Thanks to Bubblebustin for discovering:
— U.S. Citizen Abroad (@USCitizenAbroad) July 11, 2013
This really is a must read. If Taxpayer Advocate is critical of the IRS creation, administration and “execution” (pun intended) of the voluntary disclosure programs who wouldn’t be? Thanks to the work of Just Me, NotThatLisa, Moby and more we have learned a great deal about the “nuts and bolts”, “continued injustices” and confiscatory nature of the programs. We are also being introduced to a certain breed of lawyer who clearly is NOT working in the interests of the client. Those lawyers who automatically (without taking the time to completely understand the facts) put people into OVDP are committing ethical violations. The tragedy is that there are a number of them out there.
Those who are NOT Twitterliterate will find the report here:
When I saw Bubblebustins’s comments I posted the following comment, which she encouraged me to include with this post.
This is a great find and should be read by all. Taxpayer Advocate minimizes the true damage that the Shulman Voluntary Disclosure programs have done to the IRS and therefore to America, it’s citizens and it’s other residents.
Here is a partial list:
1. Through its unreasonable and immoral behavior, the IRS has reduced ALL incentives to come into compliance. For the average middle class “jay walker”, it’s hard to imagine receiving worse treatment than in OVDP. Why? Assuming minimally competent legal counsel, the IRS has little chance of successfully asserting willful penalties. The unreasonable behavior of the IRS has done nothing except generate contempt for the IRS. Furthermore, by reducing all incentives to come into compliance many rationally believe they are better off staying out of compliance.
2. Through its inconsistency in application (nobody really knows how they will be treated) the IRS has ensured a total lack of trust in the IRS.
3. It’s recent abuse of authority (quite possibly under the direction of the Obama administration) has further eroded confidence in the organization.
4. For many, the IRS has become the face of the U.S. government. This is bad for immigration. It is bad for responsible citizenship. It has resulted in a world where people want to renounce their citizenship. It is simply bad for America and its stakeholders.
5. The design of the OVDP program demonstrates beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is about “confiscating assets”. It’s not about taxation. It’s about confiscation. Just look at what the penalties have been relative to the tax owed. When much of this is related to Americans abroad buying mutual finds in their country of residence it becomes even more sickening and sickening it is.
6. By the fall of 2011the IRS clearly knew that many Americans abroad and green card holders had entered the OVDI program. They knew this was inappropriate. What did the Shulman IRS do? They came out with OVDP 2012 without any change in the rules/qualifications. Absolutely contemptible behavior.
7. They changed the rules in OVDP 2009 – remember the “bait and switch”. They failed to respond to the Order of Taxpayer Advocate to remedy the situation. They set themselves up as judge, jury and executioner to destroy the lives of a lot of good people who believed this was their only way of coming into compliance.
8. They failed to respond to the concerns of the New York State Bar Association concerning the administration of OVDI 2011.
9. In the December 2011 Fact Sheet, they promised further guidance for how Americans Abroad could come into compliance. One would have thought this guidance would have appeared prior to the June 15, 2012 tax filing deadline. The guidance did NOT come prior to the deadline. Rather an announcement was made at the end of June 2012 with a promise of further instructions to come. This did not come until August 31, 2012 (making it difficult for people to deal with their 2011 taxes).
10. What about Green Card Holders residing in the U.S. who want to be in compliance? Right, what about them?
The effects of the Shulman IRS on America have only begun to be felt. This is a sick, sick organization.
If you have read this far and are thinking of entering OVDP, I have a word of advice for you: