Boston Tax Attorney Discusses Third IRS Voluntary Disclosure Program for Unreported Offshore Accounts
On January 9, 2012 the Internal Revenue Service reopened the offshore voluntary disclosure program to help people hiding offshore accounts get current with their taxes and announced the collection of more than $4.4 billion so far from the two previous international programs.
The IRS reopened the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) following continued strong interest from taxpayers and tax practitioners after the closure of the 2011 and 2009 programs. The third offshore program comes as the IRS continues working on a wide range of international tax issues and follows ongoing efforts with the Justice Department to pursue criminal prosecution of international tax evasion. This program will be open for an indefinite period until otherwise announced. The program is similar to the 2011 program in many ways but with a few key differences. Unlike last year, there is no set deadline for people to apply. However, the terms of the program could change at any time going forward. For example, the IRS may increase penalties in the program for all or some taxpayers or defined classes of taxpayers - or decide to end the program entirely at any point.
The third offshore effort came as the IRS also announced it had collected $3.4 billion so far from people who participated in the 2009 offshore program, reflecting closures of about 95 percent of the cases from the 2009 program. On top of that, the IRS has collected an additional $1 billion from up front payments required under the 2011 program. That number will grow as the IRS processes the 2011 cases.
In all, the IRS has seen 33,000 voluntary disclosures from the 2009 and 2011 offshore initiatives. Since the 2011 program closed in September 2011, hundreds of taxpayers have come forward to make voluntary disclosures. Those who have come in since the 2011 program closed in September 2011 will be able to be treated under the provisions of the new OVDP program.
The overall penalty structure for the new program is the same as for 2011, except for taxpayers in the highest penalty category. For the new program, the penalty framework requires individuals to pay a penalty of 27.5 percent of the highest aggregate balance in foreign bank accounts/entities or value of foreign assets during the eight full years prior to the disclosure. That is up from 25 percent in the 2011 program. Some taxpayers will be eligible for 5 to 12.5 percent penalties; these remain the same in the new program as in 2011.
Before deciding to join the 2012 program a taxpayer should first consult a tax attorney experienced in the nuances of international voluntary disclosure rules.
If you have any questions or would like more information on the third IRS voluntary disclosure program for unreported offshore accounts, please contact Levins Tax Law for a free confidential consultation at 508-435-0118 or toll free at 888-333-9501.
Levins Tax Law, LLC, provides a no obligation confidential consultation, is available for evening and weekend appointments, accepts American Express, Visa and master card, and in conveniently located in downtown Hopkinton, minutes from the Massachusetts turnpike and Route 495. To schedule a no obligation confidential consultation with a Boston /Metrowest tax lawyer, call 508-435-0118 or 888-333-9501.