Disclosing Offshore Assets
Why Pursue OVDP?
If you are behind on your taxes for foreign assets — such as bank accounts, business entities, trusts or income (including gifts and inheritances) — you may face severe penalties if caught. The IRS takes an aggressive stance on enforcement. On top of harsh financial penalties, you could also face deportation (if you are a U.S. permanent resident or visa holder) or even prison.
For those who qualify, voluntary disclosure can be a tremendous opportunity to come clean, avoiding potential prosecution and associated penalties.
General Steps In The Process
As a hybrid civil-criminal matter, the OVDP involves four key steps:
- Obtaining preclearance. You must first obtain clearance from the IRS Criminal Investigation Lead Development Center that you are eligible for the program.
- Submitting a disclosure letter. You must next prepare a detailed overview of your undisclosed offshore accounts and assets. This filing will serve as the basis for a preliminary acceptance or denial.
- Preparing and submitting a full VD package. If you receive preliminary approval, you must submit a civil package to the IRS with specific, highly detailed documentation.
- Civil examination. A tax examiner will review your VD package and issue a closing letter setting forth the taxes, interests and penalties owed. Generally, the miscellaneous offshore penalty will be limited to 27.5 percent of the foreign assets.
The entire process takes about six months to a year. However, there are short time frames for filing the correct submissions.
Consider Taking Advantage Of An Opportunity That May Disappear
If the IRS discovers your undisclosed foreign financial assets or begins an examination of your tax returns, you will miss out on the opportunity to pursue voluntary disclosure. Additionally, the program’s terms could change — or the program itself could end — at any time.
For that reason, it’s important to explore the program’s benefits sooner rather than later. At MillarLaw, our attorneys can provide a realistic assessment of your options. We are intimately familiar with the nuances of the OVDP and remain current on the latest developments.
Contact us today to learn more. Call 310-556-3007. Located in Los Angeles, California, our firm represents clients globally.