How Can Your Attorney Help You Navigate the IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program?

Just because your money is stored halfway around the world doesn’t mean you don’t have to pay taxes on it. Instead, it falls under the IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program.
What exactly does that mean?
It means you need to find a good IRS attorney who can help you by:

1. Explaining the rules of the program
The IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program works a little differently than the taxes you pay here at home. Instead of applying to everyone (or applying only to “high rollers”), this program applies to anyone who has more than $10,000 stored in foreign bank accounts at any point in time during the year.
Even though the program has the word “voluntary” in its title, following the rules is anything but! If you don’t go along with the program, you can face all of the same penalties that you would for tax evasion in the States.

2. Keeping track of deadlines
Besides the money threshold, one of the biggest rule differences between the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program and “normal” taxes is the deadlines. Unlike the traditional income taxes you file here at home every April, your offshore ones will work a little differently.
In order to comply with the rules of the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program, you’ll need to file a form called an FBAR and turn it in sometime in August (your IRS attorney can make sure you get it filed before the specific deadline).
Your attorney can also explain the importance of hanging onto important documents for eight years. That’s because IRS investigators are allowed to go back eight years if they’re checking up on you (and punish you for anything they find!). As a result, you need to have everything on hand to plead your case, if you ever need to.

3. Negotiating if you get into trouble
The one thing that doesn’t change when you head offshore is the negotiations. If you wind up in the IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program’s crosshairs, you’re going to need a skilled negotiator on your side. If you don’t have one, you may end up paying hefty fines and facing jail time!
Just like tax troubles here in the States, you can’t take on these negotiations yourself. Instead, you need a skilled IRS attorney who has “been there and done that” before. Your lawyer may not be able to clean up the mess entirely, but he may be able to make a good dent for you. If you try to go it alone, you’ll probably just make things worse.

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