Some find the system inflexible and fear they may be paying more than necessary given their facts.
There’s been discussion of “opting out” of the program to take your chances in audit, but it’s a topic fraught with fear. Now, however, there is guidance about opting out of the program that makes much of it transparent.
Program Basics. Under the OVDI, taxpayers are subject to a penalty of 25 percent of the highest aggregate account balance on their undisclosed account(s) between 2003 and 2010. If the value was less than $75,000 at all times during those years, the penalty is only 12.5 percent. See FAQ 53. Moreover, in limited inheritance situations, a penalty of only 5 percent may be imposed. See FAQ 52.
These account balance penalties are in lieu of all other penalties that may apply, including FBAR and offshore-related information return penalties. Plus, participants are required to pay taxes and interest on any monies (such as interest income on foreign accounts) they previously failed to report. Finally, they must pay an accuracy-related penalty equal to 20 percent of the underpayment of tax, plus interest.
Opting Out. Opting out of the program can make sense for some, though it involves taking your chances with an IRS examination. The IRS has published a separate guide detailing the rules and procedures for opting out. The IRS illustrates pros and cons of opting out with examples. See FAQ 51.
Here are some of the rules.
Bottom Line? The opt out procedure is helpful but still a bit daunting.
If you are considering it, make sure you get some solid advice from an experienced tax lawyer about the nature of your facts. See FAQ 51.
Read more at: Tax Times blog