— Marvin Van Horn (@FATCA_Fallout) June 1, 2012
As I watch this video, I am reminded of the horrible horrible IRS abuse of Americans abroad. Also reminds of Badger’s suggestion for Americans Abroad.
Really, they should all just “have a Geithner”.
Yes, time to enjoy yet again, the seemingly impossible task of getting knowledgeable yet ‘affordable’ US tax assistance from ‘abroad’ that falls somewhere between the likes of HR Block (not cheap either http://www.hrblock.ca/services/US_tax_pricing.asp ) and entering into an opaque and unlimited ‘terms of agreement’ – as even one local (and small) accounting firm insists on (while simultaneously refusing to provide even a gross estimate of the anticipated fee) – for preparing a mere puny 1040, reporting income barely large enough to meet the reporting threshold, plus the labyrinthine final forms for the pitiful registered Canadian “foreign trust” savings account closed in holy sacrifice – gone to pay professional fees to attain the practically impossible to achieve – but oh so blessed and esoteric state of US tax and reporting ‘compliance’ from ‘abroad’ and buy out involuntary servitude – and try to buy elusive peace of mind – with the usual zero US tax owed of course). As we know, we can’t afford to make even an inadvertent mistake no matter how small or non-existent the ‘US taxable’ income, or else it’s the US hangman and financial ruin for the likes of us living and working dual citizens outside the US.
Maybe I can get the name of IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman’s preparer – since he too finds US taxes too complex to do himself: http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/irs-commissioner-i-find-tax-code-complex-so-i-use-preparer . Or maybe the recent Treasury Secretary knows somebody good – since Geithner actually owed years and tens of thousands of US taxes and omitted taxable income on his returns, and made improper deductions for his child’s camp fees among other tax sins. His preparers must have been really good – since the IRS didn’t even assess any penalties despite the spate of repeated years of noncompliance and the size of the omissions of US taxable income and tax outstanding http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2009/01/obama-geithner.htmlhttp://www.forbes.com/sites/paulroderickgregory/2013/01/17/wall-street-bonus-lew-to-replace-tax-avoider-geithner-at-treasury/ .
Both parties found that Geithner’s tax noncompliance was entirely understandable, and the IRS, Treasury agreed, just as President Obama said; http://cnsnews.com/news/article/obama-calls-treasury-secretary-s-failure-pay-taxes-innocent-mistake
Like I said, maybe I can get the name of his tax advisors and get some of that ‘understanding’ too? Maybe I’ll just attach a note to my returns and say if there are any errors, “I’ll have a Geithner” please. Thank you in advance for your understanding.” Maybe that would help all the minnow and krill who were threatened by Geithner and Shulman into entering OVD – has anyone tried that yet? Funny that IRS Commissioner Shulman didn’t advise getting a personal pass from the President as a valid ‘last best chance’ option for the rest of us to ‘come into compliance’. It’s not listed on the IRS site as an option either.
Once again, facing the usual deal with IRS forms and instructions for those filing from ‘abroad’, that are even more incomprehensible than those that homelanders like recent IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman finds complex – but with results that spell disaster for a non-US family living ‘abroad’ if any even accidental error is made. Ex. Two or more forms for applying for a particular form’s extension – seemingly for the same purpose – but applicable to a whole list of other forms and purposes. Mailing to US addresses that are PO boxes – and not courier friendly, and paying extra just so that I can prove they’ve been successfully received by the gaping maw of the vast and all powerful slavering beast. Is it to be Utah or Texas or Pennsylvania? Is it to be Processing Center A or B or South or North? Which address and US postal code on which of several IRS webpages is correct when – inevitably – they conflict? Send copies to both or all just in case?
It may take my whole monthly income to pay for help with the basic return plus forms. Contrast that with the Canadian return – in which I got a refund – as a result of being currently barely taxable where I actually live and earn.
No price is of course too high to pay for US citizenship. You know, …. ask not what ‘your country’… but what you can do for ‘your’ country… blah blah blah”. Perhaps I should step up and volunteer to pay something towards the US debt since I don’t and haven’t owed any. I think there is that option somewhere? I might have to make up for the US tax and penalties that US homelanders like this and the previous Treasury Secretaries haven’t paid. Or for the US tax that the current Commerce Secretary Pritzker and her family have managed to work around; For example, see this interview; “……….President Obama had already attempted to nominate Penny Pritzker—he did nominate her in his first term, but she ultimately had to pull out. Can you talk about what the reasons were, and especially this issue of offshore accounts and the family’s infighting over the enormous wealth and dividing it up?
