Just Me sent this to me:
Dear Linda Sittenfield, CNBC Senior Producer
Regarding your article today titled
Published: Thursday, 5 Jan 2012 | 1:20 PM ET
So what is your objective here? Is it to inform people of all the ways the IRS is looking for them and scare them into compliance? If so, mission accomplished, but might you be doing the IRS work for them as an unwitting accomplice to bad policy without giving a critical look at the larger consequences of these actions?
U.S. authorities are hunting down wealthy American tax cheats all over the world,
You know, this is not just a story about the “wealthy”, although I understand that it is an easy characterization to make after reading IRS press releases.
The story also is about the negative impacts on “average middle class expat or immigrant to America” as US policy broad brush goes after the “wealthy”. The wide net is snaring minnows, while the Whales will always find ways to evade.
It certainly is true that for the last 3 years, there has been a sea change in IRS practices and a crack down in what is considered “off shore accounts” But might I suggest, that before you write on this story, you would want to delve into the subject in a serious manner, rather than just put out what could be considered a fear mongering story. Certainly you have to be ask “what are the unintended consequences of all the things you rightfully list that Congress and the IRS are doing”? Is it just the “wealthy”, as you say, who better watch out, or is it also the 6.3 million middle class Expats living overseas, and millions upon millions of immigrants living in America that have family and retirement accounts back in their home countries??? What about them? Did you stop and think for a moment that they might be affected? Your story does not seem to indicate that understanding. If I am wrong, I apologize.
That is the untold story that seems to have missed or you chose to ignore. I am not sure which. Maybe you have another story in the works.
You do your readership a disservice my making this just a story of the “wealthy” hiding money offshore, (which I admit drives the IRS effort), without any recognition of the consequences for the unintended victims of the current Congressional/IRS approach to offshore accounts. These actions plus the citizenship taxation model are turning the US into a pariah in the world, turning ordinary expats into criminals, and undermining exports overseas and investment in America.
What is going on right now is very self destructive, and that is the story you should be telling, not just writing a warning type story. That misses the larger point!
I would encourage you to read some more about the subject, and I say this kindly, educate yourself before you write another article. Maybe put an investigative reporter who lives overseas on the story who has some tax and foreign banking background. Maybe they can better understand all the negative impacts of these misguided Congressional and IRS actions. Ask some serious questions about the cost versus the very minor benefit of these policies and IRS jihad, and help your readership see the larger story.
Here are some helpful links for you to read regarding the FATCA and Citzenship taxation issues which have recently been in the press. Maybe someone there is interested in the Bigger story. Maybe? You think?
By Amy Feldman
NEW YORK | Thu Dec 8, 2011 3:10pm EST
Taxpayers with overseas accounts seethe at penalties
New York Times
By DAVID JOLLY and BRIAN KNOWLTON
Published: December 26, 2011
Law to Find Tax Evaders Denounced
Wall Street Journal
Main Street by William McGrun.
Published: December 26, 2011
Washington’s Assault on America Expats
You should definitely read the 130 plus comments especially those by Roger Conklin
By James Fallows
Fatca: The Menace You’ll Hear About in 2012
DEC 31 2011, 8:23 PM ET
The Fatca Menace!
JAN 2 2012, 5:43 PM ET
The Fatca Chronicles: Tales From China, Canada, and Estonia
JAN 3 2012, 1:25 AM ET
EDITORIAL: Tax-haven wars
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Congress is scheming to export IRS meddling overseas
12/30/2011 @ 9:04AM
By Daniel Mitchell
Obama Has United the World…in Opposition to Bad U.S. Tax Policy
BY ROBERT W. WOOD
1/06/2012 @ 6:03AM
Are Expats Derailing The FATCA Express?
and finally, if you really want to know something about those penalty claims that you report… “As of September 2011, the IRS had collected nearly $3 billion in taxes, interest and penalties from 30,000 taxpayers.” Rather than just repeat IRS press releases, I would highly recommend this indepth discussion about the IRS Voluntary Disclosure practices (OVDI). It might surprise you what you learn there.
And I quote:
“There were a few of the stereotypical offshore tax cheats — native-born U.S. citizens who, on their own accord, decided to evade taxes and developed plans to use offshore entities and accounts to shield from taxation funds earned in the United States.That is the media image of offshore tax evaders and an image promoted by IRS public statements. For that group, the penalty levels in the OVDI programs were, in our judgment, appropriate, perhaps even generous when combined with a criminal amnesty. It may surprise most observers, but we saw few cases like that. It is anyone’s guess why. It may be that this aggressive and risk-prone group was pre-pared to let it ride. Or perhaps there simply are not as many of them as anticipated.
READ More here…
Special Report for Tax Notes:
133 Tax Notes 369 (Oct. 17, 2011)
OVDI Is Over — What’s Next For Voluntary Disclosures?
By Scott D. Michel and Mark E. Matthews
Thank you for your interest in more comprehensive coverage of Offshore accounts, FATCA, and the impacts of Congressional and IRS actions which are having very negative impacts on America standing in the world.