Emergency Tax Services
Who Needs Emergency Tax Help for FBAR & FATCA?
Ever since the IRS increased the seriousness of FBAR compliance, it seems that the market has become flooded with inexperienced Tax Attorneys purporting to be experts or specialists in FBAR and FATCA.
While International Tax and Offshore Compliance can be scary, chances are you are not in immediate jeopardy of going to prison. 99% of the time, filing an FBAR does not require emergency tax help for FBAR or FATCA by firms that will overcharge and under perform.
Chances are there is no dire issue that requires you to sign-up with a firm immediately, before conducting your due diligence first.
Recent Example of Fear-Mongering
We recently had a new client tell us they had just finished a free initial consultation and were worried about an “immediate IRS investigation.”
They were told they missed the FBAR, due June 30th, and they were running out of time before they could submit to the VDP voluntary disclosure program (even though they were clearly non-willful) which was 10/15.
Three main problems:
- The FBAR due date is April 15th, but on Automatic Extension through 10/15 (and 10/30 in 2020 for 2019 FBAR); and
- Were non-willful and clearly qualify for the Streamlined Procedures.
- VDP does not have a 10/15 due date.
What is Emergency Tax Services For FBAR & FATCA?
99.9% of the time, it’s a scam.
In reality, unless you have two Special Agents standing at your doorstep with warrants in hand, or it is the final few days to respond to a CP504, Final Notice of Levy, or 3708 letter — you do not need to immediately pay some law firm that fed into your natural fear of the IRS during the initial “free” call, and goaded you into representation when something in your gut told you it just did not feel right.
Here are 5 Tips.
1. Have the Attorney Explain WHY You Need to File Immediately
When a law firm advertises or markets as providing emergency offshore tax help, it already puts the client into a false sense of fear.
This is referred to as fear-mongering or scare-mongering.
If the Attorney feels it is absolutely crucial for you to hire a tax lawyer right now, have them explain exactly why it is necessary, and what there immediate actions will be — along with a written timeline.
2. Get a Second Opinion, First
Is the Attorney Board-Certified and do they specialize in Offshore Tax Matters.
If the attorney handles all different types of tax law, chances are they do not have the specific knowledge for your particular situation to even determine if “emergency tax help” services are needed — and they are rarely, if ever needed in FBAR & FATCA.
Especially if the issue involves offshore matters, please be sure to reach out to multiple attorneys before being goaded into representation in a hurry. It seems every general tax practitioner with a handful of cases under their belt is suddenly an expert.
By interviewing multiple attorneys, it will accomplish two things:
- If the second (or third) attorney confirms that what the first attorney was correct, it will provide some comfort in his or her advice;
- If the first attorney was incorrect, it will force you to get a 2nd or 3rd opinion, to help you see the issues most clearly.
3. Beware of Free “Emergency” FBAR & FATCA Consultations
When the attorney already knows you want to move as fast as possible, this will turn the initial consultation into nothing more than a sales pitch as opposed to an information session, and an immediate “eating away” of the retainer you just paid.
4. Be Sure to Get a Strategy Punch-List
If a law firm is telling you that you are in a dire tax situation and require emergency tax help, be sure to get the strategy and timelines up-front.
These firms are charging you a premium to handle your tax matter as quickly as possible.
If they are taking the position that the matter is so serious that it needs to be done now, before you have time to really digest the information and speak with other counsel, then be sure you have a step-by-step roadmap of what these additional fees are really buying you.
5. Make Sure they Have the Experience they Claim to Have
Oftentimes, the purpose of getting you to quickly sign the retainer is to avoid you speaking with other, more experienced counsel.
Be sure the attorney actually has the experience they claim they do.
That way, they will not be charging you for items such as research and review, which can quickly eat away at your retainer and before you know it, you out of time…before your tax “emergency” is resolved.
Golding & Golding: About Our International Tax Law Firm
Golding & Golding specializes exclusively in international tax, and specifically IRS offshore disclosure.
Contact our firm today for assistance with getting compliant.