— Citizenship Lawyer (@ExpatriationLaw) August 25, 2017
Well he won the lottery. Specifically he won the “Green Card” lottery. He and his wife came all the way from an Asian country to “Live The Dream” – specifically the dream of living in the United States of America.
He spoke English. His wife did not speak English. He believed in strict compliance in the law. His wife relied on him to ensure her compliance with the law.
As a Green Card holder he was vaguely aware that he could be deported if he were convicted of certain kinds of offenses. But, mainly he believed in compliance with the law for its own sake.
As a Green Card holder and as a U.S. resident he was subject to laws that were never explained to him. He didn’t realize that he was taxable on his WORLD income (including a small pension that he received from his country of citizenship).
In 2009 the “Offshore Jihad” began. He didn’t think of himself as having “offshore accounts”. After all, he was a just citizen of another country. Surely it could NOT be criminal to have a bank account in his country of origin. Did he have to report his small foreign pension to the IRS? That pension was in no way related to the United States of America? And then he learned about the alphabet soup of “reporting requirements” – Mr. FBAR, Uncle FATCA, etc. He began to learn what the “reporting requirements” were. But, the penalties (as least described) were certain. He could not believe the extent of the penalties.
It was at this moment that his “Oh My God” moment began. He was confused and mentally disorganized. At that moment, all of his life assumptions were reversed.
Assumption 1: He had always believed that he was a good, moral “law abiding” person. How could it be that he was NOT in compliance with the law. He had no reason to believe that the reporting requirements would even exist.
Welcome to the United States of America where any involvement with anything “foreign” makes you a presumptive criminal.
Assumption 2: He had always believed that the United States was a “just nation”. How could the United States threaten to impose such penalties on a person in his situation?
Welcome to the United States of America where justice is NOT the norm.
What’s a poor “Green Card” holder to do?
He was ill prepared to deal with the situation in which he found himself.
He strived to learn what he could. The IRS would not answer his questions – suggesting that he go to a “tax professional”
The “tax professionals” gave him different, conflicting and contradictory answers.
His greatest frustration was that he could NOT completely understand what was expected of him – although he did understand the threat of penalties, penalties and more penalties.
He eventually decided that he had to move back to his home country. He did this NOT to escape U.S. taxation, but because:
- He could not completely understand what was required of him to be U.S. tax complaint; and
- He was worried that he would die and leave his wife in a situation where she would not know how to be U.S. tax compliant.
In order to prepare for leaving he:
- entered the streamlined program (domestic version) and “back filed” for 3 years
- stayed in America for two more years so that he could certify the “five years of tax compliance” when he handed in the I-407
- even filed the “Sailing Permit” (The 1040C) that is required of ALL aliens (resident or nonresident) when they leave the United States
He in now trying to file his final return and 8854. Fortunately he will not be subject to the S. 877A Exit Tax. He is currently focusing on staying alive long enough to complete his U.S. tax filings. He feels that it is important that he NOT die and leave the U.S. tax compliance problem to his wife.
His emotional state:
Like many he is living in a state of fear. I pointed out to him that he was a small insignificant person and that nobody in the U.S. Government cared about him. He thanked me for telling him that “nobody in the U.S. Government cared about him”. He said that it was the first time in his life that he felt good that nobody cared about him.
One more day. One more life ruined. One more person chased out of America because of the Internal Revenue Code.
His greatest wish is that he lives long enough to file Form 8854 to log him and his wife out of America.
Nobody, but nobody should move to America without reading the fine print!
Some of you may be interested in the “short letter” that I sent by regular mail to the “powers to be” in Washington who are working on “Tax Reform”.
A “Town Hall” interview with Speaker Ryan suggests that Tax Reform is going to happen.
— Citizenship Lawyer (@ExpatriationLaw) August 23, 2017
The interview confirms that there is pressure to move U.S. corporations to “territorial taxation”. See also the following tweet from the House Ways And Means Committee.
— Citizenship Lawyer (@ExpatriationLaw) August 23, 2017
The question is whether individuals will also be considered. In January of 2017 Republicans Overseas proposed “territorial taxation” for individuals. This week the Republican National Committee adopted a resolution from Republicans Overseas urging that “territorial taxation” for individuals be adopted.
