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2012 IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program Remains in Effect

At the beginning of 2012, the IRS renewed its Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program without an announced expiration date, allowing potential tax violaters to come clean in exchange for reduced penalties.

2012-10-20
October 20, 2012 (Press-News.org) 2012 IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program Remains in Effect

Among the many issues that can lead to a criminal tax investigation is a taxpayer's failure to disclose taxable offshore assets. In recent years, the Internal Revenue Service has renewed its Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) to give taxpayers incentives to comply with tax laws and potentially avoid penalties for tax evasion.

Last summer, the IRS announced that it had collected more than $5 billion in back taxes, as well as penalties and interest, as a result of more than 33,000 disclosures received under OVDP intervals authorized in 2009 and 2011. At the beginning of 2012, the IRS renewed the program without an announced expiration date and tallied another 1,500 disclosures in the first six months. One notable difference between the 2012 program and previous iterations is an increase in the maximum penalty from 25 percent to 27.5 percent.

"We continue to make strong progress in our international compliance efforts that help ensure honest taxpayers are not footing the bill for those hiding assets offshore," said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman in a press release. "People are finding it tougher and tougher to keep their assets hidden in offshore accounts."

While the $5 billion dollar figure sounds substantial, some commentators have noted that it represents a tiny percentage of the estimated $385 billion that the federal treasury loses due to tax evasion in a year. However, the IRS is counting on significant increases in enforcement when the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) is fully implemented next year.

FATCA will require U.S. taxpayers with certain types of foreign financial assets that exceed a specified value to report those assets to the IRS using Form 8938 on their federal income tax returns. FATCA also mandates direct reporting to the IRS by foreign financial institutions of details regarding the financial accounts of American taxpayers, as well as information about substantial ownership interests in foreign entities.

The IRS also announced that it had closed a loophole used by some taxpayers who utilize foreign courts to challenge the disclosure of personal tax information by foreign governments. Those taxpayers are now required to provide notice of such appeals to the U.S. Justice Department.

Strategic Advice About Foreign Asset Disclosure and Other Complex Tax Issues

The consequences for individuals who have not properly disclosed offshore holdings for any reason can include criminal prosecution and severe financial penalties. A tax attorney can share insights about the latest developments regarding the OVDP and related issues, and also provide criminal tax representation to clients who are contacted by the IRS regarding suspicions of tax evasion.

Article provided by Bredemann & McFarlane, PLC
Visit us at www.taxlawaz.com


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[Press-News.org] 2012 IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program Remains in Effect
At the beginning of 2012, the IRS renewed its Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program without an announced expiration date, allowing potential tax violaters to come clean in exchange for reduced penalties.