Has the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) contacted you about your tax return? If you’ve received one of those daunting letters, you need to take action quickly. Here are five important components you need to know about Foreign Bank Account Reporting (FBAR) amnesty:


1. Reasons to Participate

The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) came into force in 2010. Since it’s fairly new legislation, taxpayers are just now becoming familiar with it. FATCA was created to address the problem of overseas tax evasion, but sometimes responsible taxpayers also get caught in its wide-ranging oversight.

If the IRS has contacted you for tax compliance issues, it is highly recommended you reach out to an international tax advisor to help you participate in an amnesty program. Doing so can help you avoid severe penalties and possible criminal charges. If you decide to partake in the amnesty program, you should do so immediately as the IRS allows amnesty only for limited periods.

2. Range of Penalties

Consequences of failing to file or underreporting your foreign accounts can be quite daunting. Serious offenses often warrant steep financial fines. As of 2014, an unintentional FBAR violation can result in a $10,000 penalty, whereas a willful one merits a fine of $100,000 or greater (typically 50% of the account value in question).

A worst case scenario would jail time of up to 10 years. It’s not surprising then that taxpayers are choosing to participate in the IRS amnesty programs.

3. Program Options

The IRS offers a selection of amnesty options that can help you delay or settle back taxes. One option involves submitting an amended tax return in case you made an error in previous filings. Another helps you negotiate partial payment, where you can work toward paying off your debt in small monthly installments.

Whatever option you end up choosing, you have to remember that resolving an IRS violation should not be treated as a onetime event. Enlist the help of a professional in mapping out a long-term compliance plan to avoid similar issues in the future.

4. Eligibility

These options for FBAR amnesty in Washington, DC and available nation-wide as well, are open to individual taxpayers as well as businesses facing tax compliance issues. These include U.S. residents and expatriates who have overseas accounts, assets and investments being questioned by the IRS. Dual-citizenship individuals, banks, trusts and trust companies facing similar tax questions and liabilities may also quality for relief.

5. Process

US International Tax Advisors, a leading expert in international tax compliance cases, has helped many taxpayers get started on an amnesty program. Our first step is determining the option that will work best for you. Then we help you organize required documentation and file necessary financial account disclosures. Our FATCA consultants in Washington, DC, are also ready to represent you to the IRS as well as U.S. Tax and District Courts should the need arise.

If the IRS has already sent you a letter regarding a FATCA or FBAR violation, remember that there are several options you can consider. Should you choose to participate in an IRS amnesty program, give us a call at (844) 796-8565.