec. 8, 2015)
• United States v. McBride, 908 F. Supp. 2d 1186, 1204 (D. Utah 2012)
• United States v. Williams, No. 1:09-cv-437, 2010 WL 3473311, at *4 (E.D. Va. Sept. 1, 2010), rev’d on other grounds
Defendants cite no case in which a court has held to the contrary. Rather, despite the clear distinction the Supreme Court has drawn between willfulness in the civil and criminal contexts, the cases Defendants principally rely on are criminal cases.
See Ratzlaf v. United States, 510 U.S. 135 (1994) (holding that the government had to prove defendant acted with knowledge that hisconduct was unlawful to sustain a criminal conviction for a willful violation of an antistructuring provision)
United States v. Sturman, 951 F.2d 1466, 1476 (6th Cir. 1991) (applying the standard for willfulness articulated in Cheek v. United States, 498 U.S. 192 (1991), “voluntary, intentional violation of a known legal duty,” to criminal violations of 31 U.S.C. § 5314).
Criminal-Like Penalty Means Higher Standard of Proof, Right?
Wrong…The Court states that based on these facts, the mere fact that the monetary penalties are higher does not necessitate an increased penalty. Rather, the standard of proof that applies is the lowest penalty, which is called “Preponderance of the Evidence.”
Standard of Proof – Preponderance of the Evidence
Preponderance of the Evidence is the lowest standard of proof, and typically is considered just more than 50%. This standard of proof is significantly less than the Clear and Convincing Evidence (~75%) or Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (~95%) standards.
As provided by the court: The starting point for this inquiry is the well-established principle that “[i]n a typical civil suit for money damages, plaintiffs must prove their case by a preponderance of the evidence.”
Herman & MacLean v. Huddleston, 459 U.S. 375, 387 (1983). See also United States v. Regan, 232 U.S. 37,46-47 (1914) (holding that a civil action by the government to collect a monetary penalty “is to be conducted and determined according to the same rules and with the same incidents as are other civil actions”).
Shouldn’t It At Least Be Clear and Convincing Evidence?
Nope. As further provided by the court: The Supreme Court noted in Huddleston that where Congress has not specified a standard of proof, the Court has applied the clear and convincing evidence standard in civil matters only “where particularly important individual interests or rights are at stake,” such as in cases involving termination of parental rights, involuntary commitment, and deportation. 459 U.S. at 389.
Observing that “imposition of even severe civil sanctions that do not implicate such interests has been permitted after proof by a preponderance of the evidence,” the Court held that the preponderance of the evidence standard applied to an action involving an alleged fraud in the sale or purchase of securities. Id. at 389-90. In doing so, the Court described the preponderance of the evidence standard as the one “generally applicable in civil actions.” Id.
Using these principles, every court that has answered the question before me has held that the preponderance of the evidence standard governs suits by the government to recover civil FBAR penalties.
- See Bedrosian v. United States, No. CV 15-5853, 2017 WL 3887520, at *1 (E.D. Pa. Sept. 5, 2017)
- United States v. Bohanec, 263 F. Supp. 3d 881, 889 (C.D. Cal. 2016)
- United States v. McBride, 908 F. Supp. 2d 1186, 1201-02 (D. Utah 2012)
- United States v. Williams, No. 1:09- cv-437, 2010 WL 3473311, at *1, 5 (E.D. Va. Sept. 1, 2010) (
IRS Chief Counsel Believes it Should be Clear & Convincing
In the Chief Counsel Memorandum 200603026 (January 20, 2006), it provides the following guidance on the standard of proof applicable to the section 5321(a)(5) penalty for willful violations:
A second question in the November 23 memorandum, with respect to the willfulness issue, is whether the criteria for assertion of the civil FBAR penalty are the same as the burden of proof that the Service has when asserting the civil fraud penalty under IRC section 6663. Although there are no cases that address this issue with respect to the civil FBAR penalty, we expect the answer to be yes. This is because of the inherent difficulty of proving, or disproving, a state of mind (willfulness) at the time of a violation.”
The burden of proof for criminal cases for establishing willfulness is to provide proof “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Although the same definition for willfulness applies [for civil cases] (“a voluntary intentional violation of a known legal duty”), the Service would have a lesser burden of proof to meet with respect to the civil FBAR penalty than the criminal penalty. We expect that a court will find the burden in civil FBAR cases to be that of providing “clear and convincing evidence,” rather than merely a “preponderance of the evidence.”
The clear and convincing evidence standard is the same burden the Service must meet with respect to civil tax fraud cases where the Service also has to show the intent of the taxypayer at the time of the violation.
Courts have traditionally applied the clear and convincing standard with respect to fraud cases in general, not just to tax fraud cases, because just as it is difficult to show intent, it is also difficult to show a lack of intent. The higher standard of clear and convincing evidence offers some protection for an individual who may be wrongly accused of fraud.
