United States: public comments requested on Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program

July 26, 2013

The US Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have issued a notice requesting comments concerning the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) offered by the IRS.

The OVDP enables US taxpayers with undisclosed income from foreign accounts or foreign entities to bring their tax returns up to date, avoid substantial civil penalties and generally eliminate the risk of criminal prosecution.

The IRS has launched four such programs since 2003.

The latest program is the 2012 OVDP, which is effective from 9 January 2012 and remains open for an indefinite period until otherwise announced.

The 2012 OVDP requires participants to pay a penalty of 27.5% of the highest aggregate balance in foreign bank accounts or entities, or the value of foreign assets, during the eight full tax years prior to the disclosure.

The 2012 OVDP applies reduced 5% and 12.5% penalties in limited situations.

Participants 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 or delinquency penalties.

The IRS requested that comments be submitted no later than 16 September 2013.

The mailing address and other contact information are given in the notice.

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