June 24, 2009 - Phil Hodgen

New FAQ from the IRS on the amnesty program

I feel like Steve Martin in The Jerk. “The new phone books is here! The new phone book is here!”

The IRS updated its FAQ for the voluntary disclosure program for offshore bank accounts. You can find the updated foreign bank account amnesty FAQ here (PDF).

A previous commenter almost immediately pinged me an email about a couple of the FAQs. I’ve generated some video on the topic but in advance of that, here are some quick thoughts.

Look at FAQ #34 and #35. These are questions and answers that talk about the “Well, what if you don’t like the ‘20% of the highest balance in your account’ penalty that is part of the amnesty deal?

FAQ 34 says that you’ll get a complete examination. Helloooooo, proctologists! 🙂 At the end of that complete examination? Let’s quote the IRS, shall we?

At the conclusion of the examination, all applicable penalties (including information return and FBAR penalties) will be imposed. Those penalties could be substantially greater than the 20 percent penalty. If the case is unagreed, the taxpayer will have recourse to Appeals.

The three key words have been strategically enhanced by yours truly.

The IRS is saying that if you bail out on the 20% penalty offered by the amnesty program they WILL (not that weaselly little word “may,” but WILL) throw every possible penalty at you that they can.

And if you don’t like it you can talk to Appeals.

“Talk to Appeals” is code word for talk to more IRS agents and beg for mercy.


US Real Estate Investments Voluntary Disclosure