Opinions and Legal Insights

FBAR Lawyers: International Representation in FBAR & FATCA 2021


FBAR Lawyers 

FBAR Lawyers: The FBAR is the Foreign Bank and Financial Account Reporting Form (aka FinCEN Form 114). It is required by U.S. persons, including individuals, entities, trusts and estates. There are only a few attorneys worldwide that specialize exclusively in Foreign Account & Asset Reporting.   The IRS enforces the FBAR, and the failure to file it — or filing it late or untimely — may results in fines and penalties. If you missed the filing and are considering filing delinquent FBARs, you should speak with experienced counsel. In recent years, the IRS has turned it focus on foreign accounts compliance. It has become a key enforcement priority for the IRS – and offshore penalties can be staggering. We will explain how to hire effective FBAR Lawyers, so that you can safely report your foreign accounts. We will also explain what to watch out for when researching the legal marketplace.

FBAR Lawyers for International Offshore Tax Compliance

FBAR Lawyers for International Offshore Tax Compliance

Hiring Experienced FBAR Lawyers

Experienced FBAR Lawyers are Board-Certified Tax Law Specialists. Other Attorneys will claim they specialize in FBAR matters, but then you learn that these attorneys are only marketing that they specialize in FBAR, and are not board-certified. 

Each year, many clients come to us after having retained less-experienced counsel, and were misled about the program, attorney-client privilege, and what a “Kovel” letter is.

Questions to Ask FBAR Lawyers Before Hiring Counsel

These are the five (5) Most Important Requirements when hiring FBAR Lawyers:

How Much Experience does the FBAR Lawyer have as a Practicing Attorney?

To be highly effective , FBAR Lawyers generally will have 20 years of attorney experience. Until then, they have not yet gained the necessary experience to represent clients in complex tax matters, such as streamlined filing and offshore disclosure cases.

When it comes to offshore disclosure, one of the key components is developing and executing an offshore submission legal strategy. FBAR lawyers who specialize in this area of tax and law spend countless hours assessing client facts, to develop the best plan possible under the client’s specific circumstances. That is why you need an attorney with extensive experience, and a strong background in litigation and trial work.

Just working in a non-legal role for the IRS or an accounting or finance firm provides no experience to draw from when it comes to handling offshore voluntary disclosure. These smaller, less-experienced firms are notorious for submitting willful clients into the streamlined program to make a quick buck off the consumer.

We inherit these types of cases all the time:

Is the FBAR Attorney a Board-Certified Tax Law Specialist?

The Board-Certified Tax Law Specialist credential is the top credential in tax law. Most highly-experienced OVDP lawyers will have earned this credential. It is earned by less than 1% of attorneys nationwide. The test is offered in many states, such as California, Texas, Florida, Arizona and more.

Since IRS tax law is federal law (a practitioner must only be licensed as an attorney in one state to practice federal tax law) and the credential is so coveted — many attorneys will seek out licensing in another state that offers the exam, just so they can sit for the exam, and become a board-certified specialist (the exam requires significant tax experience, education and recommendations from attorneys and judges).

*The credential requires several continuing tax law education classes in tax law every 3-years.

Did the Attorney earn a Master’s of Tax Law Degree (LL.M.)?

Most FBAR Lawyers have earned a Master’s of Tax Law is the highest degree a person can earn in tax (for practicing tax attorneys). It requires many graduate level tax law classes in areas such as: International Tax, Estate Tax, Retirement & Pension Tax, and Corporate Tax.

How Many FBAR Disclosures Has the Attorney Prepared?

This is a crucial question.

Just earning a CPA or EA credential and/or LL.M.,  does not substitute for extensive offshore disclosure experience — it complements it.

They say it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill. We will tell you, NO ONE ever masters tax law. But, if your attorney has earned advanced tax credentials and handled several hundred streamlined cases and offshore voluntary disclosure program submissions, you will be in good hands. When pressed, if the OVDP lawyers you are interviewing respond to this question with a “a good amount,” “a few dozen,” or “many” – but refuse to provide you a solid number or range – it means they are probably not as experienced as they want you to believe.

Dually-Licensed & Board-Certified Tax Specialist FBAR Lawyer

In addition to having 20 years of attorney experience, being a Board-Certified Specialist and having earned a Master’s of Tax Law, the lead attorney should also be a licensed Enrolled Agent or CPA, and the attorney’s team should handle the entire matter, in-house — flat-fee, full-service. 

Attorney Fees for Streamlined Filing Cases 

Streamlined Domestic and Streamlined Foreign Disclosure representation is a complicated and unique representation model. That is because when done correctly, the lead attorney will be dually-licensed as an Attorney/Enrolled Agent or Attorney/CPA — and handle both the Tax and Legal portions of the submission.

This also works to protect the attorney-client privilege, which can be jeopardized when Kovel Letters are misused — and they often are by less-experienced counsel.

Streamlined Filing Lawyer fees will vary based on each case, but at Golding & Golding our experienced Streamlined Filing Lawyers always charge a flat-fee for full-service representation.

The fee includes:

  • Tax Preparation
  • Legal representation
  • Examination Protection*

*Unlike other attorneys, we do not charge extra for audits or examinations. We stand by our submissions, and if a client is audited for their submission, we represent our clients for no additional fee.

**While not all applicants will be audited, Streamlined Audits and FBAR audits are on the rise.  

We Specialize in FBAR & FATCA

Our firm specializes exclusively in international tax, and specifically IRS offshore disclosure, FBAR and FATCA.

Contact our firm today for assistance with getting compliant.

The post FBAR Lawyers: International Representation in FBAR & FATCA 2021 appeared first on International Tax Lawyers – IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure.