offshore voluntary disclosure lawyers Minneapolis

OVDI: IRS Shows Continued Progress on International Tax Non-Compliance

The Internal Revenue Service has achieved significant success in combating international tax non-compliance. The total number of voluntary disclosures up to 30,000 since 2009. In all, 12,000 new applications came in from the 2011 offshore program that closed last week.

The IRS also announced today it has collected $2.2 billion so far from people who participated in the 2009 program, reflecting closures of about 80 percent of the cases from the initial offshore program. On top of that, the IRS has collected an additional $500 million in taxes and interest as down payments for the 2011 program — a figure that will increase because it doesn’t yet include penalties.

IRS Increases Pressure on U.S. Taxpayers

“By any measure, we are in the middle of an unprecedented period for our global international tax enforcement efforts,” said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. “We have pierced international bank secrecy laws, and we are making a serious dent in offshore tax evasion.”

Global tax enforcement is a top priority at the IRS, and Shulman noted progress on multiple fronts, including ground-breaking international tax agreements and increased cooperation with other governments. In addition, the IRS and Justice Department have increased efforts involving criminal investigation of international tax evasion.

The combination of efforts helped support the 2011 Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative (OVDI), which ended on September 9. The 2011 effort followed the strong response to the 2009 Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) that ended on Oct. 15, 2009.

Number of Disclosures

The 2009 program led to about 15,000 voluntary disclosures and another 3,000 applicants who came in after the deadline, but were allowed to participate in the 2011 initiative. Beyond that, the 2011 program has generated an additional 12,000 voluntary disclosures, with some additional applications still being counted. All together from these efforts, taxpayers came forward and made 30,000 voluntary disclosures.

“My goal all along was to get people back into the U.S. tax system,” Shulman said. “Not only are we bringing people back into the U.S. tax system, we are bringing revenue into the U.S. Treasury and turning the tide against offshore tax evasion.”

In new figures announced today from the 2009 offshore program, the IRS has $2.2 billion in hand from taxes, interest and penalties representing about 80 percent of the 2009 cases that have closed. These cases come from every corner of the world, with bank accounts covering 140 countries.

The IRS is starting to work through the 2011 applications. The $500 million in payments so far from the 2011 program brings the total collected through the offshore programs to $2.7 billion.

Criminal prosecutions

People hiding assets offshore have received jail sentences running for months or years, and they have been ordered to pay hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars. UBS. UBS AG, Switzerland’s largest bank, agreed in 2009 to pay $780 million in fines, penalties, interest and restitution as part of a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. government. The two disclosure programs provided the IRS with a wealth of information on various banks and advisors assisting people with offshore tax evasion, and the IRS will use this information to continue its international enforcement efforts.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office to Resolve Your International Tax Issues

If you have not filed your FBARs and/or have unreported foreign-source income, please contact Sherayzen Law Office NOW! Our experienced international tax firm will help you resolve your international tax compliance issue and guide you through the complex process of the IRS voluntary disclosure.

Non-Resident Indians Face High Exposure to the FBAR Reporting Requirements

Non-Resident Indian (NRI) is an Indian citizen who has migrated to another country, a person of Indian origin who is born outside India, or a person of Indian origin who resides permanently outside India. A large number of the NRIs left India as a result of a job offer, for example as a software engineer or an IT consultant.

In spite of leaving their country, most NRIs maintain close ties with their homeland and their families. There is a trend among NRIs to purchase rural and semi-rural non-income producing land in India as a retirement investment. A minority of the NRIs also rents out their homes and apartments.

As a result of all of this personal and economic activity, the NRIs have a constant source of foreign income, which is usually deposited either in an NRO bank account. In order to purchase real property in India or help their families, NRIs often open and maintain NRE accounts as well.

Unfortunately, most of the NRIs residing in the United States are completely unaware that these NRO, NRE, and other bank and financial accounts must be reported on the FBAR (the Report on Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts).

This problem is further exacerbated by the fact that a lot of NRIs think that paying taxes in India means that you do not need to report their Indian income in the United States. As a result of this misunderstanding, a lot of NRIs end up in a situation where they are in violation of both FBAR and income tax requirements.

This is an extremely dangerous combination which may result in the imposition of substantial FBAR penalties as well as additional income tax penalties. In the worse case scenarios, where the IRS finds that the violation is willful, a criminal prosecution may be initiated.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office NOW For FBAR Help

If you an NRI who has not disclosed his bank and financial accounts in India, contact Sherayzen Law Office as soon as possible. Eugene Sherayzen is an experienced voluntary disclosure attorney who will guide you through the complex and dangerous maze of U.S. tax compliance laws and regulations, and help you find the right solution to your FBAR problems.

