IRS Streamlined Program – What if You Are Found To Be Willful?
Whether or not someone’s actions were willful or non-willful is a question we receive often from clients who are trying to determine whether they qualify for the IRS Streamlined Offshore Disclosure Program or OVDP (Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program).
Unfortunately, there is no precise definition of the term willful or non-willful in this particular context.
Thus, you are essentially at the mercy of the Internal Revenue Service and Department of Treasury in determining whether your actions were non-willful or willful.
You Think You are Non-Willful but the IRS May Disagree
This is a legitimate concern for those entering the IRS Streamlined Disclosure Program. Nevertheless, if you believe you were non- willful and the facts tend to show you were not willful than even if the IRS rejects your application, that is not the end of it.
Most likely, if you’re rejected from the program you will become under audit. You do not get the opportunity to try and enter OVDP after you have been dismissed from the streamlined program – or else everyone would try their hand at the Streamlined Program first to see if they make it through unscathed.
If you are unsure whether you are willful or non-willful, you should consider speaking with an experienced International Tax Lawyer. Be very careful and try not to fall prey to some of the more predatory websites. These sites rely upon mass-marketing on Google Adwords or other PPC to scare you. In fact, tax law may be only one small facet of their areas of practice (and they may have little to no experience in actual international tax law).
The following is a summary of OVDP vs. the IRS Streamlined Offshore Disclosure Program as prepared by the International Tax Lawyers of Golding & Golding: