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Offshore-linked tax matters: Time to contact proven tax counsel?

It has often noted, in various terms, that the Internal Revenue Service is a jealous mistress.

That is, the agency is the antithesis of a soft-edged and forgiving organization when it comes to interpreting and applying U.S. tax laws.

Indeed, it is a sober and exacting entity that counts pennies and demands a precise accounting from every individual and company that comes within its purview.

And, of course, that is just about everybody and everything, with this being the bottom line espoused by the IRS: If it's taxable, we want our share, and we'll step to the front of the line to get it. And if you balk regarding your legal duties, well, we'll come after you -- hard.

That is a crystal-clear agency reality and, as noted in a recent Accounting Today article focused upon Americans with offshore investment accounts, nowhere more apparent than in the realm of money held overseas by individuals and businesses with tax-reporting duties.

The offshore realm as relates to the IRS and tax is, in a word, complex.

And the term "ominous" might logically be added to that, given the potential repercussions that come with failure to satisfy the IRS on a tax matter.

The above-cited article notes that aggressive IRS tactics aimed at offshore account holders "have reached the $10 billion mark and prompted over 100,000 taxpayers to come forward."

The IRS bag of tools is large and weighty, and not always intuitive for filers. There is a so-called Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program. There are Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedures, as well as a mandated Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts for some filers.

And then there is the oft-cited Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, which has concerned -- and, candidly, frightened -- many American filers living abroad.

Understandably, many California residents and other Americans across the country with overseas holdings have questions and concerns regarding the obligations they might have concerning their assets.

An experienced tax attorney with a proven well of experience representing clients before the IRS on offshore-related matters can provide timely and candid guidance concerning any tax issue.

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