For better or for worse, the severity of offenses in the U.S. justice system is typically measured in sentence lengths. The more serious the crime, the longer the sentence tends to be.
Individual tax filing season gets a lot of media attention. Historically, TV stations have run footage of taxpayers rushing to the post office in order to file. Even with more and more people filing online, filing day - usually on or around April 15 - remains etched in the popular consciousness.
In our last post we discussed new concerns being raised by Nina Olson, the National Taxpayer Advocate, regarding the IRS' administration of the offshore disclosure initiatives. Olson says that she is concerned that taxpayers who unintentionally failed to disclose assets are being disproportionately punished while criminal tax evaders are receiving slaps on the wrist.
National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson says that criminal tax evaders are receiving a sweetheart deal from the IRS through its voluntary offshore bank account disclosure initiative. Although those who are intentionally hiding assets can come forward and pay a set penalty to avoid criminal prosecution, the system is often unfair to California taxpayers who unknowingly shielded assets from taxation, Olson says.
The IRS has reopened the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) for offshore bank account holders. This is a significant opportunity for California taxpayers with hidden overseas accounts to disclose these accounts to the IRS and avoid the possible criminal tax evasion penalties that are typically associated with offshore accounts.
In our last post we discussed a recent speech by IRS Commissioner Douglas H. Shulman on offshore bank accounts and the IRS' continuing pursuit of California residents with undisclosed foreign assets. The IRS is going to continue to pressure banks and foreign governments to disclose the identity of California taxpayers with hidden assets. Shulman said that the IRS has more tax evasion cases and banks on its radar and that he expects a new wave in tax evasion prosecutions in the coming years.
IRS Commissioner Douglas H. Shulman recently gave a speech at the 24th Annual Institute on Current Issues in International Taxation. One of the things that the commissioner focused on was the IRS' increasing scrutiny on taxpayers with offshore bank accounts.
We have covered the IRS' Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative in several of our previous posts. The OVDI allows California taxpayers with undisclosed offshore bank accounts to voluntarily report their undisclosed assets to the IRS in exchange for amnesty from any criminal tax evasion charges. The OVDI does impose some pretty hefty penalties on participants but these penalties are not as severe as those associated with the IRS finding an Orange County taxpayer's offshore bank account on its own.
We have extensively covered the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative Program in previous posts. The OVDI program is coming to an end and it is a great opportunity for United States citizens with assets abroad to voluntarily report those assets to the IRS and avoid criminal tax evasion charges. The OVDI offers amnesty but it is not a free pass because those who participate in the program are subjected to penalties of varying severity levels.
In our last post we discussed the approaching deadline for the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative which provides amnesty for Orange County taxpayers with undisclosed offshore bank accounts. Although the penalty rates and the 8-year reach of the OVDI may not be particularly pleasant thoughts for Orange County offshore account holders, many offshore account holders are more worried about the implications of the OVDI program regarding domestic income.