Lack of Knowledge May Not Be a Defense for Much Longer…

One area of concern for U.S. Persons (generally those who meet the substantial presence test, Green Card holders, and U.S. Citizens) that has recently received a lot of attention, is the requirement to declare worldwide income, file U.S.┬áincome tax returns and the requirement to file various information Forms, including the Foreign Bank Account Reports (“FBAR”).

Those who have failed to file the required forms or report the required income have some options to become compliant. However, during a joint Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, and Department of Justice speaker panel at the 33rd Annual Miami International Tax Conference, the government has indicated that they are starting to closely scrutinize those who claim ignorance of these rules in light of all the publicity this topic has received over the last several year. Based on their comments, it appears that we may be approaching a point where the ignorance defense may be harder and harder to believe.

Further, based on repeated comments about the transient nature of the current compliance programs, in light of the foreign reporting requirements pursuant to the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (“FATCA”) and the Global Reporting Standard (a/k/a “Global FATCA”) it appears that the government may be considering the termination of these programs, without warning, in the no too distant future.

Thus, if you have been remiss in my your compliance with your reporting requirements, you should not delay consulting with an attorney to discuss your options.

Disclaimer: This Article is meant to provide general information only and is not intended to be used as legal advice.