On June 18, 2014, the IRS announced major changes in the 2012 offshore account compliance programs, providing new options to help taxpayers residing in the United States and overseas. The changes are anticipated to provide thousands of people a new avenue to come back into compliance with their tax obligations.
The streamlined filing compliance procedures are available to taxpayers certifying that their failure to report foreign financial assets and pay all tax due in respect of those assets did not result from willful conduct on their part. The streamlined procedures are designed to provide to taxpayers in such situations (1) a streamlined procedure for filing amended or delinquent returns and (2) terms for resolving their tax and penalty obligations.
Taxpayers will be required to certify that the failure to report all income, pay all tax, and submit all required information returns, including FBARs (FinCEN Form 114, previously Form TD F 90-22.1), was due to non-willful conduct.
If the IRS has initiated a civil examination of a taxpayer’s returns for any taxable year, regardless of whether the examination relates to undisclosed foreign financial assets, the taxpayer will not be eligible to use the streamlined procedures. Similarly, a taxpayer under criminal investigation by IRS Criminal Investigation is also ineligible to use the streamlined procedures.
Taxpayers eligible to use the streamlined procedures who have previously filed delinquent or amended returns in an attempt to address U.S. tax and information reporting obligations with respect to foreign financial assets (so-called “quiet disclosures” made outside of the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (“OVDP”) or its predecessor programs) may still use the streamlined procedures.
The Streamlined Procedures are classified between U.S. Taxpayers Residing Outside the United States and U.S. Taxpayers Residing in the United States.
Both versions require that taxpayers:
a. Certify that the failure to report the income from a foreign financial asset and pay tax as required by U.S. law, and failure to file an FBAR (FinCEN Form 114, previously Form TD F 90-22.1) with respect to a foreign financial account, resulted from non-willful conduct. Non-willful conduct is conduct that is due to negligence, inadvertence, or mistake or conduct that is the result of a good faith misunderstanding of the requirements of the law.
b. File 3 years of back tax returns reflecting unreported foreign source income;
c. File 6 years of back FBAR’s reporting the foreign financial accounts; and
d. Calculate interest each year on unpaid tax.
In return for entering the streamlined offshore voluntary disclosure program, the IRS has agreed:
a. Possible waiver of charges of criminal tax evasion which would have resulted in jail time or a felony on your record;
b. Possible waiver of other fraud and filing penalties including IRC Sec. 6663 fraud penalties (75% of the unpaid tax) and failure to file a TD F 90-22.1, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts Report, (FBAR) (the greater of $100,000 or 50% of the foreign account balance); and
c. Possible waiver of the 20% accuracy-related penalty under Code Sec. 6662 or a 25% delinquency penalty under Code Sec. 6651.
For U.S. Taxpayers Residing Outside the United States who apply to the streamlined program, the IRS is waiving the OVDP penalty.
For U.S. Taxpayers Residing in the United States who apply to the streamlined program, the IRS is imposing a 5% OVDP penalty (applied against the value of the undisclosed foreign income producing accounts/assets).
Advantages Of The 2014 OVDP Streamlined Procedures.
The changes implemented by IRS for the 2014 OVDP Streamlined Procedures are meant to encourage more taxpayers with non-disclosed foreign bank accounts to come forward into compliance.
Reduced OVDP Penalty. Under the traditional Voluntary Disclosure Program, a taxpayer would be subject to an OVDP penalty as high as 27.5%. Under the streamlined program, the OVDP penalty is 5% for taxpayers in the U.S. and 0% for taxpayers outside the U.S.
Shorter Period For Filing Amended Tax Returns And Delinquent FBAR’s. Under the traditional Voluntary Disclosure Program, a taxpayer would have to go back as far as eight years to amend income tax returns and FBAR’s. Under the streamlined program, a taxpayer would have to go back as far as three years to amend income tax returns and go back as far as six years to prepare delinquent FBAR’s.
Shorter Measuring Period For The OVDP Penalty. Under the traditional Voluntary Disclosure Program, the OVDP penalty is applied against the highest aggregate foreign asset balance over the last eight years. Under the streamlined program, the look-back period is six years.
No accuracy-related penalty. Under the traditional Voluntary Disclosure Program, any deficiency in the back income taxes would be subject to the 20% accuracy-related penalty under Code Sec. 6662. Under the streamlined program, this penalty is not asserted by IRS.
What Should You Do?
We encourage taxpayers who are concerned about their undisclosed offshore accounts to come in voluntarily before learning that the U.S. is investigating the bank or banks where they hold accounts. By then, it will be too late to avoid the new higher penalties under the OVDP of 50% percent – nearly double the regular maximum rate of 27.5%.
Don’t let another deadline slip by. If you have never reported your foreign investments on your U.S. Tax Returns or even if you have already quietly disclosed or you are in the 2012 Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative (“OVDI”), you should seriously consider participating in the IRS’s 2014 Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (“OVDP”). Once the IRS contacts you, you cannot get into this program and would be subject to the maximum penalties (civil and criminal) under the tax law. Taxpayers who hire an experienced tax attorney in Offshore Account Voluntary Disclosures should result in avoiding any pitfalls and gaining the maximum benefits conferred by this program.
Protect yourself from excessive fines and possible jail time. Let the tax attorneys of the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. located in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and elsewhere in California qualify you for OVDP.
Description: Let the tax attorneys of the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. resolve your IRS tax problems, get you in compliance with your FBAR filing obligations, and minimize the chance of any criminal investigation or imposition of civil penalties.