IRS Criminal Investigation Voluntary Disclosure Practice


If you have willfully failed to comply with tax or tax-related obligations, submitting a voluntary disclosure may be a means to resolve your non-compliance and limit exposure to criminal prosecution.

You have a legal duty to fully comply with U.S. tax laws. Voluntary compliance is the cornerstone of our tax system. While most taxpayers voluntarily comply with their obligations, some fail to do so. We have a wide variety of civil and criminal sanctions that we may impose on non-compliant taxpayers. Failure to voluntarily comply may result in imprisonment, fines, and penalties.

A voluntary disclosure occurs when you provide a truthful, timely, and complete disclosure of your willful noncompliance through designated procedures. It also requires you to:

  • Timely submit all required documentation including a Form 2848 for each taxpayer and entity entering the program,
  • Cooperate with the IRS in determining your correct tax liability, and
  • Pay in full or secure a full-pay installment agreement for the tax, interest and any applicable penalties you owe.

A voluntary disclosure is timely if we receive it before we have:

  1. Commenced a civil examination or criminal investigation.
  2. Received information from a third party (e.g., informant, other governmental agency, John Doe summons, etc.) alerting us to your noncompliance.
  3. Acquired information directly related to your specific noncompliance from a criminal enforcement action (e.g., search warrant, grand jury subpoena, etc.).

The VDP is a longstanding practice of IRS Criminal Investigation (CI). CI accepts timely, accurate, and complete voluntary disclosures under consideration when determining whether to recommend criminal prosecution. A voluntary disclosure will not automatically guarantee immunity from prosecution; however, a voluntary disclosure may result in prosecution not being recommended.

The VDP is a compliance option if you have willfully failed to comply with tax or tax related obligations or committed tax or tax-related crimes and therefore have criminal exposure due to your willful violation of the law. Taxpayers who participate in the VDP intend to seek protection from potential criminal prosecution.

If your failure to comply with tax or tax related obligations or violation of the law was not willful, in other words, you feel you made an error or mistake, you should consider other options including correcting past mistakes by filing amended or past due returns. See Voluntary disclosure not for you? for useful links on other options.

Note: This practice does not apply to taxpayers with illegal sources of income. Income from activities determined to be legal under state law but illegal under federal laws is considered illegal source income for purposes of VDP.

There is a two-part electronic application process to request participation in the VDP. Part I is a preclearance to determine your eligibility for the program and Part II is a determination of your preliminary acceptance.

To apply, you must first:

Once CI receives your Part I, we will determine if you are pre-cleared to enter the practice. Preclearance determines your eligibility for the practice but does not guarantee preliminary acceptance into the practice.

  • Once you have received a preclearance letter, you must electronically submit Part II of the Voluntary Disclosure Application within 45 days.  CI will review your submission on Part II of Form 14457 to determine pre-acceptance in the VDP.
  • If approved to participate, CI will provide you with a Preliminary Acceptance Letter, and your Form 14457 will be forwarded to a civil section of the IRS.

Once your case is assigned to a civil examiner, you will be contacted.  You must cooperate with the examiner in providing requested documents and information. You will be required to provide a statement acknowledging your willful failure to comply with tax or tax related obligations.

If you are unable to submit Part II of the voluntary disclosure application within 45 days of the preclearance letter, you may voluntarily withdraw from the program or make a written request to for an extension. Extension requests will be approved on a case-by-case basis and no more than one 45-day extension will be permitted.

For more detailed instructions on how to submit your VDP application, see the instructions attached to the Form 14457, Voluntary Disclosure Practice Preclearance Request and ApplicationPDF, for the most current voluntary disclosure procedures.

For questions regarding the status of pre-clearance requests or preliminary acceptance, taxpayers/representatives may contact IRS-CI via email at

Once you receive preliminary acceptance, when you have questions or need a status update, email A civil examiner will respond timely.

Frequently asked questions

If a voluntary disclosure is being presented through a power of attorney, a separate Form 2848 is required for every taxpayer and entity entering the VDP. We do not accept a list of taxpayers and entities on one Form 2848.

Willfulness is not simply making a mistake. It is the intentional, purposeful, deliberate act to hide income or assets and therefore evade filing requirements or payment of tax. When filing a voluntary disclosure practice application, you must state that you were willful in your actions. This program is not for you if you simply made a math error or other mistake on your tax filings. Talk with a licensed professional and see Voluntary disclosure not for you? and look for other options to come into compliance.

If you don’t have all required documents for the VDP, please do not apply for Part I. Not having all required documents will delay you application and may result in your removal from the program. Contact a licensed tax professional for guidance.

Only one extension is granted. You should voluntarily withdraw from the program if you cannot meet the extended due date for your application.

It depends. You may submit an application and CI will determine the estate’s eligibility for the program. If the estate is not eligible, please see Voluntary Disclosure not for you? for other options to comply with the tax laws.

If you mistakenly forgot to include an offshore account on your tax return, filing an amended return may be your best option. Talk with a licensed professional for guidance. See Voluntary disclosure not for you?