If the thought of being investigated by the IRS makes you feel uneasy, you may want to get your financial situation in order before it is too late. Withholding information regarding foreign income or assets is a criminal offense, but there is a way to make amends with the government before you come under investigation. The Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program offers individuals a way to erase their past mistakes and move forward in a more truthful manner.

What is the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program?

The Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program was first introduced by the Internal Revenue Service in the United States in 2012. The program is designed to support taxpayers who come forward voluntarily and report their previously undisclosed foreign accounts and assets. This allows the IRS the opportunity to resolve a large number of cases without examination, while also offering taxpayers a chance to willingly resolve the issues in their previous income tax reports before they come under official investigation. To be eligible, a taxpayer must have invested legal source funds in their previously undisclosed assets. If any funds or assets are derived from criminal activity of any kind, you may not access the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program. It is also important to report any intentionally withheld offshore accounts or assets before coming under investigation by the IRS. If you are currently under civil examination or criminal investigation by the IRS, it is too late to partake in the program. It is important that all taxpayers who choose to access the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) do so voluntarily, not because they are already facing the threat of persecution. The program is not designed as a way out for those who are currently being criminally charged; it exists to assist those who acted intentionally by offering them a way to make it right. Once under investigation, if you are found guilty of withholding information from the US government, you may face a wide range of charges. If you are willing to make a change now, before it gets to that point, you will not only save yourself money, but you will also avoid potential jail time.

Accessing the Program and Avoiding Criminal Consequences

Taxpayers who wish to voluntarily disclose their offshore accounts and assets will avoid prosecution and limit their exposure to civil penalties by utilizing the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program. By partaking in this program, those who have previously evaded taxes can prove that they ought to be trusted with their yearly income tax declarations moving forward. Through the program, taxpayers file up to eight years of tax returns and Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBARs). These FBARs include such things as bank accounts, mutual funds, trust funds, and any other kinds of financial interests. Once filling out the questionnaires and other supporting documentation that discloses the nature of the taxpayer’s finances, the OVDP allows these individuals the opportunity to settle their debts. Once they are paying back their taxes owing, including interest and any penalties placed on those undeclared taxes, previously dishonest taxpayers can move on with their lives—without the threat of criminal investigation or imprisonment. By choosing to take part in the program, the taxpayer will not be criminally prosecuted, and any non-compliance older than eight years will be forgiven.

Esquire Group, a boutique international tax advisory firm specializing in tax consulting, tax planning and compliance and helping corporate and individual taxpayers with Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program, asset protection, and US expat taxes. To learn more about us, visit Esquiregroup.Com/About.

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