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Three Must Dos if You Get a Foreign Bank FATCA Reporting Letter

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If you received a letter request from a foreign bank to report FATCA required tax

identification information there are three things you must do:

1. Get professional legal and tax advice before June 30, 2016.

2. Prepare to file an FBAR report for your foreign bank accounts by June 30, 2016.

3. Unless otherwise advised by a professional, send the foreign bank the requested

identification information.


FATCA requires foreign banks to get tax identification information from their account
holders. More and more banks are sending letters requesting U.S. social security numbers, EINs
or ITINs from their U.S. clients.

FATCA stands for the foreign account tax compliance act. It was adopted in 2010. It is
designed to force foreign banks and financial institutions to provide tax information about U.S.
account holders so that the foreign account earnings can be verified and taxed by the IRS.

FATCA has been phased into effect so that some of the requirements are only now being felt.

Over the past few months many foreign banks have sent out first batches of letters
notifying their U.S. customers that the bank is complying with its reporting requirement under
FATCA and that their names, addresses, and bank balances are being reported to the IRS. These
letters also request the account holders to confirm their U.S. identity and to provide their U.S.
taxpayer identification number (Social Security Number).

International Tax Lawyer

Clients in my office have been reporting letters received from India and Portuguese banks

this month. However, banks in many other countries are also sending out letters. It is reported
in the press that nearly 100 foreign banks have recently sent out letters to U.S. account holders.

If you receive one of these letters, there may not be any need for immediate panic. Most
U.S. account holders receiving these letters have small balances in the accounts. If your account
balance has never exceeded U.S. $50,000, you are unlikely to be in any serious tax difficulty.

Nonetheless it is prudent to take advantage of the current relatively forgiving tax climate and
legitimize the account. An important part of this legitimization is not to miss the 2016 FBAR
reporting deadline of June 30 th . Get help and get this job done now.

If your unreported foreign financial assets exceed $1 million, you know that you have a
serious issue. If you have not already done so, contact a tax attorney specializing in international
tax issues this week. There isn’t any time left for delay.

If your unreported foreign financial assets are in the range from U.S. $50,000 to $1
million, you need advice now. Plan to get it before June 30, 2016 so that you don’t miss another filing deadline and compound the problem. The streamlined program may be an option for you.

If not, the OVDI is still a worthwhile choice. Just remember that now is your best opportunity to fix this problem.

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Oded Hecht
Very good experience. I had some uncommon and large financial situations abroad as a US Citizen. I just wanted to make sure I am going about it legally and wisely. I am a business executive (Harvard B. School), having interacted with many top lawyers worldwide, and working with Paul was a pleasure and a wise choice. Beyond helping me professionally to solidify a winning strategy through his sound knowledge and experience, the interaction was exceptionally forthcoming and pleasant. I would recommend Paul without any hesitation!
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Maria Alexander
Paul is an excellent attorney for small business owners like myself. He will make the appropriate research and make sure that the documents I have are all in working order and official. Paul always responds to phone my calls immediately, and he works fast whenever I need to have documents prepared quickly. His knowledge has helped me steer my business in the right direction and his advice is always on point and concise. I’ve had the pleasure of using Paul’s services for nearly a decade. During this time I had help with drafting and reviewing the following: several lease contracts, employee contracts, confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements, new client contract/liability waivers, US copyright electronic registrations, independent contractor agreements, website disclosure language, video release forms, and business registrations with the state. Having Paul as an attorney and being able to reach out to him whenever I have an emergency makes me more confident to run my business and I know that if I have a legal problem Paul will be there to help me.
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Mr. Wigg-Maxwell helped me out with a complicated international inheritance tax question. He was quick to respond with a knowledgeable answer. I would happily bring any future tax issues I have to Mr. Wigg-Maxwell for resolution.
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