Olivier Custeau, Fiscaliste, B.A.A., M. Fisc., EA

Regularize your situation with the Streamlined Foreign Offshore Procedure

American citizen living in Canada  —   —  Share


Are you a US citizen residing in Canada, but have never filed a US tax return? Have you stopped meeting your tax obligations since leaving the United States many years ago? As a US citizen or permanent resident, you are required to file a US tax return annually, but don’t you?

Know that you have the ability to regularize your situation without the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) applying hefty penalties on prescribed forms not completed within the required timeframe. In addition, you can use the Streamlined Foreign Offshore Procedure if you have failed to produce a specific form for a given year. You will normally only pay interest on the balance owing, if applicable.

If you gave up your US citizenship after 2010, but did not meet your US tax obligations prior to your departure, you may be eligible for another program, the Relief Procedures for Certain Former Citizens.

Tax compliance

In order to be in good standing with your US tax obligations, the IRS has implemented a temporary program. The Streamlined Foreign Offshore Procedure allows you to regularize your situation quickly. To access this program, you must meet certain conditions, including: you must first certify that the failure to file was unintentional, prepare your US tax returns for the most recent three years and declare your bank accounts using the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) form for the past six years. When completed, you will be deemed to comply with your US tax obligations for all previous years.

We advise you to act as quickly as possible to validate your eligibility for this program and regularize your situation as soon as possible since the program could be withdrawn at any time by the IRS. Also, keep in mind that Canada and the United States have signed an information exchange agreement, which increases the likelihood of you getting caught if you don’t comply. For more information, do not hesitate to make an appointment with one of our tax experts specializing in US tax.