Opinion: Post-Bittner, might taxpayers who paid 'non-willful' FBAR penalties based on the no. of accounts they held... get a refund?

As regular readers of the American Expat Financial News Journal will know, the U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 28 finally ended years of confusion over a major expatriate banking issue, when it found that a lower court – like so many others in the years leading up to this decision – had erred when it ruled in favor of an IRS policy of basing the penalties it assigned to Americans found to have "non-willfully" held numerous unreported overseas financial accounts on the numbers of such accounts they held.

FBAR experts: SCOTUS Bittner decision could see shift towards more ‘willful’ charges, greater 'rule of lenity' awareness

(...or possibly not...)

Regular watchers of the way U.S. officials have been prosecuting American taxpayers whom they deemed to have committed "non-willful" breaches of the government's so-called FBAR regulations didn't have to be asked twice for their thoughts on Tuesday's landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that – at long last – finally established how penalties for such breaches are to be determined. 

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BREAKING: European Court of Justice rules against Spain's 'FBAR'...

...citing disproportionate penalties, pan-EU capital movement infringement 

Europe's top court has ruled against Spain's Modelo 720 "foreign asset law", declaring that its disproportionate penalties and potentially restrictive effects on the free movement of capital and payments across EU borders were violations of European regulations. 

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U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear FBAR case

Foreign Bank Account Report-watchers have long wondered when an FBAR case would finally reach the Supreme Court, and in so doing, at last begin settling questions having to do with the scope of FBAR penalties, which can be draconian.

But as Monday's Supreme Court announcement denying Alice Kimble the writ of certiorari that she had petitioned for back in June showed, the wait for the great, long-awaited FBAR showdown is set to run a little longer than some might have hoped it  would...

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Potentially significant ruling seen, as U.S. appeals court finds 'non-willful penalty' should apply 'per FBAR'

In the latest in a series of cases that experts say has potentially major repercussions for expatriate Americans, a U.S. District Court in California has ruled that the penalty for a so-called "non-willful" failure to file foreign bank account reports (FBARs) should be calculated on a "per-FBAR", annual form basis, rather than for each bank account held by the American taxpayer in question outside the U.S.

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What visitors to the U.S. should know about the secretive Mr. FBAR

The introduction of the Foreign Bank Account Report (FBAR) requirement in 1970, as a result of the Bank Secrecy Act of that year, may well be one of the most enduring legacies of the Nixon administration, says John Richardson, a Toronto-based lawyer who helps Americans with citizenship issues. Here, he reveals a little-known aspect of what the fine print of the FBAR legislation actually says, with respect to non-Americans who travel to the U.S., and who happen to have bank accounts back home...

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Ross McGill: ‘FATCA isn’t the problem: CBT is’ 

Ross McGill: ‘FATCA isn’t the problem: CBT is’ 

In the early years of this century, a number of major media exposés reported how Homeland Americans, as well as rich people from other developed and developing countries, were making...