Tax Relief Counsel:

Offshore Disclosure Attorney

The dedicated offshore disclosure attorney at Tax Relief Counsel is here to guide you through every step of your journey toward financial peace of mind. With reliable legal assistance, you can ensure that your assets – and your future – are protected.

Experienced Offshore Disclosure Lawyer in Washington, D.C.

Experienced Offshore Disclosure Lawyer in Washington, D.C.

Many Americans hold financial assets in foreign accounts. It’s important to remember that these assets must be reported to the IRS annually, regardless of where they’re located. As of December 2012, the IRS’s four offshore programs have resulted in more than 39,000 taxpayer disclosures.

To ensure full compliance with the federal government’s offshore disclosure requirements, we encourage you to connect with Tax Relief Counsel. Founder and seasoned attorney Ramy Shabana has a deep understanding of these requirements and can offer valuable insight into the disclosure process.

If you currently have assets in foreign countries you haven’t yet reported to the government, you’ll be pleased to learn that the IRS has various procedures to help you achieve compliance and minimize penalties, especially if your actions were non-willful

If you have any questions or concerns regarding offshore accounts, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our tax attorney for a free, confidential consultation.

U.S. Tax Laws and Foreign Financial Accounts

U.S. Tax Laws and Foreign Financial Accounts

The United States government requires its citizens and residents, including those living abroad, to report their worldwide income and foreign financial accounts.

If the total balance of a taxpayer’s foreign account exceeds $10,000 at any time during the year, they must file a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Account (FBAR). Additionally, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) requires the submission of Form 8938, which is used to report specified foreign financial assets.

The IRS can typically audit tax returns for up to three years. However, the statute of limitations can be extended if international information returns aren’t filed first. Civil penalties start at $10,000 for each unfiled international form per year, with the most common forms being Forms 8938, 5471, 5472, 3520, 3520-A, and 926.

When the IRS conducts an audit, they’ll inquire whether the taxpayer has any unreported income in overseas accounts. If the taxpayer purposefully didn’t file their international tax returns, they could face criminal penalties.

Given the high stakes involved in reporting foreign assets, working with a qualified offshore disclosure lawyer is crucial for achieving the best possible outcome in your situation.

What Are the Potential Consequences of Not Disclosing Offshore Assets?

Failing to report assets held in offshore accounts can lead to numerous potential consequences, including:

  • Civil Penalties: Non-compliance with offshore asset reporting requirements can result in civil penalties; these may vary based on factors like the value of the undisclosed assets and the number of years of non-compliance.
  • Interest Charges: Tax authorities may assess interest charges on unpaid taxes related to undisclosed offshore assets, further increasing the financial burden.
  • Criminal Penalties: Willful non-disclosure or tax evasion can lead to criminal penalties, including fines and potential imprisonment.

Other possible repercussions include tax liens and levies, loss of tax benefits, increased IRS scrutiny, and difficulty with future financial transactions.

Common Options for Disclosing Offshore Accounts

Common Options for Disclosing Offshore Accounts

The IRS provides multiple voluntary disclosure options to allow non-filers to accurately report their global income and file their international information returns. These options come with varying levels of protection, filing requirements, and penalties.

Streamlined Domestic Offshore Procedures (SDOP)

These procedures are for taxpayers who non-willfully failed to declare their foreign income and file FBARs.

These individuals must submit a thorough explanation of their behavior, amend their tax returns for three years, and file FBARs for six years. They must also pay the owed taxes, along with interest, penalties, and a 5% offshore penalty based on the highest value of their foreign accounts.

Streamlined Foreign Offshore Procedures (SFOP)

The SFOP provisions are similar to the domestic procedures, with a few key differences. They apply to individuals who don’t reside in the United States, and there’s no additional penalty for keeping their offshore assets.

Voluntary Disclosure Program (VDP)

The IRS’s Voluntary Disclosure Program allows taxpayers to come forward voluntarily and disclose their previously undisclosed offshore assets and income. It’s available to both willful and non-willful taxpayers.

Participants in the VDP are typically required to file amended tax returns and FBARs for multiple years and pay back taxes, interest, and certain penalties. The penalties under the VDP can vary based on the taxpayer’s specific circumstances.

Delinquent FBAR Submission Procedures

These procedures allow taxpayers who have failed to report and pay taxes on foreign income in a timely fashion to offer a statement explaining why they’re filing their FBARs late. There are no penalties for these procedures.

Quiet Disclosure

Quiet disclosure involves filing amended tax returns and international information returns outside the parameters of the IRS’s disclosure options. If tax authorities discover this, they could impose higher civil penalties than those for other disclosure options, making this a risky approach.

