The elderly British widow had been living in California for years. "She brought me a list of her accounts, and everything was in dollars - except for one item at the end of the list: 98,000 pounds sterling," says Delia Fernandez, a financial planner in Los Alamitos, Calif.

"I asked her if she reported that account to the IRS, and she said no. Why, she wondered, would she need to report a British bank account on her American tax return?"

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