Recently Canada’s National Post said: “Dissent serves a valuable social function: it moderates, brings internal accountability and leads to better decisions because of the value of diversity and the contest of ideas.”
“The dissenter is the one who speaks to the future with a voice pitched to a key that will carry through the years.” and Freedom of Speech is “…the matrix, the indispensable condition, of nearly every other form of freedom” says Benjamin Cardozo.
Melvin Urofsky: ”…the dissent may strengthen the limits of the majority, preventing it from sweeping too broadly — a form of damage control.”
— It cannot be easy to “rule on” on those comments that are “fit to print” and those that cross the highly uncertain fuzzy line into irrelevance or what appears to some to be “unpleasant behaviour” — but all should agree that the “Federal Tax Crimes” blog’s January 22, 2016 policy defining what is appropriate goes too far in a very unhealthy direction.
Jack Townsend at the “Federal Tax Crimes” blog has recently proclaimed a new policy restricting the types of comments permitted to be posted on his site:
“Notice to Readers: Irrelevant and Political or Anti-IRS Comments Will Not Be Approved (1/22/16)
I have in the past routinely approved most irrelevant and political and anti-IRS comments to blog entries.
Today, I received another and my tolerance for such comments has worn thin. I post below the comment that has provoked my reaction.
I remind readers that this is a federal tax crimes blog. It is not a political blog or tax policy blog or any other kind of blog except federal tax crimes. Hence, I will no longer approve comments that are not relevant to the blog entry and that present more political argument or anti-IRS argument than analysis of the law relevant to federal tax crimes issues.
For those of you who want to make political comments or anti-IRS, I recommend that you find another blog which welcomes those comments. For example, you might try the Tax Prof Blog, where Professor Paul Caron posts each day one entry labeled The IRS Scandal, Day xxx (the entry today is The IRS Scandal, Day 988). Each day you will find a posting and, so long as you want to make political or anti IRS comments, he seems more than willing to post such comments on his blog.
Thus, for readers who may be inclined to want to make these comments, please note that henceforth they will not be approved for publication on the Federal Tax Crimes Blog…”
Jack Townsend exists to carry the IRS’s water, does he not?
If vve are tolking about federal tax crime my kestion is vvhat kiind of crime is vvhen my banker is asking me (only citysenn of another inddepedent country in Europe) to sign statement that i am not American.If is it not a crime that is a torture against humanity and freedom , by USA tax administration..
It is Onion worthy for a tax crimes blog to forbid comments focussing on the crimes of the tax authority.
Tax Prof Blog should get a big spike in readership with JT’s endorsement.
See also discussion at Maple Sandbox
Here is the offensive comment:
Breaking News: The IRS rabbit hole of corruption goes even deeper.
@Kragujevčanin Serbia — What I still can’t understand is why your government, and my government (Australia), and almost 200 other governments just rolled over when the US demanded this intrusive behaviour so that the US could impose its unjust citizenship based taxation regime.
Please retitle this posting to start with “Townsend says: […]”. The present title makes it look like a notice from Petros and/or moderators about postings on this blog.
That doesn’t mean I oppose moderation or disapproval of irrelevant comments, but the wording made it look like the moderators intended to go too far, as Townsend is doing. Though it’s nothing new for Townsend to be a hypocrite.
Or simply quotation marks around the entire heading would do.
Since when has taxes and politics ever been separate entities? Jack and his other like minded bloggers don’t live in the real world.
Without the politics influencing tax policy, Jack Townsend’s blog would be surplus to requirement unfortunately.
I’m not a Ted Cruz fan, but his idea of a flat tax, reducing the size of the IRS, would be a big prick in the compliance industry’s balloon.
By the way, did Hodgen really delete all comments on his blog or did I do something wrong in trying to read them? I thought he was a good guy, which is a rarity in this business.
I use to go over to browse the topics when I had my OMG moment… I was in a panic… the discussions over there… some over my head.. but some helpful info… he seemed to feel for US persons then over a short period of time… his tone changed… the sympathy seemed to have vanished… when this web site was down… I took a look again…. he seemed to really enjoy & relish how the US punish this one… that one… and how big the fines were… seemed to me… he has a booming business because of this… why knock the train off the track…
Badger on January 24, 2016 at 11:55 am said this on Sandbox as a response to the FTC blog’s new policy:
“Funny and ironic since Jack makes his own comments that take what is ultimately or very immediately a political / ideological stance. He routinely makes value judgements that depart from a strict discussion of the law.
