The U.S. agency that collects taxes says it will give a break to Americans living abroad who have failed to file their taxes and go a little easier than usual on those living in the U.S. with secret foreign bank accounts - if both groups can show they did not evade U.S. taxes on purpose.
On Wednesday, the IRS said expatriate Americans can avoid some penalties by filing three years of back taxes, and convincing officials the failure to pay taxes was not deliberate.
The penalty for living overseas and failing to file pay taxes can be severe.
U.S. citizens who live in the United States are required to tell the Internal Revenue Service about foreign bank accounts they hold. Those with secret foreign bank accounts may avoid criminal prosecution if they disclose their holdings and pay 5 percent of the foreign account balance.