This post is from the RenouceUScitizenship blog.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
If you haven’t been keeping up with the travails of IJ, on Jack Townsend’s blog, you have missed a remarkable story.
IJ is a Chinese immigrant to America who came to our shores via Canada. He got caught up in the OVDI, and after a long struggle decided to “Opt Out”. He was prepared to fight in the Court of Appeals, if necessary! But, thankfully, reason at the IRS’s Opt Out management review committee did prevail, and he was finally released from this lengthy OVDI torture with just a FBAR warning letter. Frankly, that was all that was ever necessary to obtain a compliance objective. It was the correct decision. You can read more of IJ’s story, at this post.
Not quite sure of the accuracy of this report, since it comes second-hand in what appears to be a letter to the editor, but this woman seems to be saying that a Swiss man she knows — an “accidental American” — went into the OVDI and then had his U.S. passport confiscated for some reason. From The Record–Searchlight of Redding, California:
We have Swiss friends, a couple, who lived in the United States in 1966 and 1967. He was a young engineer working here to get some experience in his field. While here, they had a baby boy who then of course was a U.S. citizen … He was recently informed that he now must start paying taxes and filing tax returns to the United States. Not knowing the U.S. tax code, he asked for help from the U.S. Embassy and was told that he needs to hire a lawyer for help. I imagine it has to be an American lawyer or one who understands the tax laws here. There will be cost to this service he has to pay. I assume the Internal Revenue Service wants to know about his “secret Swiss bank accounts”? Also, he has to produce bank information for the last six years. His U.S. passport was taken away.
I am thinking that people should be weary of “dropping babies on the U.S. soil” if they do not plan on staying here permanently.
Not sure what this means — perhaps he renounced, or perhaps someone in the bureaucracy nabbed his passport ultra vires. But whether or not she’s got some of the details about her friend’s son’s story muddled, her closing warning is a sound one. Good to see that at least one Homelander gets it. Sadly, many people in the comments section clearly don’t want to listen.
Jack Townsend is well known as a measured, serious, non hyperbolic Law Professor who has an excellant blog called Federal Tax Crimes. His analysis of court cases and his tireless fielding of questions, have helped me (and many other minnows) know more about tax law and the OVDP / OVDI processes then I have ever imagined possible. He discourages polemics, but has provided outlets for Open Forum recommendations to the IRS.
So, when you see a heading of a blog post like this one above, and he starts out like this:
“I write to rant about a practice inside the OVDI/OVDP civil penalty structure.”
and goes on to say,
My argument to that is the same as Vinny’s responsive argument in My Cousin Vinny, here, paraphrased, “That’s bullshit.”
You SHOULD pay attention, and frankly so should the IRS. :) I encourage you to go read this post for yourselves.
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.
Moby was the first publicly reported Opt Out of the 2009 OVDP. He has been very generous in sharing his experience, and has been an inspiration to others who have had to battle the fear of what draconian penalties the IRS ‘might’ apply outside of the OVDP. We all believe the IRS FAQ examples are hyperbolic maximums by intention to strike fear into non complying hearts, but until tested, you really don’t know. Moby basically turned down the “in lieu of” OVDP penalty, called their bluff, and won! If you are not familiar with his story, I would strongly encourage you to read it as originally reported on January 25th here and updated on March 10th here . Since the last post, he has been at work on a FOIA request related to IRS FBAR compliance improvement efforts, and asked me to share his findings. What follows is his report. Continue reading →
Here it is. Was this what you were waiting for?
IR-2012-65, June 26, 2012
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today announced a plan to help U.S. citizens residing overseas, including dual citizens, catch up with tax filing obligations and provide assistance for people with foreign retirement plan issues. Continue reading →
One of my favorite news discussion forums, is a PRI program out of KCRW in California. It is a one hour discussion run by moderator Warren Olney, who in my opinion, is arguable one of the best moderators on the radio today. If you like measured, non hyperbolic, low volume discussions from multiple partisan/non partisan perspectives on issues important to America, this is a good candidate for you. To the Point. Continue reading →
Cross posted from RenounceUScitizenship.
Having a license to practise law (bar admission) does not a lawyer make.
Admission to the Bar, gives an individual the legal right to conduct oneself as a lawyer. A lawyer operates within a specific construct of ethics and morality. The American Bar Association Model Rules of Professional Conduct make it clear that
A lawyer has an obligation to the client that is more important than loyalty to any other person or entity. This principle is made clear in Rule 1.7 of The American Bar Association Model Rules of Professional Conduct. Rule 1.7 clarifies that a lawyer should not act for a client if there exists any conflict of interest. It reads as follows: Continue reading →
Cross posted from RenounceUScitizenship.
The Isaac Brock Society is becoming a interest place to “hang out”. At least this is true for many U.S. citizens living abroad who are desperately attempting to ensure that they are in U.S. tax compliance Many people are grappling with how to be compliant on a “going forward” basis. Others are trying to figure out to deal with “past compliance issues”. There are of course a number of ways to come into compliance. What all these people have in common is a desire to be U.S. tax compliant. Yet, the IRS seems hell bent on continuing on treating U.S. citizens living abroad as though they are tax cheats. For many U.S. citizens living abroad the emotional strain is such that they are driven to renounce U.S. citizenship. This is the price of a good nights sleep.
So, what’s a poor U.S. citizen living abroad to do? Well, they consult a “cross border professional” where they get advice that comes in all shapes, sizes and perspectives. The advice is so varied that it reminds me of the line in Forrest Gump:
“Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”
When it comes to “compliance counseling” – You never know what you’re gonna get.” Continue reading →