Bowman Offshore Bank Transfers: Is it Dangerous to Transfer Your Offshore Money into the U.S.?


This is a question we receive often. With the implementation and enforcement of FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act), the United States is increasing enforcement priority of noncompliant US account holders.

More than 100 countries and tens of thousands of foreign financial institutions have agreed to report US account holder information to the United States.

But I am not a U.S. Citizen?

This is a common misconception. The requirement for FATCA reporting is for the individual to be a US account holder – not a US citizen. In other words, whether you are a US citizen, Legal Permanent Resident, Visa Holder who meets the substantial presence test, or a former green card holder who was considered a long-term resident – you are generally considered a US person.

As a US person, you are required to report your foreign accounts and global foreign income to the United States (the United States taxes individuals on their worldwide income). With that said, the question generally arises as to whether a person can transfer their money from an offshore account into the United States, without issue?

Transferring Your Money to the United States

The fact of the matter is, the money overseas is your money. The IRS is not seeking to penalize you for the mere fact that you are transferring your foreign money into the United States (presuming the money was received legally). Rather, the United States is penalizing you for failing to report the existence of this money to the US government while it was overseas in a foreign account.

There are many individuals who have a reporting requirement because the value of their foreign accounts/specified assets exceeds $10,000 in annual aggregate total on any given day — but do not have any taxable income. In this situation, there is a reporting requirement, but no taxation (since there was no foreign income earned). Nevertheless, they still must report the accounts properly. If the money was “earned” income and U.S. Taxes weren’t filed and/or paid to report the money, it can complicate the situation — but through voluntary disclosure a person can usually get into compliance relatively simply.

Depending on the facts and circumstances of your case, you may be able to avoid penalties altogether. The following is a summary of the basic requirements of individuals who were considered “US persons” and therefore may have a foreign account reporting and/or foreign income reporting requirement:

FATCA & Reporting Foreign Income – The Basics

Golding & Golding is a flat-fee, full-service firm; we are lawyers who assist international clients in reporting their offshore accounts to the IRS. Most recently, many of our clients learned about Foreign Bank Account reporting requirements when they received a FATCA Letter from their Bank, asking them to certify their U.S. Status by submitting either a W-9 or W-8 BEN.

Who Has to Report?

We have represented numerous clients worldwide with issues similar to yours:

Expats who relocated overseas and did not know they had to report their foreign accounts.

U.S. Citizens who live overseas and may or may not earn significant income, but have accounts in a foreign country.

Legal Permanent Residents of the United States who relocate back to a foreign country but are unaware that they are still required to report the foreign accounts.

Non-Residents who meet the substantial presence test and therefore are required to report foreign bank and other accounts to the US government.

The Basics

These are the most basic rules when it comes to foreign accounts and foreign income:

Foreign Income

If you are either a US Citizen, Legal Permanent Resident (aka Green Card holder or recently gave up your Green Card) or foreign resident who meets the substantial presence test, then you are required to report your worldwide income to the IRS. This means that even if you do not have any US-based income, you are still required to report your worldwide income (even if it is the type of income which is not taxed in your home country such as interest and dividend income in most Asian countries). And, if you have enough foreign income to meet the minimum threshold for having to file a US tax return, then you are required to do so even if it is based on your foreign income alone.

Foreign Accounts

If you meet the requirement for being a U.S. “Taxpayer” (even if you do not meet the threshold for having to file a US tax return), you are still required to file an annual FBAR (Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts). The threshold is as follows: if at any time during the year, you have more than $10,000 in foreign accounts (whether the money is in one account or spread over numerous accounts), you are required to file an FBAR.

In addition, if you have significant amounts of money overseas, then you may also have to file additional forms such as an 8938 (FATCA Form) or 8621 (Passive Foreign Investment Company, which includes Foreign Mutual Funds along with as many other passive investments). There are many other forms you may have to file, but we determine those on a case-by-case basis.

Fines & Penalties

Unless you are criminal, chances are the IRS or Department of Justice will not be banging down your door to come drag you to jail. With that said, the fines and penalties can be very steep and depending on your particular circumstances, may include penalties upwards of 100% of the value of your foreign account. If the IRS believes you were willful (aka intentional), then they may launch a criminal investigation against you and the penalties and fines can get much worse from here, including Liens, Levies, Seizures…and worse.

