Tax lawyers are among the most in-demand legal professionals throughout the United States.
It’s not hard to understand why. After all, the current tax code is more than 75,000 pages long and seems to change at a faster rate than any mere mortal can hope to keep up with.
Things get especially tricky when you have money in foreign bank accounts.
Are you facing tax issues related to offshore accounts? If so, you need a lawyer, preferably a lawyer who has FBAR (Foreign Bank Account Report) experience.
Not sure how to choose an FBAR lawyer? Let’s jump in and learn about some essential questions you ought to ask during your search.
What is an FBAR Lawyer?
Technically, there isn’t a type of lawyer known as an FBAR lawyer. However, there are plenty of tax lawyers who specialize in FBAR-related issues.
These types of lawyers often have extensive tax litigation experience, as well as skills related to criminal tax matters.
They are trained to help you handle issues related to your foreign bank accounts and help you avoid severe civil and/or criminal penalties.
Reasons to Hire an FBAR Attorney
There are lots of reasons why you may need to hire an attorney who specializes in matters related to FBARs. The following are some of the most significant benefits that they can bring to the table:
Avoid Serious Tax Issues
When you work with an attorney who specializes in FBAR issues, they can help you avoid a lot of serious tax problems.
For example, they can help you avoid having to pay hefty penalties due to tax filing mistakes. They may also be able to help you hold onto your assets, including those that are kept in offshore or foreign accounts.
Get Helpful Representation in Court
If you’re already facing legal issues related to your offshore accounts, it’s risky to try and handle them on your own.
Unless you are an experienced tax professional, chances are you don’t know enough to represent yourself and keep yourself out of trouble. In these instances, it’s almost always better to have representation from a trained tax and legal expert.
Ensure You Comply with the Law
Even if you’re not facing any problems with the IRS right now, it’s still a good idea to retain the services of a tax lawyer who understands FBARs.
They can help you file an FBAR and set your offshore accounts up in a way that aligns with the current tax laws. That way, you’ll comply and won’t have to worry about potential legal issues raining on your parade later on.
Questions to Ask FBAR Lawyers
Clearly, FBAR lawyers can provide you a lot of benefits. The key to enjoying these benefits, though, is making sure you’re working with the right lawyer.
Here are some questions to ask before you hire a specific lawyer to represent or assist you:
What is Your Experience with FBAR lawyers?
This ought to be the first question you ask, whether you’re dealing with an FBAR- or foreign account-related problem already or if you want to avoid dealing with them in the future.
In an ideal world, you’ll work only with a tax attorney who has extensive FBAR knowledge and experience.
What is Your Experience Working with the IRS?
It’s a good idea to find out what experience the attorney you’re considering has when it comes to working with the IRS as well.
Have they dealt with situations like yours before? Have they been able to successfully communicate and negotiate with the IRS to protect their clients?
What Kind of Clients Have You Worked with Before?
Speaking of clients, don’t forget to ask what kind of clients the lawyer has worked with prior to you.
Do they work with people who are in financial situations similar to yours? Have they helped people dealing with similar offshore accounts- or FBAR-related problems?
What Documents Do You Need from Me?
Every attorney is going to have slightly different requirements when it comes to document requests. In general, though, when it comes to issues related to FBARs and offshore assets, they’ll need the following:
They may also ask for other documents that verify your income and assets. If they don’t mention any of these documents, that could be a red flag that they aren’t as knowledgeable as you need them to be.
How Often Can I Contact You?
When you’re hiring any kind of tax attorney, you must make sure they’re available when you need them.
Ask about the attorney you’re considering’s office hours and how prompt they are when it comes to responding to calls, texts, and emails.
In general, the more accessible they are, the better, especially when you’re dealing with serious tax issues.
Will I Work with Anyone Other Than You?
Find out whether the attorney you’re meeting with is the only person who will handle your case.
If they’re not, ask to meet the other people who will be working on it. That way, you can ensure you get along well with all of them.
How Long Do You Expect My Case to Take?
Your potential lawyer won’t be able to give you a hard-and-fast timeline of how long it’ll take to wrap your case up.
They should be able to give you some insight into how long these matters tend to take, though, especially if they’ve handled lots of cases like yours in the past.
What Are Your Rates?
Finally, don’t forget to talk about finances. Find out what the lawyer you’re considering’s rates are and how they expect to be paid (up front, on an hourly basis, a contingency basis, etc.).
Hire an FBAR Tax Attorney Today
Now that you know more about what an FBAR lawyer does, as well as why you may want to hire them and how to ensure you’re working with a good one, it’s time to get to work.
Keep the information outlined above in mind as you begin your search, and take special care to ask all those essential questions. They’ll help you find a great lawyer who offers fair rates and provides you with the assistance you need.
If you’re looking for tax assistance and want to work with a highly qualified FBAR lawyer, we’re here to help at Silver Tax Group. Contact us today to learn more about our services or to set up a free case evaluation.