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Foreign Account Reporting Obligations

Every year, United States “persons,” which include citizens, residents, corporations, partnerships, LLCs, trusts, and estates must report their foreign financial accounts if certain criteria are met. Under the Bank Secrecy Act, this information is submitted to the Treasury Department by filing an FBAR (Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts). If you have signature authority or a financial interest in one or more foreign accounts, and the aggregate value of the account(s) exceeds $10,000 at any point during the year, you must file an FBAR. Please note, filing an FBAR does not result in a tax consequence. The purpose is to report the existence of offshore accounts to the Treasury Department. My firm, the Law Office of Gerald W. Kelly, has assisted many clients with reporting their foreign accounts and disclosing accounts that have not been previously been reported. If you need assistance with any foreign financial account reporting obligations, my experience with offshore tax matters will help ensure full compliance with your legal responsibilities.

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Understanding Your Foreign Account Responsibilities

If you are uncertain if you have an FBAR filing obligation, please contact me. Generally, if you have some authority over a foreign bank account or accounts, and the total value is over $10,000 during the course of the year, you have an FBAR filing obligation that year. It is important to note, whether or not an overseas account generates income is irrelevant to whether there is an FBAR filing obligation. I have many years of experience guiding clients through the complexities of managing their foreign accounts and the applicable legal responsibilities. With my guidance and tax knowledge, I can advise you on when and how to file your FBAR each year.

Voluntary Disclosure

If you had an obligation to file FBARs for prior years but failed to do so, you could be facing severe monetary penalties or possibly criminal prosecution if prompt action is not taken. Previously, there was a program whose sole purpose was to get taxpayers into FBAR filing compliance called the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP). The OVDP is now closed. However, the general Voluntary Disclosure Practice is still in place at the IRS, which might be a good option based on your specific facts and circumstances. If you believe you have failed to timely report foreign bank accounts, please contact me to discuss how we can help minimize your civil and criminal exposure. At the Law Office of Gerald W. Kelly, you can count on my 29 years of experience to ensure zealous representation as my firm guides you through the process of foreign account and activity reporting. Give my office a call today for legal assistance with your foreign accounts and offshore tax-related issues.

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