Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative Deadline Approaches

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The Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative (OVDI), the IRS amnesty program for those with undeclared tax money in overseas accounts, is closing September 9. The original deadline was August 31 but has been extended due to Hurricane Irene. The OVDI is the IRS’ program that gives a chance to taxpayers who have been evading taxes on their overseas assets to step forward and declare them in exchange for limited punishment. Even though the full weight of the law will not be brought down on the offenders, the punishment would still entail hefty fines and interests. But criminal charges will not be made.

If you have not declared your money in bank accounts overseas, you have only a short time left to do so. In 2009, when the IRS had a similar amnesty program, some 15,000 taxpayers participated. It was also the time when the IRS had its much-publicized tussle with UBS bank of Switzerland over the bank’s involvement in abetting American tax evaders. Finally, the bank was fined $780 million and was compelled to disclose personal banking details of more than 4,400 of its US clients suspected of dodging taxes. This month, a former UBS banker was charged with helping American clients hide more than $216 million of taxable money in 60 bank accounts.

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