Amnesty Requests under the Off-Shore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) should never be put off. Waiting to apply is like running your car an extra 10,000 miles over an oil change. Every day is a risk of disaster.
The IRS publishes some frequently asked questions on its site to help Taxpayers determine their own level of risk. Please see the link below:
Off-Shore Voluntary Disclosure Program
Criminal and Civil Penalties
The IRS takes foreign bank account reporting very seriously. Civil penalties may be imposed for failure to report bank accounts that a Taxpayer does not own, if the Taxpayer is a signatory on the account. Even lack of knowledge that a foreign account exists is not necessarily a defense to all penalties. Worse still, the Government has enacted treaties with virtually all nations to require reporting of foreign bank accounts to the IRS.
Failure to report foreign bank accounts annually, can result in draconian penalties. Civil penalties may be as high as $100,000.00 or 50.00% of the highest balance of the account per offense, even if the Taxpayer never owned the account. Criminal penalties may be as steep as $500,000.00 and ten years in Federal prison.
To give Taxpayers an opportunity to self-report and avoid these penalties, the Government introduced the OVDP in 2012. Under the OVDP, Taxpayers may seek Amnesty by self-reporting before their bank informs the IRS of foreign accounts.
There is no room for error in requesting amnesty. Our Roswell and Alpharetta tax attorneys maneuver smoothly through the amnesty request process to ensure the minimum possible penalties for our clients.