Shadow Raider (and others like NotThatTara, badger, bubblebustin, Em, NotThatLisa) have referenced the US National Taxpayer Advocate Report to Congress, so here is my slow uptake to posting for IBS. IRSCompliant has posted at Maple Sandbox: Maple Sandbox re US Taxpayer Advocate Report to US Congress — with reference to NDP Murray Rankin Letter to Finance Minister James Flaherty
From Shadow Raider:
National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson released her 2013 Report to Congress yesterday. As always, she included sections on international taxpayers and OVDP, and this time also one on FATCA.
As a bonus, Schubert posted there re US Chamber of Commerce, January 9, 2014: The Next Obamacare? FATCA Roll Out Flounders: US Chamber of Commerce Joins TAS in Dumping on FATCA
I quote from Schubert:
Unless our Finance Minister has taken leave of his senses, which I think extremely unlikely, I no longer think we’ll see a Canada-US IGA any time soon, if ever. With heavy-hitters like these in the US saying “wait a minute, what the hell are you doing and why?” why should Canada or any other country leap into an IGA with the US to sign onto something that seems to look like might actually get derailed or gutted PDQ.
Remember that previous US ambassador to Canada who, back in the Fall of 2011, advised everyone to “sit tight?” That’s starting to look like supremely good advice for many so-called US persons, especially “accidental” (I prefer “inadvertent” or “unwilling”) so-called Americans living in Canada (the parallels to Ted Cruz aka “border babies”). Let’s just wait and see how this train wreck is going to unfold now.
If I were one of that handful of countries that leapt into bed with the IRS via an IGA, or an FFI that has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on compliance mechanisms, I think I’d start to feel a bit foolish (and very hard-done-by) right about now. And if I were a compliance maven with visions of fat fees from terrified offshore alleged Americans dancing in his/her head, I think I’d see those visions turning to mush.
We don’t want to count our chickens before they’re hatched, but maybe it’s time to take a deep breath, ignore the Chicken Littles in the compliance industry, “sit tight” and watch with fascination what seems more and more like a FATCA train wreck.
Nice news for a wintery Friday, anyway. Happy New Year, everyone.
May it be a happier New Year as we see more awareness of the disaster that FATCA will be, combined with US citizenship-based taxation. Let’s hope for change of the false equation being used to apprehend real tax evaders on the backs of all those who will be collateral damage, ruining so many non-aware families and individuals, leeching money from other sovereign country economies and not at all conducive to paying down US debt or enhancing how the US is seen by the rest of the world.
@Shunrata, part of me would regret it but a larger part of me will just feel relief to have all this finally behind me. Plus, even had I been offered my citizenship back, I doubt if I would take it (in spite of what I’ve said in the past) because I feel very embittered. And on a practical side, I wouldn’t be able to build up enough years of stamps to qualify for Medicare in old age. It’s a no-brainer that I will be spending the remainder of my life here in Britain.
However, I would discourage other young Americans from trying to move permanently abroad because the potential complications just aren’t worth it. Though I have no regrets about marrying my British spouse, I doubt with hindsight that I would have married him and settled abroad if I’d had my life to live over again. That’s very depressing and sad but it is what it is!
Thank you for sharing. At this point I’m feeling the same way.
I grew up with JFK and his myth, idealism, the Pledge of Allegiance, the pride of living in “the best and freest country in the world.” When I left I was still a teenager, and over the years didn’t follow things in the US too closely. Even when I was told in 2000 that I needed to file US taxes I just said “Oh” and no one mentioned that this was in any way unusual.
There were things that concerned me about the US, but I never really connected them or, I’ll admit, thought about them much. If it weren’t for FATCA/FBAR I would probably still be in my unaware little bubble.
This whole mess got me to actually step back and take a look at my first and former country, and I was appalled. I actually started reading about what’s going on there today, and even though I was a fairly unaware teenager when I left, it’s obvious the deterioration has been severe.
I’ve gone from an uninvolved but genial goodwill ambassador to someone who has to be careful not to rant too much lest my friends think I’ve gone off the deep end.
That would be funny if it weren’t so sad.
