In January the Isaac Brock Society commented on the question: Has your life been stolen from you by the IRS? That post generated a lot of comments. We are now one year into the IRS attack on U.S. citizens abroad.
In my post, directed to Joe Green, I commented that:
I venture to say that many U.S. citizens abroad are not even the same people they were a year ago.
Marketpinetree left the following comment:
*This applies to me: ” I venture to say that many U.S. citizens abroad are not even the same people they were a year ago.” My life is now a nightmare and I still don´t know what I can/should do to regain some peace and a full night´s sleep. It started in 2009 when, by chance I learned abour FBARs and from that time on it has become more and more disturbed affecting me, my family and my work.
In what way(s) has your experience with the IRS changed the kind of person you are? Do your friends recognize you?
I have always been suspicious of the US. I think living overseas does that, or at least it did it to me. When I went back to the US, I couldn’t stand it and I just wanted to leave.
Now seeing the likes of Senator Schuman say that he despises people who give up citizenship, the more I want to do it. We wouldn’t have to do it if they didn’t create these extra-terratorial laws and instead, use the same rules that [almost] every other country uses. With more of these “fences” they erect to keep
the slavesUS Citizens there, the more people will want to leave. Personally, I feel great knowing that I came to a place with nothing, and now I’m happy and doing just fine. We just bought a house, so the chances of me ever returning to the US just dropped even more.
It was jinteresting to read some of the comments about the most recent expatriation in the National Review. It seems like some Americans actually DO realise that the only people wanting to move to the USA have nothing, and that the US is really NOT the Land of Opportunity anymore. Singapore, Austria, and most other countries are better nowadays. Talk about a backstep!
Am I the same person I was a year ago? Up until now, I have always been an obeyer of the ‘letter of the law’, a person who keeps her head down, someone who hides in the middle of the pack. Previously, the United States meant nothing to me, other than a place to go on vacation once a decade or so. I barely paid attention to who was president, and certainly paid no attention to their politics and lawmaking.
Because I was a minor when I became Canadian in the 70’s, it’s my new, and dismaying, understanding that I actually did not relinquish my US citizenship as I have thought for the last 36 years. I now have a ball of worry that permanently resides behind my breastbone that increases or decreases in size in proportion to bad news/good news that I read about all of this.
Since I learned about this in February, many things have changed for me.
I have refused to comply with a law, because I see the US as a foreign country, and the law as therefore not applicable to me. I refuse to believe that a foreign country has any right to my personal or financial information, much less the money I’ve earned and saved.
I’ve spoken out in protest, allowing my real name to be used, on the radio.
I’ve written my first letters to my government – I’ve written the Prime Minister, the Minister of Finance (twice), Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, my old MLA, my new MLA, my MP, asking for help from all of them.
I cold-emailed the University of Edmonton constitutional studies department, and the equivalent at the University of Toronto, asking for help.
I’ve read and commented on articles and blogs in financial and accounting publications that I’d never even heard of prior to this.
I’ve ranted and raved to not just friends, but acquaintances, to the point I’ve had to learn to just keep my mouth shut so that I don’t bore people to death.
I started my first ever blog as an outlet for my outrage.
I have determined that I will never enter the US again.
I moved my investments and I will never again invest in US companies.
I not only know who is the US president, but to my misfortune, I know more about US politics, US laws and US taxes than I could ever have believed possible prior to all of this.
I do my best to not purchase US products (although that’s not always an option where I live).
Have I changed? Yes, indeed. Although I live with the aforementioned ball of anxiety, I have discovered a reservoir of determination that I didn’t know I possessed. I will continue to fight the US about this with all that I have. And, I count myself lucky that I have allies – the Isaac Brock Society was the first blog I ever commented on or contributed to and I will always remain grateful for its existence, and the support and wise words of so many of its members.
*Oops, sorry, I wrote the Finance minister twice, not Justice..
*Outraged, I admire your strength and determination.
@saddened, thanks, I appreciate it, but I think your path is the more difficult one!
*I came to Canada in the 1960s when I was in my 20s and have spent my entire adult life and my entire working career since then in Canada. I haven’t considered myself a US citizen since I became a Canadian in the 1970s. Now I’m retired.
