Analysis

'Willfulness' In Civil FBAR Cases Comes Down To The Facts

Law360, New York (November 21, 2017, 6:15 PM EST) -- A judge’s recent decision to let a pharmaceutical CEO escape civil penalties for failing to report his Swiss bank account doesn’t necessarily signal that courts could be a reliable counterweight against the IRS’ dwindling sympathy, tax specialists say, but instead highlights the fact-dependent approach for determining willful nondisclosure.

The question of whether a taxpayer willfully avoided filing a Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts form, or just didn’t know about reporting requirements, can make a substantial difference in the civil penalties that the Internal Revenue Service ultimately assesses. When it comes to determining willfulness, analysts say that the IRS has increased its...

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