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Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program ends in Sept. 2018

Georgians who have bank accounts and assets located overseas must report them to the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS has announced that it is ending the Overseas Voluntary Disclosure Program, or OVDP, on Sept. 28, 2018. Taxpayers who have undisclosed foreign assets have until then to voluntarily disclose their overseas accounts and assets without facing possible criminal prosecution.

The OVDP was started in 2009. It allows taxpayers who have previously failed to report their foreign income to come into compliance voluntarily. Since the program's start, 56,000 people have taken advantage of it and have paid $11.1 billion in penalties, interest and back taxes. The IRS stated that it had always intended to end the program and that the time to do so is now.

According to the IRS, taxpayers who wish to take advantage of the program should do so before it ends in September. The agency stated that 1,545 taxpayers have been indicted since 2009 for failing to report overseas income and assets. People who do not take advantage of the program risk criminal prosecution, civil examination and other enforcement procedures.

People who are having tax problems with the IRS may want to consult with an experienced tax lawyer. Tax attorneys may assist their clients by helping them to come into compliance. They may also be able to negotiate with the IRS for tax relief. In some cases, taxpayers might secure offers-in-compromise for reduced tax settlements. Others may be eligible for installment plans. Tax lawyers may also be able to help some people have their tax debts declared to be currently uncollectible. People should be aware that tax problems will not resolve themselves on their own; if they have foreign income or assets that they have not previously reported, it is a good idea for them to take advantage of the ODVP while they still can.

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