I was astounded when press reports last year indicated that the Internal Revenue Service (“Internal” to what??) might still expect reporting from me. Between the time I moved to Canada and the time I became a citizen here I had filed over 10 years of US tax returns, year by year, just to establish that I didn’t owe them anything because I had paid as much or more tax in Canada. Now it seemed that they might want me to do more pointless paperwork for them again! I have recently gone through the process of applying for a CLN to document my relinquishment of US citizenship, and that was time-consuming enough. (Just to be clear: I haven’t applied for the CLN to avoid taxation; I am not rich enough to owe the IRS anything. I simply won’t accept any claims from them to report to them.) Apparently I will need the CLN if I want to visit the US on my Canadian passport.
It has been a year of uncertainty, annoyance, and concern for my native-born Canadian wife and me because of what the IRS might demand or what penalties they might claim on me if we went to the US. We have avoided travel to the US entirely. It would be nice to be able to visit relatives again and some friends there, but until the CLN arrives and until it’s clear that the IRS will no longer claim jurisdiction over me, we won’t be going. If we can never go again, then so be it. We can spend our tourist money elsewhere.
We have a number of friends and acquaintances here who are in similar circumstances and who are only beginning their journeys of extrication. People in the US have very little idea of what a negative impact this is having on the former reputation of the US for freedom and fairness. We tell as many people as we can about our experience, to emphasize the negative impact.
The whole thing has made me very sad about the decline of the US and its unwarranted self-absorption and arrogance, exemplified by the belief of many there that no one with US citizenship would choose to give it up and live anywhere else. We Canadians have a very good country and life — at least as good as theirs, if not better. And (it should go without saying) so do people in many other countries of the world.
One year ago I had just completed filing my last 1040, FBAR’s and the entire mess. When saw my brothers in the summer of 2011 I was crowing about my last US taxes ever. This last spring of 2012 when I saw my brothers out of pity I had to zip it. Now that FATCAT, Obamacare costs, the end of the Bush tax cuts, the avalanche of other new taxes, and a leftwing fed populist anti-wealth feeding frenzy are all gaining momentum I don’t have the heart to brag or say “I told you so”.
I’m inspired to write this by recent comments on
but I think this a more appropriate thread for me to post these thoughts. The impact on me this past year has been much less than the ordeals that JustMe and some others have endured, but stressful and time-consuming anyway.
I haven’t considered myself a US citizen since I became a Canadian in the 1970s, but my wife and I used to travel to the US a couple of times a year to visit family and friends, and as tourists. When we found out about all this mess about citizenship and tax-reporting uncertainties, we suspended travel to the US
Now, having finally received my CLN, we had been considering resuming visits and even had a trip planned for this summer. But the whole experience this past year of having to apply for the CLN, plus continuing uncertainty over the IRS position regarding old-time relinquishers, along with other factors, have really soured me on travel to the US. (Other factors include the gun-toting mentality there and the unpleasantness of airport security.) For me, the stress factors have to be weighed against the enjoyment factors.
So, despite invitations from Canadian snowbird friends in Florida and Arizona and US friends in California to visit them, we have decided to plan trips here in Canada instead.
I’m sure other US expats have similar feelings, but I doubt US policy makers are much aware of this negative impact, on their economy and loss of good-will, of their policies. I used to feel some residual fondness for the US even though I was no longer a citizen, but now that’s gone.
I continue to hold a fondness for the U.S. itself though have grown far more wary of It’s governsent. I have grown increasingly cynical about all the tax compliance industry too. True, my accountant has probably saved me from life-altering penalties but still at huge cost. I’ve concluded that if I keep my U.S. citizenship that I will be forced to rely on an accountant and certified financial planner. But will continue to be ambivalent because I realise that they are collectively lobbying for the status quo so we’re forced to rely on their expertise. Not convinced they’re really on our side.
Even if I renounce, which am going to try to do ASAP, I will never be fully who I was before; the financial hit has meant I will have to rule out an early retirement; I no longer necessarily see America as the good guy; plus, I will have had to give up my birthright to be able to lead a normal life in my adopted country. Does leave a sour taste.
I refuse all invitations to talk in the States — never went there for any other reason — and fly my brother and wife up here to visit.
@Joe, I suspect you’d still be OK to visit the states if you wanted to. Been twice since making my disclosure and had no problems whatsoever, even when the IRS were still chasing me for an almost $5000 tax bill last year.