AtticusinCanada has written a nice little summary of her sufferings–I nominate it for the comment of the day award:
My whole life has changed because of this. I’ve felt immense grief that the only way to deal with and move on is to renounce. I always assumed if you were born some place you were entitled to that citizenship without any other need of proof. As long as you didn’t commit treason or some serious crime you were a citizen. I had never, once heard of an FBAR! I called the IRS many times over the years to make sure I still was within their rules and nobody every mentioned such a thing. Nobody mentioned when after 9/11 we were required to get a U.S. passport either. Some have said that it’s written on page 4 of the passport. Well, my vision is VERY bad even with glasses and I never even attempted to read those pages. I assumed if it was anything important I would have been told about it and barely glanced at the tiny,tiny print on those pages. Couldn’t someone have informed us when we landed here? In fact up until I had to get a U.S. passport I wasn’t too sure I was even a citizen there anymore sometimes since the person I spoke with when I landed at Buffalo insisted over and over that “You may lose your U.S. citizenship over this” So when I went for that passport in the back of my mind I was worried they might not give me one. When they did I mentioned the fact I’d been told I might lose my citizenship and the person there did say “No, you were misinformed.” I came here in 1980 so maybe the rules were different or something back then but, I only landed and had not taken citizenship.
The constant worry about money and fines, fees, penalties. The hours and hours lost trying to figure out the right paperwork, how to fill it out, who to trust or not and how in the bloody hell to pay for this “compliance” has made my rheumatoid arthritis flare up over and over when it was under control before. I have been in the hospital once with a terrible breathing problem they couldn’t get under control except for the use of steroids over a long period. I now think this was brought on by extreme stress. The situation was so bad at the hospital that I was questioned about extensive measures and did I want to be “revived” if things got worse. That situation also made my son’s illness worse since one of the things wrong with him is severe panic disorder and depression. He was there and had to witness the situation in the emergency room and hospital. I have no doubt in my mind at all that I was made sicker by worrying over this and fretting day in and day out. Loss of sleep, constantly trying to figure out “the right thing” only to find out that not even the IRS knows the “right thing” many times.
I found out about all this after the death of my mother and in the midst of dealing with a very difficult sibling. I wouldn’t have owed them a thing. In fact they owed me 600 dollars which I am afraid to claim. I still believe there are thousands of people who do not yet know about this at all!
I’ve had my tax forms prepared twice at quite an expense and I’m sure the paperwork is wrong and so have not sent it in. I have not done FBARS as I would need help with them and cannot afford it. My sons illness has flared really badly twice since I found out about this and some of his treatments are very expensive so any “extra” money I have goes to that. Not that we have any “extra” money!
How can anyone actually say how much they are affected by this since it just invades every area of your life. I haven’t been able to put this on the back burner and not worry about it even when something good is happening. As I said above I have one sibling who is a very, very difficult person and so telling my family I’m renouncing has been just peachy. That sibling will use this for the rest of my life to portray me as a “bad” person to other family members at every opportunity. So not only did it strain my marriage, it put me in the position of being a perpetual “black sheep” who will be “tolerated, pitied and disliked” an outsider, not “one of them” I’m so looking forward to having to deal with the dynamics that will go on once I have renounced. Some will know better but, others won’t.
Lately, this situation has lead to problems with my spouse because I haven’t renounced yet. It’s not that I don’t want to. I am terrified to go forward and file all that mess should a penalty be assigned to me. And tax payer advocate or not, I am just not in any physical shape right now to drag myself through such an ordeal. It’s GOT to be done but, this is such a catch 22!
This stupid witch hunt which people inside the U.S. think is going after the uber rich “off shoring” in “tax havens” has done more to harm low and middle income “targets” than anything I’ve seen them do down there in a long time. I have learned a hard lesson about what citizenship taxation is and what it means. I’m sickened by the comments I see on certain U.S. based articles. Is this who they really are?? Oddly, I think not. I think if it were happening to THEM they’d have a completely different opinion which makes them very selfish. The thing I am most angered about at the moment is that comment by President Obama last week that they are paying to fix their infrastructure by “repatriating taxes” First off that is a LIE, it’s NOT “taxes” It is fines and fees and penalties on paperwork nobody ever heard of outside the U.S. for the most part and they know it. If it were taxes it would even come close to being enough as according to American Citizens Abroad 82 percent of expats would owe zero taxes. Secondly, it told me that all this suffering was PLANNED. That they are NOT going to RBT and do not ever want to. That they know what they are doing and know no one inside the U.S. will care.
As some here have said it’s not the America we grew up in for those of us that did grow up there. Or maybe it is and we’re just now seeing how they operate with those that don’t live there. At any rate the feeling of betrayal and back stabbing runs deep. Like many of you I have spent decades here feeling I had to defend the U.S. at times and stand up for Americans because I felt many times they were all negatively portrayed and not all Americans are bad people. I had to deal with this daily since my mother in law was staunchly anti American. Coming to a new country and having to deal with her hurtful remarks was hard but, I DID win her over. Her and most people who got to know me well. I feel the U.S. is losing something they cannot get back. They can never make us back into good will ambassadors ever again. There was little justification for us to do that in many cases to begin with and now there will be none.
At any rate my main worry is keeping MY health up because my son needs me to be healthy. I can’t help him when he needs it if I go down too far. I’m just going to renounce, file what I can by sending it straight in and not going into any “program” as I do NOT trust ANY of their “programs” Why they would put families abroad who would not owe them a dime in taxes through this is beyond shocking to me. As Obama said they are going to rebuild their infrastructure by “repatriating taxes” NO it’s not “taxes” It is fines and fees and penalties on zero taxes owed in most cases. Who ever thought up such a plan and feels it is right is an immoral, vicious jerk.
I now believe there is no hope for them to resolve any of this with residency based taxation as the evidence and Obama’s comments show this was planned and is being done on purpose so why on earth would the let any minnows go and not penalize them?