In at least the second such instance that we’re aware of, the Government has brought charges related to filing a false streamlined submission, among other things.
Excerpt below from the DOJ press release:
A federal grand jury in Alexandria, Virginia, returned an indictment on March 3, 2021, charging a Virginia man with failing to file Reports of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBARs) and filing false documents with the IRS.
According to the indictment, Azizur Rahman of Herndon, had a financial interest in and signature authority over more than 20 foreign financial accounts, including accounts held in Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Singapore, and Bangladesh. From 2010 through 2016, Rahman allegedly did not disclose his interest in all of his financial accounts on annual FBARs, as required by law. Rahman also allegedly filed false individual tax returns for the tax years 2010 through 2016 that did not report to the IRS all of his foreign bank accounts and income.
Rahman is also charged with filing a false “Streamlined Submission” in conjunction with the IRS Streamlined Domestic Offshore Procedures. Those procedures allowed eligible taxpayers residing within the United States, who failed to report gross income from foreign financial accounts on prior tax returns, failed to pay taxes on that gross income, or who failed to submit an FBAR disclosing foreign financial accounts, to voluntarily disclose their conduct to the IRS and to pay a reduced penalty if their conduct was non-willful. The indictment alleges that Rahman’s Streamlined Submission did not truthfully disclose all the foreign bank accounts in which he had an interest, and falsely claimed that his failure to report all income, pay all tax, and submit all required information returns, such as FBARs, was non-willful.
If convicted, Rahman faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison for each of the counts related to filing false tax documents. Rahman also faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison for each count relating to his failure to file an FBAR or filing a false FBAR.
An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Streamlined procedures are for non-willful taxpayers only
The indictment alleges that in the SDOP filing, the taxpayer disclosed 3 Swiss accounts when he allegedly had financial interest “over more than twenty additional foreign bank accounts in at least three other foreign countries” which total in the millions of dollars. They were not reported on the FBAR. It appears that many of these concealed accounts were held through his foreign business entities.
By submitting under the streamlined procedures, a client is certifying under penalties of perjury that they are non-willful and the filing is truthful and accurate. This client clearly should not have been in the streamlined program in the first place, and even worse is submitting an inaccurate streamlined filing. While some might take that risk, it is not worth putting a willful client in the streamlined procedures.
What should non-compliant taxpayers do?
If taxpayers are non-compliant with the foreign asset and income reporting requirements, they should consider applying to one of IRS’ voluntary disclosure programs: