This alert concerns taxpayers with undisclosed foreign financial accounts and undisclosed foreign assets, as well as taxpayers participating in the Internal Revenue Service's Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) or Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedures (Streamlined).
On June 18, the IRS introduced significant changes to both OVDP and Streamlined. These changes again increase the volume and breadth of information requested by the IRS within OVDP and increase the penalties payable under OVDP in certain cases. The changes also, however, broaden the availability of Streamlined, especially for U.S.-resident taxpayers, and permit those already in OVDP who qualify for Streamlined to apply the Streamlined penalty to their OVDP matters instead of incurring the OVDP penalty in certain cases.
Changes to the Programs
Many taxpayers and practitioners believed that the OVDP 27.5 percent penalty on the total value of undisclosed foreign assets was too expensive for U.S.-resident taxpayers whose failures to disclose offshore accounts or assets were not due to willful tax avoidance. To address this and other issues, the IRS has expanded the availability of the Streamlined program, including for the first time making it available to U.S.-resident taxpayers, albeit with a small penalty.
Applying the Streamlined Penalty Instead of the OVDP Penalty in Certain OVDP Cases
Since the changes to Streamlined have opened that program to U.S.-resident taxpayers, the IRS has made it possible for taxpayers already in OVDP to pay the Streamlined penalty instead of the OVDP penalty if their conduct was non-willful. To take advantage of this penalty reduction, the taxpayer must have submitted the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Letter by July 1. (A taxpayer who has not done so may still opt out of OVDP and simply apply for Streamlined.)
The taxpayer must still complete and file all documents required by OVDP and pay all tax, penalties, and interest required by OVDP, except for the 27.5 percent OVDP penalty, by the applicable OVDP deadline. The taxpayer must also sign a more detailed version of the Streamlined non-willfulness certification under penalty of perjury. If the certification is accepted, the taxpayer will have to pay the 5 percent Streamlined penalty in lieu of the 27.5 percent OVDP penalty.
On January 24, Warren Whitaker will speak on "Pre-Immigration Planning Before a Move to the U.S." and "Canadian-U.S. Estate Planning" at the 6th Annual STEP Orange County Institute on Tax, Estate Planning and the Economy in Newport Beach, CA, presented in collaboration with the UCLA School of Law.
On January 23, Warren Whitaker will speak at a lunch meeting of the STEP San Diego chapter on "Coming to the U.S.: What You and Your Clients Need to Know."
On January 11, Dina Kapur Sanna spoke as part of a panel on "International Recent Developments" at the Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning, organized by the University of Miami.
Dina Kapur Sanna and Carl Merino co-authored an article, "New Filing Requirements for Foreign-Owned Disregarded Entities," for Trusts & Estates Magazine.
Carl Merino co-authored an article, "Tax Planning for Foreign Couples Buying U.S. Homes: Ownership Through Foreign and Domestic Trusts," for Bloomberg BNA’s Daily Tax Report.
Tina Albright was mentioned in an article, "On the Move," in the New York Law Journal. Albright recently joined Day Pitney as a partner in its Trusts and Estates practice.
Tina Albright was mentioned in an article, "Career Tracker: Lawyers on the move," in Reuters. Albright recently joined Day Pitney as partner in the firm's trusts and estates practice in New York.
New York- May 9, 2016 - Day Pitney LLP announced today that Tina Albright has joined the firm as a partner in the Trusts and Estates Practice in the New York office. She joins from Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP.
New York, NY; March 23, 2016 - Six partners in Day Pitney's International Trusts and Estates and Energy practices received recognition in Chambers Global 2016. Chambers Global covers over 190 countries across the world and also includes Region-wide and Global-wide sections.
Barbara Freedman Wand was mentioned in an article, "People on the Move," in The Boston Business Journal. Wand was recently elected as a member to Day Pitney's Executive Board, which provides guidance to the Executive Committee and serves as a liaison to the firm's partners.