I am making what you could call a “noisy” non-disclosure. I have stated that I do not plan to file FBAR. I am no criminal, but because I’ve not done FBARs in the past, and I plan never to file one, actually filing an FBAR creates a substantial hazard because of its criminal penalties. This is the fatal flaw in the FBAR requirement. If there were only draconian civil penalties, no one could invoke the Fifth Amendment in refusing to file it.
But the problem for someone who has relinquished US citizenship like me is that the Form 8854 reveals too much damning and detailed information about assets, giving the IRS the ability to deduce that the person has financial accounts and how much must be contained within them. I have learned that while the Fifth Amendment will not allow a person to make no tax filings at all (remember Al Capone went to jail for that), one may withhold information on a tax form, if that information could lead to a violation of person’s Fifth Amendment privilege. Therefore, here is Part V of my 8854 (I’ve blackened the actual declared numbers, which is actually the necessary numbers in order to make it possible for the IRS to determine that I am not “covered”):
So the IRS will be able to see that my assets fall below the $2 million threshold and they can see that I have owed zero taxes for the last five years. I am not a covered expatriate.
But they have no right, under the Fourth Amendment, to an inventory of my assets, and therefore, I will not provide sufficient information to them so that they can charge me with criminal FBAR. The Fifth Amendment is invoked for the value of all my Canadian assets. For all they know, my house is worth the full amount of the declaration. As for the categories with zero, it will hopefully show to the IRS that all my assets are already “offshore” and therefore safely out of the reach of their grubby hands. In any case, all I have in this life has been earned in Canada, and not subject to the jurisdiction of the IRS.
I invite comments.