OVDI Deadline Extended until September 9, 2011

Due to the potential impact of Hurricane Irene, the IRS has extended the due date for offshore voluntary disclosure initiative requests until September 9, 2011. For those taxpayers who have not yet submitted their request and any documents, the following actions are necessary by September 9, 2011:

Identifying information must be submitted to the Criminal Investigation office. This includes name, address, date of birth, and social security number and as much of the other information requested in the Offshore Voluntary Disclosures Letter as possible. This information must be sent to:

Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Coordinator
600 Arch Street, Room 6404
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Send a request for a 90-day extension for submitting the complete voluntary disclosure package of information to the Austin campus. This request must be sent to:

Internal Revenue Service
3651 S. I H 35 Stop 4301 AUSC
Austin, TX 78741
ATTN: 2011 Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative

Contact Sherayzen Law Office NOW to Discuss Your Legal Situation

If you are wondering about whether OVDI is the program for you and how to take advantage of it, contact Sherayzen Law Office as soon as possible to discuss your case. Our experienced voluntary disclosure tax firm will guide you through the complex maze of the U.S. tax compliance laws and regulations and help you find the solution that fits best your situation.

Post-OVDI Options: What to Do If You Cannot Make the OVDI Deadline

Introduction:  OVDI Deadline is August 31, 2011

On February 8, 2011, the Internal Revenue Service initiated  2011 Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative (OVDI), a special voluntary disclosure initiative, designed to bring offshore money back into the U.S. tax system and help people with undisclosed income from hidden offshore accounts get current with their taxes.  While this program is not available (or even desirable) for everyone, the OVDI program offered many taxpayers a way to bring themselves back into compliance with U.S. tax laws.

The program is only available, however, for taxpayers who apply to be accepted into the program prior to August 31, 2011.  It is then possible to get an extension to file the documents, even though there is no guarantee that the extension will be granted, especially for late filers.

Voluntary Disclosure After OVDI

So, what can you do if you cannot make the OVDI deadline?  Is any type of voluntary disclosure precluded if you cannot apply for the OVDI by August 31?

The answer is no.  Other types of voluntary disclosure will be available after August 31, 2011.  It is important to emphasize, however, that the OVDI provides a degree of stability and certainty of FBAR penalties that are unlikely to be matched by other voluntary disclosure options.

Traditional IRS Voluntary Disclosure 

The chief post-OVDI voluntary disclosure program will be Traditional IRS Voluntary Disclosure.  While it will not offer the same certainty of the FBAR penalties as OVDI currently does with its tiered penalty structure, the Traditional Voluntary Disclosure will be particularly useful for taxpayers who potentially face criminal charges and willful penalties.

Doing Nothing Is Dangerous

It is important to emphasize that, whether or not you will be able to take advantage of the OVDI program, the most dangerous option for you is to do nothing. Taxpayers, who hide this offshore assets and do not come forward, are much likely to face far higher penalty scenarios as well as the possibility of criminal prosecution.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office NOW To Solve Your Tax Issues

Sherayzen Law Office can help you resolve all of your tax compliance issues.  Our experienced voluntary disclosure tax firm will guide you through the voluntary disclosure process and vigorously advocate your position, vying for the best outcome possible in your case.  E-mail or call us NOW!

OVDI Deadline: August 31, 2011

This is a reminder that the  2011 Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative (OVDI) will expire on August 31, 2011. The 2011 OVDI was announced on February 8, 2011, and follows the 2009 Offshore Disclosure Program (OVDP). The 2011 initiative offers clear benefits to certain taxpayers who currently face far higher penalties along with potential criminal charges if their hidden offshore assets are detected by the IRS.  Whether your case falls within this category of taxpayers should be determined by an international tax attorney who is familiar with the FBAR penalty structure.

Those taxpayers who have not disclosed their foreign accounts and income are unlikely to sustain this for much longer without violating additional tax reporting requirements.  This is because the new foreign account reporting requirements are being phased in over the next few years, making it ever tougher to hide income offshore.  Moreover, the IRS continues its focus on banks and bankers worldwide that assist U.S. taxpayers with hiding assets overseas, putting the pressure on the foreign financial institutions to report noncompliant taxpayers.

The 2011 OVDI program is designed to bring taxpayers back into compliance with the U.S. tax system.  Under the initiative, there is a new penalty framework that requires individuals to pay a penalty of 25 percent of the amount in the foreign bank accounts in the year with the highest aggregate account balance covering the 2003 to 2010 time period. Some taxpayers will be eligible for 5 or 12.5 percent penalties in certain narrow circumstances.  It is likely that your foreign assets, such as rental real estate the income from which has not been disclosed or which was purchased with illegal funds, will be included in the 25-percent penalty calculation.

Participants also must pay back-taxes and interest for up to eight years as well as paying accuracy-related and/or delinquency penalties. All original and amended tax returns must be filed by the deadline.

If a taxpayer is interested in going through the 2011 OVDI, he must hurry.  He has to be accepted into the program before he can take advantage of it.  Therefore, these last few weeks left before the August 31, 2011 deadline is the last opportunity to apply to the program.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office NOW to Discuss Your Voluntary Disclosure Case

If you have undisclosed foreign financial accounts and have not reported your foreign income to the IRS, call Sherayzen Law Office immediately to discuss your case.  Our experienced voluntary disclosure tax firm will determine whether the 2011 OVDI program fits well your particular case, discuss with you the alternatives, and guide you through this highly complex voluntary disclosure process.

Remember, it does not matter whether you are located in another state or outside of the United States – we can help!