There is a lot of conversation nationally about IRS FBAR compliance and those who have not yet complied. Many US taxpayers may be wondering if the IRS OVDP may still be a viable option for unreported offshore accounts and assets. The answer is a qualified “yes.” The reality is the power and reach of the IRS, and the likelihood that the IRS will discover your offshore activities. Many US taxpayers believe they are “small potatoes” and the IRS will never tie these accounts or assets to them personally. The reality is quite different. For almost a year, foreign sovereign tax authorities as well as most foreign banks and investment houses have provided detailed information to the IRS regarding US taxpayers with offshore bank accounts and assets. This information includes account balances, transactions and income as well as the unique taxpayer ID or passport information for the account’s “beneficial ownership interest.”
In other words, the IRS receives an automated data stream that tells them your social security number, federal taxpayer ID or passport identification along with every detail about your offshore accounts and transactions. Presently, the IRS is comparing this information to the disclosures submitted by US taxpayers on their FBAR reports and associated tax forms. When an automated system compares this information to your tax returns it is easy and obvious to separate your unique tax returns and pursue draconian FBAR related penalties and interests.
So what does the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program or OVDP provide and why should the taxpayer consider it. The short answer is peace of mind. The long answer would be a definable, knowable answer that resolves the question once and for all, as well as the release of the taxpayer from criminal prosecution for tax evasion and the genuine potential for jail time.
These decisions shouldn’t be taken quickly or without the expert advice of experienced San Diego IRS tax attorneys at Allen Barron. We have decades of experience in offshore and international tax issues and provide insight and advice for compliance with IRS FBAR reporting requirements. If you have not yet disclosed offshore accounts and assets the IRS OVDP may still be a viable option for unreported offshore accounts, but you will need insight and advice. We invite you to contact us for a free consultation at 866-631-3470. Ask about the protections of the attorney-client privilege.