Many tax practitioners have become disenchanted with the IRS’s treatment of those who are transitioning from OVDP to the Streamlined Procedures. What is the source of this disenchantment? Very simply, the IRS is denying the nonwillful certification in a disproportionately high number of cases.

To make matters worse, the process of denial is somewhat of an enigma. In OVDP cases, the IRS has more than just the certification. It also has the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Letter and the accompanying documents that make up the final submission. According to many tax practitioners, if the certification causes the IRS to doubt the taxpayer’s claim that he was nonwillful, then its default position is to deny transitional relief. Read More

The IRS has authority to assert FBAR civil penalties. Contrary to popular belief, an FBAR violation doesn’t automatically mean that a penalty will be asserted. Examiners are expected to exercise discretion, taking into account the facts and circumstances of each case, in determining whether penalties should be asserted. For example, the examiner may determine that the facts do not justify asserting a penalty. In that case, the examiner will issue an FBAR warning letter, Letter 3800.

According to IRM, the sole purpose of the FBAR penalty is to promote compliance with the FBAR reporting and recordkeeping requirements. In exercising their discretion, examiners should consider whether issuing a warning letter and securing delinquent FBARs, rather than asserting a penalty, will achieve the desired result of Read More