The Court’s Rationale re: Memo
The court provided: That Defendants may be liable for a substantially larger sum of money for a willful FBAR violation than if the Government had pursued a civil tax fraud action does not warrant a higher standard of proof.
As Huddleston and Grogan indicate, it is the type of interest or right involved that triggers a higher standard of proof, not the amount in controversy; courts have not viewed cases involving “even severe civil sanctions” to implicate “important individual interests or rights” to warrant a higher standard of proof.
See also Halo v. Electronics, Inc. v. Pulse Electronics, Inc., — U.S. —, 136 S. Ct. 1923, 1934 (2016) (rejecting requirement that willful patent infringement behavior warranting enhanced damages be proved by clear and
Ramirez v. T&H Lemont, Inc., 845 F.3d 772, 777-81 (7th Cir. 2016) (holding that preponderance of the evidence standard applies to dismissal of a civil suit as a discovery sanction)
Fishman Transducers, Inc. v. Paul, 684 F.3d 187, 193 (1st Cir. 2012) (holding that preponderance of the evidence standard applies to proof of willfulness for the purpose of obtaining more than single damages or profit disgorgement in trademark action).
Moreover, the Chief Counsel’s statement that “[c]ourts have traditionally applied the clear and convincing standard with respect to fraud cases in general” (ECF No. 106-1 at 3) does not account for differences in how courts treat fraud under federal statutes and the common law, respectively.
See Master-Halco, Inc. v. Scillia Dowling & Natarelli, LLC, 739 F. Supp. 2d 109,122-23 (D. Conn. 2010) (discussing differences between standards of proof for statutory fraud and common law fraud, and holding that clear and convincing evidence was the appropriate standard of proof for civil conspiracy to commit fraud and aiding and abetting fraud under state
No Precedence re: FBAR and Clear/Convincing Evidence
The court noted that Defendants do not point to case law holding that the clear and convincing evidence standard applies to civil FBAR penalty cases.
What This FBAR Decision Means To You?
It means most circuit courts are coming to the conclusion that Willful FBAR penalties should be issued when the conduct is merely Reckless, and the Government only has to show Preponderance of the Evidence…despite the IRS’ own Chief Counsel acknowledging that Clear and Convincing Evidence should presumably be the standard.
If I was Only Willful for a Few Years, Do I Need OVDP?
The IRS is clear: If you were willful at all, then you cannot qualify for the IRS Streamlined Program. There are no exceptions for people who were only willful for a year or two, and no exceptions for people who only failed to report “small” amounts of income. We find it abhorrent that there are other attorneys putting potential clients in serious financial risk, as well as harm’s way for a potential IRS Criminal Investigation, by pushing them into Streamlined when they know the client was willful.
On multiple occasions, we have had clients come to us after retaining one of these dreadful firms, who were now terrified because they realized that they paid an inexperienced Offshore Disclosure Attorney a “small fee” to go streamlined, when they admitted to the Attorney they were willful. Click Here for a Case Study Example of what can occur when you go Streamlined when you were willful.
Once you submit to the Streamlined Program, you can not thereafter submit to OVDP.
If a person is willful, they do not qualify for Streamlined or Reasonable Cause. It doesn’t matter whether it was 1-year, 5-years or 10-years worth of non-compliance.
**While the extent of the willfulness penalties might be mitigated through an OVDP Opt-Out, you should never submit a reasonable cause letter or streamlined submission if you were willful. This is especially true, since the IRS has begun auditing Streamlined Submissions.
Tip: The reason these firms push you into Streamlined when they know you were willful is to make a quick buck from you. Obviously a person would prefer to go Streamlined and pay a reduced penalty, and these Attorneys prey upon that feeling — at a time when you may be vulnerable. They need your business and need your money, and will throw ethics out the window to get it. Remember, you only get one bite at the Apple.
It is not their money or their freedom on the line – it is yours, so be careful…
The IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program is coming to an end, and set to terminate on September 28, 2018. Technically, that means you must have submitted your “Phase 1” documents before the September date (See FAQ 24).
What Happened to OVDP?
The IRS is taking the position that OVDP is just not as popular as it used to be. And that is probably true. Many individuals think they can enter into the streamlined program even if they are willful because the chance of getting caught is relatively low (which is also true).
In reality, the main behind the IRS terminating the OVDP Program is because there is a good chance the IRS already has your information, thanks to the more than 300,000 Foreign Financial Institutions already reporting your information to the IRS in accordance with FATCA.
So, while the IRS is doing away with the OVDP, the chance of getting caught and penalized by the IRS has increased significantly.
We Specialize in OVDP
We have successfully handled a diverse range of OVDP cases. Whether it is a simple or complex case, safely getting clients into compliance is our passion, and we take it very seriously.
