With FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) moving forward and more countries reporting financial information involving U.S. citizens and Legal Permanent Residents, the questions becomes – what does that really mean. Essentially, the U.S. government wants to know EVERYWHERE its taxpayers have financial assets. If a person fails to disclose Foreign Assets in an FBAR and/or 8938 document, the IRS has authority to penalize you somewhere between 5% and 50%.
The question we get at our firm often is “How much do I have to owe in tax before I have to pay the penalty.” Unfortunately, the answer is ANYTHING. There is no De Minimis rule – which means there is no minimum standard a person has to meet. If you owe even $1, technically you are subject to the penalty.
If on the other hand, the taxpayer’s only failure was not identifying the assets in the FBAR or 8938, but did report all of their income, then there is NO PENALTY.
In order to accurately assess your overseas foreign tax situation, you should speak with an International Tax Lawyer.
SEAN M. GOLDING, ESQ, EA
Sean M. Golding is one of only a few attorneys licensed in both New York & California and has accumulated 15 years of legal experience. He is also an Enrolled Agent, the highest credential awarded by the IRS. He represents clients worldwide in matters involving Civil & Criminal Tax, Probate, Estate Planning, and International Law. Sean’s clients include U.S. and foreign citizens living throughout the states, as well as abroad. Past and current clients reside in Iraq, Japan, Afghanistan, Indonesia, South Africa, Morocco, India, Pakistan, Taiwan, Nicaragua, Switzerland, Canada, Mexico, Philippines, Hong Kong, and Korea. Sean is currently enrolled in one of the nation’s Top Master of Tax Law Programs at the University of Denver in a distance program designed for experienced professionals. He worked his way through school, graduating University of Denver and Whittier Law School and earning Dean’s List distinction at both institutions. He is a Partner in the law firm of http://www.GoldingLawyers.com.