In I.R.S. News Release 2012-65, the IRS announced a new procedure for US taxpayers living outside of the USA to correct existing failures to file tax returns, information returns, and FBARs. You’ll need to pay your back taxes and interest. The details are not yet finalized, and the procedure will not start until September 1 4, 2012. The intensity of the review will depend on the compliance risk posed by each taxpayer’s situation (i.e., more attention will be paid to “whales” than will be paid to “minnows”). Participating in this new procedure will not necessarily prevent criminal prosecution by the IRS or DOJ.
The IRS finally gets around to recognizing that citizenship-based taxation (which also covers non-citizen green-card holders) creates a problem for people who have left. As long as U.S. taxpayers are required to file full tax returns, plus extra information returns to report their foreign accounts…
Assuming the correctness of this, it is very big. It signals that the focus of the IRS may be moving away from penalties and toward getting people back into the system! Note the discussion of the role of Taxpayer Advocate.