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    The U.S. Tax Code contains numerous laws specific to business entities, foreign companies, and international taxpayers, such as U.S. expats or dual citizens. For those who are starting or operating a business, conducting business in multiple countries, or have other financial ties to another nation, the tax regulations and information reporting requirements are complex and myriad. Likewise, the penalties for noncompliance can be severe – particularly in cases where the taxpayer’s conduct is deemed deliberate, or “willful.”

    The United States government requires certain taxpayers to report and pay taxes not only upon domestic income, but additionally, non-U.S. income that exceeds certain thresholds set by federal law. This requirement means that taxpayers who have foreign assets, such as offshore bank accounts, business or investment are obligated to report such assets to the IRS for foreign information and income tax purposes. Some of these requirements are established by a federal law known as FATCA, or the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act. Failure to comply with FATCA can trigger severe IRS penalties, particularly if the noncompliance was willful rather than negligent or accidental.

    The Tax Law Office of David W. Klasing is an award-winning boutique Oakland Tax Law Firm with a strong focus on international tax law, an area in which our staff of Tax Attorneys and CPAs have earned a reputation for providing superior international tax representation, planning and compliance. With decades of experience helping U.S. citizens, residents, and non-residents resolve complex offshore and domestic tax issues, we dedicate ourselves to delivering strategic, effective, and cost-efficient support that mitigates penalties, lowers tax liabilities, and facilitates sustained FATCA , foreign information and income tax compliance.

    International Tax Lawyers in Oakland, CA

    All U.S. persons with foreign income must report such income and related information to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) under federal tax laws like the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA). The IRS defines the term “U.S. persons” to include the following:

    • U.S. business entities of all structures
    • U.S. citizens (including dual citizens)
    • U.S. residents
    • U.S. trusts and estates

    Tax Planning Services for Foreign Companies

    Our international business tax lawyers work with companies based all over the world, including entities that are headquartered or do business in Australia, Ecuador, Hong Kong, Luxembourg, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. We also work with businesses that are headquartered outside of the state of California, including online sellers who have sales tax obligations in California. We assist foreign and domestic companies with tax planning, tax audits, employment and payroll (FICA) tax compliance, and other business tax matters.

    Tax Lawyers for Expats

    Living or working abroad does not release a U.S. taxpayer from his or her federal tax obligations. If a taxpayer is treated as a U.S. person, and has offshore income or assets, the taxpayer must timely report and pay taxes on the assets, provided their value meets certain thresholds. This extends to foreign savings accounts, foreign checking accounts, foreign business accounts, and even international wire transfers or Bitcoin wallets. Two of the most important tax requirements for reporting offshore income are the following:

    1. Filing a Foreign Bank Account Report (FBAR), or FinCEN Form 114
    2. Filing Form 8938 (Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets)

    Failure to meet these and other requirements will subject the taxpayer to civil and/or criminal penalties, depending on whether his or her conduct is deemed “willful” by IRS investigators. Therefore, it is essential for taxpayers to comply with FBAR and related laws. An FBAR tax attorney can facilitate this process while protecting the taxpayer’s rights and advocating for a resolution that is in the taxpayer’s best interests.

    What is the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)?

    The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, better known simply as “FATCA,” was passed by Congress in 2010 in an effort to reduce tax losses caused by offshore tax evasion, or the practice of concealing income overseas. FATCA is a two-pronged law that applies to both “foreign financial institutions” (FFIs), such as foreign banks, and individual U.S. taxpayers, who are generally required to report worldwide income to the federal government. FFIs and taxpayers who fail to comply with FATCA can be penalized on a civil basis, or even criminally prosecuted – a first in FATCA history.

    Because banks can be fined for FATCA noncompliance, there is a powerful incentive to cooperate with the United States government. As such, U.S. taxpayers should not rely on foreign banks to protect their privacy where the IRS is concerned. If you use a foreign bank, or have taxable income generating assets, business or investment overseas, including offshore Bitcoin, FATCA may affect you directly. If you have already received a FATCA letter from your bank, it is urgent that you contact an international tax law attorney for assistance right away.

    FATCA Countries 2019

    The continued success of FATCA depends upon the willingness of governments to work with one another on detecting offenders and enforcing compliance. Accordingly, the United States has entered intergovernmental agreements (IGAs) with nations all over the world – among them, numerous locations that are well-known as tax havens for companies. Countries that have entered IGAs with the United States as of 2019 include, but are not limited to, the following:

    Who is Subject to IRS FATCA Reporting Requirements?

