Brager Tax Law Group Reveals Surprising Results of FBAR Contest Answers

Los Angeles, California, UNITED STATES

LOS ANGELES, June 9, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Dennis Brager, tax litigation attorney and founder of the Brager Tax Law Group, announced the results of the firm-sponsored contest designed to educate professionals, as well as taxpayers, about the complicated FBAR rules. "The results from some of the questions were very surprising," says Brager, "especially since over 50 percent of the respondents were CPAs and should know this information."

The most noticeable disagreement among contest participants was in response to the statement, "Ownership of foreign stocks must be disclosed on an FBAR." Over half of the respondents answered incorrectly. The answer is "it depends." Stocks must be disclosed if only if it is held in a financial account.

There was also disagreement about the statement, "If the IRS has served a John Doe summons on a bank, a taxpayer that has an account at that bank may no longer enter the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP)." Over 47 percent of respondents thought, incorrectly, that the statement was true. A taxpayer MAY still enter the OVDP.

Nearly 40 percent of respondents thought that only U.S. citizens and legal U.S. residents need to file FBAR forms. Other persons required to file FBAR forms include individuals present in the U.S. for 183 days or more during the calendar year.

Over 25 percent of respondents were unaware that if you tell your CPA about your foreign account, s/he CAN tell the IRS regardless of whether you give the CPA your permission to do so. "The results from this question are particularly disturbing," continued Brager, "since in a criminal tax investigation, one of the IRS's best sources of information, is the client's tax preparer."

In answering whether the owner of a foreign life insurance policy needs to report the policy on the FBAR form, nearly 25 percent of respondents did not know the correct answer – that it depends on the circumstances.

If you are interested in learning more about the results of the FBAR contest answers, Brager will conduct a webinar, "What Happens Off-Shore, Stays Off-Shore - NOT" on Thursday, June 12th at 11:30 a.m. PT. In this free one hour webinar, Brager will discuss the programs which non-compliant filers can use to solve their filing problems, the penalties for those who don't, as well as the pitfalls for CPAs whose clients fail to file FBARs. The webinar is available for MCLE credit for California attorneys. The contest winners will be announced during the webinar.

Sign up by clicking on the link or copying and pasting it into your browser:

Based in Los Angeles with a worldwide client base, the Brager Tax Law Group is a tax litigation and tax controversy law firm, which represents clients with tax disputes with the IRS, the California Franchise Tax Board (FTB), the State Board of Equalization (SBE) and the Employment Development Department (EDD). All of the firm's tax lawyers were former trial attorneys with the IRS.


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