Posted on November 15, 2012 by Northern Shrike Posted in Issues regarding US persons abroad 21 Comments Twenty ways the IRS can locate US expatriates, some of them no doubt new to you! http://www.international-adviser.com/news/tax—regulation/twenty-ways-the-irs-will-find-your-yankee-clients Share this:TwitterFacebookEmailLike this:Like Loading...
Great find Northern Shrike,
A must-checklist for full ostriches.
I particularly like this one:
17.) from data stolen from banks and financial institutions and acquired by governments (as has happened a couple of times in recent years in Europe);
Have you ever thought that people write this stuff because they’re PARANOID and maybe a little guilty? Think about it, there are millions of tax cheats in the US and they can’t get them. Then how in the world are they going to prosecute someone who is legally living in another country, declaring their earnings and paying taxes in the other country? They may not like it that the “slave” is paying to a different country, but there’s not a whole lot they can do about it. Sorry if I sound cranky; I discovered more bills to pay today, and money is tight because I’m not one of those jet-setting expats living an “adventure”. If you want adventure, go into the Navy.
Some years back in the US, I saw a loan application for a student living in the US with a US Citizen father (Anglo-sounding name), living in Hong Kong. I remember the father made pretty good money and used his US tax return as proof of income. His US tax liability was somewhat low, around $1,000. But with this, he was approved for the loan. Point to the story: if someone is going to keep US ties, it’s probably a good idea just to file the returns.
At least one item in this article is utter rubbish, namely point number three, showing up at a US airport (or pre-clearance at a Canadian airport) with a foreign passport showing a US birthplace. My wife and I have both been doing this for years. We both have Canadian passports that show US birthplaces. We always use those passports when entering the US by air. Neither of us has a US passport. I’ve never had one, she hasn’t since she became a Canadian. I’ve had a CLN since 1976; she’s only had hers this year. I haven’t even been carrying mine until the past year (I forgot I had it until the FATCA stuff hit the internet in 2011).
I’ve been flying into the US since 1978. Not sure about my wife (we got together some years after that). But since we’ve been together, we’ve both flown in together and shown our passports, for years. Also at ground crossings by car The fact that we show a Canadian passport with a US birthplace has never been mentioned to us by a US border guard, not even once. I did in fact file US tax returns before I became a Canadian citizen and was resident in Canada, but I stopped filing once I became a Canadian and thereby lost my USC. IRS has never contacted me, ever, since I stopped filing. (If they did, my response would be an upraised middle finger. I don’t have any US income, investments, or assets and haven’t since 1969. I haven’t been a US citizen since 1975. They have no legal claims on me.) Nor my wife.
And no this isn’t carelessness by the border people. The last several times we’ve flown in, and sporadically in previous years, our passports have been scanned into a computer, and we’ve had US entry visa stamps initialled on the visa pages of our Canadian passports. No grilling, no secondary questioning, no arguments, not even a frown from the border guard.
This is just more scare tactics to stampede some more minnows into the arms of “international tax advisers.” At least that part is.
Maybe the day will come when the US starts to enforce the “requirement” to enter or leave the US only on a US passport, if they think (incorrectly in my case and my wife’s case) your US birthplace means you’re USC. But it hasn’t happened yet. I have a friend (and know second-hand of several more people) who has in fact been “cautioned” about the Cdn passport with US birthplace, has politely nodded and gone through, never did anything, still crosses, and no further consequences. I started a thread over on the Maple Sandbox site to monitor border-crossing experiences, in case things change, but so far they haven’t. And if it ever does, my wife’s decision and mine will be very simple. We will stop crossing the US border, ever again, and our family and friends who we visit (spending our Canadian money in the US economy) will instead visit us in Canada and spend their US money in the Canadian economy.
How’s that going to work for you, US Congress geniuses?
The last time I entered the US was by car in October 2010. I presented my Canadian passport with US birthplace. The border guard was extremely unpleasant, telling me I was a US citizen and must use a US passport. She then took the car apart. My wife, Canadian born, was shocked and upset. I have no intention to ever return.
@schubert1975 – Thanks for sharing that. I was wondering about what kind of information border guards have access to when one enters the USA as a former USC with a non-US passport, e.g. does their database contain information about whether an individual has previously renounced US citizenship, etc. etc.
@Northern Shrike – That’s horrific. Even knowing all that I now know about how the USA has become, I still find such stories shocking.
