BOCA RATON, FL--(Marketwire - Sep 13, 2012) - Tens of thousands of US citizens and permanent residents who for years have been enjoying the advantages of off-shore bank accounts without the tax ramifications are now being squeezed out of anonymity and into the spotlight, thanks to the IRS' Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). In response to this act, Richard Lehman, a South Florida tax attorney and FATCA expert, is providing a one-hour webinar presentation explaining the key elements of FATCA, and steps affected taxpayers must take immediately to protect themselves. The free webinar is available online.
The purpose of FATCA is to hold US taxpayers accountable for taxes they owe on financial investments held overseas. Failing to file the right documents could have dire consequences. The webinar will explain the requirements and discuss the latest Internal Revenue Service Amnesty program for unreported foreign assets.
The Amnesty Program offers affected taxpayers a way to fix their situation while avoiding potentially worse financial exposure and even possible jail time. The program includes five important components:
1. The taxpayer must file up to 8 years of amended tax returns on the overseas account
2. The taxpayer must pay taxes on the omitted income
3. The taxpayer must pay a 20% "accuracy penalty" on the taxes due
4. The taxpayer must pay interest on the unpaid taxes
5. The taxpayer must pay a penalty equal to 27.5% of the highest bank account balance and other asset values
FATCA will also require foreign financial institutions ("FFIs") to report directly to the IRS certain information about financial accounts held by U.S. taxpayers, or by foreign entities in which U.S. taxpayers hold a substantial ownership interest. To properly comply with these new reporting requirements, an FFI will have to enter into a special agreement with the IRS by June 30, 2013.
Lehman says that America is in desperate need of money, and FATCA is one way of getting it from taxpayers. "Thankfully, congress has been intelligent enough to make sure we do not have thousands of tax criminals by providing a path to cleansing the tax past via the tax Amnesty Program," he says.
"To benefit from The Amnesty Program, however, taxpayers need professionals who know what they are doing. There are legal safeguards and different levels of payments and taxes," he says. Lehman represents many taxpayers who are coming forward under the amnesty program and says that, in many cases, a savvy tax expert can reduce the penalties owed.
"Taxpayers need to take immediate action to cover themselves and find out if they are eligible to reduce their penalties," Lehman says.
To take advantage of Lehman's free online FATCA webinar, visit http://www.ustaxlawseminars.com/seminars/new-i-r-s-amnesty-fatca-ffi-reporting/.