Steven J. Mopsick asked me to share this blog with our readers:
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Who Said The IRS Doesn’t Give a Hoot About Providing Guidance to American Expats?!
Last week, the IRS announced a new compliance initiative aimed at the estimated seven million Americans who reside outside the United States. The IRS has launched a new International Compliance Project under which the IRS will match up forms 1099-R with “a selection of individuals with foreign addresses,” pull those returns for a “look see” to ascertain whether the expat correctly reported an early distribution from a retirement account on his form 5329 (Additional Taxes on Qualified Plans (Including IRAs) and Other Tax-Favored Accounts) . If the IRS concludes from its preliminary check that a little chat might be in order, the expat will receive a “compliance contact letter” asking for additional information. A reference on the announcement to “other resources” reassures us that receipt of a compliance check letter is not an audit or investigation. Rather, the IRS is “just checking” to see what’s up and warns that if the taxpayer blows the letter off and refuses to provide the information requested, it may just decide that a full blown examination or investigation is warranted.
Lessons to be learned: (1) the IRS has gotten very good at matching up 1099’s and other information returns with 1040’s. (2) the IRS continues to be very serious about tax compliance amongst Americans living abroad, and (3) playing fast and loose with your IRA or other retirement account is not the way you want to go if you just want to see if the IRS can take a joke.
Pacifica, other moderators:
Someone we don’t know (“Ray Vasri”) posted a tiny url above suggesting that readers use it. Of course, with a tiny url, the user has no idea what it leads to. (Don’t click on the above tiny url).
Prohibit tiny urls on IBS by removing any posts with them.
Also, I know that Just Me occasionally uses them. Someone could easily spoof his user-ID so this prohibition should apply to all posters including Just Me (sorry).
I have to respectfully disagree.
Bitly or tiny links are the language of Twitter. There are zillions of them being used daily. I think banning them is a bit much, and like with any link, a user has to be aware of the source. You will see them in many tweets that U.S.Citizenabroad posts as do others, so I would caution an over reaction because you think one of them you saw by someone you did not recognize was a bad one. It might have been spam that slipped through.
You could make the case by your logic, that an embedded link should not be used either, and we do it all the time for a stories headline, like this one on WSJ….
More Taxpayers Are Abandoning the U.S.
Now, I could have put in this embedded link either an full blown link, or a bitly link, or a link to a porn site, you have no idea until you click, but hopefully there is enough trust here that you would know that I would not give or direct you to something you would not want to go to…
Of course, I could have just given you the bitly link directly…. http://on.wsj.com/I2IRAr Sometimes it is just easier as a short hand for a messy long link.
And…you can always choose NOT to click on it.
Generally, if I don’t know the source of something sent to me, I don’t click on the link. I get tons of tweets and emails with links I NEVER click on, but twitter would not/could not ban them anymore than IBS should.
…. Just my opinion, and I understand your concerns, but each of us have to be responsible for managing are own “clicking”. I can’t manage that for you, any more than I can manage how many emails you get in your inbox. Moderators have a hard enough time, just keeping the blog purged of all the spam bots that are hitting it hourly. Trying to clean out or ban bitly links is a task too far, imho…
Cheers, and no hard feelings.
BTW, @Ray Vasri link is a good one… Here is the long version if you prefer…
I tested it before clicking it by putting it (copy/paste) into
Bitly.com itself, and it came up with a good headline title and source. That is another way you can test bitly links you are not sure of…
For all of you concerned about shortened links check this site:
For example try Just Me’s link posted above with a plus sign added to the end like this:
Hope it helps 🙂
@Just Me: I have never been concerned about your tiny urls while recognizing at the same time that someone could spoof your user-ID – someone used my “Innocente” name several months ago on IBS.
I am cautious on the internet and try not to click on links that I don’t believe I know.
Thanks for your advice on how to determine the actual path of a tiny url with Bitly.com and please keep posting your worthwhile comments.
Thanks Uncle Tell!
In FireFox if I hover over an ebedded link with my mouse, like the one Just Me included in his comment above, the url shows up in the bottom left-hand corner of the browser. I’m not sure how or if this wworks in other browsers.
I’m curious, what do use to format your posts, like embedding links with text, now that this feature is no longer directly available on the IBS site.
Are you a “Power User” and hard code them into the text like the example in red that is mentioned below the commet area? 🙂
I wouldn’t say I am a power user, but yes I do hard code them most of the time for neatness, if nothing else. I hate long messy links that spread across the web page! 🙂 Thanks for that other + feature. I did not know that was a short cut to get to bitly and see if it is good. I will use that one in the future. I use Google Chrome, and it doesn’t do what you mentioned in Firefox, but that is a good feature. I wonder if there is an add on… I might check that out…
I don’t know if my comments are worthy of anything, but I do appreciate yours and your continued participation. I did understand your worry, and it is good to be cautious. I certainly am when it comes to unsolicited links sent to me. Trash them, is my response!