Blog :: 06-2012

IRS Says Offshore Effort Tops $5 Billion, Announces New Details on the Voluntary Disclosure Program

IRS WASHINGTON – June 26 2012: The Internal Revenue Service today announced that its offshore voluntary disclosure programs have exceeded the $5 billion mark and released new details regarding the voluntary disclosure program announced in January, including tightening the eligibility requirements.

"We continue to make strong progress in our international compliance efforts that help ensure honest taxpayers are not footing the bill for those hiding assets offshore," said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. "People are finding it tougher and tougher to keep their assets hidden in offshore accounts."

Shulman said the IRS offshore voluntary disclosure programs have so far resulted in the collection of more than $5 billion in back taxes, interest and penalties from 33,000 voluntary disclosures made under the first two programs. In addition, another 1,500 disclosures have been made under the new program announced in January.

The voluntary disclosure programs are part of a wider effort by the IRS to stop offshore tax evasion and ensure tax compliance. This includes beefed up enforcement, criminal prosecution and implementation of third-party reporting through the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).

The IRS also closed a loophole that’s been used by some taxpayers with offshore accounts. Under existing law, if a taxpayer challenges in a foreign court the disclosure of tax information by that government, the taxpayer is required to notify the U.S. Justice Department of the appeal.

The IRS said that if the taxpayer fails to comply with this law and does not notify the U.S. Justice Department of the foreign appeal, the taxpayer will no longer be eligible for the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP). The IRS also put taxpayers on notice that their eligibility for OVDP could be terminated once the U.S. government has taken action in connection with their specific financial institution.

Additional details of these eligibility issues are available in a new set of questions and answers released today on the current OVDP, which was announced in January (see IR-2012-5). The IRS reopened the OVDP following continued strong interest from taxpayers and tax practitioners after the closure of the 2011 and 2009 programs.

This program – which helps bring people back into the tax system -- will be open for an indefinite period until otherwise announced. The program is similar to the 2011 program in many ways, but with a few key differences. Unlike last year, there is no set deadline for people to apply. However, the terms of the program could change at any time going forward.

Under the current OVDP, the offshore penalty has been raised to 27.5 percent from 25 percent in the 2011 program. The reduced penalty categories of 5 percent and 12.5 percent are still available.

NAI Bahamas and Bahamas Realty CEO, Larry Roberts, achieves SIOR Designation from Society of Indutri

(Nassau, Bahamas) —Larry Roberts, SIOR and CEO of NAI Bahamas, the commercial division of Bahamas Realty Limited, has achieved the SIOR office designation awarded by the Society of Industrial and Office REALTORS®. SIOR is a Washington, DC-based international professional organization of more than 3,000 commercial real estate professionals, 2,800 of whom have earned the coveted SIOR designation.

To achieve the SIOR designation, Larry Roberts, SIOR completed at least five years of creditable experience in the highly specialized field of office real estate; met stringent education requirements; and demonstrated professional ability, competency, ethical conduct, and personal integrity. Mr. Roberts has been a licensed real estate Broker in the Bahamas for 43 years.

Individuals who hold the SIOR designation are top producers in the commercial real estate field and are represented in more than 630 cities in 29 countries around the world. SIOR enforces a strict code of ethics and required designees to complete its ethics course within their first three years of membership.

Mr. Roberts attended the SIOR Spring Conference on Miami Beach recently where he was formally introduced as an SIOR member. In addition to the SIOR designation Mr. Roberts is also a Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS), a Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), a Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist (CLHMS) and a member of The International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI).

In August of last year Bahamas Realty Commercial joined NAI Global as its exclusive member for The Bahamas. Bahamas Realty Commercial is now known as NAI Bahamas. NAI Global is one of the world's leading providers of commercial real estate services with a Network of 5,000 professionals and 350 offices in 55 countries. In Latin America & The Caribbean NAIGlobal is the foremost and largest Commercial Real Estate Service Provider with 33 offices in 13 countries, offering services from traditional brokerage to MAI Appraisal, Lease Administration, Portfolio Management and Audit, Investment Services, Hospitality Consulting, Logistics/Supply Chain Solutions, Project Management, Design Build and Sustainability LEED Design Consulting, among others. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors® (SIOR) is a global professional organization that certifies commercial real estate service providers with the exclusive SIOR designation. Individuals who earn their SIOR designation adhere to the highest levels of accountability and ethical standards. Only the industry’s top professionals qualify for the SIOR. Today, there are 3,000 SIOR members in 630 cities in 29 countries. www.sior.com