October 7, 2009 - Phil Hodgen

Long term FBAR strategy question

I just got a call today from someone outside the U.S. This person (no gender, please) called from somewhere (no country, please) and didn’t want me to even use the first initial of his/her/its 🙂 name.

This person is a U.S. citizen I assume, based on command of the English language and the accent. LOLZ I am so perceptive!!11!1!

I have wall-to-wall meetings today but I want to get this onto the blog.

Extremely important question raised. EXTREMELY.

Someone who has lived overseas for a long time. Has never heard about the Form TD F 90-22.1. No clue. Never, obviously, filed this form.

This person is concerned. (!)

What should this person do, strategically?

  • Don’t file, stay underground?
  • File Form TD F 90-22.1 for 2008 only but not for prior years and hope to quietly build a long term track record of FBAR filings?
  • File Form TD F 90-22.1 for a few years only but not all six years for which it is currently due?
  • Go whole hog and jump into the amnesty vat and hope that this does not trigger collateral tax risks by the IRS poking around?
  • Variants on those themes may be imagined as well.

My off-the-cuff answer to him was that the IRS should be expected to be harsh, aggressive, and unforgiving in pursuing offshore account holders who do not Come to Jesus. Meaning that the possibility of waiver of penalties should be expected to run on a trendline to zero. I am not talking about potential tax evasion cases. Those are in a category by themselves. I am talking about people like my caller.

The actual answer I gave was an unvarnished, drunken-pirate potty-mouth epithet, and I will not share it here. 🙂 For that, you’ll have to follow me on Twitter. @philiphodgen

Comments from the lurkers? Email me anonymously and I will post your comments anonymously if you want.

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