From @TaxConnections: Demonstrating the penalties awarded to those #Americansabroad who attempt the Sisyphean task of membership in the U.S. Tax, Form and Penalty Club. The greater the effort, the greater the penalties! https://t.co/lyga00Yscd
— U.S. Citizen Abroad (@USCitizenAbroad) July 7, 2019
For those wondering what is meant by the “Sisyphean task” …
In the ancient world …
In Greek mythology Sisyphus or Sisyphos (/ˈsɪsɪfəs/; Ancient Greek: Σίσυφος Sísuphos) was the king of Ephyra (now known as Corinth). He was punished for his self-aggrandizing craftiness and deceitfulness by being forced to roll an immense boulder up a hill only for it to roll down when it nears the top, repeating this action for eternity. Through the classical influence on modern culture, tasks that are both laborious and futile are therefore described as Sisyphean (/ˌsɪsɪˈfiːən/).
In the modern world …
In the modern world “Americans abroad” are U.S. citizens who had the temerity to leave the Homeland and make a life somewhere else. They are punished for their self-aggrandizing craftiness and deceitfulness by being forced to file tax and information returns, only to find that when they think they have complied, they are assessed penalty after penalty. They are forced to repeat this year after year until their death or expatriation.
I urge you to read the post referenced in the above tweet. It appears to describe a situation that is unremarkable – Americans abroad who have some kind of tax deferred vehicle, which is assumed (probably incorrectly) to be a foreign trust (and all the compliance horror associated with it).
This raises the question for Americans abroad:
Is it riskier to attempt compliance with the U.S. tax system or not attempt compliance? What other lessons are there?
If you have been assessed penalties in relation to International Information returns, could you please comment.
RRSP/RESP/TFSA accounts – no good reason to report them, period. They are exempt from FATCA reporting per the IGA. The only way the IRS learns of them is if you or your accountant decide to declare them.
I give my answer to the question in my Petros Principles posts, esp:
Petros Principles (4-5): Compliance condors harm
(4) Those most hurt by the IRS’s persecution of expats have engaged the services of cross-border compliance condors.
(5) Those least hurt have done nothing.
Hear hear! 🙂