Thursday, October 15, 2009

IRS Amnesty Program Extended

24-7- The IRS Amnesty Program has been extended from September 23, 2009 to October 15, 2009. This program allows United States citizens and residents with offshore accounts to come forward and avoid criminal prosecution. In addition, the program results in significantly reduced penalties. The extension to October 15, 2009 allows more time for people to take advantage of this opportunity to avoid potential criminal prosecution for unreported offshore accounts.

The criminal penalties which can flow from unreported offshore accounts include:
1. Conviction of a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison for not filing the yearly form disclosing offshore accounts over $10,000.00. This form is known as an FBAR.
2. Conviction of tax evasion, a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison for willfully not reporting the income on foreign accounts.
3. Conviction of willfully filing a false tax return, a felony punishable by up to 3 years in prison for false statements on the tax return relating to the offshore accounts and income earned on the accounts.

The civil penalties imposed if the IRS learns of an unreported offshore account with a balance over $10,000.00 are severe and are in addition to criminal penalties. The civil penalty for not filing the yearly FBAR disclosing the offshore account is 50% of the highest value of the account, every year that the FBAR is not filed. Civil penalties for failure to disclose the income earned on offshore accounts can range from 20% to 75%.

The IRS Amnesty Program allows a person to avoid the potential criminal prosecution and significantly reduce the civil penalties.

An example of the civil penalties under the Amnesty Program compared to what would happen if the IRS discovers the offshore account reveals the benefit of the Amnesty Program. As an example, if the offshore account contains $1,000,000.00 and earned 5% per year from 2003 through 2008, the civil penalties and taxes on the earnings would be $386,000.00 plus interest under the Amnesty Program. Without the Amnesty Program the taxes and penalties would be $2,306,000.00 plus interest. This figure could be even more if the IRS imposed a fraud penalty
on the unpaid taxes.

In order to successfully enter and complete the IRS Amnesty Program, people should contact an attorney with experience in defending IRS criminal cases and investigations. Mark Horwitz is representing people who reside in the United States and in other countries in helping them successfully through the IRS Amnesty Program.

Article provided by Law Offices of Mark L. Horwitz, P.A.

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