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Top Things to Ask a Virginia OVDP Lawyer

Offshore Account Update

Posted in on November 4, 2019

For U.S. taxpayers with offshore accounts, it is wise to ensure compliance with tax reporting requirements on those accounts. The IRS is particularly aggressive regarding offshore accounts, since these accounts have historically been used for tax evasion or avoidance. And if the taxpayer has previously unreported accounts but wants to come into legal compliance, voluntary disclosures may be their best option.

A Virginia OVDP lawyer can assess the situations of taxpayers seeking to come into compliance with offshore accounts. But before you retain an attorney, be sure they are familiar with offshore accounts and voluntary disclosures. Here are the top questions to ask a Virginia OVDP lawyer before hiring them.

How Do I Come Into Reporting Compliance on my Virginia Offshore Accounts?

Many offshore account holders are aware of an IRS program known as OVDP, the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program. OVDP allowed taxpayers with undisclosed offshore accounts to come into reporting compliance while receiving protection from criminal charges. The 2018 Updated Voluntary Disclosure Program, applicable to both domestic and offshore accounts, replaced the OVDP.

For offshore account holders seeking to utilize the 2018 Voluntary Disclosure Program, the first step will be determining eligibility. A voluntary disclosure attorney can assist with this determination. A taxpayer may be disqualified if they are already under investigation or examination, by either the IRS or a law enforcement agency. They may also be ineligible if they have income from illegal activity. Your attorney can assess your particular situation.

Even if you are eligible, the Voluntary Disclosure Program is complex, so you will need your attorney’s help to navigate the process. You may also want to consider alternative options, such as Streamlined Filing for non-willful tax violations. Your offshore account attorney can help you select the best method for coming into compliance.

Can I Eliminate Any Risk of Criminal Charges?

While voluntary disclosures cannot completely eliminate the risk of criminal charges for offshore tax violations, they can substantially reduce the risk. However, the disclosures should be accurate and complete, and this is where legal assistance is vital.

Once you have completed the voluntary disclosure process, the IRS will be much less inclined to investigate or prosecute you. The IRS has limited resources and will focus its enforcement efforts on offshore account holders seeking to hide their foreign accounts. Therefore, it is often advisable to utilize the Voluntary Disclosure Program if you are eligible to do so, and if no simpler method of coming into compliance is available.

Should I Disclose My Offshore Accounts Now or Later?

While voluntary disclosures can help avoid criminal charges, there will likely be tax penalties to pay. In light of this, some taxpayers may wish to postpone their disclosures. This is highly inadvisable – the penalties and criminal risk will only increase over time, and the IRS has an excellent chance of finding the offshore accounts on its own. Making the voluntary disclosures sooner rather than later is generally the best policy.

Contact Thorn Law Group to Consult With Virginia OVDP Lawyer Kevin E. Thorn

A Virginia OVDP lawyer at the Thorn Law Group can assess your offshore accounts and help you come into reporting compliance. To schedule a consultation, contact Kevin E. Thorn, Managing Partner, at 703-752-3752.

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