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Streamlined Voluntary Disclosure for Non-Residents

Eligibility: In order for non-residents U.S. taxpayers to be eligible to participate in the Streamlined Voluntary Disclosure for Non-Residents program they must:

(1) Meet the applicable non-residency requirement described below (for joint return filers, both spouses must meet the applicable non-residency requirement described below) and

(2) have failed to report the income from a foreign financial asset and pay tax as required by U.S. law, and may have failed to file an FBAR (FinCEN Form 114, previously Form TD F 90-22.1) with respect to a foreign financial account, and such failures resulted from non-willful conduct. Non-willful conduct is conduct that is due to negligence, inadvertence, or mistake or conduct that is the result of a good faith misunderstanding of the requirements of the law.

Individual U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, or estates of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, meet the applicable non-residency requirement if, in any one or more of the most recent three years for which the U.S. tax return due date (or properly applied for extended due date) has passed, the individual did not have a U.S. abode and the individual was physically outside the United States for at least 330 full days. Under IRC section 911 and its regulations, which apply for purposes of these procedures, neither temporary presence of the individual in the United States nor maintenance of a dwelling in the United States by an individual necessarily mean that the individual’s abode is in the United States. More information pertaining to the meaning of the word “abode” can be found in IRS Publication 54.[1]

Individuals who are not U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, or estates of individuals who were not U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, meet the applicable non-residency requirement if, in any one or more of the last three years for which the U.S. tax return due date (or properly applied for extended due date) has passed, the individual did not meet the substantial presence test of IRC section 7701(b)(3). For more information on the substantial presence test, see IRS Publication 519.[2]

The Streamlined Voluntary Disclosure for Non-Residents Process:

U.S. taxpayers who are eligible to use the Streamlined Voluntary Disclosure for Non-Residents program must:

(1) For each of the most recent 3 years for which the U.S. tax return due date (or properly applied for extended due date) has passed, file delinquent or amended tax returns, together with all required information returns (e.g., Forms 3520, 5471, and 8938) and

(2) For each of the most recent 6 years for which the FBAR due date has passed, file any delinquent FBARs (FinCEN Form 114).

(3) The full amount of the tax and interest due in connection with these filings must be remitted with the delinquent or amended returns.

Again, the specific procedures for the non-resident program also change rapidly. The most current version of the detailed procedure guide may be located on the IRS’s website.[3]

A taxpayer who is eligible to use the Streamlined Voluntary Disclosure for Non-Residents program and who complies with all of the instructions outlined below will not be subject to failure-to-file and failure-to-pay penalties, accuracy-related penalties, information return penalties, or FBAR penalties. Even if returns properly filed under these procedures are subsequently selected for audit under existing audit selection processes, the taxpayer will not be subject to failure-to-file and failure-to-pay penalties or accuracy-related penalties with respect to amounts reported on those returns, or to information return penalties or FBAR penalties, unless the examination results in a determination that the original tax noncompliance was fraudulent and/or that the FBAR violation was willful. Any previously assessed penalties with respect to those years, however, will not be abated. Further, as with any U.S. tax return filed in the normal course, if the IRS determines an additional tax deficiency for a return submitted under these procedures, the IRS may assert applicable additions to tax and penalties relating to that additional deficiency.

For returns filed under the Streamlined Voluntary Disclosure for Non-Residents program, retroactive relief will be provided for failure to timely elect income deferral on certain retirement and savings plans where deferral is permitted by the applicable treaty. The proper deferral elections with respect to such plans must be made with the submission. See the instructions below for the information required to be submitted to make such elections.

Have more questions regarding the Streamlined Voluntary Disclosure for Non-Residents program? Please contact our office today for assistance.

 

[1]http://www.irs.gov/uac/Publication-54,-Tax-Guide-for-U.S.-Citizens-and-Resident-Aliens-Abroad-1

[2]http://www.irs.gov/publications/p519/index.html

[3]http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/International-Taxpayers/Streamlined-Filing-Compliance-Procedures

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