5 Myths About How Voluntary Disclosure Works
5 Myths About Offshore Voluntary Disclosure: There is a lot of bad information on the internet when it comes voluntary disclosure and the IRS. Many times, when clients contact us after conducting their research on Google, they are scared. This is compounded by the fact that the first few “free” initial consultations they have, tend to be aggressive and little more than a fear-momgering session.
The Attorney convinces the client to hurry up and act now, cancel all future consultations, and do not speak with any other attorneys, right?
The Attorney persists — if the client does not act immediately, they risk imminent jail, prison and millions of dollars in fines and penalties.
While OVDP ended in 2018, the IRS expanded the VDP program on matters involving offshore compliance, and for many taxpayers, the program is very beneficial.
Myth 1: Act Now, Don’t Speak with Any other Attorneys
A client will contact us after speaking with a scaremongering attorney in a free consultation.
Granted, not all free consultations are bad, but many tend to be a form of scaremongering.
The Attorney tells the client to cancel any future scheduled calls with other Attorneys, and act now before the IRS comes and snatches them away forever.
While voluntary disclosure can be time-sensitive, if you feel like you are being rushed into making a decision, take a step back and reflect.
It may help to speak with other counsel first.
Myth 2: Voluntary Disclosure Means You are Criminal
You are not entering a plea deal or any other criminal agreement with the IRS.
By entering VDP, you are essentially acknowledging that you cannot certify under penalty of perjury that you are non-willful, and you are seeking to avoid a criminal investigation.
Myth 3: The IRS is Already Investigating You
The IRS may be investigating you, but probably not.
The purpose of VDP is to get in and done before the IRS commences an investigation of you.
We all have a little bit of Dale Gribble “conspiracy theorist” in us. But, just because you recognize the same person at the grocery store two-days in a row does not mean the fuzz is on your tail.
It can just be they also have to run to the store to get more juice boxes for the kids – take a deep breath.
Myth 4: The IRS Agent Will Arrest You
The IRS revenue agent or examiner does not arrest you.
Most agents have limited authority to act beyond reviewing your tax return.
If you were under audit, and the IRS agent believed you were willful, the IRS agent will refer the matter to the Supervisor, who may then refer to the Special Agents to consider a criminal investigation.
Now, if you are already on the run and the IRS Agent recognizes you from TV, that is a different story.
Myth 5: New VDP is a bad Program
Some attorneys claim they specialize in Voluntary Disclosure, but limit their representation to Streamlined Disclosures and Delinquency Procedures.
Because they do not really specialize in this area of law.
They are general tax practitioners want to make a quick buck off you and steer you into Streamlined, even when you were willful. They think Streamlined is easy (it isn’t) and they add it onto the 10 other areas of tax law.
VDP is a complex specialty area of tax law, and there are only a few experienced (usually Board-Certified Tax Law Specialist Attorneys) who specialize exclusively in this area of law.
For those clients who do not qualify for Streamlined, VDP can be a great program.
Golding & Golding: About our International Tax Law Firm
Golding & Golding specializes exclusively in international tax, and specifically IRS offshore disclosure.
We are the “go-to” firm for other Attorneys, CPAs, Enrolled Agents, Accountants, and Financial Professionals across the globe. Our attorneys have worked with thousands of clients on offshore disclosure matters, including FATCA & FBAR.
Each case is led by a Board-Certified Tax Law Specialist with 20-years experience, and the entire matter (tax and legal) is handled by our team, in-house.
*Please beware of copycat tax and law firms misleading the public about their credentials and experience.
Less than 1% of Tax Attorneys Nationwide Are Certified Specialists
Sean M. Golding is one of less than 350 Attorneys (out of more than 200,000 practicing California Attorneys) to earn the Certified Tax Law Specialist credential. The credential is awarded to less than 1% of Attorneys.
Recent Golding & Golding Case Highlights
- We represented a client in an 8-figure disclosure that spanned 7 countries.
- We represented a high-net-worth client to facilitate a complex expatriation with offshore disclosure.
- We represented an overseas family with bringing multiple businesses & personal investments into U.S. tax and offshore compliance.
- We took over a case from a small firm that unsuccessfully submitted multiple clients to IRS Offshore Disclosure.
- We successfully completed several recent disclosures for clients with assets ranging from $50,000 – $7,000,000+.
How to Hire Experienced Offshore Counsel
Generally, experienced attorneys in this field will have the following credentials/experience:
- 20-years experience as a practicing attorney
- Extensive litigation, high-stakes audit and trial experience
- Board Certified Tax Law Specialist credential
- Master’s of Tax Law (LL.M.)
- Dually Licensed as an EA (Enrolled Agent) or CPA
Interested in Learning More about Golding & Golding?
No matter where in the world you reside, our international tax team can get you IRS offshore compliant.
Golding & Golding specializes in FBAR and FATCA. Contact our firm today for assistance with getting compliant.
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