The following helpful table is designed to give you a better understanding of the IRS’s various disclosure options:

Disclosure Program
Eligibility Criteria
Non-Willful or Willful
Number of Years to Amend
FBAR Filing Requirement
Penalty Structure
Streamlined Domestic Offshore Procedure (SDOP)
U.S. taxpayers, including certain non-residents
3 years of tax returns
6 years of FBARs
Penalty based on undisclosed assets' highest balance
Streamlined Foreign Offshore Procedure (SFOP)
U.S. taxpayers residing abroad
3 years of tax returns
6 years of FBARs
Penalty based on undisclosed assets' highest balance
Voluntary Disclosure Program (VDP)
Typically for willful non-compliance
Varies by case
Varies by case
May include substantial civil penalties, depending on individual circumstances
Delinquent FBAR Submission Procedures
Taxpayers who only failed to file FBARs
Not applicable
None (FBARs for the past 6 years)
6 years of FBARs
Generally no specific penalties for late FBAR submissions
Quiet Disclosure
Any taxpayer who amends prior tax returns and FBARs without entering a formal program
May vary
Varies by case
Varies by case
Risks penalties if tax authorities discover the disclosure

If you’re uncertain which offshore disclosure program is best for your specific situation, we can help.

Ramy Shabana, our experienced tax attorney, has represented many clients in similar situations and can guide you through the process. He’ll assess your financial status and identify the potential risks you face. Contact us for a free consultation to learn more.

Protect Your Assets and Your Future - Get a Free Case Review

If you’re concerned about your non-disclosure, take the first step toward protecting your financial future by scheduling a no-cost case review with our offshore disclosure lawyer.

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How Our Tax Attorney Can Help You

Attorney Ramy Shabana can address your offshore tax compliance needs and concerns in various ways:

  • Case Assessment

    Ramy will thoroughly evaluate your circumstances, including your offshore assets, income, and past reporting history, to determine the best approach for compliance.

  • Program Guidance

    Our team will provide trustworthy guidance on the most suitable offshore disclosure option for your situation.

  • Form Preparation

    We’ll help you prepare and file the necessary tax forms and reports, such as FBAR and Form 8938, to ensure accuracy and completeness.

  • Penalty Mitigation

    We’ll work to minimize potential penalties through proper disclosure and compliance, taking into account your willful or non-willful status.

When you’re dealing with disclosure-related concerns, a qualified tax attorney is your greatest ally.


Why Choose
Tax Relief Counsel?

To the legal professionals at Tax Relief Counsel, you’re more than just a case number — you’re an individual and a partner in achieving tax compliance. You’ll enjoy the following benefits when you work with us.



What Is Reasonable Cause in Regard to Disclosures?

Reasonable cause is a type of explanation a taxpayer gives to justify their non-compliance. It applies in situations where the taxpayer has made a mistake in good faith by doing something incorrectly or not following the correct procedures.

To offer a reasonable cause, the taxpayer cannot be under investigation by the IRS for civil or criminal reasons. The IRS will thoroughly check all information and contributing circumstances to ensure that the taxpayer acted reasonably. Section of the Internal Revenue Manual covers the agency’s reasonable cause standards.

Reasonable cause is available to taxpayers who have tried their best to fulfill their tax obligations with care and prudence but still failed to comply. Although this option can potentially exempt them from penalties, it isn’t a guarantee — the IRS may still impose penalties if it finds that reasonable cause doesn’t exist.

The agency will thoroughly assess the situation, the reasons behind it, and the obstacles the taxpayer faced in complying. If their circumstances have changed, they must take appropriate action to rectify the errors. If they were aware of non-compliance but failed to act, they cannot claim reasonable cause.

Our experienced offshore disclosure attorney can help you navigate this process.

What Is Voluntary Disclosure?

Taxpayers who have made errors in their past tax filings can correct them through voluntary disclosure.

The IRS considers voluntary disclosures when deciding whether to recommend criminal prosecution. However, making a voluntary disclosure for offshore accounts doesn’t automatically provide immunity from prosecution. Nonetheless, it could be a factor in the decision not to recommend prosecution.

To make a voluntary disclosure to IRS Criminal Investigation, you must provide complete, truthful, and timely information. Additionally, as the taxpayer, you have an ongoing responsibility to work with the agency to address any tax liabilities, and you must make good faith efforts to pay any required taxes, interest, and penalties.

Who Processes Offshore Disclosures?

If you submit your disclosure through the streamlined program, whether domestic or foreign, it will be processed at the IRS’s Austin, Texas, office. However, if you have a more serious or pressing disclosure, it will go through pre-clearance in Philadelphia before being sent to Austin for processing and finally undergoing examination at a field office near you.

Delinquent FBARs can be filed online through the Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) website.

Request a No-Obligation Consultation Today

Compliance is within your reach. Schedule a free, confidential case review with Ramy Shabana, our offshore disclosure lawyer, to safeguard your financial future.