Some taxpayers not willing to pay the 27.5% penalty that otherwise applied under the traditional Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Programs have made quiet disclosures or entered into the Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedures (“Streamlined Program”). Many of these taxpayers rejected the protections of the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Programs in favor of what they perceived to be a more cost-effective quiet or streamlined disclosure. These taxpayers have subjected themselves to criminal liability and audit adjustments which, depending upon the source of the unreported income, could easily eclipse the 27.5% penalty under the traditional program. In this regard, audits of returns submitted as quiet disclosures or under the Streamlined Program have been (and should be) troubling to both practitioners and clients. This article discusses common audit adjustments that can apply to returns for taxpayers with international activities, including: the disallowance of deductions and credits for U.S. citizens, resident aliens, and nonresident aliens; the disallowance of the foreign earned income exclusion for U.S. citizens and resident aliens; and the Internal Revenue Service’s ability to recharacterize as ordinary income purported gifts and bequests from a partnership or a foreign corporation under Treas. Reg. § 1.672(f)-4.
This article also highlights those taxpayers who are most likely to be negatively affected by each type of adjustment. Finally, for taxpayers who imprudently made a quiet disclosure, this article discusses how to transition the taxpayer from a quiet disclosure to a traditional Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program.