US Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program to remain open indefinitely


By Sally P. Schreiber, J.D.

In a news release reiterating its focus on taxpayers who hold money offshore (IR-2015-09), the US tax agency, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), stated that it intends to keep its Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) open until it announces otherwise. The OVDP was restarted in 2012 after earlier time-limited programmes had closed.

Since the first programme, which began in 2009, the IRS has received 50,000 disclosures and collected more than $7 billion. In addition, the IRS has conducted both civil and criminal proceedings apart from the OVDP that have produced large amounts of civil and criminal penalties.

The IRS reiterated its commitment to pursuing taxpayers who hide assets overseas all over the world. Many taxpayers have been identified by the IRS as evading US taxes by hiding income in offshore banks, brokerage accounts, or nominee entities. Other taxpayers have used foreign trusts, employee-leasing schemes, private annuities, or insurance plans for the same purpose. The IRS uses information from its investigations to work with the US Department of Justice in criminally prosecuting these taxpayers.  

Sally P. Schreiber (sschreiber@aicpa.org) is a CGMA Magazine senior editor.

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