Receiving news that your visa to enter the United States has been approved after years of waiting is a day few immigrants will ever forget. For many, coming to the United States and particularly California is a way for many to seek new and exciting opportunities for themselves and their children. While some people coming to the Unites States may do so to escape violence and unrest at home, others may come to escape horrific pollution in their former nation, or to provide better education for their children.
Coming to the United States and putting down permanent roots certainly provides many benefits including a fresh start in an open and typically welcoming society. However, along with the benefits that coming to the United States presents, there are certain obligations that must be satisfied by citizens and legal permanent residents. One of these obligations is the filing and payment of taxes. While most immigrants are more than happy to pay taxes in their new home, tax compliance is not simple and is something that even lifelong citizens can struggle with.
Robert Hoffman of the Hoffman Law Offices is proud to offer services to assist immigrants understand and comply with their tax obligations. He can assist with regular income tax obligations along with offshore disclosure obligations created under FATCA and FBAR. To contact Mr. Hoffman call 800-897-3915 or contact the firm online.
Income Tax Filing Obligations for Legal Permanent Residents With Green Cards
If you are currently residing in the United States under a visa and plan to petition for naturalization with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services or “USCIS”, the federal government requires that you file tax returns with the IRS and make arrangements to pay any outstanding balances.
If you’ve already filed and paid your taxes for the last three years, USCIS requires copies of your last three tax returns as a part of the Form N-400 application for naturalization. If copies are not available, Mr. Hoffman can help by requesting copies of your IRS account transcripts and tax return transcripts
If you have unfiled tax returns but still wish to apply for naturalization, don’t worry – we can help. Our office can gather data from the IRS, Social Security Administration and financial institutions to recreate your income and expenses and file the returns in a matter of days. If there is a balance due once all returns are filed, we can help arrange an acceptable payment arrangement, whether through an Offer in Compromise or an Installment Agreement.
Offshore Disclosure Obligations Under FATCA & FBAR for Immigrants Living in the U.S.
Due to concerns that wealthy Americans were using offshore trusts, accounts, and entities to hide assets and income overseas the U.S. Congress passed Foreign Account and Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and strengthened the penalties under Report of Foreign Bank Accounts (FBAR). While these laws were intended to target and encourage reporting compliance among wealthy Americans, other groups have found themselves needing to comply with these disclosure laws.
American expatriates living outside the U.S. is one group likely to have foreign accounts that must be disclosed. Additionally many immigrants to the U.S. may choose to maintain accounts in their former nation. Some may do so out of habit, while others may maintain offshore foreign accounts to facilitate sending money back home to relatives and family members. However, these accounts may trigger a disclosure obligation. Failure to comply can result in huge fines and penalties.
For FBAR violations, penalties can be assessed at $10,000 for a violation. If the violation is interpreted as willful by the IRS or Department of Justice fines escalate significantly. A willful violation is one that involves a voluntary or intentional disregard of a known legal obligation. FBAR penalties where willfulness is present can be punished by a fine that is the larger of $100,000 or 50 percent of the account balance. FATCA fines can be similarly harsh and also start at $10,000 per a violation. Additional, increased penalties can be imposed for continued noncompliance.
However, most inadvertent violations of FBAR and FATCA can be addressed by coming forward and making a voluntary disclosure. Since roughly the 1950s, the IRS has had a policy of refraining from seeking criminal penalties against individuals who make a full and legally sufficient voluntary disclosure. However, individuals should first consult with an experienced tax attorney because there are a number of voluntary disclosure programs. The benefits and drawbacks of these programs vary and you should only file to enter into one after analyzing which program is likely to bring about the most favorable result for your situation.
Rely on an Experienced Tax Attorney to Address Immigration Tax Problems
If you believe that you have fallen behind on your tax filings or failed to satisfy certain obligations, the Hoffman Law Offices can help. Likewise, if you are looking for an experienced tax professional to handle your compliance going forward, Mr. Hoffman can also help. To schedule a free and confidential consultation with Mr. Hoffman, call 800-897-3915 or contact the firm on line today.