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I.R.S. Announces Major Changes to Amnesty Programs

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The I.R.S. announced major changes to its amnesty programs last month. These changes can be broken into two parts: changes to the 2012 Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (“O.V.D.P.”), which can be to referred to as the 2012 Modified O.V.D.P. or the 2014 O.V.D.P., and changes to the streamlined procedures (“Streamlined Procedures”). As the requirements for the latter are relaxed, the requirements for the former are tightened.

The changes in the amnesty programs reflect the new I.R.S. approach for addressing taxpayers with offshore tax issues. The new approach provides one path for willful taxpayers, with steeper penalties but certainty, and another path for taxpayers who believe their conduct was non-willful, with reduced penalties but uncertainty to the extent their conduct is subsequently proven willful.


The major changes to the 2012 O.V.D.P. include the following:

  1. Changes to Preclearance Process

Under the 2012 O.V.D.P., all that was required was to submit a preclearance request was a fax to the I.R.S. O.V.D.P. department that contained the taxpayer’s name, social security number, date of birth, address, and if the taxpayer was represented by an authorized party, an executed power of attorney (P.O.A.).