Thorn believes there is a strong possibility for a new Amnesty Voluntary Disclosure Program to be initiated by the IRS, based on a public speech issued by IRS representatives.
The IRS is in the midst of introducing a new Amnesty Voluntary Disclosure Program, which should be based on the former disclosure program, originally running from March to October of 2009. The original program helped generate over 15,000 Voluntary Disclosures from U.S. citizens who failed to report taxes from offshore accounts and then produced another 3,000 disclosures after the program’s amnesty time period had expired.
However, on January 21, 2010 the Swiss Federal Administrative Court (the Court) ruled that the Agreement's "tax fraud and the like" arrangement was too broad and violated the Tax Convention temporarily stopping the SFTA from turning over UBS clients to U.S. authorities. Under the Tax Convention, Swiss banks may be required to provide account information for suspected tax fraud however it does not cover tax evasion.
What the IRS says about Voluntary Disclosure
IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman firmly stands behind the belief that the IRS will begin a new Voluntary Disclosure Program, including the disclaimer, “To be fair to those who came in before the deadline, the penalty and thus the financial cost to participate will increase.”
What Kevin Thorn has to say about Voluntary Disclosure
Kevin E. Thorn, Managing Partner of Thorn Law Group, a law firm that represents many taxpayers throughout the U.S. and around the world with undisclosed offshore accounts, believes “the new Amnesty Voluntary Disclosure Program is a second chance for offshore account-holders who may have missed the first deadline to avoid increased civil penalties and potential criminal prosecution. This opportunity should not be overlooked by those who have not come into compliance yet.”
What the Taxing Authorities say about Voluntary Disclosure
Taxing authorities strongly support this program due to the generation of new information provided by the disclosures, which may offer the IRS leads to other offshore accounts, based in areas such as Asia and the Middle East; these leads help to extend their investigative focus.
Thorn emphasizes that, “another Amnesty program is a rare opportunity and it should be welcomed.”
Failure to comply with the proper disclosure requirements and filing requirements may lead to audits, substantial financial penalties, and in some cases, criminal prosecution. The U.S. government is committed to bringing all U.S. taxpayers with undisclosed offshore accounts into compliance, one way or another. With the strong potential of a new Voluntary Disclosure Program to be implemented, this is a second opportunity for those U.S. taxpayers who have not already disclosed their foreign bank accounts to come forward and minimize possible criminal liability.