In recent weeks, all of the FATCA fanfare (and a fair amount of teeth gnashing) has been directed at the agreement hammered out between the United States and it’s northern neighbor, Canada. Lost in the media shuffle was the fact that other countries continue to sign up as the IRS has made clear there will be no further extensions. (FATCA’s implementation date has been twice delayed for 6 months. It is finally slated to begin on July 1st of this year.)
FATCA – short for the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act – is an anti tax evasion law passed by Congress in 2010. The law will soon require foreign banks and other financial institutions to review their accounts and report those with ties to the United States. Individual countries can negotiate an “intergovernmental agreement” or “IGA” directly with the U.S. Treasury. Banks that do not participate can be severely penalized. There is also a fair amount of pressure from many other developed countries to cooperate.
On January 28th, the United States and Slovenia’s Ministry of Finance announced that the two nations had agreed to a bilateral intergovernmental FATCA agreement. The deal isn’t yet final and must be ratified by the Slovene National Assembly. Few details have been announced but the agreement will be bilateral and information will be exchanged through Slovenian tax authorities. (In some countries, foreign banks have opted to report directly to the IRS.)
What should you do if you are an American living or banking in Slovenia or a dual national with accounts there? Step one is to thoroughly educate yourself. In the first few weeks of the new agreement, there will be well intended but misleading information. We recommend speaking with an experienced lawyer or accountant well versed in IRS offshore reporting rules.
The penalties for not reporting foreign accounts or failing to file an FBAR form disclosing offshore financial assets are enormous. Although there is little risk of going to jail for most folks, failure to file an FBAR or properly disclose and offshore account is still a felony.
The IRS tax attorneys at Mahany & Ertl will gladly provide confidential, no-fee initial consultations to help answer your questions and explain your responsibilities. Thereafter, most services can be provided on a reasonable flat fee. We also help foreign financial institutions comply with the new law.
For a free consultation, contact one of our experienced FBAR lawyers today; attorney Bethany Canfield at or by phone at (414) 223-0464. The author, Brian Mahany, can also be contacted at or (414) 704-6731 (direct). All inquiries are protected by the attorney – client privilege and will be answered within 1 business day. (We also have hundreds of text searchable posts on our Due Diligence blog.)
Mahany & Ertl – America’s FBAR and Foreign Reporting Attorneys. Our services are provided worldwide.