Hurricane Postpones IRS’s Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Deadline

As Hurricane Irene was about to make landfall in North Carolina on Friday evening and head up the East Coast, the IRS announced it had postponed the deadline for its 2011 Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative (OVDI). The new due date for requests is Sept. 9, 2011. Before the extension, taxpayers had been required to complete all requirements for the program, or make a good-faith effort to comply and request a 90-day extension, by Aug. 31.


According to the IRS announcement, taxpayers who have not yet submitted requests and documents under the program must by Sept. 9 submit identifying information to the IRS’ Criminal Investigation office and send a request for a 90-day extension for submitting a complete voluntary disclosure information package to the IRS’ Austin campus.


The IRS announced the 2011 OVDI in February. The program is designed to bring money held in foreign accounts back into the U.S. tax system and to help taxpayers with income from offshore accounts to comply with federal tax law. Under the program, taxpayers that disclose previously undisclosed foreign accounts and comply with the terms of the program can avoid otherwise applicable civil penalties and criminal prosecution.


Friday’s announcement does not address the Aug. 31 due date for information filings that are not directly within the 2011 OVDI program, but are permitted to be filed under the OVDI’s FAQs  No. 17 and No. 18. These FAQs provide that U.S. persons who reported all their taxable income but only recently learned of their filing failures with respect to Form TD F 90-22.1, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR), or other U.S. foreign information returns (e.g., Forms 5471, Information Return of U.S. Persons with Respect to Certain Foreign Corporations, and 3520, Annual Return to Report Transactions with Foreign Trusts and Receipt of Certain Foreign Gifts) can obtain penalty relief by filing these delinquent returns under the parameters of the FAQs, but outside the OVDI.

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