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IRS Amnesty; The Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program Explained In Less Than 5 Minutes



American citizens and residents often have placed funds in “foreign bank accounts” in banks all over the world. There is a requirement that all of these foreign bank accounts be reported to the United States on an annual basis and that United States income taxes be paid on all of these bank deposit funds.

Many American taxpayers who have been unaware of this requirement are now being pursued for taxes and penalties for not reporting their foreign bank deposits. There are two Internal Revenue procedures that will permit American taxpayers, who have not properly reported their foreign bank deposits, and the income therefrom, to come forward and report their foreign bank deposits. This avoids significant fines and penalties on a United State taxpayer who has not reported foreign bank deposits.

There is a program for those United States depositors who have knowingly evaded reporting their foreign bank deposits. This program is known as the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program and has strict requirements because of the fact that the non reporting was knowingly and willfully made. This “Amnesty Program” has strict penalties that are much less than all of the penalties that could have been inserted.

Have a question? Contact Richard Lehman. Your comments are always welcome!

Richard S. Lehman is a graduate of Georgetown Law School and obtained his Master’s degree in taxation from New York University. He has served as a law clerk to the Honorable William M. Fay, U.S. Tax Court and as Senior Attorney of the Interpretative Division in the Chief Counsel’s Office of the Internal Revenue Service in Washington D.C., the IRS’s internal law firm.

Mr. Lehman has had extensive experience with all areas of the Internal Revenue code that apply to American taxpayers and nonresident aliens and foreign corporations investing or conducting business in the United States, as well as U.S. citizens and domestic corporations investing abroad.

Mr. Lehman regularly works with law firms, accountants, businesses and individuals struggling to find their way through the complexities of the tax law.

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