With all the focus on American emigrants’ issues here at the Isaac Brock Society, it’s worth remembering that Doug Shulman’ whale-hunting efforts are also ruining the lives of immigrant minnows who keep some assets in their home countries. A major South Korean business newspaper reported earlier this month that some Korean Americans with accounts at South Korean banks are closing those accounts for fear of ridiculous IRS fines. I’ve been busy so I’m just getting around to translating this now.
By popular request, I am making a separate post on the second of a two part effort by Stephen Mopsick to focus attention on tax justice for U.S. Persons. His first related to American Citizens abroad, and was a posted here.
On his blog, which he just posted yesterday, is his call for tax justice for immigrants as related to FBAR penalties. I know that there are many immigrant who read here but do not comment, and would be interested in seeing this commentary. They might not have been following the references to this post in other threads, so pulling it out for attention. In it he writes:
The Plight of Recent Immigrants to the US: On top of all this, we are seeing an increasingly large number of a new class of people who are wondering how to be compliant with their taxes: recent immigrants to the United States who are otherwise squeaky clean tax compliant citizens who are only now learning that that bank account back home on which they have signing authority, may now be putting them at risk for confiscatory FBAR penalties.
Note: I have not received Steven’s permission to post his commentary in its entirety, so will just provide the link here. I highly recommend it contents for your attention.
A recent article in a Korean American newspaper, referring to newly-published statistics from South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, has revealed that the number of Koreans cutting off their ties with the U.S. reached an 11-year high last year: 2,158 Koreans gave up U.S. green cards or citizenship in 2011. Very clearly, this is larger than the Federal Register number for the same year — and of course, the Federal Register includes people of all nationalities, not just Koreans.
Keep in mind that the Federal Register is only supposed to cover citizens and “long term residents”, those who have had their green cards for more than eight out of the past fifteen years, so some of those 2,158 were not supposed to show up in the “name-and-shame list” anyway. That said, this article is another piece of evidence to add to the ones we already have that the Federal Register grossly understates the number of people ceasing to be U.S. Persons. I’ve translated the article and various background materials below.
Thanks to Congress and the IRS, ordinary taxpayers who migrate from one country to another face incomprehensible tax reporting and payment obligations, involving a burden of time and accountants’ fees all out of proportion to the actual monetary amounts involved. Immigrant and emigrant taxpayers who have failed to comply with these requirements despite their best efforts face huge fines. In response, voluntary groups are picking up the slack and holding seminars at their own expense to warn immigrant taxpayers about the burdens they face. The World Journal, a Chinese-language newspaper based in New York, reports on one such seminar held in Florida this past week. I’ve translated their article below.