And since when is it irrelevant to identify inconsistencies, injustices and maltreatment at the hands of those making and interpreting and applying “the law” as it stands? IRS policy and practice are not necessarily “the law”. That became obvious when they herded ALL including minnows into the “one size fits all” OVD programs as the only acceptable fix for prior noncompliance when prospective compliance ‘going forward’ and ‘quiet’ disclosures were not unlawful. Benefiting the US tax law industrial complex and pillaging the lawful local post-tax savings of those outside the US.
Taxation isn’t a science. It isn’t physics. It is inherently political and subjective. The US tax system routinely benefits those who can dedicate huge sums to influence lawmakers and politicians. And that is the game being played in the US and around the globe (ex. http://taxpol.blogspot.ca/2016/01/apples-private-meeting-to-lobby.html http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/ge-healthcare-us-healthcare-giant-makes-fortune-from-nhs-but-pays-hardly-a-penny-in-tax-a6828446.html ).
I’ve noticed that many of the articles about US extraterritorial CBT make statements which reflect the bias of the author – without any robust references or basis in fact.
Take FATCA for instance. NO cost-benefit analysis has ever been undertaken. The majority of those living outside the US with no economic connection pay taxes in full to the country in which they live and receive ACTUAL benefits. Yet FATCA is declared a ‘remedy’ for tax ‘evasion’ and a success, among other specious claims without foundation. There is also no proof or cause to treat all those subject to FBAR as guilty before the fact – and answerable to a Financial Crimes Enforcement entity FINCEN. And of course, it is not moneylaunderingdruglordtaxevadingterrorfundingfraudsters who are registering all their personal and family and employer and community organization and estate account information online, but it will be those who will be laid open for hacking and identity theft.
‘Fair’ as in ‘paying your fair share’ is never quantified and sometimes not even defined. Neither is ‘benefit’.
Reading authors like Kirsch who defend US extraterritorial CBT, and statements issued by the US Treasury, the IRS, and others like the Mythster Robert Stack remind me of exchanges from Alice in Wonderland such as this one:
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean different things.”
So many out-of-the-way things had happened lately, that Alice began to think that very few things indeed were really impossible”
Consider the IRS refusal to define; “reasonable cause” and for so long refused even to hint at what might delineate “wilful” from “nonwilful” in terms of the FBAR ……
And the instructions and demands that make up the burden imposed on those living outside the US remind me of this:
US Extraterritorial Birthplace/Parentage/Status based taxation is absurd. So seems much of the writing which seeks to defend the absurd and indefensible.
Even when people are trying to comply as best they can, finding out where and how and when one must send IRS forms such as the 8854 hit the snag of vagueness and lack of information – and sometimes ultimately, a commonsense method to do what they demand and be able to verify that one has done so does not exist because the IRS has made it actually impossible: ( ex. http://hodgen.com/you-cant-file-form-8854-via-fedex-or-ups/ http://hodgen.com/filing-form-8854-by-fedex-a-success-story/ notwithstanding ) . Add that to the innate incoherence and incomprehensibility of the plethora of forms and rules and instructions.
Why would one not throw up ones hands and either refuse to enter the MInotaur’s labyrinth – which is what ‘compliance’ represents for those living outside the US, or excise or deny US status if and when possible?
The IRS OVDI program that they tried to entice/threaten/extort all of us into starting from 2009, 2011, etc. is/was like Jarndyce and Jarndyce” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jarndyce_and_Jarndyce
Thanks Stephen for crossposting my comment from MapleSandbox. I’d like to add to my comment quoted above:
“….Consider the IRS refusal to define; “reasonable cause” and for so long refused even to hint at what might delineate “wilful” from “nonwilful” in terms of the FBAR ……”
Have a look at what was only obtainable via a FOIA request by a US law firm in that respect;
(Well worth a look at the extensive documents there. I had forgotten how valuable.)
Note, this is NOT an endorsement of the site or practitioners above.
I too thought that IBS’s policy had changed. Quite a shock to see this title as the first after being off line for the weekend. Feared it had been taken over.
@ Stephen Kish
While I have not yet encountered a complete blocking off my posts or all posts of “our” kind, I am currently having mine blocked for “being rude to another poster”. It appears that it is not rude for other posters to call me a “cheap skate”, tax cheat and criminal but it is rude when I suggest they stop by the eye doctor when they misread other posts. “Some here are as dense as a box of rocks” was also too rude to publish yet the above are not when directed at myself and others personally. No surprise though, just thought it should be known.
