Sam Brotman, JD, LLM, MBA August 24, 2014 4 min read

Streamlined Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Penalties

A Summary of the Streamlined Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Penalties

The Title 26 miscellaneous offshore penalty is equal to 5 percent of the highest aggregate balance or value of the taxpayer’s foreign financial assets that are subject to the miscellaneous offshore penalty during the years in the covered tax return period and the covered FBAR period. For this purpose, the highest aggregate balance or value is determined by aggregating the year-end account balances and year-end asset values of all the foreign financial assets subject to the miscellaneous offshore penalty for each of the years in the covered tax return period and the covered FBAR period and selecting the highest aggregate balance/value from among those years.

Streamlined Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Penalties - Miscellaneous Offshore Penalty

A foreign financial asset is subject to the 5-percent miscellaneous offshore penalty in a given year in the covered FBAR period if the asset should have been, but was not, reported on an FBAR (FinCEN Form 114) for that year. A foreign financial asset is subject to the 5-percent miscellaneous offshore penalty in a given year in the covered tax return period if the asset should have been, but was not, reported on a Form 8938 for that year. A foreign financial asset is also subject to the 5-percent miscellaneous offshore penalty in a given year in the covered tax return period if the asset was properly reported for that year, but gross income in respect of the asset was not reported in that year.

A taxpayer who is eligible to use these Streamlined Domestic Offshore Procedures and who complies with the IRS’s procedures will be subject only to the Title 26 miscellaneous offshore penalty and will not be subject to accuracy-related penalties, information return penalties, or FBAR penalties. Therefore, these Streamlined Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Penalties are much more forgiving than under the old system. Even if returns properly filed under these procedures are subsequently selected for audit under existing audit selection processes, the taxpayer will not be subject to accuracy-related penalties with respect to amounts reported on those returns, or to information return penalties or FBAR penalties, unless the examination results in a determination that the original return was fraudulent and/or that the FBAR violation was willful. Any previously assessed penalties with respect to those years, however, will not be abated. Further, as with any U.S. tax return filed in the normal course, if the IRS determines an additional tax deficiency for a return submitted under these procedures, the IRS may assert applicable additions to tax and penalties relating to that additional deficiency.

Streamlined Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Penalties - Retroactive Relief

For returns filed under these procedures, retroactive relief will be provided for failure to timely elect income deferral on certain retirement and savings plans where deferral is permitted by the applicable treaty. The proper deferral elections with respect to such plans must be made with the submission.

Have more questions about Streamlined Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Penalties? Please contact our office for further assistance.

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Sam Brotman, JD, LLM, MBA

Owner and Director of Legal
Brotman Law

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