The IRS streamlined procedures allow you to come clean penalty-free.

IRS Streamlined Procedures

If you forgot to file FBARs and US tax returns for quite a while, the IRS Streamlined Procedures are for you. All you need to show is that your failure to file was not willful, meaning you didn’t do it with intention.

The IRS Streamlined Procedures are the most popular and generous of IRS amnesties. And here is why.

Penalties

If you live in Australia and anywhere else in the world outside the US, this amnesty wipes out all your penalties. And there are quite a few of those.

There are – among others – penalties for failure to file (5%) or pay (0.5%) and most significant the $10,000 penalty for each FBAR you didn’t file. 

And these are just the three most common ones.

Then there is also an additional 20% penalty if your income is substantially understated. A civil penalty of $10,000 per year per entity when you fail to file Form 5471, Form 8865 and/or Form 8858. Not to mention criminal penalties when the IRS finds you to have willfully neglected your filing obligations.

But all this is off the table when you apply for the IRS Streamlined Procedures.

What You Still Pay

This amnesty wipes out all penalties, but you still have to pay the actual taxes you owe plus any interest on these. 

Eligibility

To qualify you need to file tax and information returns for the past three years, FBARs for the past six years plus your Non-Willful Certification (Form 14653).

The IRS Streamlined Procedures are only for individual taxpayers. Companies and partnerships are excluded. 

There are different more stringent rules for taxpayers living in the US, but since you live in Australia, these won’t apply to you. 

Non-Willful Certification

In your non-willful certification in Form 14653 you explain how you unintentially got into this mess and that your conduct was non-willful. So you explain your personal and financial background and explain how it happened.

You also need to explain the source of all foreign funds and assets – inheritance, bank account while living in Australia etc – and what you did with them – investment decisions, withdrawals to cover cost of living etc. List the name and address of your tax agent and anybody else who helped you with your financial affairs.

Nobody knows how long this amnesty will last. So use it while you can. Just call us if your US tax is troubling you. We deal with late filing issues all the time together with our sister agent in the US.

 

Last Updated on 31 October 2020