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The Colliot Decision: The Government Loses an FBAR Case that May Change International Reporting Penalties

In FBAR, International Tax by Jason FreemanLeave a Comment

A recent federal court decision may stand existing FBAR litigation on its head. The Colliot decision—issued out of the District Court for the Western District of Texas—offers a new take on “willful” FBAR penalties.  And the government doesn’t like it.   The defendant, Colliot, argued that the IRS acted “arbitrary and capriciously” in assessing penalties against him that exceeded those allowed under …

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The Paradise Papers Continue to Shed Light on the Use of Offshore Tax Havens

In FATCA, FBAR, Offshore Tax, OVDP by Jason Freeman and Spencer BanksLeave a Comment

The Paradise Papers represent the latest large-scale leak of financial documents believed to link thousands of companies and individuals to hidden offshore accounts and secret tax havens.  The leak was massive, totaling some 1,400GB of data—that translates to an estimated 13.4 million documents covering a period from 1950 to 2016.[i]Nearly half of the leaked documents come from corporate registries in …

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IRS Required to Return FBAR “Penalty:” Penalty was “Illegally Exacted”

In Bank Secrecy Act, FBAR, White Collar, Willfulness by Jason FreemanLeave a Comment

The much-anticipated decision in Bedrosian v. United States was released on Wednesday of this week, and it did not fail to disappoint—unless, of course, you find yourself on the latter side of the “v” in the case caption.  The case presented a fundamental FBAR issue: was Bedrosian’s failure to report his foreign account “willful?”  If it was, he would have …

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How the FBAR’s “Willfulness” Element Has Recently Evolved

In FBAR, White Collar, Willfulness by freemanlawdevLeave a Comment

The FBAR (FinCEN Form 114) requires United States persons to report any foreign financial accounts in which the person has signatory authority or a financial interest if the total value of such accounts exceeds $10,000.[1] In 2004, the IRS obtained the ability to impose non-willful civil penalties against those persons that fail to report such foreign accounts. Prior to that, …

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Litigating FBAR Penalties: The Burden of Proof and the Meaning of Willfulness

In Bank Secrecy Act, Defenses, FBAR, Tax Litigation, White Collar, Willfulness by Jason FreemanLeave a Comment

The recent case of United States v. Bohanec, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 170149 (Dec. 8, 2016) provides the latest glimpse into the world of FBAR penalty litigation. Among other things, the case looks at two interesting and important procedural issues: the meaning of willfulness and the burden of proof necessary to prove it. In Bohanec, the government asserted a penalty …