Unreported Foreign Income: What Options do Taxpayers Have?

Unreported Foreign Income: What Options do Taxpayers Have?

Unreported Foreign Income

Unreported Foreign Income: The failure to comply may result in significant IRS fines and offshore penalties. In recent years, the Internal Revenue Service has taken an aggressive approach towards foreign accounts compliance and unreported foreign income. In other words, having unreported foreign income can be a big red flag to the IRS.

In fact, in 2010 the U.S. government changed the rules so that if a U.S. person has more than $5,000 worth of foreign income generated from various foreign assets, the statue limitations to enforce automatically jumps up to six years.

When a person has one or more years of unreported income from offshore assets, accounts, or investments there are various amnesty programs available to them. These programs are collectively referred to as voluntary disclosure.

Common Types of Unreported Foreign Income 

IRS Unreported foreign income fines and penalties are on the rise. The United States’ general income tax rule is that all income is taxable – unless otherwise exempted or excluded. The rules apply to all U.S. persons, including:

Unlike most countries, the U.S. follows a worldwide income model. Therefore, any income earned overseas or in the U.S. is taxable, even if the U.S. person resides overseas.

Here are common types of foreign income:

A. Employment Income

When a person works or otherwise earned income overseas, that income is taxable in the U.S. The source of the income is not dispositive for tax rules. Rather, it is the U.S. person status.

B. Investment Income

Investment income is the most common type of unreported foreign Income. There are many different types of foreign investment income. Whether it is a foreign stock, bank account, investment account, life insurance policy, royalty, real estate income – or other type of foreign income – the baseline rule is that the foreign income is taxable.

Depending on the source of the income, and tax treaty rules, there may be exceptions, exclusions or limitations to consider.

Common types of investment income, includes:

  • Dividends
  • Capital Gains
  • Interest
  • Royalties

Unreported Foreign Assets & Accounts

In addition to the unreported foreign income, the unreported foreign assets associated with the income will also be reportable. The failure to report the assets may result in significant fines and penalties.

Common Unreported Foreign Accounts and Assets

  • Bank Accounts
  • Investment Accounts
  • Retirement and Pension
  • Mutual Funds and ETF

Offshore Penalties

In recent years, the IRS has increased enforcement of offshore reporting and income. The failure to report may results in penalties as high as 50% maximum value of the foreign account. The penalties can occur over several years. Still, the IRS voluntary disclosure program, streamlined programs, and other amnesty options can serve to minimize or avoid these penalties.

We Specialize in Streamlined & Offshore Voluntary Disclosure

Our firm specializes exclusively in international tax, and specifically IRS offshore disclosure

Contact our firm today for assistance.

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