Table of contents:
Streamlined Foreign Offshore Procedures
The IRS offers the amnesty program Streamlined Foreign Offshore Procedures (SFOP) for taxpayers whose non-compliance was non-willful (unintentional or due to negligence) even if they have not filed for more than five years.
Example: A taxpayer residing abroad was unaware of their U.S. tax filing obligations due to a lack of knowledge or understanding. Once they become aware of their obligations, they can utilize this program to rectify their non-willful non-compliance.
The Streamlined Procedures (SP) eliminate all late filing/payment penalties and only require filing three most recent years of delinquent tax returns, including extensions, and six years of FBARs:
3 tax returns - complete 3 full versions of our Tax Questionnaire (TQ) reporting all income and non-U.S. financial accounts;
Watch the IRS video guide on Streamlined filing compliance procedures and refer to Tax Questionnaire: create, manage and submit for more information on how to create TQs for the Streamlined Procedures.
❗ Important notes:
For current information on which years to file refer to Streamlined Program - Which years to file?
The due date for federal tax returns and FBARs is April 15th of the following calendar year. However, the Treasury is granting an automatic 6-month extension for FBARs till October 15th.
The IRS eliminated Form 8891 and it is no longer required but it may be still referenced in the Streamlined Procedures instructions.
If you previously filed your tax returns but failed to file some forms refer to I'm up to date with my tax returns, but I did not file Form 5471 for my foreign corporation for more information.
Delinquent FBAR Submission Procedures
Delinquent FBAR Submission Procedures are available for expats and U.S. citizens who failed to declare their non-U.S. financial accounts. Unlike the Streamlined Procedures, these procedures do not require non-residency and offer amnesty from FBAR penalties. To qualify, taxpayers must have properly reported income, paid taxes on it, and not been contacted regarding tax examination or delinquent returns. If you are not up-to-date with U.S. income/tax reporting, we can recommend other solutions for you. Contact us for personalized solutions and guidance in creating a plan.
Streamlined Procedures mailing instructions:
The first page of each Form 1040 should have a header in red, indicating "Streamlined Foreign Offshore".
If your printer does not print in red ink, that is not an issue; we add it for emphasis. Alternatively, you can write it in by hand if it is missing.
Print your federal return and three copies of the certification letter.
Print your entire federal tax return single-sided (the IRS does not indicate paper size, so either a U.S. letter or European A4 size is acceptable) and enclose all pages from the printed PDF file including those marked "For Your Records". These pages are worksheets that may help the IRS to understand how you calculated some of the figures on your return. There is certainly no harm in adding them in.
Print only the FBAR acknowledgments for each filing year. Do not print the actual FBARs.
Please omit the actual FBARs. They have already been received by the Treasury, which is why you have received an acknowledgment. An example of the acknowledgment page:
Do not include state returns or federal returns which are not part of the Streamlined Procedures.
Only include exactly what is required for the Streamlined Procedures: 3 most recent years of delinquent tax returns and 6 years of FBARs. If you are also filing a state tax return, or are filing for additional tax years not included in the Streamlined Procedures, do not include these items in your package to the IRS.
SP forms must be wet signed.
Wet sign and date the bottom of page 2 of each Form 1040 and page 3 of each certification letter and submit them to the IRS by mail.
Note: in the case of a joint return, both spouses must sign.
Check your printed package.
Your completed package should contain the following:
Three signed and dated federal tax returns, each with the Streamlined Foreign Offshore header on page 1.
Three signed and dated certification letters. Each certification letter should be paper-clipped to the first page of Form 1040.
Six FBAR Acknowledgement pages that show which FBARs you have submitted and that the Treasury has received them.
SP forms must be mailed to the IRS.
Streamlined Procedure forms may NOT be e-filed. Mail the entire application package to the address below:
Internal Revenue Service 3651 South I-H 35 Stop 6063 AUSC
Attn: Streamlined Foreign Offshore
Austin, TX 78741
Note: do NOT use the "signature required" option if you use a private courier company such as UPS or FedEx.