Skip to Main Content

Niles A. Elber Quoted in Tax Notes, Streamlined FBAR Procedures Might Have Narrow Application

September 10, 2012, Tax Notes
Excerpt taken from the article.

Keeping to its promised September 1 effective date, the IRS on August 31 issued a questionnaire and instructions for streamlined filing compliance procedures for previously unreported offshore accounts held by U.S. taxpayers who present little risk of noncompliance.

Practitioners, however, told Tax Analysts that the criteria for determining low-risk status are so narrow that few taxpayers are likely to qualify, and that the program may in effect be restricted to those taxpayers who have Canadian registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs).

[Barbara T. Kaplan of Greenberg Traurig LLP] said two criteria in particular that raise a taxpayer's risk level could prove troublesome for potential applicants to the program. A taxpayer's risk will increase if the taxpayer has a financial interest in or authority over a financial account located outside its country of residence, or if it holds a financial interest in an entity or entities located outside its country of  residence.

Niles A. Elber of Caplin & Drysdale agreed, equating Europeans holding foreign accounts to U.S. residents keeping bank accounts in different states. "Say for instance you live in Europe -- it's like living in D.C. and having an account in Maryland," he said. "We're talking about a very small geographic distance, and all of a sudden that's a factor that increases risk?"

Elber said the IRS is too concerned with "people who are trying to game this" and has made compliance too onerous for people who want to participate. Regarding the risk factor of a tax payer having an interest in an entity outside his country of residence, Elber was equally critical. "It's a geographic thing to me, that countries in other regions of the world are more closely located to one another," he said. "I don't see why it would be terribly unreasonable for an Italian to have a business interest in Greece, for example."

To read the entire article click on the above PDF.

About Caplin & Drysdale
Having celebrated our 50th Anniversary in 2014, Caplin & Drysdale continues to be a leading provider of legal services to corporations, individuals, and nonprofits throughout the United States and around the world. We are also privileged to serve as legal advisors to accounting firms, financial institutions, law firms, and other professional services organizations.

The firm's reputation over the years has earned us the trust and respect of clients, industry peers, and government agencies. Moreover, clients rely on our broad knowledge of the law and our keen insights into their business concerns and personal interests. Our lawyers' strong tactical and problem-solving skills -- combined with substantial experience handling a variety of complex, high stakes, matters in a boutique environment -- make us one the nation's most distinctive law firms.

With offices in New York City and Washington, D.C., Caplin & Drysdale's core practice areas include:
For more information, please visit us at
Washington, DC Office:
One Thomas Circle NW
Suite 1100
Washington, DC 20005
New York, NY Office:
600 Lexington Avenue
21st Floor
New York, NY 10022


This communication does not provide legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship with you or any other reader. If you require legal guidance in any specific situation, you should engage a qualified lawyer for that purpose. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Attorney Advertising
It is possible that under the laws, rules, or regulations of certain jurisdictions, this may be construed as an advertisement or solicitation.
©2020 Caplin & Drysdale, Chartered
All Rights Reserved.