This war of words between myself and several homelanders abroad (who continually demonstrate their inability to differentiate between rights and privileges/benefits) continues and I was wondering if you could provide what would be a very strong weapon against one of their claims. I am quite certain that someone found and posted that violating local laws by meeting FBAR requirements WAS NOT reasonable cause for not filing FBARs. Did I dream this or is this real. If real, could you or another reader, whoever may know where to find it, direct me to it?
@Japan T, re;
“I am quite certain that someone found and posted that violating local laws by meeting FBAR requirements WAS NOT reasonable cause for not filing FBARs. Did I dream this or is this real.”
You were not dreaming. I will try to find the reference. The IRS is NOT interested in the rights of the NON-citizen spouse or joint account holder. They do NOT defer to local law – even though what they demand is that an extraterritorial US law foreign to the joint acct holder trumps local legal constitutional rights guaranteed to the NON-US joint account holder living OUTSIDE the US by their own local government.
The IRS is NOT interested in harm – or the abridgement of legal rights belonging to the NON-US persons who may be the joint or actual account holder, or a foreign employer, or foreign estate, etc. as a result of coercing the deemed USP to report the private and financial information of others who have NO responsibility to the US.
Thanks!! I thought I was losing my mind. There is SO much on this and all of it terrible but when in an argument, I can not track it down. The hard reference would really be nice to have when I confront these holier than thou homelanders abroad on their assertation that the LAW must be followed, especially their comment that I do not have the right to choose which laws to follow and which to ignore.
@JapanT & badger
I remember seeing it in the Federal Register in regard to the proposed rulemaking no idea when but I am pretty sure it was connected to a request to leave out an alien spouse/reporting an entire amount for a joing account for FBAR. I think I have also seen it on either/or (or both) information booklets and actual instructions for forms.
Japan T, could you please clarify?
“I am currently having mine blocked for “being rude to another poster”.
You are not being blocked on Brock. It would be nice if you could indicate where/who is doing this…
I keep having my posts removed at Japan Today. The article I am commenting on is “Memo to US citizens: Pay your taxes or you may lose your passport”. I have been successful reposting after removing my rude comments. To be sure, I meant my comments to sting and a couple have been allowed, but I have beef specifically and in general called much worse and these are allowed. I have not looked since my last as I really want to deliver a knock out blow to those demanding I follow the law. My draft is prepared, awaiting the concrete evidence that FBAR does in fact force me/us to violate the law of the lands we choose to live in. I have it somewhere, but upgrades to iOSes keep messing with my data base.
Found it! More late, got to post this!
I found it in Internal Revenue Bulletin: 2012-8. February 21, 2012. T.D. 9567. Reporting of Specified Foreign Financial Assets.
C. Reasonable cause exception
“FOR THIS PURPOSE, THE FACT THAT A FOREIGN JURISDICTION WOULD IMPOSE A CIVIL OR CRIMINAL PENALTY ON THE SPECIFIED PERSON ( OR ANY OTHER PERSON ) FOR DISCLOSING THE REQUIRED INFORMATION IS NOT REASONABLE CAUSE.”
Thanks for pointing me in the right direction! I can not tell you how many hours I have spent trying to find that.
I have posted my comment, caustic I hope :). Let’s see if they allow it.
‘Internal Revenue Bulletin: 2012-8. February 21, 2012. T.D. 9567. Reporting of Specified Foreign Financial Assets.
C. Reasonable cause exception
“FOR THIS PURPOSE, THE FACT THAT A FOREIGN JURISDICTION WOULD IMPOSE A CIVIL OR CRIMINAL PENALTY ON THE SPECIFIED PERSON ( OR ANY OTHER PERSON ) FOR DISCLOSING THE REQUIRED INFORMATION IS NOT REASONABLE CAUSE.”’
5th amendment deader than deader than dead.
If the person lives in a jurisdiction where divorce is unavailable and the renunciation queue is too long, I guess suicide is required?
Also every law firm in every non-US country had better fire every US-person employee four years ago if not earlier.
I agree but I think it is a lot more than the 5th that this kills.
What is the reference on law firms about? This is another new one on me.
‘What is the reference on law firms about?’
Employees might have signing authority on trust accounts.