A primary focus of Wilson Tax Law Group is offshore voluntary disclosure and tax compliance. The U.S. government and its international partners are aggressively pursuing individuals and entities that have income or assets outside the U.S. who have not disclosed and reported these assets or paid U.S. taxes from these assets. This applies to all US taxpayers and green card holders living domestically and abroad or a foreign national residing in the U.S. with foreign income, foreign bank accounts, or financial assets. These people may be required to disclose these assets on a U.S. tax return, a U.S. FinCEN Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (“FBAR,” formerly known as Form TD F 90-22.1) and/or other U.S. informational returns. Failure to properly disclose foreign income, foreign financial accounts, or foreign assets can result in significant civil and criminal penalties. Individuals or entities who have previously underreported or failed to disclose foreign source income and/or have unreported foreign bank accounts or other assets may be eligible to participate in the one of the Internal Revenue Service's offshore disclosure programs to take advantage of reduced penalties or to make a voluntary disclosure to avoid criminal liability. Although on September 28, 2018, the IRS closed its longstanding Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (formerly "OVDP" and “OVDI”), there are new procedures and other existing offshore programs that clients can still use to resolve undisclosed offshore assets.
The 2014 OVDP began as a modified version of the OVDP launched in 2012, which followed voluntary disclosure programs offered in 2011 and 2009. These programs are designed for individuals and entities with exposure to potential criminal liability or substantial civil penalties due to a willful failure to report foreign financial assets and pay all tax due in respect of those assets. These programs provide clients with such exposure potential protection from criminal liability and terms for resolving their civil tax and penalty obligations. Although the IRS ended the 2014 OVDP, there is a new procedure in place available for clients with exposure to criminal liability from nondisclosure of offshore assets (or domestic reporting concerns) to come into compliance and potentially avoid criminal prosecution.
For clients with unfiled returns or unreported income that have no exposure to criminal liability or substantial civil penalties due to willful noncompliance the IRS programs that can be used to come into compliance include: the Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedures (SFCP), including the Streamlined Foreign Offshore Procedures and the Streamline Domestic Offshore Procedures; the Delinquent FBAR Submission Procedures; the Delinquent International Information Return Submission Procedures programs. Although any of these other programs could be discontinued by the IRS at any time, these programs are still available if the relevant criteria is satisfied.
Making an offshore disclosure may or may not be appropriate for every individual or entity with previously undisclosed foreign financial assets, income, or foreign financial accounts. Whether an individual or entity should participate in a particular offshore disclosure program depends on the individual facts and circumstances. The determination of whether conduct meets the definition of willful vs. non-willful is a legal determination. It should not be made lightly and without the expert advice of an experienced criminal defense tax attorney. Wilson Tax Law Group has successfully represented individuals, controlled foreign companies, foreign trusts and other entities navigate these treacherous waters and come into compliance without further fear of criminal prosecution and draconian penalties. If you have undisclosed foreign income, undisclosed foreign accounts, or undisclosed foreign assets, it is extremely important that you retain the services of an experienced tax attorney who regularly practices in this area of law and who will protect your rights, safeguard your interests, and work proactively with the Internal Revenue Service, the US Department of Justice, the US Attorney’s Office and state taxing agencies. Wilson Tax Law Group can help you get into compliance with the Internal Revenue Service and minimize or work to eliminate your exposure to any offshore penalties and other problems.
Representation of Financial Institutions before the United States Government
On August 29, 2013, the U.S. offered a Voluntary Disclosure Program for Swiss Banks to resolve previously undeclared income from U.S. account holders. The U.S. government is expected to expand the voluntary disclosure to financial institutions outside of Switzerland. Wilson Tax Law Group is available to consult with any Swiss or foreign financial institution in regards to the compliance requirements necessary to enter into the new Voluntary Disclosure Program. We are also available to consult with any foreign financial advisor potentially facing penalties or prosecution in the U.S. in regards to the advice provided to U.S. account holders. This includes bankers and other wealth advisors who may have been involved in advising clients with offshore arrangements, including back-to-back loans and other types of activities.
Offshore Banking Representation in IRS Civil Audits and Criminal Investigations
Wilson Tax Law Group is available to assist individuals who are being audited by the Internal Revenue Service relating to undisclosed foreign income or offshore banking. Having former IRS and U.S. Department of Justice experience, Wilson Tax Law Group has a high degree of "in the trenches” experience in these extremely complex areas unknown to so many. This enables us to effectively represent our clients dealing with Internal Revenue Service auditors, criminal investigators, or federal prosecutors. Wilson Tax Law Group has trial counsel experience in matters involving offshore tax compliance and offshore penalty cases. This includes the criminal investigation stage and in some cases through the sentencing process. If you are currently being audited by the IRS or investigated by the U.S. government, please don’t wait and call us to arrange a consultation with an international tax attorney. We will aggressively advocate on your behalf to protect your freedom and assets.
Foreign Tax Compliance
Wilson Tax Law Group has extensive experience advising our clients and CPA’s how to properly disclose their foreign transactions in our preparation of our clients’ U.S. tax returns, including the following:
- • Passive Foreign Investment Company Reporting (“PFIC”) on Internal Revenue Service Form 8621. We advise our clients regarding making Qualified Electing Fund (“QEF”) and Mark-to-Mark elections which can avoid an extremely harsh tax treatment if not timely made..
- • Preparation of U.S. FinCEN Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (“FBAR,” formerly known as Form TD F 90-22.1)
- • Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets, Form 8938 (“FATCA”).
- • Annual Return to Report Transactions with Form Trusts and Receipt of Foreign Gifts on Form 3520. In regards to preparing Form 3520s, we advise our clients on how to properly disclose Canadian Registered Retirement Plans, including: Registered Retirement Savings Plans “RRSP,” Registered Retirement Income Funds “RRIFs,” Canadian Profit Sharing Pension Plans “PSPs,” United Kingdom Employer-Financed Retirement Benefits Scheme “EFURB” or “EFRBS,” and Australia Superannuation accounts.
- • Advising clients with interests in foreign corporations if Form 5471s are required to be filed. If Form 5471s are required to be filed, we can assist and provide advice on the preparation of the necessary Form 5471s.