One wonders whether it is beneficial to remain out of the U.S. Tax Return filing compliance system or seriously consider being in compliance with U.S. laws on filing a U.S. Tax Return. Of course, one of the best methods in making this determination is to seek experienced and wise counsel to assist and guide you in such decisions. Either decision noted above is complex and froth with systemic consequences that may involve and/or last for years.
Recently, I was retained by a Dual Citizen, “DC”, having both foreign and U.S. citizenship as well as only recently learning of the filing of a U.S. tax return obligation. DC made a special trip to the U.S. to find competent legal/accounting counsel on this matter and spent almost an entire month interviewing firms and practitioners. Each interview produced differing approaches and vastly different fees/retainers. The interviews also ranged from no reliability on the consequences of filing vs non-filing to absolute guaranteed protection from the IRS. Interesting to note that the guaranteed protection from IRS action was given by a tax lawyer with a hefty fee of almost $100,000.
DC was pleased that I could answer all of the questions and almost anticipate the next question. After about an hour of questions and replies, I was then retained. My new client, DC, then told me that he was so confused and time was running out in finding a tax representative that he was thinking of going directly to the IRS for help. This was the most alarming statement that he made during the entire time in my office. Lets hope that this frustrating and exhaustion of time to find experienced and competent counsel does not lead a person to walk into an IRS office.
If you are looking at my site and have a similar situation or concern, please contact my office and I will be happy to discuss your situation under the protection of U.S. Attorney Client Legal Privilege, which is not afforded to Accountants, Enrolled Agents or others professing such a privilege. Please do not make a costly, false and, many times, irreversible step in the wrong direction.
Remember, one of the potential consequences of noncompliance with the U.S. tax laws is the imposition of civil penalties, which the IRS has over 100 civil tax penalties available in their Internal Revenue Code. It is not necessary to consider all 100 penalties when deciding whether to file a tax return, pay a tax owed, or report all taxable income. Rather, an individual needs to focus on the fundamental question of tax return filing, payment of taxes, and fraud penalties. Please don’t think that this is by any means simple or that a particular path to take is guaranteed to produce a certain outcome; this is absolutely not true in these complex areas. However, by working with the information of the client and the experience of myself and my office; together we will move forward with a plan that fits your unique situation with every effort to address your concerns and successfully overcome foreseeable obstacles to achieve your objectives. We are just 45 minutes from the San Francisco Airport, stop by for coffee and lets talk.
Prepared by Michael B. Nelson, Esq.
January 1, 2018.