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I contacted an English speaking Treuhand and she is assuring me not to panic as the penalties will not be much since we are not talking big money. We have an appointment today. Alfons
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With the hope that you remain calm....
First, I would urge
you to find a US
tax accountant; call the US embassy in Berne, and if they can't help the US embassy in Paris posts a list of US accountants (licensed US tax attorneys or CPAs) in Paris. If your returns are not very complicated, you could even find a CPA in the US, perhaps in your home state.
It is not realistic to believe that any Swiss professional is competent to prepare US tax returns (unless
that person has several
years' experience working in the USA); the nuances of language, and the manner in which laws are written (and how you should research those laws) are too different from one country to another.
Secondly, you need to be sure if the "amnesty" really applies to your situation; please see the link above to an attorney's website, or here
for further links.
The IRS program is aimed at people who have not declared foreign financial accounts
(and the earnings from those accounts), or a reportable interest in foreign companies
(the emphasis is on "reportable" interest, which is generally a 10% or higher ownership). Please be sure that applies to your situation. From your initial comments, it sounded as if you merely have unreported income to your Swiss husband. If so, it is not certain he owes tax at all; for example, the US grants a tax credit (not a deduction) against Swiss income tax payments.