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Dear Clients and Friends:

This is a friendly reminder that the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (known as an “FBAR”) is now due October 15.[1] In general, a US person that has a financial interest in, or signature authority over, foreign financial accounts must file a FBAR if the aggregate value of the foreign financial accounts exceeds $10,000 at any time during the calendar year.

In general, a change in law changed the due date of the FBAR to April 15 from June 30.[2] The reason for the change was for the FBAR deadlines to coincide with the US federal income tax filing deadlines.

FinCEN has also granted FBAR Filers an automatic six-month extension to October 15 of each year. No specific request needs to be made to receive this extension. The extension is effective for foreign financial accounts maintained during and after the calendar year 2016, i.e., for FBARs filed in 2017 and thereafter.

[1]          For 2016, the deadline is October 16, 2017, because October 15 falls on a Sunday.

[2]          Section 2006(b)(11) of the Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015, P.L. 114­4



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On July 20, 2017, in John L. Weslowski v. Assessor of Schenectady, the Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, Third Department, granted summary judgment to petitioners who asked a reduction of the tax assessment of their single-family dwelling, following its overvaluation by the Taxing Authority.

Petitioners bought their dwelling located in the City of Schenectady in June 2013. The seller listed the subject property for sale at the price of $149,000 in June 2011, and reduced one year later this price to $110,000. In June 2013 petitioners offered to purchase the house for the sum of $103,000, which was accepted by the precedent owner following the 30 unsuccessful showings during the last two years.

Only two weeks later, the Tax Authority assessed the subject property to $156,000 to determinate the property taxes. The new owners paid the corresponding taxes before seeking a reduction upon the ground that their property was overvalued according to Real Property Tax Law (RPTL) Article 7.

Petitioners took the case to Supreme Court to contest the assessment made by the Taxing Authority.

Private residences are annually assessed by an Assessor by referring to the subject property’s characteristics and the comparable sales.

Under the Article 7 a proceeding to review an assessment of real property, the proceeding shall be brought at a special term of the Supreme Court in the judicial district in which the assessment to be reviewed was made. Moreover, the grounds for reviewing an assessment shall be that the assessment to be reviewed is excessive, unequal or unlawful, or that real property is misclassified (RPTL 706).

In a previous tax certiorari proceeding, the Supreme Court of New York considered that “a rebuttable presumption of validity attaches to the valuation of property made by the taxing authority” (Matter of Board of Mgrs. Of French Oaks Condominium v. Town of Amherst, 23 NY3d 168, 174-175, 989 N.Y.S.2d 642, 12 N.E.3d 1072). Petitioners need to rebut the presumption to present substantial evidence to demonstrate that the subject property is overvalued. The minimal threshold is met by demonstrating the existence of a valid and credible dispute regarding valuation based on sound theory and objective data.

However, the Supreme Court has consistently held that evidence of a recent sale of the property is a highly reliable measure of value. Nevertheless, the subject property should not be purchased in any abnormal manner, such as, for example, in a related party sale. Otherwise the purchase price shouldn’t be taken as evidence of real assessment.

Thanks to the associate real estate broker affidavit who had been engaged to sell the subject property, together with their owns, petitioners offered evidence that the subject property was overvalued by the assessor. Indeed, the property was for sale since June 2011, and had been continuously, publicly and widely advertised on a multiple listing service throughout the Capital Region.

The Appellate Court affirmed the lower court’s decision by taking account the petitioners’ evidence presented. It finally selected two essential points to retain petitioners’ assessment:

  1. Supreme Court retains that the subject sale was an “arm’s length transaction” which means that is not explained away as abnormal by any fashion. It adds that this is the very best form of evidence.
  2. Supreme Court highlights that the appraiser’s method of valuation makes him unable to obtain reliable adjustments by referring to comparable sales. Indeed, this appraiser was unable to inspect the interior or exterior of the subject property, which prevented him from providing a fair and realistic value of the subject property.

The Supreme Court confirmed a reversal of the burden of proof in favor of petitioners. The Taxing Authority should refer to the purchase price when the subject property has been sold by an arm’s length transaction shortly before the assessment unless the transaction was not arms-length.

This case illustrates the way to contest an assessment made by the Taxing Authority used to calculate the Real Property Tax. Even if Taxing Authority has a presumption of validity attached to the valuation of properties, it’s possible for the owners to challenge this assessment by giving the proof of a recent sale in normal conditions. Under these circumstances, the Taxing Authority should refer to this purchase price to determine the amount of Real Property Tax due.



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On May 17, 2017, in Tretter v. Tretter,  the Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, Second Department, dismissed an action of a son (as plaintiff) against his mother (as defendant) to enforce a side agreement executed between the mother and her late husband in conjunction with a last will and testament (the “Will”), which stipulated that the Will would not be modified unless it was by mutual written consent of the husband and wife.  

Husband and wife entered into a written agreement (the “Agreement”) stating that each will execute a Will that leaves all their properties to the surviving spouse and then to their issue. In addition, husband and wife agreed, pursuant to such Agreement, that “they will not revoke the Wills executed by them this day, modify them by codicil, or execute any further Wills unless it is by the mutual written consent of the parties.”

The husband died two months later and according to the Agreement and the Will, the wife inherited all the properties of the husband. She then made certain inter vivos transfers during her life to her other children other than the plaintiff.

The son sued the mother to enforce the Agreement and therefore sought: (i) to render the prior gifts null and void; (ii) to prevent her from making further gifts during her life time, (iii)to prevent her from revising the Will; and (iv) to recover damages relating to the inter vivos gifts made. On

October 31st, 2014, the Supreme Court, Kings County (Toussaint, J.) denied his motion for a preliminary injunction. The son appealed the decision.

The Appellate court affirmed the lower court’s decision and dismissed the case. The court noted that “there is nothing in the unambiguous language of the agreement which prevents the defendant from making inter vivos gifts or transfers of assets she inherited from her husband” and further went on to preclude the son from maintaining an action predicated upon a breach of the agreement as it relates to the defendant's promise not to revoke or modify her will or execute a new will.

The case illustrates the point that careful consideration should go into succession planning. For example, if the father’s intent was to ultimately leave his assets to his children but to allow his wife to use such assets during her life, among other things, a trust could have been made that could have facilitated such wish. 


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As a result of the snowstorm, NYS has extended filing deadlines due March 15, 2017 to March 20, 2017. In general, no special relief needs to be requested; only that the tax returns need to be field by March 20, 2017. This would include, for example, the partnership tax return due March 15, 2017.

The exceptions to this relief include (i) remittances of income tax withheld by employers required to file NYS-1 and remittances of withholding tax or MCTMT required to be made by employers through the PromptTax system. Notice N-17-3 details the full announcement, which is reproduced below for your convenience.


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As a result of the snowstorm, the IRS has extended certain filing deadlines due March 15, 2017, including partnerships and S Corporations.

In order to take advantage of this extension, taxpayers must file Form 7004 (Extension Request) on or before March 20, 2017. The taxpayer should write “Winter Storm Stella” on their form.

IR-2017-61 provides details the full announcement, which is reproduced below for your convenience.