For those waiting for further analysis on the new IRS Instructions [Published on Friday, 07 September 2012 15:59 Written by Roy A. Berg JD, LL.M. (US Tax)]
If you are a US person residing in Canada and are one of the unfortunate few who does not have a graduate degree in US tax and who is not related to a cross-border US tax professional you may have missed filing one of the myriad of tax forms that are required every year (the failure to file of which can carry dire penalties). If this is the case, the IRS may have a new streamlined procedure just for you. The bad news is that few will likely qualify and those who do not qualify face serious consequences just for applying.
The new streamlined procedure went into effect on September 1, 2012. Click here to see the full text of the streamlined procedure. The program is designed for expats with simple returns and little or no tax due. But whether by design or defect, it threatens to entrap most of its likely applicants. For those who qualify, the new program may be a breeze. But for those who do not, and we suspect most expats will not, the streamlined procedure is a lot like a lobster pot – easy to get into, hard to live in, and harder to escape
Unfortunately the IRS has not given guidance as to which of the above-listed risk factors or combination thereof, will increase the taxpayer’s compliance risk, and therefore disqualify him from the streamlined procedure. Further, the questionnaire raises a number of extremely serious issues of which every taxpayer considering this procedure should be aware.