Bryan J. Williams might have won the battle, but the IRS won the war. In United States vs. Williams, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the district court’s holding and ruled that Williams did, in fact, act willfully when he failed to file FBARs.
Williams himself admitted he was a tax cheat and pleaded guilty to tax evasion, but the big question was if the FBAR violation itself was willful.
Even though Williams claimed that he had no foreign accounts on his tax return and failed to file FBARs, the district court was not convinced he did so willingly. It believed the IRS would have trouble proving willfulness when the prosecuted taxpayer had no apparent knowledge of the FBARs. In some cases, a genuine misunderstanding of the tax law can be considered not willful, and that was the district court’s main argument.
Still, the fact that Williams admitted to willfully evading taxes lead the appeals court to believe he purposely avoided learning about the FBARs as well, and he was found guilty on all accounts.
Do you have any foreign financial accounts that you haven’t declared to the IRS? If so, call 877-829-3535 and let the seasoned tax attorneys at US Tax Shield represent you and successfully settle your FBAR issues.