DAVID MOBERG: Well, basically, the nomination was withdrawn for fear of the bad publicity that might come out concerning all these different activities of the Pritzkers. The family itself, including Penny Pritzker, have long relied on a variety of schemes of avoiding paying taxes, which itself is hardly the kind of model that one would hope for from a commerce secretary. And much of that has been done through offshore accounts and shelters of money. A lot of accounts depict Penny Pritzker as if she were simply kind of an unwitting beneficiary of things done by other people or, in some cases, an unwitting victim of things done by other people, so that the offshore accounts are often described as having been set up before she reached adulthood. Well, she’s been an adult quite a long while, and there was no need for her to continue to shelter income in these tax havens overseas. So, I think that the administration was worried about how this would look. But increasingly, it doesn’t seem to care that much. And given the kind of kid gloves treatment from both most of the Republicans and Democrats on the committee, there seems to be good reason for them not to worry about any bad publicity this time around……..” See http://www.democracynow.org/2013/5/28/obama_taps_billionaire_fundraiser_penny_pritzker
Myself, I know that we have to step up and pay a second set of federal taxes – to the US government, even though we don’t live, work or earn there, and even if we don’t receive any benefit – because here’s the hard truth – we can’t all be Shulmans or Geithners, or Pritzkers – or even decent US taxpayers and people like Apple and General Electric http://www.ibtimes.com/ge-pfizer-microsoft-apple-other-major-us-corporations-are-parking-more-cash-abroad-avoid-paying;
Personally, I think we all deserve gold watches with the IRS seal – or maybe engraved wall plaques from Senators Schumer, Levin, et al., in recognition that in addition to being totally compliant taxpayers in Canada and other countries, we also get the chance to be totally compliant with the US as well – even though we were only born there, or had a US parent. We are blessed with the opportunity to spend our hard earned Canadian savings (already taxed once) on propping up the US from abroad – and paying incredible amounts to tax professionals to do so – proving yet again, in the sacred and holy annual ritual, that we owe the US nothing, and that we have been sanctified by passing through the purifying flame of IRS certified compliance – and are cleared of all presupposed criminal taint for yet another 365 days. Except for when we’re not sanctified, and they send us an erroneous 3520 penalty notices http://www.aicpa.org/press/pressreleases/2012/pages/erroneous-irs-letters-to-taxpayers-filing-foreign-trust-form-is-widespread-problem-aicpa-tells-irs.aspx .
Be that as it may:
Proudly I’ll wear my implanted IRS chip broadcasting an electronic message that attests to my state of bliss (if and when I can get an acknowledgement that I have achieved it):
“I paid a tax professional a thousand Canadian dollars to report ZERO US tax owing, for the pleasure of achieving IRS compliance from ‘abroad’; and I didn’t even get a lousy t-shirt”.
And since the assets in my joint ‘foreign’ bank account are all derived from Canadian sources – including the post-Canada Revenue taxed earnings of a Canadian-only spouse, I expect my non-US spouse to get something too – it’s only fair, since those assets are now transparent to the US government – privacy be damned – even though my spouse is not and has never been a ‘US taxable person’, and owes the US no information or anything else. Marriage vows to a US taxable person should read: “till death or US extraterritorial taxation and FBARs do us part”. Like the Valentine’s Day card you can download off the IRS site: “You know your non-US partner truly loves you when they agree to subject their personal and banking information to identity theft, the Homeland Security and Patriot Act, FATCA and the US Bank Secrecy laws in order to keep you from going to jail”. Now that’s what the US Treasury calls commitment – and what other countries call a human rights violation.
But I digress.
As I was writing this post the following comment was posted at the Isaac Brock Society:
I was a democrat and contributed to Democratic Party. But they abandoned me and treating me like a criminal for living in India, where I make very little and taxes are more than the USA. So I decided to write and join in Republican Party for encouraging RNC to be more understanding to dual citizens living in their other country of nationality.
If Republican Party keeps this promise, I will organize US citizens in my town to contribute and vote for Republican Party.
I strongly request more people from Isaac Brock society to contact RNC and to encourage RNC to save US citizens living abroad form persecution and violation of constitutional rights of US citizens living abroad.
The commenter is absolutely correct. The treatment of Americans Abroad comes SOLELY from the Obama administration. Although the administration is NOT responsible for ALL of the laws affecting Americans Abroad, they are SOLELY responsible for FATCA, criminalization of Americans Abroad and the FBAR Fundraiser. There should be no confusion here.
When Barack Obama was elected Americans Abroad did not get:
“Change we can believe in”.
What they got was betrayal, abuse and vilification which could be described as:
“Change they could never have believed possible”.
The sentiment was expressed in an earlier comment as follows:
You are correct that the current problems of US persons abroad are the result of the conduct of the Obama administration. Personally I would rather avoid the emotive adjectives. Let’s just stick with the facts which are:
The laws of FBAR and citizenship-based taxation have always been there, but it is his administration that:
– invented the OVDI programs
– started the FBAR Fundraiser
– began the FATCA attack
Congress may over the years spilled a lot of gasoline. But, it is the administration of Barack Obama, that with full awareness, and knowledge of the consequences, lit the match, threw the match on the gasoline, and watched in delight as US persons abroad burned!