Customs Holds and Passport Revocation

With the implementation of FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act), the United States is heavily cracking down on offshore tax evasion and unreported foreign accounts in general. The IRS and US government have the power to both revoke your passport as well as possibly hold you at the airport “customs hold” to question you on the spot (usually outside the presence of your attorney).

Getting Into Compliance

Getting into compliance should be mandatory on your “to-do” list. Even though our firm, Golding & Golding, is based in Newport Beach, we represent clients worldwide. A majority of our clients live overseas in over 40 countries. We have helped numerous clients get into compliance and are regarded as one of the top Offshore Disclosure Law Firms worldwide.

To that end, there are three main methods of compliance:

(1) Streamlined Compliance

This program is for individuals who were unaware of any requirement to file an FBAR and/or report their income on a US tax return. The penalties under the streamlined program are significantly reduced and may possibly be waived depending on whether a person qualifies under the strict definition of foreign resident for offshore disclosure purposes.

(2) OVDP

This program is mainly for individuals and businesses who were willful, aka were aware they were supposed to report their foreign accounts but intentionally hid or kept the account/income information secret.

(3) Reasonable Cause Statement

This is not a particular program; instead, it is a method for getting to compliance while attempting to avoid any penalty. There are many pros and cons to this method depending on your specific situation, which must be evaluated carefully with your attorney before making a decision.
Kaiser South gets Level II trauma certification with Richard Isaacs, MD
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Dr. Richard Isaacs, MD: The Willingness to Serve
In the modern world, the desire or the willingness to help others solve their problems is not complete without coming out of the confines of one’s comfortable world into the broader community of people struggling through life, in need or in pain.The Internet has helped to bring this eagerness to reach out to others to its fulfillment – especially in the field of medicine or medical practice, as it should be more properly called by those who are charged with administering health care to the ailing patient.

Medical practice is obviously a wide subject and incorporates so many different aspects of health-care and variations of methods or approaches, from traditional, alternative and even emotional in nature. The majority of people, however, depend on the general field of medical practice recognized by most societies and governments as the scientific and professional field of health-care provided by products of Schools of Medicine and are referred to as Doctors of Medicine (MD’s).

The more common term “physician” has also become synonymous with MD. To be a physician, in general, is to be qualified to provide essential health care using methods recognized by most public institutions as in keeping with accepted modern medical practices. This does not mean, of course, that ancient practices which have proven to be effective are without value in the modern medical profession. It only means that we have progressed to the level of fine-tuning the human capability to provide health care and to alleviate the sufferings of millions of sick people. And the people tasked with providing such highly-specialized skills also possess higher amounts of persistence, diligence and self-sacrifice than most people.

Dr. Richard Isaacs, MD, is a prime example of the qualified modern physician who has made good use of the worldwide web to present his credentials and his services to those who require medical care or assistance. A lot of people might either be surprised or turned off by such a direct approach to promoting one’s profession to the greater virtual community out there. That is because it might come out as somewhat demeaning to the noble profession of the physician which many consider to be more altruistic or service-oriented than most other vocations.

But that was common in the older times when medical practitioners worked silently in the bigger institutions, hospitals or hole-in-the-wall clinics they worked in. Today, doctors form so-called poly-clinics to provide a para-hospital alternative facilities for providing diagnostic and consultancy services. Most doctors, in the past, made do with putting up a sign on their home front-door as simple private general practitioners with a handful of devoted patients in their immediate neighborhood or locality.

However, today, the number of physicians and medical-help providers has multiplied and the means of providing such services have become more dynamic and diverse with the aid of technology. A doctor does not need to be with the patient to provide care, especially with common ailments. Or even in more serious cases where the doctor cannot be present and as long as there are other qualified professionals who can administer the prescription in an acceptable manner. Hence, it is not uncommon for a patient to be in a hospital for a couple of days, for instance, without having been visited by a medical specialist who may be preoccupied somewhere else although she does gets proper medical care under resident doctors. Times change and the way doctors apply their skills has also evolved with the times and the needs of the growing population.

And so, seeing a doctor such as Dr. Richard “Rich” Isaacs open up his resume on a website not only changes the field of medicine in its application but also in its accessibility to those who need its benefits. For this, we have to thank the likes of him for providing a convenient way of seeking medical help without the hassle of directly interviewing or hunting for qualified medical practitioners wherever they may be found.