@Shunrata, the US strikes me as both a conformist and money-obsessed culture. It thus follows that there can often be a contempt towards the less ‘successful’ and, thus, better treatment towards the wealthy rather than compassion towards the weak.
If bb’s comment above has a source and link, this must be very worthy of a post and highlighting:
For those who think they got “screwed over” under OVDP and OVDi, you can apply for the great screw over restitution program:
“If I qualify for the Streamlined Procedures, but I previously participated in one of the offshore voluntary disclosure programs and entered into a closing agreement, can I now have my case reconsidered under the Streamlined Procedures?
Taxpayers who participated in one of the offshore voluntary disclosure programs whose cases have been resolved and closed with a Form 906 closing agreement and who believe the facts of their case qualify them for the Streamlined Procedures should provide a statement to this effect, including all pertinent contact information (name, address, SSN, home/cell phone numbers), the name of the Revenue Agent assigned to their case, and a copy of their closing agreement. This information should be sent to:
Internal Revenue Service
3651 S. I H 35 Stop 4301 AUSC
Austin, TX 78741
Attn: Streamlined Redetermination
Upon receipt of this information, the case will be assigned to an examiner to review and make a determination whether the case should be reconsidered, based on all the facts and circumstances.”
One step from the jungle to the zoo
The miracle of the Internet…voilà:
@BrowserBlackbelt, Mark Twain
Thank you. Streamlined FAQ’s.
Some experts in the field have been giving a similar analysis of the OVDP & OVDI programs for years:
For those with access to Tax Notes Today (via Lexis Nexis database) or a subscription, see:
Jack Townsend http://federaltaxcrimes.blogspot.ca/2014/01/new-taxpayer-advocate-report-to.html recommends also : “..Those having access to TNT [Tax Notes Today] should look at the following article: Andrew Velarde, Unfairness Plagues Accuracy-Related Penalties and OVDP, Report Finds, 2014 TNT [Tax Notes Today, (via Lexis Nexis database?)] 7-1 (1/10/14) “
I’d hate to be an elderly or low income or person with low literacy and numeracy skills trying to satisfy the IRS machine – even inside or (much less outside) the US:
…”…Poorly trained IRS workers may also provide more wrong answers about the tax law to citizens, although that’s admittedly a shrinking danger since the IRS is sharply curbing such answers, right or wrong. In December the IRS issued a notice to tax pros that in 2014 its phone representatives and the employees at hundreds of walk-in Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs) will no longer answer “complex” tax law questions, only “basic” ones, and that the TACs will provide no tax advice at all after April 15th. “It is a sad state of affairs when the government writes tax laws as complex as ours and then is unable to answer any questions beyond ‘basic’ ones from baffled citizens who are doing their best to comply,’’ Olson said in a statement.
The IRS has also decided that TAC workers will no longer prepare tax returns, a service it had offered to low-income, elderly and disabled taxpayers. Instead, it will send everyone to volunteer tax preparers. Last year, TAC workers completed returns for 125,000 taxpayers during filing season, down from 223,000 in 2010.”………..
.”don’t bother stopping by: while the IRS answered some 795,000 tax law questions a decade ago at its walk-in sites during the filing season, last year, it handled just 110,000 tax law questions. This year, they’ve announced they’ll only answer “basic” questions during the tax year and none at all after that. Olson wrote that “it is a sad state of affairs when the government writes tax laws as complex as ours – and then is unable to answer any questions beyond ‘basic’ ones from baffled citizens who are doing their best to comply.”
You can completely forget personal assistance. The IRS recently announced it won’t prepare returns at all, citing a decline in resources. It was one of a number of cutbacks at the agency.”………..
“When Congress threatened “right-sized” budget cuts for the Internal Revenue Service last July, it was a clear swipe at the agency which had been under fire following a number of scandals. House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) announced that the cuts would be in place at IRS “until there are clear signs that they have fixed their broken bureaucracies, curtailed lavish spending on employee conferences and awards, and returned to abiding by the will of Congress.”
It was meant to punish IRS. What it did was punish taxpayers.”
Here is appropriate reporting on the TAS report…. Via Twitter..
