MAR 2011 – 2011 Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (Part I)

2011 OFFSHORE VOLUNTARY DISCLOSURE PROGRAM(“OVDP”)

境外资产主动申报特别规定最后申报期限 Aug 31, 2011

On February 8, 2011, IRS offered taxpayers a new opportunity to voluntarily report their undisclosed income from offshore accounts, known as the 2011 Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (the “OVDP”), which covers calendar years from 2003 to 2010.

The main purpose of this new program, like the 2009 Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (the “2009 OVDP”), is to get back those unreported offshore funds to the U.S. tax system and to help U.S. taxpayers get current on their tax returns, but the 2011 program has a higher penalty rate than 2009 voluntary disclosure program.

By implementing 2011 OVDP, IRS is trying to encourage more taxpayers  to disclose foreign bank accounts immediately instead of getting investigated  later and may have a risk of paying significant amount of penalties and interest and also will easily cause criminal issues. The deadline for participation in the 2011 OVDP is August 31, 2011.

Eligibility for participation

The OVDI is open to all U.S. taxpayers including citizens and resident that have undisclosed offshore accounts or assets on which taxes have not been paid. Some taxpayers who have already made so-called “quiet disclosures” by filing amended returns and paying tax and interest on previously undisclosed offshore income without filing Form TDF 90-22.1 (Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts) with IRS. 

Additionally, for those people who have accurately filed all tax returns and paid all taxes but only failed to file the Form TD 90-22.1 may not be subject to penalties if the forms are filed by the end of the disclosure period.

Modifications to 2011 OVDP

There are some modifications that IRS made on the 2011 disclosure initiative program. In the first voluntary disclosure program initiated in 2009, taxpayers faced up to a 20 percent penalty covering up to a six-year period. IRS finally received about 15,000 voluntary disclosures and covered banks in more than 60 countries.

However, under 2011 OVDP participants will face up to a 25 percent penalty on the highest year’s aggregate value of accounts or assets during the period covered by voluntary disclosure program,

The IRS also created a lower penalty category of 12.5 percent for treating smaller offshore accounts that people whose offshore accounts or assets did not surpass $75,000 in any calendar year covered by the 2011 initiative will qualify for this lower rate. Some taxpayers in limited situations can qualify for the 5 percent penalty.

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