Court Holds That Liability for FBAR Civil Willful Penalty Survives Death
1. FBAR stands for the Foreign Bank Account Report and speaks to the responsibility of certain US persons to disclose foreign financial interests (even mere signing authority).
2. The responsibility for filing FBARs is not new. It dates back to 1970.
3. FBARs have nothing to do with FATCA. FATCA has just made it easier to track those who fail to comply with FBAR rules.
4. Now it seems that penalties for noncompliance may survive death. So for those hiding money? Now you know!
“Death may be an avenue of escape from many of the woes of life, but it is no escape from taxes.” Id.
In United States v. Schoenfeld (M.D. Fla. 3:16-cv-1248-J-34PDB), by order dated 9/25/18, the Court held (p. 37) that the "the Court finds that the Government's claim did not abate upon Steven Schoenfeld's death."
The reasoning for the holding is found at pp. 24-36. The first 24 pages include a short one-page introduction and then 23 pages disposing of procedural issues arising from the death of the person putatively liable that the Government sued after he had died but without knowledge of his death.
Whether its resolution of the issue will ultimately be sustained is an open issue.