In the past I have blogged about the Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners (“STEP”). For those who are unfamiliar with STEP it was formed 25 years ago, or thereabouts, to bring together leading industry experts to deliver top-rate educational, networking and advocacy programs.
The 18th Annual National Conference of STEP Canada recently took place on Thursday, June 9th through Friday, June 10th at the Metro Convention Centre in Toronto. The Program was organized by a committee of 19, co-chaired by Christine Van Cauwenberghe and Brian Cohen.
Once again, STEP Canada has surpassed its attendance record. In each of the past 4 years attendance has grown annually by almost 10% reaching a total of 718 conference delegates this year. STEP is a worldwide organization and the Canadian branch attracts the largest attendance when compared against any other STEP conference in the world.
The reason for the success of this conference can be attributed to a number of factors including the networking opportunity and educational content. This year, the conference featured over 65 speakers and, for the very first time speaking on Canadian soil, we had representatives from the IRS speak about offshore compliance options including OVDP and streamlined compliance procedures.
Given that today is July 4th, I thought I should share just a little of what we learned at the conference from our esteemed speakers from the IRS. The first option that taxpayers with undisclosed foreign financial assets generally consider, in order to become compliant, is the 2014 Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedure. The 2014 Streamlined program is an expansion of the 2012 program. We were advised that since 2012 , more than 30,000 tax payers have made submissions under this program. In order to qualify for this procedure the taxpayer must among other things certify non-willfulness, submit the last 3 years of income tax returns and 6 years of FBARs together with payment for tax and interest. If qualified under this option there are no penalties.
If you are interested in the subject of Trusts and Estates and if you are not engaged with your local STEP branch I encourage you to find out more through the following link. https://www.step.ca/programs.aspx or calling the STEP member services team at 1-877-991-4949.