This story just in from Jamie Golombek. Another dumbass American executive gets hit big-time by Mr. FBAR, but it’s hard to feel any sympathy – this guy was just asking for it:
UPDATE: My apologies to all – I only sporadically followed the site during my vacation in July and didn’t make the connection that this is a follow-up story to the ongoing Williams case, previously discussed here and here, and probably elsewhere. I’ll let my original gut response to the article stand (above) and just take my lumps, since the comments are shedding more useful light on the topic. Mea culpa – it’s not not easy being an amateur blogger sometimes!
Well, actually this is not “another” story. This is the famous Williams case whose lower court decision was overturned, making the reasonable cause argument more difficult.
It is however interesting that Golombeck is picking up this story. For what purpose?
Secondly, it is interesting focus on the civil penalties that are far below the maximum possible. $200K on $7,000K is far from 50%. But of course this is before the fines were raised in 2004. Golombek fails to mention this. I am beginning to really dislike Golombek. I think that he is a big disappointment. He also, conveniently, fails to mention the protections that the Canadian government has offered Canadian residents and citizens. This story isn’t about a tax evader, but about how the Canadian media keeps letting us down.
“this guy was just asking for it”
Sorry, I don’t see it that way. He put his trust in UBS, Swiss law, and a long tradition of Swiss banking secrecy. He got screwed. And trying to prevent thugs from stealing your money is not “cheating” it is doing your patriotic duty.
Wesley Snipes is also an interesting case. 3 years for a misdemeanor. That guy really got screwed by the man, I wonder who fingered him to be made an example of?
I did a blog post: Wesley Snipes: Tax Hero.
I also believe that Irwin Schiff is a hero of sorts. But I think kind of daft in the sense that if you are going to be a tax protestor, you are less likely to go to jail if you live outside the borders of the United States
Is this guy a Canadian living in Canada? Or a Canadian that naturalised US Person that is living in the US?
I’m not envious of this person because he has money and I don’t. Some of these people getting nailed just happen to have a lot of money overseas that they earned legally or through inheritance. Then the IRS goes in an takes it all just because they didn’t declare it! This is terrible.
US Citizenship = Complications. <sigh>
Maybe Eric can confirm this, but I saw something interesting on National Geographic about Hong Kong: Jackie Chan has 26 restaurants there. He probably has a lot of other businesses there too. Imagine the complexity of Jackie Chan’s tax return if he actually were a US Citizen? I can totally understand why his SON renounced his US Citizenship!
Good question Petros… “For what purpose?” Maybe he just doesn’t have anything else to write about, and so reaches into the archives…
When it comes to what Williams case means, and how this “willful blindness” issue applies to the IRS, I don’t think Jamie has much to add to the discussion. I would reference Jack Townsend over Jamie any day…
Golombek is writing for one of two major national papers in Canada. He acts like he works for the IRS. This is shameful. I am disgusted with him. Perhaps he is an operative on the payroll of the IRS.