Following a suggestion made by Bubblebustin at the Media and Blog Articles thread today, here are some links to an excellent series of personal blog posts by a 23 year old woman who calls herself The Dualist:
FINDING OUT I WAS A 23 YEAR-OLD US TAX “DELINQUENT”
ASSESSING MY OPTIONS FOR ADDRESSING MY NEWLY-DISCOVERED ‘DELINQUENT’ US TAX SITUATION
As Bubblebustin describes, “A young woman discovers her US tax and filing obligations and realizes she’s damned no matter what she does. She speaks for many of us when describing her OMG moment to the current struggle whether to renounce a citizenship she still identifies with.”
The Dualist was born in the UK, moved to the US as a toddler and lived there until the age of thirteen, then moved back to the UK. Here are some excerpts from her vividly-told story:
I have introduced myself to people as half-English and half-American ever since I was old enough to respond to the question, “where are you from?”. It is almost always the first thing I say when asked to tell somebody about myself. I never reflected too deeply on what being half-English and half-American actually meant. It has just been the simplest, shortest way of alluding to certain personal circumstances, like having an American father and an English mother; as well as experiences, like moving between England and the States growing up, that have contributed to who I am.
It all began during a client dinner in the City in London one evening. I was sitting at a large table with around a dozen people. Half of them were our firms’ clients, and the other half were my colleagues. The most senior employee of the client firm present, an American, noticed my accent and asked me where I was from. I explained that I was a dual citizen, and that I had grown up in the US. After a few polite questions about where I had grown up, and when I had left the country, he abruptly asked:
“So, do you file your US taxes?”
In the period after the initial “oh my god” moment I felt seriously paranoid, scared and confused about what I should do. The whole concept of citizenship-based taxation was so bizarre to me, and its enforcement rules so disproportionate, that trying to come to terms with it all could be best described as disorienting. ‘Surely this is all just a big misunderstanding,’ I often thought, ‘or a bad dream!’
Why does the US government want to make our lives so difficult when we have done nothing wrong? Why are they burdening us to continually prove that we are innocent, and invading our privacy using third parties and foreign governments to make sure that we’re telling the IRS the truth? Why are they terrorizing us with threats of bankrupting penalties, incarceration and (very recently) passport revocation? What exactly are they hoping to achieve, when the vast majority of us do not even make enough money to owe taxes to the US?
Can they talk about the ‘land of the free’, or being ‘leaders of the free world’ with a straight face anymore?
I would agree that instilling fear in people is in fact harm in itself. Also, when people are afraid they may not always make good decisions and react in their own best interest, often worsening the situation.
There’s been a lot of wilfull ignorance and downright negligence on the part of the US government when it comes to administering its tax system abroad, and it’s getting progressively worse especially when it comes to providing the support non-residents need. It’s all stick no carrot, and stems from the assumption that everything “offshore” is bad. As far as submitting tax information from our resident countries goes, that won’t work – for the simple reason that out resident countries don’t always require the reporting of certain incomes that are taxable by the US. Capital gains on the sale of a principal residence in some countries comes to mind.
Thank you “Dualist” for sharing your story and to Deckard for posting it here. I am providing a link to it in a “Support Document” I am compiling for the purpose of sending to the United Nations on the Second Anniversary of the filing of our Human Rights Complaint (August 7). We’ve heard it can take up to three years for these complaints to be heard, hence these advance plans.
Every OMG story as well as compliance cost stories is testimony to the harms caused. Thanks MuzzledNoMore for compiling them for our Human Rights Complaint.
All we need are witnesses who are able to demonstrate such harm.
@Dualist I second the idea that you take in John Richardson’s seminar if possible or if you cannot perhaps you have a friend who could who’d take notes for you?
There aren’t enough invisibilities cloaks to go around. And John’s seminar is invaluable.
By the way everyone, John Richardson will be having a seminar in London on February 29:
WHEN: Monday, February 29, 2016 18:30 – 20:30 pm
WHERE: University of London International Hall Meeting Room, Landsdowne Terrace, London WC1N 1AS UK – 150m walk from Russell Square Tube Station MAP
PROGRAM DETAILS: TBA
Welcome @Joe, and @Alarmed Gringa.
I relate to all your comments, as can many others here. We have all had our OMG moments – sharing many of the same core features, and with the same questions of how the USG could abidicate their responsibilities so egregiously, yet be so set on tracking and tormenting those living entirely outside of the US, costing the US nothing, and receiving no benefit from a status most did not choose, may not even avail themselves of, or know about.
It is a bit overwhelming, but there are lots of resources and support here to help you cope, and hopefully lessen the pain.
You are definitely not alone.
Would all those reading this and relating to it please consider helping us to fund our legal challenge to the FATCA IGA as applied and enacted in Canada – a key domino in the effort to topple FATCA/FBAR and US extraterritorial CBT as applied to the globe.
If our government is shown to have acted illegally by enacting and enforcing the FATCA IGA, it weakens the positions of other nations with the same Model IGA and similar legal systems.
Please please donate NOW!
I have a passport that is up for renewal in a year and there is nothing about taxes in it. Does anyone know what year they started including it? Did they start doing this before FATCA even? What gets me is that people are all learning about this in such haphazard ways.
Wow, you were really put on the spot. How dreadful. I take it he wasn’t IRS (because they never admit that U.S. persons abroad generally don’t know about citizenship based taxation). Maybe it was the client’s backhanded way of giving you a tip off. I am always trying to think of ways to inform as many people about CBT as possible, but it does have to be done carefully.
I don’t have the links to Forbes, but here you go.
I believe it came into effect January 1st, 2016