Realizing that some U.S. taxpayers living abroad have failed to timely file U.S. federal income tax returns or Reports of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, the IRS announced a plan debuting Sept. 1, 2012, to help U.S. citizens residing overseas, including dual citizens, catch up with their tax filing obligations. In some cases, based on their compliance risk profiles, those taxpayers will be able to catch up without facing penalties or further enforcement actions. THe new procedures are also meant to provide assistance for taxpayers with foreign retirement plan issues.
The IRS’s new procedures are intended to allow U.S. taxpayers living abroad who have failed to timely file tax returns or “Reports of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts,” known as FBARs. A U.S. person with a financial interest in, or authority over, foreign financial accounts must file a FBAR if the foreign accounts exceed a certain amount during the calendar year.
Generally, taxpayers who are deemed “low compliance risks” will be required to file information and tax returns for the past three years, and delinquent FBARs for the past six years. Taxpayers who are considered “higher compliance risks” will be subjected to more stringent requirements after making their submissions.