It may not happen all the time, but it can. I think it depends on the border guard. My Canadian passport has a Canadian place of birth. But in 2009 I answered the guard’s question about where I was going by telling them I was going to visit my mother. The subsequent conversation was very unpleasant. Is your mother American? …… etc. Ended up with me and my 20 yr old daughter (“You may be American too!”) having a big black X on the immigration card and being sent off to another room to talk to another guard. Fortunately the second one was pleasant. Suggested we consider getting US passports or renouncing. It has made me very wary about travelling to the US, but my mother is 80 and failing. So I got a passport and started trying to get things in order to renounce.
Let me add that the experience I described was unusual. Most times, crossing was completely routine. However, it is now a new ball game, new rules, and heavy stakes. I have no intention of risking it again.
I had been going to the USA about every 18 months or so, always by plane. Ever since 2004, 50% of the time at Pearson Airport upon presentation of my Canadian Passport I had been aggressively told to get a US Passport. I haven’t crossed in three years and have no intention of ever doing so again.
@Northernshrike, Joe, There is nothing unusual about the procedure, but it is somewhat whimsical. The border guards’ attack against US born Canadians is systematic, but unevenly applied, and as Northshrike says, it is the new order.
This is part of the systematic tax attack on the Canadian population, because there is no other reason to apply such a rule to Canadians except to rope US-born Canadians back into the tax system. This is something that we need to make known to the government of Canada, and if they don’t listen, to the Canadian people. Imagine if the US started applying this rule in the early 19th century to US-born Canadian what a farce–every Loyalist who fled to Canada leaving hearth and home who was born in colonial America would a be a taxpayer to Washington? I don’t think so. The United States has implemented policies that are aggressive acts of War, a casus belli, and Canadians, even government officials, are asleep. We need to the end the stealth taxation of Canadian residents and citizens by the IRS.
My encounter with a US border guard telling me that the next time I entered the US it was to be with a US passport (and the yadda, yadda of my situation) I shared with the Vice-Consul to whom I read my Oath of Renunciation two days ago. I believe I told him that I thought it to be entrapment.
Exactly — I was “intimidated” into getting my first and only US Passport when a US border guard told me that the next time I entered the US it was to be with a US passport (not the Canadian one he was “allowing” me to enter with this time). Up to that time, I had crossed many, many times with no problem with my only passport — Canadian.
…and so it goes, picking us off one at a time — we tax evaders. What else would you choose to do, with your 80 year-old mother across the border?
Joe is right in never wanting to go back there. I don’t blame him one bit.
Canadians, have you ever considered that shopping in the US, versus Canada negatively affects Canadian retailers? Everyone has different reasons for going to the US. I haven’t in years. But if you truly value your citizenship, don’t try to help American businesses. The only way to send a message is though the pocketbook, either by suing or boycotting. Please do us all a favor and support the stores where you LIVE.
Hey, it’s not me who asked for this. It’s the US with their archaic laws and border crossing procedures + a little common sense. If you’re Canadian, support Canada 100% even if it means spending a little more. I already support Brazil, but I pay 256% more! 256% is a lot… << I know!! >> but the last thing I want to do is help the “form-nation” grow even stronger. (They can’t wait out this trade deficit forever. Change is coming, eventually!)
Thanks for this.
I have never once crossed the border only to shop. And given our recent experience, I wouldn’t DREAM of doing so. I don’t want to contribute in any way, to the US economy over Canada.
geeez – The Canadian retailer thing is not all that clearcut. Some “Canadian” retailers are noncompetitive disorganized poor-service self-entitled slackers who think they deserve to charge far more for precisely the same product just because they only operate north of the border. Excellent example: Rona vs Home Depot. I just dug out a purchase datum from two months ago. 237ml of DAP 33 glazing compound: $5.43 at Rona, $3.49 at Home Depot. Pay a 56% premium to Rona? Hell no. (Product Made in USA! No real competitor product either.)
good point usx, thanks for this. Really, the DAP was made in USA?
That’s why I will never have my US taxes done by a US based accountant.
In my experience, when traveling to the US (before I renewed my US passport) I was more often than not told I should be using a US during the last few years of using my Canadian. Why are they taking half measures when it comes to this? It would be interesting to hear what instructions the border guards are given when dealing with US born Canadian passport holders that make some ask while others don’t, some mean while others aren’t.
US Border Crossing Varying Experiences: I thought that Mr. Mopsick told us that “the law was the law was the law” PERIOD.
From John Brown
I posted this on another thread but perhaps here is a better place to put it.
The Star Phoenix: “IRS pursues Americans living abroad”
It looks like the writer really did his homework on the topic.
And this is why you file every year, and every year you only tell them about what they already know… and of course you are destitute and living off of relatives overseas. In fact, you’re losing money. Route all payments and revenue through non-US persons, and if you’re married to a foreign national, just file as single. It’s not something they need to know, as it’s literally none of their business.
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