On October 21, 2016, the IRS issued a news release, announcing new data on the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Procedures, which were put in place by the IRS in order to bring taxpayers with undisclosed foreign accounts and offshore assets into compliance. According to the new data, 55,800 taxpayers have come into the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) to resolve their tax obligations, paying more than $9.9 billion in taxes, interest and penalties since 2009. In addition, another 48,000 taxpayers have made use of separate streamlined procedures intended for non-willful omissions and meet their federal tax obligations, paying $450 million in taxes, interest and penalties.
In the announcement, the IRS also mentioned several factors, which will allow the IRS to continue pursing taxpayers with previously undisclosed foreign accounts. The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), which includes the network of inter-governmental agreements (IGAs) between the U.S. and various foreign jurisdictions, providing for automatic third-party account reporting, has entered its second year. More information also continues to come to the IRS as a result of the Department of Justice’s Swiss Bank Disclosure Program. As part of a series on non-prosecution agreements, the participating banks continue to provide information on potential non-compliance by U.S. taxpayers. According to recent comments from Caroline Ciraolo, Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the DOJ’s Tax Division, the Department of Justice and the IRS are in the “legacy” stage of the Swiss Bank Disclosure Program, reviewing and analyzing information received from the Swiss Bank. Based on a number of calls received recently by our firm, it appears that the IRS has already begun a number of audits of foreign income and foreign accounts based on the information received from the DOJ.
Former IRS Attorneys of Holtz, Slavett & Drabkin are assisting many taxpayers with the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program, Streamlined Disclosure Procedures and audits and investigations focused on offshore tax compliance.