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Deadline for disclosing offshore accounts is approaching

The last day to take advantage of the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative is quickly approaching, the Internal Revenue Service warns. The IRS recently stressed that Orange County taxpayers who voluntarily disclose their hidden offshore bank accounts by the August 31 deadline will be in a far better position than those who wait until the IRS finds their offshore funds.

"The time has come to get back into compliance with the U.S. tax system, because the risks of hiding money offshore keeps going up," IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said. "Our goal is to get people back into the system. The second voluntary initiative gives people a fair way to resolve their tax problems."

The voluntary initiative allows Orange County residents with assets abroad to come clean with their assets and avoid criminal charges. Although hefty fines are still imposed on voluntary initiative participants, the penalties and criminal charges associated with being caught by the IRS are far worse.

Hiding money abroad may be more difficult as the United States investigation into offshore tax evasion heats up. Two major Swiss banks have already become probes for federal investigators. HSBC has also decided to cease providing offshore wealth management services for many of its wealthiest American clients to avoid being the next bank forced to make embarrassing disclosures or to pay substantial fines.

It is not too late to complete an Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative application and an experienced Orange County tax law attorney can help assist clients in preparing the most comprehensive OVDI application possible.

Source: Accounting Today, "IRS Warns of Deadline for Disclosing Offshore Accounts," Michael Cohn, Aug. 8, 2011

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