|Having represented taxpayers in making Voluntary Disclosure to the IRS including under the 2009 IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program and
2011 IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative (OVDI), here are the most common questions and concerns of taxpayers inquiring about what has
become the IRS Amnesty Program.
1. What incentive is there to apply for amnesty in the 2012 OVDI when there is no deadline to apply?
The IRS has reserved the right to change the terms of the IRS Offshore Voluntary Discloser Program and announce its expiration without advance
notice. A prompt filing into this program will lock in the maximum penalty rate and will not be affected by the IRS' eventual termination of the
program. Following the trend of the three programs, rates are only going up. A prompt filing will also pre-empt the IRS from starting any investigation
which if started before the filing of amnesty would disqualify the applicant from the program.
2. Can I still make a Voluntary Disclosure if the IRS has notified me that I am under investigation?
NO. However, by promptly filing a Voluntary Disclosure with the Criminal Investigation Office of IRS, we can pre-empt the IRS' ability to start an
3. If I file my delinquent FBAR's and amended income tax returns reporting my undisclosed foreign accounts and income, I will avoid penalties and
FALSE. Over 2,200 taxpayers followed this strategy referred to as a "quiet disclosure" thinking they could bypass IRS scrutiny without entering into
the OVDI. Instead these filings were intercepted by the IRS and are awaiting assignment to special agents for criminal investigation program.
There are potential criminal penalities and very large fines. For that reason use some that has lots of experience with FBAR and OVDI. Our team is
led by a CPA who was with the IRS for 37 years. He was an appeals officer. That is the division that you should go to reduce your fine after you opt
4. 2011 is the first year I reported my foreign income on my Form 1040 and 2011 is the first year I filed an FBAR (Form TD F 90.22-1) so there is no
need to seek protection under the Voluntary Disclosure Program?
FALSE. The IRS will still pursue an investigation as the recent reporting of income and accounts does not cure the prior years of unreported income
and undisclosed foreign accounts. Also, the recent reporting which will be picked up by IRS analysts will likely elevate your status to be an easy
target by the IRS.
5. There are too many of us who do not disclose foreign accounts and income so that if we stand up to the government on this, we can get the
government to back off?
FALSE. The government is running at a deficit and is limited in making further spending cuts and faces unpopularity in raising taxes. There would
be much more public outcry if people were allowed to get off from violating the tax law.
We have received hundreds of phone calls for help. Act now before it is too late.
6. The IRS is merely scaring taxpayers to come forward because the IRS does not have the resources to start a criminal investigation on every
taxpayer with undisclosed foreign accounts and income?
FALSE. The IRS has created a new unit that will be comprised of auditors and professionals with specialized experience in investigating
cross-border transactions and foreign banking activity involving U.S. accountholders. With the addition of thousands of specially trained agents
who will be responsible for monitoring and examining individual U.S. taxpayers as well as businesses and other entities suspected of offshore tax
evasion, they will be aggressively pursuing individual U.S. taxpayers with undisclosed foreign accounts and will likely take on those 2,200 taxpayers
who filed with a quiet disclosure.
The Federal government would never prosecute a taxpayer who did not report his foreign accounts and did not report his foreign income?
U.S. v. Mauricio Cohen Assor (Florida, 2011) got 120 months jail time - his son was also convicted and received the same jail time.
U.S. v. Diana Hojsak (San Francisco, CA, 2007) got 27months jail time.
U.S. v. Igor Olenicoff (Orange County, CA, 2007) got 2 years probation and 120 hours community service.
U.S. v. Monty D. Hundley (New York, 2005) got 96 months jail time.
U.S. v. Brett G. Tollman (New York, 2004) got 33 months jail time - his mother and other relatives also were convicted and are serving time.
... and this is just the tip of the iceberg.
This is the reason that you should file ASAP. If you then opt out the correct way you get to fight the IRS and probably reduce your fine in the appeals
division of the IRS. Our lead expert was an appeals officer and he also was a manager in the international division of the IRS.
7. How do the information-sharing provisions common to U.S. tax treaties with other countries help the Federal government get information on U.S.
account holders with foreign accounts?
The Federal government is establishing a special disclosure pact with France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom. Under this approach,
foreign banks would disclose data on U.S. account holders to their own governments, which would then provide information to the IRS. The Federal
government is looking to expand this pact to other countries as well.
Who should you use. Google Lance Wallach to decide.
|Defending and protecting businesses, financial professionals, and individuals from IRS audits,
Insurance companies and Brokerage firms.
|The Law Offices of Mark Levinson, Esq.
|"Tipping the scales of
justice in your favor."