Skip to content

us expat tax guide – germany

What is the Streamlined Foreign Offshore Procedure?

Firstly, that’s the official name of the program given by the IRS. It’s more often referred to as the Streamlined Tax Amnesty program.

The IRS Streamlined Foreign Offshore Procedure is an amnesty program designed to help US citizens, including accidental Americans, who reside abroad and have unintentionally failed to file US tax returns and FBARs (Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts Reports).

This program allows individuals to catch up on years of overdue tax returns without facing the penalties typically associated with late-filed tax returns.

Who qualifies for the Streamlined Procedure?

Eligibility for the Streamlined Procedure depends on several criteria.

Individuals must not have been contacted by the IRS for the years they failed to file. This program is tailored for those who can certify that their failure to file was non-willful—meaning it resulted from a misunderstanding or mistake rather than an attempt to evade US tax laws.

What does the program require?

Participants must submit the last three years of tax returns and six years of FBAR filings. Additionally, they must complete an offshore certification form explaining their reasons for previous non-compliance and confirming their commitment to follow US tax laws moving forward.

It’s highly recommended to use an IRS-licensed tax professional to complete the IRS tax amnesty program.

Once processed by the IRS, the individual is completely US tax compliant.

Learn more about the Streamlined Tax Amnesty program here.

How does the Streamlined Procedure protect its participants?

One of the most significant benefits of the Streamlined Procedure is its protection against penalties. Those who utilize this program are shielded from penalties related to unpaid taxes and failure to file FBARs, provided they meet the program’s eligibility criteria and fully comply with its requirements.

A second amazing benefit is that all missed tax returns before the amnesty years will not need to be filed. The individual simply needs to continue filing for future years.

How much does the Streamlined tax amnesty program cost?

It varies depending on the complexity of the person that needs to file. Get a quote here:

What are the filing instructions for the IRS Streamlined Procedure?

Unlike regular tax filings, submissions under the Streamlined Procedure cannot be e-filed. Participants must mail paper copies of their tax returns, complete with original signatures, directly to the IRS.

However, FBARs can still be filed electronically. This helps simplify at least one part of the compliance process.

Table of contents