If you are like many people in Southern California, your financial assets may extend beyond the United States. You might own property in one or more foreign countries. You might have business investments in another nation. You might even have a bank account in another country. These are some of the situations that might make your tax filings more complicated than those of the average U.S. taxpayer.
For several years, the Internal Revenue Service offered a special program designed to help people get current on past tax responsibilities related to offshore assets. This program was called the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program. One of the key elements of this program was that it was made available to people who consciously tried to avoid paying taxes on these assets. In exchange for making tax payments, participants were able to avoid federal criminal prosecution. This program was phased out at the end of September this year.
For people who owe past taxes on offshore assets but who did not consciously try to avoid their responsibilities, the IRS still offers what they call the Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedures. Some of the eligibility rules for this program have been expanded including the elimination of a tax threshold. This may be a viable option for taxpayers who can certify their delinquent or incomplete tax status is not a willful act of tax evasion.
If you would like to learn more about your options for addressing potential tax liabilities for offshore assets you may have, please feel free to visit the Internal Revenue Service offshore assets page of our California criminal tax defense website.