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 December 3, Michael Wargon will discuss estate planning for young families at "A Millennial's Guide to Life and Money," a series presented by The Harbor Financial Group at Morgan Stanley and held in Delray Beach, FL.
On November 14, Dina Kapur Sanna will be speaking on two panels at International Trust and Estate Planning 2019, a program and live video webcast presented by American Law Institute Continuing Legal Education (ALI CLE) and held in Washington, D.C.
On October 30, Rebecca Tunney spoke at "Think Globally; Plan Locally: A Review of Estate Planning Issues with Global Clients," a CLE program presented by the Trusts & Estates Section of the Boston Bar Association.
Carl Merino, Dina Kapur Sanna and Seth Mersky co-authored an article, Attribution After the TCJA: A Downward Spiral of Unintended Consequences, published by Trusts and Estates.
Warren Whitaker participated in a task force discussion on government policy, focusing on taxing wealth, at the inaugural New York Times DealBook DC Strategy Forum, held at The Watergate Hotel in Washington, DC.
Day Pitney Press Release
Day Pitney's Family Office and Trusts and Estates practices have been shortlisted in the "Best Law Firm – Estates and Trusts" category for the 2020 Private Asset Management (PAM) Awards.
Day Pitney's Family Office and Trusts and Estates practices have been named as finalists in the "Legal Team of the Year" and "Wealth Planning" private client categories for the Family Wealth Report Awards 2020.
Warren Whitaker is noted in a September 19 special section of The New York Times, "How Do You Fix … All of It?" The special section focuses on findings from the inaugural New York Times DealBook DC Strategy Forum, at which Whitaker participated in a task force discussion on the best way to tax the wealthy in the U.S.
Day Pitney Press Release