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WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service reminds U.S. citizens and resident aliens, including those with dual citizenship who have lived or worked abroad during all or part of 2012, that they may have a U.S. tax liability and a filing requirement in 2013.
The filing deadline is Monday, June 17, 2013, for U.S. citizens and resident aliens living overseas, or serving in the military outside the U.S. on the regular due date of their tax return. Eligible taxpayers get two additional days because the normal June 15 extended due date falls on Saturday this year. To use this automatic two-month extension, taxpayers must attach a statement to their return explaining which of these two situations applies. See U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad for additional information additional information on extensions of time to file.
Nonresident aliens who received income from U.S. sources in 2012 also must determine whether they have a U.S. tax obligation. The filing deadline for nonresident aliens can be April 15 or June 17 depending on sources of income. See Taxation of Nonresident Aliens on IRS.gov.
Federal law requires U.S. citizens and resident aliens to report any worldwide income, including income from foreign trusts and foreign bank and securities accounts. In most cases, affected taxpayers need to fill out and attach Schedule B to their tax return. Certain taxpayers may also have to fill out and attach to their return Form 8938, Statement of Foreign Financial Assets.
Part III of Schedule B asks about the existence of foreign accounts, such as bank and securities accounts, and usually requires U.S. citizens to report the country in which each account is located.
Generally, U.S. citizens, resident aliens and certain nonresident aliens must report specified foreign financial assets on Form 8938 if the aggregate value of those assets exceeds certain thresholds.Instructions for Form 8938 explain the thresholds for reporting, what constitutes a specified foreign financial asset, how to determine the total value of relevant assets, what assets are exempted and what information must be provided.
Separately, taxpayers with foreign accounts whose aggregate value exceeded $10,000 at any time during 2012 must file Treasury Department Form TD F 90-22.1. This is not a tax form and is due to the Treasury Department by June 30, 2013. For details, see Publication 4261, Do You Have a Foreign Financial Account? Though this form can be filed on paper, Treasury encourages taxpayers to file it electronically.
Taxpayers abroad can now use IRS Free File to prepare and electronically file their returns for free. This means both U.S. citizens and resident aliens living abroad with adjusted gross incomes (AGI) of $57,000 or less can use brand-name software to prepare their returns and then e-file them for free.
Taxpayers with an AGI greater than $57,000 who don’t qualify for Free File can still choose the accuracy, speed and convenience of electronic filing. Check out the e-file link on IRS.gov for details on using the Free File Fillable Forms or e-file by purchasing commercial software.
A limited number of companies provide software that can accommodate foreign addresses. To determine which will work best, get help choosing a software provider. Both e-file and Free File are available until Oct. 15, 2013, for anyone filing a 2012 return.
Any U.S. taxpayer here or abroad with tax questions can use the online IRS Tax Map to get answers. An International Tax Topic Index page was added recently. The IRS Tax Map assembles or groups IRS forms, publications and web pages by subject and provides users with a single entry point to find tax information.
IRS Patrol – IRS Reminds Taxpayers that the Aug. 31 Deadline Is Fast Approaching for the Second Special Voluntary Disclosure Initiative of Offshore Accounts
WASHINGTON — U.S. taxpayers hiding income in undisclosed offshore accounts are running out of time to take advantage of a soon-to-expire opportunity to come forward and get their taxes current with the Internal Revenue Service.
The IRS today reminded taxpayers that the 2011 Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative (OVDI) will expire on Aug. 31, 2011. Taxpayers who come forward voluntarily get a better deal than those who wait for the IRS to find their undisclosed accounts and income. New foreign account reporting requirements are being phased in over the next few years, making it ever tougher to hide income offshore. As importantly, the IRS continues its focus on banks and bankers worldwide that assist U.S. taxpayers with hiding assets overseas.
“The time has come to get back into compliance with the U.S. tax system, because the risks of hiding money offshore keeps going up,” said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. “Our goal is to get people back into the system. The second voluntary initiative gives people a fair way to resolve their tax problems.”
The 2011 OVDI was announced on Feb. 8, 2011, and follows the 2009 Offshore Disclosure Program (OVDP). The 2011 initiative offers clear benefits to encourage taxpayers to come forward rather than risk detection by the IRS. Taxpayers hiding assets offshore who do not come forward will face far higher penalties along with potential criminal charges.
For the 2011 initiative, there is a new penalty framework that requires individuals to pay a penalty of 25 percent of the amount in the foreign bank accounts in the year with the highest aggregate account balance covering the 2003 to 2010 time period. Some taxpayers will be eligible for 5 or 12.5 percent penalties in certain narrow circumstances.
Participants also must pay back-taxes and interest for up to eight years as well as paying accuracy-related and/or delinquency penalties. All original and amended tax returns must be filed by the deadline.
The IRS has made available the 2011 OVDI information in eight foreign languages for those taxpayers with undisclosed offshore accounts. The agency took this step to reach taxpayers whose primary language may not be English. These translations include the following languages: Chinese (Traditional and Simplified), Farsi, German, Hindi, Korean, Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese.
The IRS decision to open a second special disclosure initiative was based on the success of the first program and many more taxpayers coming forward after the program closed on Oct. 15, 2009. The first special disclosure initiative program closed with about 15,000 voluntary disclosures regarding accounts at banks in more than 60 countries. Many taxpayers came in after the first program closed. These taxpayers were deemed eligible to take advantage of the special provisions of the second initiative.
Further details about this initiative are provided in a series of questions and answers
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) today announced that a small subset of individuals with only signature authority required to file the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBARs) will receive a one-year extension beyond the upcoming filing date of June 30, 2011.
FinCen today issued Notice 2011-1 that extends the deadline until June 30, 2012, for the following individuals:
- An employee or officer of a covered entity who has signature or other authority over and no financial interest in a foreign financial account of another entity more than 50 percent owned, directly or indirectly, by the entity (a “controlled person”).
- An employee or officer of a controlled person of a covered entity who has signature or other authority over and no financial interest in a foreign financial account of the entity or another controlled person of the entity.
All other U.S. persons required to file an FBAR this year are required to meet the June 30, 2011, filing date. Unlike with federal income tax returns, extensions of time to file are not available.
Today’s notice was issued to facilitate more accurate compliance of FBAR filings in the wake of recent finalization of regulations. The FBAR filing requirements, authorized under one of the original provisions of the Bank Secrecy Act, have been in place since 1972.
On Feb. 24, 2011, FinCEN published a final rule that amended the Bank Secrecy Act regarding FBARs.
The FBAR form is used to report a financial interest in, or signature or other authority over, one or more financial accounts in foreign countries.
U.S. persons are required to file FBARs Form TD F 90-22.1 annually if they have a financial interest in or signature authority over financial accounts, including bank, securities or other types of financial accounts, in a foreign country, if the aggregate value of these financial accounts exceeds $10,000 at any time during the calendar year.
- Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) (bespacific.com)
- Avoiding the Foreign-Account Penalty (online.wsj.com)