Unlike other attorneys who call themselves specialists but handle 10 different areas of tax law, purchase multiple domain names, and even practice outside of tax, we are absolutely dedicated to Offshore Voluntary Disclosure.
No Case is Too Big; No Case is Too Small.
We represent all different types of clients. High net-worth investors (over $40 million), smaller cases ($100,000) and everything in-between.
We represent clients in over 60 countries and nationwide, with all different types of assets, including (each link takes you to a Golding & Golding free summary):
- Foreign Mutual Funds
- Foreign Life Insurance
- Fixing Quiet Disclosure
- Foreign Real Estate Income
- Foreign Real Estate Sales
- Foreign Earned Income Exclusion
- Subpart F Income
- Foreign Inheritance
- Foreign Pension
- Form 3520
- Form 5471
- Form 8621
- Form 8865
- Form 8938 (FATCA)
Who Decides to Go OVDP
All different types of people submit to OVDP. We represent Attorneys, CPAs, Doctors, Investors, Engineers, Business Owners, Entrepreneurs, Professors, Athletes, Actors, Entry-Level staff, Students, and more.
You are not alone, and you are not the only one to find himself or herself in this situation.
…We even represent IRS Staff with getting into compliance.
Sean M. Golding, JD, LL.M., EA – Board Certified Tax Law Specialist
Our Managing Partner, Sean M. Golding, JD, LLM, EA is the only Attorney nationwide who has earned the Certified Tax Law Specialist credential and specializes in IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure and closely related matters.
In addition to earning the Certified Tax Law Certification, Sean also holds 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.)
He is frequently called upon to lecture and write on issues involving IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure.
Less than 1% of Tax Attorneys Nationwide
Out of more than 200,000 practicing attorneys in California, less than 400 attorneys have achieved this Certified Tax Law Specialist designation.
The exam is widely regarded as one of (if not) the hardest tax exam given in the United States for practicing Attorneys. It is a designation earned by less than 1% of attorneys.
Our International Tax Lawyers represent hundreds of taxpayers annually in over 60 countries.
Offshore does not mean you should be conjuring up visions of resting easy in the Bahamas, or stashing millions in the Caymans. Essentially, from an international IRS tax perspective, it simply means you have money overseas. Whether the money is in a foreign account, overseas, or abroad — it is being held “offshore.”
Therefore, in order to qualify for OVDP you must have unreported assets, income or investments abroad. If you do have offshore assets, income or investments, then you can report them with OVDP — and you can include domestic undisclosed money as well.
But, it is important to keep in mind that you do not get the same protection for your domestic undisclosed money that you receive for your offshore undisclosed money. Moreover, if you do not have any undisclosed offshore money, and all of your unreported money is domestic (located in the United States), you can submit to the IRS Domestic Voluntary Disclosure Program, but not OVDP.
Unfortunately, the IRS Domestic Voluntary Disclosure Program does not provide the same protections and reduced penalty structure as the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program.
Voluntary means you are entering the program on your own volition.
Usually, it means that you are not under audit or under examination with the IRS. That is because if you are already under IRS audit or examination and then submit to the program, you are not technically doing so voluntarily. Rather, you are entering the program in response to being audited or examined.
The reason the IRS does not allow you to enter OVDP once you are under audit is because you have a proactive responsibility during an audit or examination to bring these issues to the forefront and explain them to the auditor — even if the auditor did not ask about offshore accounts specifically – but assuming he or she asks about additional income, assets, etc.
When you are under audit or examination you can be subject to excessively high fines and penalties which are mitigated through traditional OVDP. The IRS will not let you out of those penalties (if you are audited) by submitting to OVDP at that time.
By disclosure, the IRS is referring to full disclosure. If you want to voluntarily disclose offshore money, then you have to do a full disclosure and report all of the information you have regarding all of your offshore money abroad.
It does not matter if the money was held in an account within a branch or institution that went out of business. It also does not matter that your money is being held in an anonymous account that you firmly and wholeheartedly believe can never be discovered.
Rather, from the IRS’ perspective, when it is time to disclose – you must perform a full disclosure and report all of the information — no matter how low the chances that the IRS could ever discover the information, account information, investments or income otherwise.
OVDP is an approved IRS program. There are specific time requirements and reporting disclosures that must be done according to OVDP milestones. If you fail to meet these milestones timely, the IRS can remove you from the program, which now means the IRS has at least some specific information regarding your offshore finances, and can now enforce incredibly high fines and penalties against you.
Worse yet, you no longer have the protection of OVDP.
How Does an OVDP Case Work?
