NRI body wants offshore account disclosure deadline extended

August 12th, 2011 - 9:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Toronto, Aug 12 (IANS) The Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) has sought extension of the deadline for Indian-Americans to disclose their offshore accounts from Aug 31 to Dec 31.

“We are meeting the US income-tax commissioner for extension of the deadline to December 31 because the information was not properly advertised for people holding overseas accounts to disclose this to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). We are making people aware to disclose this information before the penalties kick in,” GOPIO president Inder Singh, who was here to launch the Toronto chapter of the global body, told IANS Friday.

GOPIO has also sought reduction in penalty for those disclosing their offshore accounts above $10,000.

It said the penalty of 25 percent of the highest balance during the year under the FBAR (Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts) was “a bit too much”.

“US citizens holding offshore accounts are also required to disclose their IT returns and the interest earned on their offshore accounts for the past eight years - starting from 2003,” the GOPIO president said.

The GOIPO is also seeking the limit to be increased to $250,000 as $10,000 is too small an amount, he said.

“Even if the annual cost of living since the limit of $10,000 was fixed is taken into consideration, the exemption figure should easily go up to $50,000.”

The GOPIO president estimated that more than 100,000 Indian-Americans could be holding offshore accounts. There are more than 2.8 million Indians in the US.

“The number of those holding overseas accounts could go up if you include Indians in the US on work visa. They have bank accounts in India, but they have to disclose these if they work in the US for more than six months in a year,” he said.

GOPIO has 76 chapters in about two dozen countries. Toronto is its first chapter in Canada.

(Gurmukh Singh can be contacted at gurmukh.s@ians.in)

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