IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Questions You Probably Have

Unless you’re a tax expert, you probably have these 3 questions about the IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program.

If you don’t know a whole lot about the IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program, you’re not alone. Luckily, the answers to these 3 questions will help clear things up:

1. “How do I know if I qualify?”
Sadly, lots of people don’t think they qualify for the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program because they don’t see themselves as one of the “big guys”. They think the IRS is only after the people who have millions of dollars stored in foreign bank accounts, when that really isn’t the case.
In reality, if you have more than $10,000 stored abroad (at any point during the year, not just when it comes time to report the money), then you qualify for the program.

2. “What happens if I don’t report the money?”
Despite its name, participation in the IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program is not voluntary in any way. If you don’t report your foreign money, it is no different than not reporting income here at home. You can be subject to heavy fines and even jail time for tax evasion!
And make no mistake — the IRS is serious about finding violators of the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program. In fact, right after the program went into effect, the IRS hired thousands of additional investigators, whose sole job it is to look for people breaking its rules!

3. “Do I really need a lawyer to help me figure everything out?”
A good San Jose tax attorney can prevent you from getting into trouble in the first place. After all, the IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program comes with its own separate form (called the “FBAR”) and its own special deadlines (usually sometime in August, instead of April), so there’s a lot of information to keep straight.
Plus, there’s a lot of documentation you’re responsible for keeping track of. Investigators with the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program are allowed to go back eight years, so if you don’t have the documents to back up your claims, you can wind up in even more trouble!
Bottom line — the right San Jose tax attorney can make sure you don’t end up in this nightmare to begin with.
Or, if you’ve already found yourself in the middle of the IRS’ crosshairs, he can work hard to try and lessen your punishment. After all, he has expertise and negotiation skills that you don’t. You’re far better off letting him represent you than trying to go it alone!

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