Tomorrow’s The DEADline (from Forbes.com)

8 Sep

Mailing Is Not Enough For Sept. 9 OVDI Deadline

by Robert W. Wood

In the old days, April 15th and other key tax filing deadlines were met with extended hours at the post office. A few hardy souls in big cities would even make drive-by drop-offs at central post offices shortly before midnight. Happy postal employees would accept your Form 1040 from your car window as you cruised by. And the big wheels of government would keep on turning.

Today, some of this may still occur somewhere in a kind of American Graffiti reprise. But mostly, this happy tradition has been replaced by taxpayers unceremoniously huddled over their computer keyboards on the deadline preparing to file electronically. Everyone seems to love e-filing.

But right now, a key deadline affecting many is the looming fuse for IRS offshore amnesty. If you want to enter the IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative (OVDI), do it now. Slated to end August 31st, the IRS announced a short extension until September 9, 2011. See IRS Statement: OVDI Deadline Extension. But is it enough to get your papers in the mail to the IRS on September 9th?

Not hardly. In fact, the IRS must receive your properly completed materials on or before September 9, 2011. You can’t e-file it and you can’t just postmark it on or before September 9th. You’ve got to get it in the IRS hands, and some very specific hands. Applications must go to:

Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Coordinator
600 Arch Street, Room 6404
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Although some taxpayers may try to do this themselves, most work through a tax attorney. Some accountants are also preparing these, though dealings with accountants do not carry attorney-client privilege. But however you do it, moving forward for many makes sense, regardless of when you learned you weren’t compliant.

True, many U.S. citizens and permanent residents didn’t know about these rules until recently. But it’s harder today to remain ignorant. As you evaluate alternatives, consider what the IRS says is “willful.” See IRS May Find “Innocent” FBAR Violation Willful.

The IRS says a person with foreign accounts should read the information the government specifies in its tax forms and instructions, and that failing to follow-up may provide evidence of “willful blindness.” See Excerpt From Internal Revenue Manual, 4.26.16.4.5.3, Paragraph 6 and Some Foreign Account Penalties Unfair, Says Taxpayer Advocate.

Again, the IRS must have received in Philadelphia certain key documents from you on or before September 9, 2011. You may be able to get an extension for some of the items, but the extension request must be received by the IRS in Austin (3651 S. I H 35 Stop 4301 AUSC, Austin, TX 78741, ATTN: 2011 Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative) also by September 9, 2011. You can’t e-file either one. Don’t get confused by the recent changes to FBARs that allow some e-filing.

You can read this, as well as many other articles/blogs on Forbes.com .

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