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On November 20, 2018, IRS issued a memo on its new voluntary disclosure program (“Voluntary Disclosure Program” or “Program”), following the offshore voluntary disclosure program’s termination on September 28, 2018. The Voluntary Disclosure Program provides taxpayers with a process for voluntarily disclosing tax noncompliance for both domestic and offshore assets to avoid potential criminal liability and prosecution. IRS has discretion to apply the Voluntary Disclosure Program’s procedures to all domestic voluntary disclosures received on or before September 28, 2018. Taxpayers have long been able to disclose voluntarily their tax noncompliance to IRS, either pursuant to IRS’s long-standing practice of allowing voluntary disclosure, under IRM 9.5.11.9, or using the streamlined compliance procedures. However, the Voluntary Disclosure Program is arguably better for taxpayers, in that it provides precise procedures and guarantees that participant taxpayers will not be criminally prosecuted. Under the prior practice, voluntary disclosure was only a factor taken into consideration when determining whether to prosecute criminally.

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