Clock is Ticking for Offshore Account Voluntary Disclosures By David F. Axelrod


For many years, the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") has had a "voluntary disclosure" policy in its Criminal Manual. Under the policy, a disclosure preliminarily accepted by the Criminal Investigation Division (CI) is referred for civil resolution. (The voluntary disclosure policy is contained in IRM § (09-09-2004), which may be found at

The IRS's recent enforcement initiatives regarding offshore accounts and entities have led to an increase in the number of voluntary disclosures in this area. Some taxpayers have, however, been reticent because of uncertainty regarding the penalties to which they may be exposed. To alleviate that concern and encourage those taxpayers to come forward, the IRS has adopted a uniform procedure and penalty structure for processing such voluntary disclosures.

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