Click here to watch the video.

Offshore vs Streamlined Filing Compliance

OVDP vs Streamlined: Comparing OVDP vs Streamlined is complicated. U.S. Taxpayers who have not reported foreign accounts (FBAR & FATCA) or income to the IRS in prior years may be eligible for these programs. Both of these offshore compliance programs are designed to reduce and eliminate offshore penalties.

OVDP is the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program. Streamlined involves the Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedures. Even though the IRS closed OVDP in 2018, they also expanded the traditional voluntary disclosure on matters involving offshore disclosure.

When a U.S. person has offshore or foreign accounts, assets, investments & income that has not been properly reported to the IRS, they have a decision to make.

They can either:

  • Submit to “new” OVDP (Updated in 2018/2019)
  • Submit to the Streamlined Program or Delinquency Procedures
  • Prepare a Reasonable Cause Application
  • Make an illegal Quiet Disclosure

Since the IRS has increased enforcement of foreign accounts compliance, and can close these programs without much notice — time is of the essence.

We have prepared a 2020 OVDP vs Streamlined Program comparison update.

IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP)

When OVDP (Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program) ended back in September 2018, the Internal Revenue Service was unclear as to whether a New “Offshore” Voluntary Disclosure Program would be introduced.

Instead of a “new program,” the traditional voluntary disclosure program was expanded.

You can use the disclosure program to submit FBARs for your Foreign Bank Accounts, FATCA, PFIC, along with your Domestic Income as well.

IRS Streamlined Procedures

IRS Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedures are a stand-alone “streamlined” version of the traditional OVDP.

The “stand-alone” streamlined filing procedures were created in 2014 by the Internal Revenue Service.

The purpose of the procedures are to assist taxpayers who were noncompliant with offshore reporting requirements – but were also non-willful.

If the Taxpayer can certify under penalty of perjury of being non-willful, the IRS reduces the penalty structure, and even waives the penalty for applicants who qualify as foreign residents.

IRS Streamlined Domestic

The Streamlined Domestic (SDOP).

It is the program designed for for U.S. persons residing in the United States (or do not meet the technical “Foreign Resident Test”)

IRS Streamlined Foreign

The Streamlined Foreign (SFOP) is the Streamlined Foreign Offshore Procedures.

These are the Procedures for U.S. persons residing outside the United States is referred to as the Streamlined Foreign Offshore Procedures.

Delinquency Procedures for International Information Return

The Delinquency Procedures are an alternative to OVDP and Streamlined.

If you do not have any unreported income resulting in having to amend your tax returns — and all you have is unreported foreign assets, accounts or investments with no unreported income, you may be in luck.

In these instances, in which you do not otherwise need to file for traditional offshore disclosure or the Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedures — you may qualify for the Delinquency Procedures and avoid any penalties.

RC – Reasonable Cause for Offshore & Foreign Accounts and Assets

Reasonable Cause may be an option for some taxpayers.

Specifically, if you were completely non-willful in your failure to disclosure, and were unaware that there was any reporting requirement, then the thought of paying any penalty may sound absurd.

IRS Offshore Penalties

It is important that if you are non-compliant, that you consider making an offshore disclosure submission. This will help to reduce, minimize, and/or even avoid penalties.

Here is a brief list of the potential penalties you can get hit with by the IRS: