Form 14653: IRS Streamlined Certification

Written by: Josh Katz, CPA

Are you a US citizen or resident living abroad who hasn’t been reporting your foreign income and assets to the IRS? Maybe you’ve recently discovered your tax obligations, or perhaps you’ve been avoiding the matter due to the complexity of the US tax system. Whatever the reason, you’re not alone. Many Americans living overseas find themselves in this situation.

Thankfully, the IRS offers a program called Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedures, also known as Streamlined Amnesty Program, to help individuals catch up on their US taxes. This IRS Streamlined Amnesty Program helps taxpayers get current on their US tax obligations without facing severe penalties. The program is available to US citizens and residents living abroad who have failed to report foreign income and assets but have not willfully avoided their tax obligations.

One of the key requirements for filing under the Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedures is the IRS Streamlined Certification. This form, also known as Form 14653, is used to certify that you are eligible for the program and have met all the necessary requirements.

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What is IRS Form 14653?

Form 14653 is the “Certification by US Person Residing Outside of the United States for Streamlined Foreign Offshore Procedures.” This form is used by US taxpayers who are eligible to use the Streamlined Amnesty Program to certify that their failure to report foreign financial assets and pay all taxes due with respect to those assets did not result from willful conduct on their part.

The form requires taxpayers to provide information about their foreign financial assets, tax residency, and to certify that their conduct was non-willful regarding their failure to report income, pay taxes, and submit required information returns.

IRS Form 14653

The form also requires a narrative statement explaining the taxpayer’s specific reasons for their previous failure to comply, along with details of the steps they are taking to rectify the situation.

IRS Form 14653 is crucial for taxpayers who wish to use the streamlined procedures to avoid potentially harsh penalties that could apply if their non-compliance was deemed willful. It’s part of a broader effort by the IRS to encourage voluntary compliance with US tax laws, especially for citizens and residents living outside the United States who may not have been fully aware of their filing requirements.

Table of Contents

IRS Form 14653 Filing Instructions

To be eligible to use Form 14653, taxpayers must meet specific requirements. They must be US citizens or permanent residents who have lived outside of the United States for at least 330 days in any one of the last three years. Furthermore, the taxpayers must not have been previously contacted by the IRS regarding their failure to report foreign financial assets and income. This means that they have not been subject to an audit, examination, or other enforcement action related to their tax filings.

Here are the general instructions for completing the IRS Form 14653:

1. Personal Information

Start by providing your full legal name, address, taxpayer identification number (TIN), and the tax year(s) you are filing for. Ensure that your information is accurate and up-to-date.

2. Certification Statement

This section requires you to certify that you are eligible for the Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedures and that you have met all the necessary requirements. This includes confirming that you were not willfully avoiding your tax obligations and that the IRS has not previously contacted you regarding your failure to report foreign financial assets and income.

3. Account Information

You will need to provide detailed information about your foreign financial accounts, including the account number, the name of the financial institution, and the maximum balance of the account during the tax year(s) in question. This information will help the IRS verify your compliance with US tax laws.

4. Explanation of Non-WillfulnessStatement

In this section, you will need to explain why you failed to report your foreign financial assets and income. This could include a lack of knowledge of your reporting obligations, reliance on a tax professional, or other mitigating factors.

5. Certification of Accuracy

Finally, you will need to certify that all the information provided on Form 14653 is accurate and complete to the best of your knowledge.

Where to file IRS Form 14653?

To file the IRS Form 14653, you must attach it with the other requirements for the streamlined amnesty program. Aside from the IRS Certification, you also have to submit the last three tax-delinquent returns and six years of FBARs as part of the program.

All of these documents must be mailed to the IRS. Electronic filing is not allowed when filing your streamlined tax returns.

IRS Streamlined Mailing Address:

Internal Revenue Service
3651 South I-H 35 Stop 6063 AUSC
Attn: Streamlined Foreign Offshore
Austin, TX 78741

Mail IRS Form 14653

Common Question about the IRS Form 14653:

1. What happens after I submit Form 14653?

The IRS will review the form and accompanying documents to determine the taxpayer’s eligibility for the streamlined filing compliance procedures. Unfortunately, the IRS will not confirm once they have received your mail. You may contact the IRS directly if you want an update on your submission.

2. How long does it take for the IRS to process Form 14653?

The processing time for the Streamlined Amnesty Program, including Form 14653, can vary depending on various factors, such as the volume of submissions and the complexity of the taxpayer’s case. The IRS generally aims to process streamlined submissions within 90 days of receipt. However, it’s essential to note that this is not a guaranteed timeline and processing times may be longer in certain circumstances.

3. What are the penalties for not filing Form 14653?

Failure to submit Form 14653 will disqualify you from the streamlined amnesty program, exposing you to harsher penalties for intentional violations.

4. Can I amend Form 14653 after submission?

Yes, if you’ve discovered an error in your initial submission for the Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedures, you can correct it by submitting amended returns and/or an amended Form 14653. You should also explain the error’s circumstances in the original streamlined tax returns submission.

5. Are there any fees associated with filing Form 14653?

In general, no specific fees are associated with filing Form 14653 or filing under the Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedures.

6. Can Form 14653 be used by taxpayers living within the United States?

No, the IRS Form 14653 is specifically designed for US citizens residing outside the United States. Taxpayers living within the US who need to address their tax obligations related to foreign financial assets should utilize the Streamlined Domestic Offshore Procedures. This program has distinct eligibility criteria and involves a separate certification form, Form 14654, “Certification by US Person Residing in the United States for Streamlined Domestic Offshore Procedures.”

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