Voluntary Disclosure Program Reopens
Lance Wallach Council Member President, VEBA Plan
Abusive Tax Shelter, Listed Transaction, Reportable Transaction Expert Witness
Jan. 9, 2012 Today, the Internal Revenue Service reopened the offshore
voluntary disclosure program to help people hiding offshore accounts get
current with their taxes. Additionally, the IRS revealed the collection
of more than $4.4 billion so far from the two previous international programs.
The Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) was reopened following
continued strong interest from taxpayers and tax practitioners after the
closure of the 2011 and 2009 programs. The third offshore program comes as the
IRS continues working on a wide range of international tax issues and follows
ongoing efforts with the Justice Department to pursue criminal prosecution of
international tax evasion.
This program will remain open indefinitely until otherwise announced. Lance Wallach and his associates have received thousands of phone calls from concerned clients with questions about the prior programs. Some of Lance’s associates are still very busy helping people with the last program. Not a single person has been audited and most are pleased with the results and are now able to sleep easily without worrying about the IRS. According to Lance, it requires years of experience to obtain a good result from the program. He suggests using a CPA-certified, ex-IRS agent with lots of international tax experience. While this is not a requirement to file under the program, Lance has heard many horror stories from people who have tried to file by themselves or who have used inexperienced accountants.” Our focus on offshore tax evasion continues to produce strong, substantial results for the nation’s taxpayers,” said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. “We have billions of dollars in hand from our previous efforts, and we have more people wanting to come in and get right with the government. This new program makes good sense for taxpayers still hiding assets overseas and for the nation’s tax system.” The new program is similar to the 2011 program in many ways, but it has a few key differences. Unlike last year, there is no set deadline for people to apply. However, the terms of the program could change at any time going forward. For example, the IRS may increase penalties in the program for all or some taxpayers or defined classes of taxpayers – or decide to end the program entirely at any point.” As we've said all along, people need to come in and get right with us before we find you,” Shulman said. “We are following more leads and the risk for people who do not come in continues to increase. “The third offshore effort accompanies another announcement that Shulman made today, that the IRS has collected $3.4 billion so far from people who participated in the 2009 offshore program. That figure reflects closures of about 95 percent of the cases from the 2009 program. On top of that, the IRS has collected an additional $1 billion from up front payments required under the 2011 program. That number will grow as the IRS processes the 2011 cases. In all, the IRS has seen 33,000 voluntary disclosures from the 2009 and 2011 offshore initiatives. Since the 2011 program closed last September, hundreds of taxpayers have come forward to make voluntary disclosures. Those who come in after the closing of the 2011 program will be able to be treated under the provisions of the new OVDP program.
The overall penalty structure for the new program is the same for 2011, except for taxpayers in the highest penalty category.
The new program’s penalty framework requires individuals to pay a penalty of 27.5 percent of the highest aggregate balance in foreign bank accounts/entities or the value of foreign assets during the eight full tax years prior to the disclosure. That is up from 25 percent in the 2011 program. Some taxpayers will be eligible for 5 or 12.5 percent penalties; these remain the same in the new program as in 2011Participants must file all original and amended tax returns and include payment for back-taxes and interest for up to eight years as well as paying accuracy-related and/or delinquency penalties. The IRS recognizes that its success in offshore enforcement and in the disclosure programs has raised awareness related to tax filing obligations. This includes awareness by dual citizens and others who may be delinquent in filing, but owe no U.S. tax.
Lance Wallach, National Society of Accountants Speaker of the Year and member of the AICPA faculty of teaching professionals, is a frequent speaker on retirement plans, abusive tax shelters, financial, international tax, and estate planning. He writes about 412(i), 419, Section79, FBAR, and captive insurance plans. He speaks at more than ten conventions annually, writes for over fifty publications, is quoted regularly in the press and has been featured on television and radio financial talk shows including NBC, National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, and others. Lance has written numerous books including Protecting Clients from Fraud, Incompetence and Scams published by John Wiley and Sons, Bisk Education’s CPA’s Guide to Life Insurance and Federal Estate and Gift Taxation, as well as the AICPA best-selling books, including Avoiding Circular 230 Malpractice Traps and Common Abusive Small Business Hot Spots. He does expert witness testimony and has never lost a case. Contact him at 516.938.5007, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.taxadvisorexpert.com.
international taxation division is headed by a CPA, EA , MBA, with 37 years of experience in the international tax division of the IRS. He was an IRS International Team Manager, and
an IRS Appeals Officer. He is currently an Adjunct
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Jail time for failure to file TD F 90-22.1 Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts
A former UBS, AG ("UBS") client from Miami Beach, Florida was sentenced to four months in federal prison for willfully failing to file a Form TD F 90-22.1, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts ("FBAR"), for the UBS account the man held with as much as $4,000,0000 in it. This information was released by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida on July 25 2012.
The former UBS client paid a civil penalty of $2,000,000 related to the $4,000,000 high account balance stemming from tax year 2006. Additionally, the former UBS client was sentenced to four months in federal prison, three years of supervised release, 250 hours of community service and a $20,000 criminal fine.
The UBS account related to two offshore corporations owned by the man, one in the Virgin Islands and one in the Republic of Panama. These corporations opened accounts at UBS. The man was not named as the direct owner but instead he was deemed only the "beneficial owner." The accounts with UBS were opened from tax years 2005 through 2007.
It is stated that the man was aware of the obligation on the FBAR to report as he had previously filed FBARs for other offshore corporations. An FBAR is required to be filed by both U.S. citizens and residents who have a financial interest in or signatory authority over a non-U.S. financial account with a value of more than $10,000 at any point during the tax year. The $10,000 amount is an aggregation of all non-U.S. financial accounts and not just an analysis on an account-by-account basis.
The information on the former UBS client was turned over after UBS agreed in February 2009 to pay $780,000,000 under a deferred prosecution agreement to settle the claim that UBS conspired to defraud the U.S. by impeding the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS"). UBS also agreed to turn over information to the U.S. Department of Justice on 300 account holders. Google Lance Wallach for more articles on point.
A US citizen or resident that held an account with UBS or any other institution that has not filed the necessary FBARs for the last eight tax years, should immediately reach out to get help to discuss any potential issues they may have and their alternatives. Filing for amnesty and then opting out are two options that our former IRS agents have successfully done for our clients. If not done properly it can be a disaster. We suggest you use a CPA with years of prior experience with the IRS international division.
The information provided herein is not intended as legal, accounting, financial or any type of advice for any specific individual or other entity. You should contact an appropriate professional for any such advice.
Payments or the rights to receive the foreign equivalent of social security, social insurance benefits or another similar program of a foreign government are not specified foreign financial assets and are not reportable.
Q15. If I have to file Form 8938, am I required to report all of my specified foreign financial assets regardless of whether the assets have a de miminis maximum value during the tax year?
If you meet the applicable reporting threshold, you must report all of your specified foreign financial assets, including the specified foreign financial assets that have a de minimis maximum value during the tax year. For exceptions to reporting, see Exceptions to Reporting on page 6 of the instructions for Form 8938.