There is a ripple effect in action at the Internal Revenue Service. As the IRS gets more and more Swiss banks to enter deferred prosecution agreements, more and more American account holders are entering the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP). Those account holders who act before their bank opts for deferred prosecution protection (or is named in relevant court documents) can receive a 27.5 percent penalty on their highest account balance.
While that's a painful penalty, to be sure, it is significantly easier to absorb than the 50 percent penalty imposed on those who wait until after their bank enters an agreement with the IRS to disclose financial information about American account holders. For many Americans, the question is whether or not it is time to enter the OVDP.
Eleven Swiss banks have opted in to the deferred prosecution agreement since last month. Recent announcements of banks entering the fold include Nidwaldner Kantonalbank (effective July 16); SB Saanen Bank AG (effective July 23); and Privatbank Bellerive AG (also effective July 23). Forbes indicates that more announcements are in the offing, putting pressure on account holders to act now to disclose their overseas funds and come into compliance with the IRS.
A Forbes columnist writes that "disclosure is clearly the best path" for overseas account holders. A couple of enormous factors in favor of disclosing today rather than waiting: there is the significant different in penalties already discussed, plus self-disclosure can also help people avoid prosecution.
Experienced Cleveland tax attorneys can help Ohio residents enter the OVDP, file any needed Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) and negotiate on your behalf with the IRS and Department of Justice.