Answering Your Questions about the IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program

Confused about the IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program? You’re not alone!
Luckily, the answers to these 4 questions can help you make sense of it all:

1. “Is this program really voluntary?”


Throwing the word “voluntary” in there might sound a little nicer, but if you meet the guidelines for the IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program, you don’t get to pick and choose which information you turn over. If you get caught intentionally trying to mislead the IRS about your offshore bank accounts, you can be subject to many of the same penalties you face for tax troubles here in the U.S. — like hefty fines and even jail time!

2. “How do I know if I have to comply with the IRS

Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program?”

If you have more than $10,000 stored in foreign bank accounts, you are required to document it, report it to the IRS, and pay all of the necessary taxes on it.

Don’t assume that if your offshore bank balance falls below $10,000 at tax time that you don’t have to follow the rules. The Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program specifically states that if you have a foreign bank account balance of more than $10,000 at any point during the calendar year, you are required to comply with the rules.

3. “Will the IRS really know about my offshore money if I don’t tell them?”


You might be inclined to think that the IRS can’t possibly find out about money you’re keeping in other countries, but they have really covered their bases with this program. In addition to hiring more agents and creating a special investigation unit that’s devoted solely to looking for Offshore Voluntary Disclosure violators, the Justice Department is lending a helping hand, too.

In fact, the Justice Department has been out talking to foreign banks — particularly Swiss banks — about their American account holders. So, if you don’t tell the IRS about your offshore money, chances are they’ll find out about it anyway!

4. “Who can I turn to for more help?”

You might already do business with an Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program expert and not even know it! For example, if you’ve already got a good California probate attorney, he might have all of the information you need.

After all, good probate attorneys are typically tax experts. As a result, your California probate attorney should know all of the ins and outs of the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program.

Navigating the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program is much easier when you turn to the tax experts at!

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