OVDP Phase 1
The person submits a preclearance letter. It typically takes the IRS 30 to 45 days to respond to the letter. After around 45 day you will learn whether you have been accepted or rejected into OVDP. Despite what some inexperienced attorneys will tell you online, not everyone gets accepted. And if an attorney has told you that everyone always gets accepted, than they have not been practicing in this area of law long enough – especially with the introduction of FATCA.
OVDP Phase 2
The applicant has 45 days to submit the initial disclosure to the IRS. It is a relatively detailed breakdown of the different accounts, transfers, opening and closing of the accounts, and related information. It is not as detailed as preparing and submitting IRS forms and schedules such as general FATCA Reporting, FBAR, 3520, 5471, 8621, 8865, 8938 — but it is still relatively comprehensive, and more detailed than it had been in years past, especially pre-FATCA.
OVDP Phase 3
Presuming that the applicant is accepted, the applicant then has 90 days to submit the full disclosure, including all necessary FBARs, schedules, penalty competitions, legal arguments for mitigation of penalties, etc. Depending on the specific facts and circumstances of your case (numerous PFICs, Foreign Mutual Funds, ETFs, etc.), it may take longer for you to compile the information or prepare the necessary documents. The IRS routinely grants extensions to file.
We know…it seems nuts to acquiesce to the IRS before they have even found you, audited you, or examined you — and allow the IRS to issue penalties against. You may instead also consider submitting an IRS Quiet Disclosure in hopes that you can fly below the radar without getting caught.
Quiet Disclosure is a horrible idea, and here’s why:
First, a quiet disclosure may lead you to jail or prison. For a comprehensive case study on how IRS required disclosure of offshore money can go wrong, please refer to our prior blog page on Quiet Disclosure, Criminal Investigations & Prison.
Second, if the IRS audits or examines you before you enter the program, you may be subject to incredibly high fines and penalties, which are detailed below:
The reason why it is so important to disclose before the IRS finds you, is because the IRS has taken to issuing gargantuan penalties against individuals whose issues seem relatively minor (Read: is the world going to explode because Marty didn’t report his foreign account?)
When it comes to penalties, the IRS has extreme leeway. On the one hand, if a person can show reasonable cause, then often times penalties will be waived. On the other hand, the IRS has the right to issue penalties which can reach 100% value of the foreign account in a multi-year audit scenario (noting, that up until recently the IRS issued 300% penalties for unreported FBARs, when a person was found to be willful and penalized at 50% within the 6-year SOL).
The following is a summary of penalties as published by the IRS:
A penalty for failing to file FBARs. United States citizens, residents and certain other persons must annually report their direct or indirect financial interest in, or signature authority (or other authority that is comparable to signature authority) over, a financial account that is maintained with a financial institution located in a foreign country if, for any calendar year, the aggregate value of all foreign financial accounts exceeded $10,000 at any time during the year. 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.
Beginning with the 2011 tax year, a penalty for failing to file Form 8938 reporting the taxpayer’s interest in certain foreign financial assets, including financial accounts, certain foreign securities, and interests in foreign entities, as required by IRC § 6038D. 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, Annual Return to Report Transactions With Foreign Trusts and Receipt of Certain Foreign Gifts. Taxpayers must also report various transactions involving foreign trusts, including creation of a foreign trust by a United States person, transfers of property from a United States person to a foreign trust and receipt of distributions from foreign trusts under IRC § 6048. This return also reports the receipt of gifts from foreign entities under IRC § 6039F. 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, Information Return of Foreign Trust With a U.S. Owner. Taxpayers must also report ownership interests in foreign trusts, by United States persons with various interests in and powers over those trusts under IRC § 6048(b). 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, Information Return of U.S. Persons with Respect to Certain Foreign Corporations. Certain United States persons who are officers, directors or shareholders in certain foreign corporations (including International Business Corporations) are required to report information under IRC §§ 6035, 6038 and 6046. 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, Information Return of a 25% Foreign-Owned U.S. Corporation or a Foreign Corporation Engaged in a U.S. Trade or Business. Taxpayers may be required to report transactions between a 25 percent foreign-owned domestic corporation or a foreign corporation engaged in a trade or business in the United States and a related party as required by IRC §§ 6038A and 6038C. 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, Return by a U.S. Transferor of Property to a Foreign Corporation. Taxpayers are required to report transfers of property to foreign corporations and other information under IRC § 6038B. 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, Return of U.S. Persons With Respect to Certain Foreign Partnerships. United States persons with certain interests in foreign partnerships use this form to report interests in and transactions of the foreign partnerships, transfers of property to the foreign partnerships, and acquisitions, dispositions and changes in foreign partnership interests under IRC §§ 6038, 6038B, and 6046A. 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.
Underpayment & Fraud Penalties
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.
Even Criminal Charges are Possible…
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 is subject to a prison term of up to five years and a fine of up to $250,000. 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.
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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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