Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program scheduled to end

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently announced the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) will end. The OVDP is currently scheduled to close September 28, 2018.

What is the OVDP? The program began in 2009. It provided an opportunity for those with offshore accounts to voluntarily come into compliance with United States tax laws.

Those who chose to partake in the program would bring foreign accounts into compliance with United States tax laws in exchange for a reduced risk of criminal prosecution and civil penalties.

What about those who have yet to report foreign assets? Those who have yet to come into compliance have a tough choice: rush to get everything in order and take part in the OVDP before it closes or wait and see if another program is available after the scheduled September 28 deadline.

Regardless of which path taxpayers choose, it is important to note the IRS has a compiled an “abundance of data” from foreign financial institutions that identify foreign accounts. A recent piece in Accounting Today points out this data was gathered through “John Doe” summonses and the Swiss Bank Program.

As such, any individual or business with foreign assets is wise to consider coming into compliance voluntarily.

A failure to come into compliance voluntarily can result in harsh treatment from the IRS. In some cases, a failure to comply with tax laws can lead to criminal charges. The fact that the agency has offered the OVDP for so long has led some to believe the IRS will use an “iron fist” approach against those that attempt to avoid their obligations. Anyone wishing to come into compliance or who finds themselves at the mercy of this “iron fist” can benefit from the counsel of an experienced offshore tax attorney.

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