— Solomon Yue (@SolomonYue) August 23, 2017
Both U.S. corporations and U.S. citizens are “U.S. persons”. If the United States moves to “territorial taxation” for corporations then “territorial taxation” for individuals should follow.
The United States would be will advised to stop imposing U.S. taxation on the tax paying residents of other countries.
What follows is my “short letter”. A PDF copy of the letter is here:
As I write this post, my mind goes back to one of my very first posts about U.S. compliance issues. This post was called “What you should consider before contacting a lawyer“. Since that time I have written hundreds of post describing the problems faced by Americans abroad.
More recently …
In Dewees 1, I explained the importance of the Canada U.S. tax treaty and how it provides “some protection” to Canadian citizens from U.S. tax debts.
In Dewees 2, I explained some of the characteristics of the OVDP program and how Mr. Dewees got caught in it.
In Dewees 3 (this post), I am suggesting some possible lessons that can be learned from the story of Donald Dewees.
Ten thoughts on U.S. taxation, non-compliance, Americans Abroad and the U.S. taxation of Americans abroad
Introduction – The war against corporations and the shareholders of those corporations
Corporations as entities that are separate from their shareholder/owners
As every law students knows, a corporation is a legal entity that is separate from its owner. As a legal entity that is separate from its owner, a corporation is capable of holding assets, carrying on a business and investing in a way that results in separation of the shareholder(s) from the business itself. It is a mistake to infer that the corporation’s status as a separate legal entity means that the corporation’s income will not be taxed to its shareholders.
Corporations as legal instruments of tax deferral
When corporate tax rates are lower than individual tax rates, there is incentive for individuals to earn and invest through corporations rather than to earn and invest as individuals. In other words, in certain circumstances, corporations can be used to pay less taxes.
Corporations as instruments of tax evasion
In many jurisdictions is it possible to create a Corporation and NOT disclose the identities of the beneficial owners. Because of this circumstance:
1. Corporations (as was made clear in the “Panama Papers Story”) can be used to hide income and assets for either legitimate or illegitimate reasons; and
2. Corporations can be used to avoid the attribution of income earned by the corporation to the shareholders.
Corporations and the rise of @TaxHavenUSA
— Citizenship Lawyer (@ExpatriationLaw) August 14, 2017
Shades of Larissa Waters …
Oh My God! Think of it:
My sources in Australia tell me …
This time it’s the Deputy Prime Minister – http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-14/barnaby-joyce-is-a-new-zealand-citizen-nz-government-confirms/8804620 – and the first member of the lower house to be tainted by dual citizenship. This is significant. With the Senate they usually go to the next person on that party’s ticket from the last Senate election. With the House of Reps they have to have a by-election – and Turnbull’s government is hanging on by a single vote. So, if the High Court rules that Barnaby Joyce must vacate his seat, it could topple the government!
And I thought that Politics in Canada was dirty. And we all revel in the daily stench of the toxic partisanship in the USA. But, hey at least these two countries do NOT have constitutional provisions that (as they have been interpreted) allow other countries to interfere in who the elected representatives are! (We let them interfere in covert ways – think “From Russia With Love” ….)
But Australia. This really is unique. Think of it. Once a person is accused of being a dual citizen – AS DEFINED BY THE LAWS OF ANOTHER COUNTRY – then the person is disqualified from serving in the Senate or the Lower House. I had always thought of Australia as a sovereign country. Can it really be true that Australia allows eligibility for service in the Senate or the lower house to be determined by another country’s citizenship laws? Does it matter whether these “foreign laws” confer citizenship by force rather than citizenship by consent?
Think of the possibilities here. There have always been suggestions that “The USA via the CIA” had been (wonderful melody) instrumental in the dismissal of Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam. Why go to so much trouble? The way Australia is interpreting its own constitution, all a future U.S. Government would have to do is confer U.S. citizenship on the Prime Minister of Australia and he would be forced to resign. But this would be the intentional “weaponization of citizenship”. (But, the FATCA is that: the USA would NEVER use citizenship as a weapon now, would it?) Australia has already surrendered much of its sovereignty to the United States through a combination of the FATCA IGA and the “savings clause” in the Australia U.S. Tax Treaty.
