Tag Archives: OVDI and IRS FS for U.S. Citizens Residing Abroad

“Hitching a ride” – FATCA – The Trojan Horse of the Hire Act – Updated with Roger Conklin comment

Hitching A Ride – Is A “Trojan Horse” Provision Legitimate?

 

 

In order for legislation to have “moral force”, it should at a minimum:

1. Be read by legislators prior to it becoming law; and

2. Not contain provisions that are unrelated to the main purpose of the legislation – i.e. NOT “hitch a ride”

“Hitching a ride”** is especially easy if the Congressmen don’t read the legislation.  Nancy Pelosi commenting in relation to Obamacare, noted that it was important for Congress to pass the bill, so that the American people (and presumably Congress) could learn what was in it.

FATCA is unrelated to the  purpose of the HIRE Act. It simply “hitched a ride” into the Hire Act. Who knows how many Congressmen read and understood the Hire Act prior to voting in favor of it? Provisions that “hitch a ride” into legislation are analagous to  soldiers left inside a Trojan Horse*. Once the primary legislation takes effect, the “hitchhiker provisions” will be unleashed on an unsuspecting public.

FATCA has been referred to as the “neutron bomb” of international finance. It is the most dangerous act of American Imperialism ever.  It will  hasten the demise of the U.S. as a world power. Continue reading

FBAR Penalities and The OVDI decision – A former IRS attorney talks to a seasoned “minnow”

On January 9, 2012 the IRS reopened  “OVDI” (Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program). Some people with past compliance problems will surely consider (with the encouragement of the “cross border professionals”) whether to enter OVDI. The Isaac Brock Society issued a press release warning people to not enter OVDI without carefully considering the merits. Obviously nobody should enter OVDI without a careful consideration of the penalties. At the risk of oversimplification (and this post is not legal advice or any other kind of advice):

1. If you enter OVDI, in addition to paying any taxes owing, you are agreeing to pay penalties of a percentage of your net worth (a range from 5% to 27.5%).

2. If you do not enter OVDI and information return penalties become an issue (outside the context of voluntary disclosures), they will not be automatically presumed (but again this is heavily dependent on the circumstances and you should absolutely get legal advice).

The following comments are part of a thread. I thought they were worth a separate post. They are a conversation between a former IRS attorney and a famous “minnow”. They are relevant to the issue of penalties for failing to have filed information returns.

Interpret this as you will. It is  not offered as legal advice. But, it does raise issues that might we worth discussing with your lawyer. Thanks to Mr. Mopsick. It is a rare lawyer indeed, who is willing to talk about anything but OVDI! You may want to read the complete post before reading these comments. (I have made no effort to fix the typos in these comments.) Continue reading

Looking for Mr. FBAR – In Search of FBAR Fullfilment and Consciousness

“FBAR  – One Small Step For Man, A Giant Step For Mankind!”

All great advances in civilization spawn new industries. FBAR has spawned “FBAR Lawyers”, “FBAR Historians” and “FBAR Scholars“. When history is written, 2011 will be remembered as the “year of the FBAR.”  In 1983 Time Magazine made a computer the “man of the year”. Perhaps for 2011, the FBAR should be regarded as the “man of the year”. In 2011, tax lawyer Phil Hodgen, recognized the importance of FBAR in an excellent post titled:

What had God Wrought – FBAR Edition

Mr. Hodgen explains how something that started as part of finding tax cheats in Switzerland is now impacting Ambassador Jacobson’s  “70 year old Grandma” in Canada.

All kidding aside, the FBAR  is likely to spawn a new type of  “therapist”. Yes, it will be called the “FBAR Therapist“. Read further and you will see why. Continue reading

U.S. citizen employees and FBAR requirements

Yesterday I wrote a post describing why FBAR and FATCA will make U.S. born children unadoptable. After all, they carry with them U.S. tax filing and reporting obligations. The general toxicity of U.S. citizenship is such that non-U.S. citizens will NOT wish to risk financial involvement with U.S. citizens. Here is another example.

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Tax compliance for U.S. citizens living outside the United States

The United States of America – A Nation of Forms

The meaning of U.S. citizenship

As it stands, there are a number of normal investments  prohibited to U.S. citizens living abroad. U.S.  citizens living abroad will likely find it much more  difficult to find an accountant or tax prep person to help them  with their taxes. There are at least three reasons:

 1. Paid Tax Preparer Registration Required – Effective for  the 2011 tax year, the IRS is requiring all “paid tax preparers” to register with and pay a fee to the IRS. For many this will require the taking of an exam.

(Whether this can be applied to preparers outside  the U.S. or not, it will certainly reduce the number  of  people  willing to take this on.)

 2. Professional liability – Who would  want the risk of making a mistake? I  know at least one Canadian CA who will not take American clients. Who would want the problems? In addition to  the 1040, there is the problem of the FBAR, the new 8938 form, the appropriate RRSP election form, and a  host of possible  other forms (see below).

3. Too much work for too little money – The work  is so substantial that, that I expect the minimum fee will be in the range of $1000 (for somebody who has no assets or issues). Although this I small change for some taxpayers, it is clearly too expensive for most taxpayers.

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IRS Issues Information for U.S. Citizens or Dual Citizens Residing Outside the U.S.

"Known unknowns and unknown unknowns"

On December 3, 2011 the Globe and Mail reported that the there would be possible waiver of tax and FBAR penalties for U.S. citizens living abroad. (On December 8, 2011 the Globe continued the story.) Once again – the directive was “sit tight” – information would be released by the end of December. Well, some (and there are surely more to come) information has been released. They apply to U.S. Citizens or Dual Citizens Residing Outside The U.S.

Is this welcome news or is it merely a restatement of the law and a further warning? In the online world, one can find a pundit to support any perspective.  The third party commentary varies from the:

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Possible waiver of U.S. tax and FBAR penalties for U.S. citizens residing abroad

Subject to the "unknown unknowns"

Thanks to Barrie McKenna of the Globe and Mail for this article and to his support on this important issue during this most difficult time for U.S. citizens residing in Canada and the rest of the world. Thanks also to Finance Minister Flaherty and the MPs who have supported Canada/U.S. dual citizens during this time.

On December 7, 2011 the IRS posted a Fact Sheet providing information about this issue. I have written some commentary about the Fact Sheet here.

I recently predicted that the IRS treatment of U.S. expats would become a diplomatic issue for the U.S. The December 2011 announcement by Ambassador Jacobson, concerning the IRS and U.S. expats,  suggests that this is true. Continue reading