Phil Hodgen has some good news for the Canadians in the audience:
Up to now the way to fix an unreported RRSP problem was by incurring brain damage, spending lots of money, or suffering through terminal uncertainty and fear. Or all of the above … Guess what. Things have changed for the better. I’m serious. We confirmed today in a phone call with Chief Counsel’s office that amended tax returns will be allowed with Form 8891 attached.
In other words, a seemingly pointless waste of paper the IRS issued to one taxpayer early this year may have unforeseen historical significance: it is quite possibly the last “late RRSP election” Private Letter Ruling that will ever be made.
While this is certainly good news for many people, I find myself rather underwhelmed. Treasury has enormous power under existing laws to issue regulations exempting pretty much any class of persons it wants from pointless international paperwork that is otherwise demanded by law. Canada introduced its Registered Retirement Savings Plans in 1957. It only took fifty-six years for the IRS to ensure there are reasonable procedures for dealing with late filings on this one type of financial product. (Got RDSP or RESP problems? Too bad for you!) And that was in the best case scenario: a country right next door with English as one of its official languages, the most common type of account in that country, and over a million migrants going in either direction who were hit by the whole mess.
You do the math: 190-odd other countries & territories, each with their own unique kinds of purpose savings accounts, most speaking languages other than English, and fewer than a million affected filers in each to lobby for change. How long will it be before U.S. Persons finally have the freedom to move to any country on Earth without incurring unreasonable paperwork requirements, and the folks in the District of Columbia can start figuring out what to do with all those non-filers who moved to Mars in the intervening centuries?