The Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program — 4 Dos and Don’ts

You probably take all kinds of precautions to make sure that you don’t wind up in any kind of tax trouble, but have you given any thought to money you’ve got stored abroad? If you don’t understand the IRS Offshore Voluntary

Disclosure rules, you’re putting yourself at risk!

If you’ve got money in foreign bank accounts, you could be right in the middle of the IRS’ crosshairs. Here’s what you should — and shouldn’t — do:

– DON’T assume the program just targets the “big guys”
You might be inclined to think that the IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program was created to nab “bag guys” who have tons of money hidden in foreign bank accounts. Sure, the IRS is trying to do that. However, they’re also trying to everyone else who’s breaking the rules.

If you have more than $10,000 stored in foreign accounts at any point during the year, you qualify for the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program — even if you don’t think of yourself as a “big guy”.

– DO talk to a lawyer before it’s too late

Just like any tax problem here at home, it’s better to deal with the IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program sooner rather than later. Even if you’re not in any trouble yet, it’s wise to talk to a San Diego tax lawyer about your specific situation. That way, you’ll have a tax expert who can tell you what you need to do to stay out of trouble altogether!

– DON’T assume you can ignore it

Despite its name, the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program is anything but “voluntary”. If you don’t follow the rules, it’s no different than breaking any other tax rule. If you don’t pay what you owe, you can wind up with a slew of expensive penalties and even jail time!

– DON’T file it along with your other taxes

Even though the rules are just as strictly-enforced, the IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program is a little bit different from domestic taxes. If you qualify for the program, you’ll have to file a separate document (called an “FBAR”) in addition to your regular tax return.

However, the deadlines in the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program aren’t the same as the traditional tax deadlines. Instead of filing your paperwork on April 15th, you’ll likely have to file everything over the summer. A good San Diego tax lawyer can help make sure that you file everything you need to, and on time.

Want to make sure your offshore accounts don’t get you into tax trouble? Help is a click away at!

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