    Thousands of taxpayers are subject to FATCA requirements, yet unfortunately, many fail to realize their foreign information and income tax reporting obligations – until they have already received an alarming notice from the IRS. Because FATCA is both broad in scope and relatively little-known among most taxpayers, numerous Californians and expats alike have been affected or have imminent exposure. You may be subject to federal FATCA regulations if you meet the following IRS foreign account reporting criteria:

    1. You meet the IRS’ definition of a “specified individual,” which means you are a U.S. citizen or, depending on the situation, a resident or non-resident alien. This can include dual citizens who live outside the United States.
    2. You have an interest in offshore financial assets. This typically involves a taxpayer who has a non-U.S. bank account. However, FATCA also covers foreign stocks and securities, along with FFI investment accounts. FATCA generally excludes foreign real estate, foreign currency, and tangible assets like vehicles or jewelry for foreign information reporting purposes. Note: An asset not being reportable for FACTA does not mean it also is not reportable for income tax purposes.
    3. The value of your foreign assets meets or exceeds the pertinent FATCA thresholds.

    Filing Form 8938

    If you meet the criteria above, you are likely subject to FATCA and should discuss your tax situation with an experienced tax attorney or CPA as soon as possible. If FATCA applies to you, you are required to file with the IRS Form 8938 (Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets). Failure to file Form 8938 may result in a penalty of up to $10,000 per violation, plus an additional maximum penalty of $50,000 for continued noncompliance, making strict and timely adherence to FATCA imperative.

    Related FBAR Requirements

    If you are subject to FATCA, you are likely also affected by a law called the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA). Similar to the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, the BSA requires certain taxpayers to report offshore assets, which is accomplished by filing an FBAR (Foreign Bank Account Report). Despite this overlap, there are also several significant differences between FATCA and FBAR filing requirements, including the following:

    • At $10,000, the reporting threshold for FBAR is lower – and therefore, more easily triggered – than the thresholds for FATCA.
    • To fulfill FATCA requirements, taxpayers file Form 8938. To comply with the FBAR requirement under the BSA, taxpayers file an electronic form called FinCEN Form 114 – otherwise known as the Foreign Bank Account Report, or FBAR.
    • Different groups of taxpayers are impacted by the laws. The requirement to file Form 8938 applies to “specified individuals,” which, to reiterate, may include U.S. citizens, residents, and non-residents. By comparison, the FBAR requirement applies to “U.S. persons,” which includes citizens and residents, but excludes non-residents.

    On a related and critical note, filing an FBAR does not relieve the taxpayer of his or her duty to file Form 8938, or vice versa. If you are subject to both requirements, you must file both forms. They are separate tax requirements governed by similar, but distinct, laws.

    Oakland Tax Lawyers and CPAs for FATCA Compliance Help

    If you maintain a checking account, savings account, or business account with a bank located outside the United States, you may need to report foreign income under FATCA or FBAR disclosure laws. These laws can also affect taxpayers who have foreign cryptocurrency wallets, foreign stocks, or who own or do business with foreign companies.

    Fortunately, the proficient FATCA and FBAR tax attorneys at the Tax Law Office of David W. Klasing are here to make compliance simpler and less financially burdensome. By evaluating potential disclosure options, we can help you correct past mistakes, while designing a strategy to help you comply more successfully going forward. Depending on the circumstances, it may be appropriate to file an amended return, file a delinquent FBAR, file a delinquent Form 8938, utilize the new IRS voluntary disclosure procedures, make a streamlined disclosure or domestic streamlined disclosure, or pursue other options.

    Our Oakland International Tax Attorneys Can Help

    Whether we are working with a multinational Fortune 500 company, or a local startup that needs to prepare to open for business in Oakland, we dedicate a high level of focus, care, and precision to every tax case we handle. From drafting and assessing contracts, to providing aggressive trial representation, our team of Oakland business tax lawyers is ready to assist your business with all aspects of its tax needs. For a reduced-rate consultation concerning an international or employment tax question, contact our law offices online, call our offices at (510) 764-1020 or at (800) 681-1295.

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    Representing Clients from U.S. and International Locations Regarding Federal and California Tax Issues

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    Main Office

    Orange County
    2601 Main St. Penthouse Suite
    Irvine, CA 92614
    (949) 681-3502

    Our headquarters is located in Irvine, CA. Our beautiful 19,700 office space is staffed full-time and always available for our clients to meet with our highly qualified and experienced staff of Attorneys, Certified Public Accountants and Enrolled Agents. We also offer virtual consultations and can travel to meet with clients in one of our satellite offices.

    Outside of our 4 hour initial consultation option, we do not charge travel time or travel expenses when traveling to one of our Satellite offices, or surrounding business districts, where it is necessary to meet personally with taxing authority personnel, make court appearances, or any in person meeting deemed necessary for the effective representation of a client. To make this as flexible, efficient, and convenient as possible, David W. Klasing is an Instrument Rated Private Pilot and Utilizes the Firms Cirrus SR22 to service client’s in California and in the Southwest by air. Offices outside these areas are serviced via commercial jet airlines. None of these costs are charged to our clients.

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