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IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program FAQs - Part 4

When Should I Apply To Participate In The Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program?

The sooner, the better. However, you should participate before the IRS finds you or ends the OVDP. If the IRS finds you, it may be too late. Each second you delay is costing you more money and substantially increasing your risk of being detected and exposed to possible criminal prosecution. How long can you afford to do nothing?

A key element of participating in the IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program is timing. When making a voluntary disclosure, the IRS also considers if a taxpayer takes corrective action in good faith and in a timely manner; therefore, time is of the essence. Even if you are unsure of the status of your foreign or offshore accounts, you can still be proactive and prevent a possible IRS audit or worse, by trying to settle your outstanding tax issues.

Taxpayers with undisclosed foreign accounts or assets should take advantage of the current IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program while there is still opportunity. The tax attorneys at Bucci Law Offices can guide you through the Voluntary Disclosure application process and analyze the potential tax consequences. However, you must act fast before the IRS closes the door on this OVDP.

Another reason time is of the essence is because the IRS and Department of Justice (DOJ) have been increasingly relentless in pursuing their investigations due to the significant amount of cooperation they are receiving from non-U.S. banks. The Department of Justice announced a program specifically for Swiss banks that aided secret account holders.

Should I Worry If My Accounts Are In Countries Other Than Switzerland?

It is not only Swiss bank account owners who should be worried. Banks that are cooperating are no longer limited to the large Swiss banks everyone thinks of when dealing with offshore accounts. Israeli, Japanese and European banks as well as banks found in Liechtenstein and other European countries are all cooperating, either voluntarily or involuntarily. These are just a few of the countries cooperating. Additionally, many non-U.S. banks, including, but not limited to, UBS, Credit Suisse, Bank Leumi, Bank Hapoalim, HSBC, Bank Julius Baer and Wegelin Bank are encouraging U.S. taxpayer account holders to come forward to the IRS before it is too late.

To enhance its investigative power, the IRS has even opened field offices in Australia, Panama, China and Hong Kong. Once the IRS believes an offshore bank holds unreported accounts owned by U.S. taxpayers, it can compel the bank to disclose the names of these account holders.