Just a call away, Rich Isaacs, who holds an Advanced Certification in Head and Neck Oncologic Surgery, specializes in orbital, nasal, and maxillofacial surgery, as well as thyroid and parathyroid surgery. Moreover, he is trained in Facial Plastic and Reconstructive surgery and has an interest in post-tumor facial reconstruction and facial reanimation surgery. Rich is within reach to anyone needing his field of specialization in Sacramento, California where he holds his clinic.
Business Journal names "Healthiest Employers" winners

Attendees at the Healthiest Employers 2011 awards luncheon walk around the exhibitors area before the awards.


Five Sacramento-area companies won top honors at a luncheon Friday for theie employee health and wellness efforts. Rood & Dax Advanced Insurance Services Inc. of Sacramento won in the micro category (10 - 50 employees).


Dr. Richards Isaacs accepts a Healtiest Employers award on behalf of Kaiser Permanente Northern California. Kaiser won in the mega category (10, 000-plus employees). The health care nonprofit, which has made healthy living a central message in its advertising years, has had a wellness program since 2002.


Meir Ezra: How to Get Along with Your Spouse (and Others)
Meir Ezra --- When your spouse does something wrong, how do you react?

Some spouses like to blame. "You really embarrassed me when you told that stupid joke. You make me want to stay at home."

Other spouses prefer to criticize. "You’re so fat it makes me sick."

Getting even is also a favorite response. "Well, because you were flirting with Chris, I decided to flirt with Pat."

By blaming, criticizing or getting even with your spouse, you are trying to be AT CAUSE by putting your spouse AT EFFECT. Unfortunately, putting your spouse AT EFFECT is harmful to your relationship. You start arguments and fights. Just because your parents reacted badly toward each other is no reason you need to continue the tradition.

Cause and Effect

When it comes to situations and relationships, you are either at a cause point or an effect point. When you paint a wall, you are at cause over the paint and the color of the wall. When you spill paint all over your clothes, you are at the effect of that paint.

There are two types of relationships:

1. CAUSE-EFFECT is the most common type of relationship. As in the examples above, you take command of the relationship and put someone else at the effect of you or the problem.

For example, husband John says, "Mary, you ran over the neighbor’s gate. How could you be so stupid?"

John might feel at cause over the gate problem, but Mary will feel effect.

2. In a CAUSE-CAUSE relationship, you assume a cause point yourself AND you allow or encourage others to assume the cause point as well. This idea comes from L. Ron Hubbard who writes:

"If Mary burns the toast, John accepts responsibility for this action. This does not mean that he assumes all the responsibility and leaves none for Mary. It means that he assumes all the responsibility and that Mary assumes all the responsibility, too. They both assume all the responsibility. Under such an arrangement, no one can be blamed. All their attention goes into doing better with the toast, and none of it is wasted in blame.

"Mary runs the family automobile into the neighbor’s gate. The neighbor rushes over in a huff and encounters John in the front yard. The neighbor says, `You just ruined my gate!’ John goes with the neighbor to look at the gate and at the car. Sure enough, there is blue paint on the gate and white paint on the car. The evidence is conclusive. John agrees with the neighbor that the gate has been damaged by John’s car and he asks the neighbor to have it repaired and send him the bill. The neighbor says that the damage is not very great and so he will repair it himself. John lends him the tools and helps him to repair the gate. John insists on buying a can of white paint, and the neighbor says he will enjoy painting the gate on Sunday. He apologizes for being so excited at first. They shake hands.

"John goes into the house, and Mary says, `Dear, I hit the Jones’s gate with the car.’ John says, `Yes, I know. We’ve already repaired it." Mary says, `I’m sorry. I was thinking about the bathroom curtains.’ John says, `That’s all right. What about the bathroom curtains?’ Mary says, I want to dye them blue.’ John says, `That’s a good idea.’

"If nobody is to blame for the damage to the gate, a constructive subject like dyeing the curtains will immediately attract John’s and Mary’s attention, since it represents future action." — L. Ron Hubbard

Cause-cause relations are teamwork at its very best. You and your spouse accept responsibility for all of the actions of each other. You spread an umbrella of responsibility.

Imagine no arguments or upsets with your spouse. Imagine never trading insults or hurtful comments.

Making a cause-cause relationship with your spouse is the road to a happy marriage.

Give it a try!
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