Check out the #IRS’s stunning admission of its own #mafia tactics http://www.sovereignman.com/tax/check-out-the-irss-stunning-admission-of-its-own-mafia-tactics-13381/ via @thesovereignman #FATCA
From Zerohedge.com: The IRS Stunningly Admits Its Own Mafia Tactics
“They disregard the law and the advice of their own counsel. They disproportionately burden honest individuals. They flout due process. And they push people to abandon their citizenship.
These are mafia tactics, plain and simple. And like the Romans, Ottoman Empire, and French monarchy before, the tax system in the Land of the Free has become a desperate farce marked by fear and intimidation.”
This is one of history’s obvious marks of a nation that has reached its terminal decline. We cannot seriously expect this time to be any different.”
Jack Townsend is reporting on it.
Funny… over the years, I’ve been finding Jack to be less and less compassionate with the issue.
He seemed to have changed his mind slightly over the years, regarding how ‘well designed’ the program is.
Note the (Relatively) edited in the title of his blog post and his comments at the bottom.
Disappointing… Thanks, Just Me for commenting on it.
IRS Taxpayer Advocate criticism of FATCA – some excerpts highlighted.
No details if you don’t have a subscription to LexisNexis, but an intriguing morsel. What ‘modifications’ is Michael Danilack, deputy commissioner (international), IRS Large Business and International Division referring to? In the same breath as mentioning the Taxpayer Advocate?
‘IRS Considering Modifications to OVDP’ by TaxAnalysts
“The IRS is reexamining its offshore voluntary disclosure program (OVDP) and considering making modifications to it, according to Michael Danilack, deputy commissioner (international), IRS Large Business and International Division.”
Danilack, who spoke January 30 at the Pacific Rim Tax Institute conference in Palo Alto, Calif., noted that National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson was critical of some elements of the OVDP in her recent annual report. In her report, Olson criticized how the IRS has implemented the OVDP regarding foreign bank account report information returns and said the disproportionate penalties for small accounts versus large accounts mark the program as unfair…………”
Someone actually paying the NTA’s recommendations some heed? I’m actually surprised she hasn’t resigned in disgust!
Nah, he’s just talking about moving a few of the deck chairs around!
@maz57, just interesting that he even mentioned the Taxpayer Advocate at all.
@bubblebustin, hope Nina Olson stays in there as long as possible. She’s got a hell of a job, and its not getting any easier. Without her reports we’d have no official acknowledgement at all, just the rare behind the scenes types of informal observations made by those who feel they can make them (ex. Willard Yates in the interviews by Virginia La Torre Jeker https://taxconnections.com/taxblog/tag/willard-yates/ ).
And Willard Yates is a co-author of this important submission to the Senate Finance Committee: Today’s “Must Read and Use Accordingly”: US Senate Finance Committee Submission by John Richardson*, Willard Yates**, Stephen Kish***
US Senate Finance Committee Submission–Richardson, Yates and Kish
Thank you for ACA’s advisory panel list, but I don’t see Yates’s name on it.
@IBS administrators, further to bubblebustin’s correction above, can you scratch this part of my comment February 4, 2014 at 9:03 am ; ” I note that Yates is now part of the ACA advisory panel http://americansabroad.org/about/tax-advisory-panel/ ).” http://isaacbrocksociety.ca/2014/01/10/us-recognition-of-fatca-problems-nina-olson-us-irs-taxpayer-advocate-as-well-as-the-us-chamber-of-commerce/comment-page-2/#comment-1067428
I’m not sure why I wrote that?
Thanks for catching that @bubblebustin.
I see that John Richardson is on the panel, perhaps that is what I meant to note. As calgary411 notes, he and W.Yates – with S. Kish wrote the Today’s “Must Read and Use Accordingly”: US Senate Finance Committee Submission by John Richardson*, Willard Yates**, Stephen Kish***
Yates has also had a couple of interviews with Virginia La Torre Jeker, who’s also on the panel. It gets blurry after awhile 🙂
I tend to remember people only by whether they’re in the friend or enemy camp.
Thanks bubblebustin, I try to be accurate, but blew it this time.
Phewww, I was beginning to think you were perfect, Badger.