The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) relies on taxpayers to voluntarily report their earnings every year. Individuals and businesses are often required to provide statements on the financial assets they hold, including in overseas financial accounts. For international accounts, the law requires compliance with something known as FBAR.

If you are delinquent in providing this information to the government at the time you file your taxes, a Fairfax FBAR lawyer could explain your options for resolving the issue administratively. A seasoned tax lawyer understands your reporting obligations and advises on how you can disclose the relevant information without incurring an investigation.

What is FBAR?

The Report of Foreign Banks and Financial Accounts (FBAR) is a document that certain taxpayers may be required to provide to the IRS. This requirement is intended to ensure individuals or businesses are reporting the foreign-held assets that would otherwise be difficult for the IRS to oversee.

This report is designed to inform the government of the full extent of your holdings and does not come with a distinct tax obligation. Unlike other forms, this one is not provided directly to the IRS. Instead, it is submitted to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCen), which is a subdivision of the United States Treasury Department.

Currently, there is a $10,000 threshold that must be met before a person is required to report their foreign-held financial accounts. This amount applies cumulatively to all assets held overseas, at any point during the year, even if that amount is lower at the end of the year.

Understanding Your FBAR Obligations

Each year, the Treasury Department sets the date of April 15 as the deadline for submission of your FBAR documents. However, this time limit is not strictly enforced. If you fail to submit your forms on time, the government automatically extends the deadline to October 15 of the same year. This is done without the need to request one.

You will need to consider all your financial assets held in foreign accounts when determining if you are required to file. While the cumulative value of your overseas accounts is taken into consideration, there are other times when you will not need to take any further action.

For example, assets held as part of larger investments might not require inclusion. This could include pension accounts and trusts where the trustee is required to file an FBAR. A Fairfax attorney could advise on which of your assets should be included when filing an FBAR.

How to Handle Delinquent Filings

While there are penalties associated with failing to properly file your FBAR, the law also provides opportunities to resolve any delinquencies. A Fairfax FBAR attorney could help you address these issues and ensure full compliance. The lookback period for FBAR filings is only six years, so any failure to report from before that point cannot be a cause of action.

If you have failed to properly file this form but are not at risk of criminal exposure, providing a delinquent filing may be enough. In other instances, it may be necessary to also complete a voluntary disclosure outlining to the IRS the extent of your overseas holdings.

It is not enough to notify the IRS about a late filing, however. As part of resolving the delinquent FBAR, you will need to include a brief narrative explaining why it was not originally filed on time. This is an option when the taxpayer can establish that their lack of compliance was not willful.

Call an FBAR Attorney in Fairfax Today

While mistakes can happen, it is frequently possible to resolve delinquent FBAR filings through administrative means. The right attorney could put you on a path to correct any improper paperwork. Reach out to a Fairfax FBAR lawyer to discuss the best way to resolve this tax reporting issue.

Attorney John Pontius

Pontius Tax Law, PLLC is a tax law firm that strives to resolve sensitive tax problems through trust, dedication and value. The law firm was founded by John Pontius with offices in Washington, DC,  Rockville, MD, Bethesda, MD, Fairfax, VA, and Alexandria, VA. Mr. Pontius represents individual and business clients with sensitive and serious tax matters before the Internal Revenue Service and state taxing authorities. His client base is local, national, and international.

Over the course of his career, Mr. Pontius has represented businesses and individuals with complex tax issues in the following areas: FBAR examinations, offshore and domestic disclosures, FATCA, FIRPTA, tax planning, unfiled tax returns, release of tax liens and levies, trust fund recovery penalty, IRS and state audit examinations, as well as appeals, penalty abatement, U.S. Tax Court litigation, along with defense of tax fraud and evasion. If you require assistance from a tax lawyer, contact Mr. Pontius to discuss your situation.

Client Reviews
John helped us with a DC tax audit and succeeded in getting us a "no change" final decision. The issues were related to two flow-through entities and the use of carry-forward operating losses -- something that the DC auditors struggled to understand and with which they did not have any...
Paul A
Mr. Pontius is extremely professional and was able to take care of my tax returns which includes international bank accounts quickly and at a very reasonable price. Would definitely recommend.
I received a fee this past November from the IRS for over $800 because of an error I made on my 2016 taxes. I called my cousin, John Pontius, and he immediately knew what steps needed to be taken. Thanks to him, the fee was cleared. A 10 minute conversation...
As an American citizen living in the Middle East my local banker informed me that I needed to file FBARs and report my worldwide income to the IRS. Through the recommendation of another attorney at an international law firm, I was introduced to John Pontius. Mr. Pontius efficiently and effectively...
Kareem S
John handled a difficult IRS lien for my client. He was excellent in getting the lien released so we could close on the property. I would highly recommend John .
Bobbie M
We were seeking tax advice with managing two properties, LLC, as well as some future financial planning. John responded to my call in a timely manner and was happy to answer our questions while referring us to specialists who can manage our accounts on a more regular basis.
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