It’s worse than you think. The problem extends to the ongoing changes in the citizenship laws of other nations
What about the change in one country’s citizenship laws conferring citizenship on an Australian citizen without his/her knowing about it? For example, Canada has made significant amendments to its citizenship laws in 2009 and 2016. In both cases Canadian citizenship was conferred on people who did NOT have Canadian citizenship. One example is that prior to 1977, a person born abroad to a married couple where the father was NOT Canadian (say Australian) and the mother was Canadian would NOT have become Canadian by descent. In 2009 people in these circumstances were given Canadian citizenship. What if a person affected by this was in the Australian Senate in 2009 when the Canadian law was changed. Would that person be forced to resign?
Can the citizenship of country A be forcibly imposed on a resident of country B who has NEITHER ACCEPTED NOR ACKNOWLEDGED THAT CITIZENSHIP?
— Citizenship Lawyer (@ExpatriationLaw) August 14, 2017
In an earlier post I explained why the Canada Revenue Agency assisted the IRS in collecting a $133,000 U.S. dollar penalty on a Canadian resident. The bottom line was that he was presumably NOT a Canadian citizen and therefore did NOT have the benefits of the tax treaty. This post is to explain where the penalty came from in the first place.
There are certainly benefits to being a Canadian citizens. Perhaps Canadian citizenship is the most important line of defense against the confiscation that is OVDP.
Introduction – Guest post by a perfectly ordinary person who renounced U.S. citizenship for perfectly ordinary reasons
— CrossBrit (@CrossBriton) August 7, 2017
In a recent submission to Senator Hatch I argued that what the United States thinks of as “citizenship-based taxation”, is actually a system where the United States imposes U.S. taxation on the residents and citizens of other countries. That submission included:
On July 4, 2017, Americans living inside the USA celebrated the “4th of July” holiday – a day that Americans celebrate their independence and freedom.
On that same day, I had meetings with SEVEN American dual citizens, living outside the United States. This “Group of Seven” were in various stages of RENOUNCING their U.S. citizenship. Each of them was also a citizen and tax paying resident of another country. They varied widely in wealth, age, occupation, religion, and political orientation. Some of them have difficulty in affording the $2350 USD “renunciation fee” imposed by the U.S. Government. Some of the SEVEN identify as being American and some did NOT identify as being American. But each of them had one thing in common. They were renouncing their U.S. citizenship in order to gain the freedom that Americans have been taught to believe is their “birth right”.
On August 2, 2017 posts at the Isaac Brock Society and numerous other sources, reported that that there were 1759 expatriates reported in the second quarter report in the Federal Register. The number of people renouncing U.S. citizenship continues to grow.
Now on to the guest post by Jane Doe, which is a very articulate description of the reasons why people living outside the United States feel forced to renounce U.S. citizenship.
Russian CFC initiative: Preventing the diversion of profits offshore | Norton Rose Fulbright https://t.co/ThP9yHSeGu
— Citizenship Lawyer (@ExpatriationLaw) November 23, 2016
The article referenced in the above tweet from Norton Rose, provides an introduction to Russia’s CFC (“Controlled Foreign Corporation”) rules. The Russian CFC rules include both:
- an attribution of income for purposes of taxation; and
- penalty laden reporting requirements.
There are presently huge incentives for Russian high net worth individuals to to break “tax residence” with Russia and find more favorable jurisdictions. It is a “perfect storm”. These incentives include:
• The “De-offshorisation” initiative of the Russian government, including introductions of CFC rules that came into force on January 2015
• The enforcement of pre-existing rules established by Russian Federal Law Nr. 173-FZ “On Currency Regulations and Currency Control” (CCL) by amending RF Administrative Offence Code (AOC) in February 2013 (Russian FBAR coupled with “Russian citizenship reporting“)
• The adoption of the OECD’s Common Reporting Standard (CRS) in May 2016 and what that means for those with “tax residency in Russia”