IRS Provides Limited Extension of August 31, 2011 Deadline for Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative

As described more fully in our Alert dated February 14, 2011, for U.S. taxpayers not fully disclosing their offshore financial accounts on required foreign bank account reports (FBARs) for part or all of the eight years 2003-2010, the U.S. Treasury Department has adopted a new Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative (OVDI) limiting penalties on such late disclosures. This has been scheduled to close on August 31, 2011, by which date all documents must be submitted by the taxpayer.

Observation: This August 31, 2011 deadline has not provided taxpayers and their advisors much time to enter the new OVDI and provide all relevant documents to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Limited Extension of Deadline

Recognizing that taxpayers may not be able to make a complete submission by August 31, 2011, the IRS has updated its Frequently Asked Questions and Answers under the OVDI as follows:
“FAQ 25.1. A taxpayer may request an extension of the deadline to complete his or her submission if the taxpayer can demonstrate a good faith attempt to fully comply with FAQ 25 [discussing submissions required to enter the OVDI] on or before August 31, 2011.”

Observation: The FAQ contemplates a maximum extension of up to 90 days, or until November 30, 2011.

The FAQ provides three conditions to such an extension:
1. Filing of properly completed and signed agreements to extend the period of time to assess tax (including tax penalties) and to assess FBAR penalties;
2. Including in the request for extension a statement of those items that are missing, the reasons why they are not included, and the steps taken to secure them; and
3. The request being made in writing and sent on or before August 31, 2011 to: Internal Revenue Service, 3651 S. I H 35 Stop 4301 AUSC, Austin, TX 78741, ATTN: 2011 Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative.

Observation: The FAQ does not provide examples of reasons for missing items and steps taken to secure them, which will help demonstrate a good faith attempt to comply. However, many taxpayers and advisors have experienced difficulties or delays in obtaining complete details of foreign financial accounts, in spite of written and other inquiries to institutions holding those accounts.

If you have any questions regarding the above, please contact any of the EisnerAmper International Tax Professionals listed below:
Harold Adrion
Jack Meola
Cristina Wolff

EisnerAmper LLP  

This publication is intended to provide general information to our friends. It does not constitute accounting, tax, or legal advice; nor is it intended to convey a thorough treatment of the subject matter. 

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