The IRS website has a page that claims to answer this question. But how accurate is this information? Are there things the IRS forgets to mention? Is there advice the IRS gives that could lead to disaster? In this article we will discuss what the IRS gets right and what it completely misses and how this misdirection could prove quite consequential.
Right now, there are millions of US citizens overseas facing a painful dilemma. Comply with the IRS at a great cost if even possible, or simply renounce US citizenship. Fortunately, there are expat advocates and members of Congress who see this as a problem, hence the Saving US Citizenship Act. This law will give US citizens the same protections every other country in the world grants to its people — the ability to live and work anywhere in the world without fear of punitive tax compliance.
Many people who have some sort of IRS problem, whether domestic or international, deal with it in a predictable way. They ignore it. They ignore it until they can’t anymore. Now with an understaffed IRS, the chances are that someone can ignore problems longer than ever before, but one must wonder if the IRS is just giving taxpayer more rope by which to hang themselves. For those who want to take control, they see no other way than to deal head-on with a problem, regardless of the consequences. One such person is Ryan Socash, one of our clients and a well-known media personality in Europe, and he explains why he felt he had no choice but to comply with the law, but then why he took the added steps of working to reform the law.
As you may know, the US taxes its “persons” based upon their citizenship status. This is called universal tax jurisdiction. And the US is a bit of an outlier — no other country in the world truly taxes in the aggressive manner the IRS does. While we were promised a fix in the 2017 tax reform package to change to a Territorial Tax For Individuals (TTFI), that definitely did not happen. In fact, things got worse. But there is a strong movement to get the TTFI that we were promised signed into law.
It is actually possible to not file taxes for three decades — and not have any negative repercussions from the IRS. The problem is, the rest of your life tends to become a mess. Learn the story of a stone mason I met, whose greatest regret is that the last tax return he filed was in 1985.