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  #41  
Old 12.05.2010, 23:27
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Re: For US citizens: new FBAR requirements 2009/2010

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But what about the not so well off expats? The ones struggling to get by? I have a problem declaring my income. I do it, but I don't like it.

My ancestors were among those who helped to form the country, some were among the first settlers to North Carolina. Long before the Revolutionary War. And while I'm appreciative of what they accomplished, I also believe they'd say I've done the right thing by leaving there. It isn't the country they designed and fought for.

I don't see filing/paying taxes when you don't live there as a civic duty. I see it as an albatross.
I'm sure the ball and musket ancestors couldn't foresee a lot of things. Exactly what kind of America did they foresee. Remember that most of the founding Fathers were landed gentry that owned slaves. Many continued to live like "fine English gentlemen".
It doesn't matter how long anyone has been a citizen or how long ago their ancestors came to America, or where they came from, the US like any other country has certain tax laws, whether we like them or not. I doubt the expats have enough political clout to change the law. So we don't have much choice do we. One can complain which will probably get no where, or one can say I'm going to be more active in the politics of my country. Taxes aren't just for paving roads. US policies wherever we live can have a profound effect on everyone, so we really can't live in isolation, in the global economy we have today.
P.S I wouldn't be surprised if more countries adopted a US style tax policy.
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  #42  
Old 13.05.2010, 08:35
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Re: For US citizens: new FBAR requirements 2009/2010

I have been living here 20 years, and filed 1040-EZs every year. After the foreign earned income exclusion and rent deduction, I never had to pay a penny (except 300 bucks once for filing late). With the steady devaluation of the dollar against the Swiss Franc, however, it is getting close now.
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  #43  
Old 13.05.2010, 10:12
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Re: For US citizens: new FBAR requirements 2009/2010

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Andy, I think I read that if as a US citizen you serve in a foreign army with the rank of officer, you lose your US citizenship (no matter what). Is that correct?
That was once the case. Indeed the courts had to rule that if you (typically because you were a Greek or Israeli dual national but it could have been Swiss too) visited your other country knowing you would immediately be drafted, did you "knowingly volunteer" for that service. The courts ruled negatively.

But since the Supreme Court decisions in Vance v. Terrazas and Afroyim v. Rusk and subsequent changes of law, it has been impossible for the Government to revoke your nationality, it has to be at your request and you have to jump through administrative hoops. Most renunciations are for economic or family reasons; I have known a couple of them where the dual national was wanted to be appointed a diplomat in Washington and the State Department will not accredit a US citizen as diplomat. In the case I most vividly recall, it was a British army officer seeking assignment as military attaché.

Other renunciation cases that come to mind are Meyer Kahane (the founder of the right-wing Koch movement in Israel), Norman F. Dacey (the tax exile) and of course Marc Rich.

Threats by Congresspersons to draft a law that would revoke the nationality of persons "accused" of terrorism are pure posturing because such a law would be unconstitutional.
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  #44  
Old 13.05.2010, 10:18
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Re: For US citizens: new FBAR requirements 2009/2010

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Fortunately some adults can hold a conversation, and even disagree, without becoming defensive...as you apparently have. The basic ideal of Aristotelian Rhetoric is that two parties enter a room willing to learn, exchange and perhaps change perspectives. I subscribe to that.

...
Not at all. It's just that what some are doing is "practising law without a licence". There's no point in "discussing" things that have no basis in fact or law. The USA claims the "allegiance" of millions who have no real connection with it. And in many cases US citizens don't know they have the citizenship, or couldn't prove it if they wanted to. And under US law there is a "presumption of alienage".

Most countries have rules that look at someone's "connections" and "relationships" in determining expectation of allegiance and obligations. The USA does not for the simple reason that its citizenship is identical to its allegiance. So the person born in the USA to a tourist can be drafted, can be subpoenaed, can be taxed. And of the 5 to 6 million Americans abroad, many millions do not speak English and do not have enough money or knowledge to hire an accountant. They probably don't owe income tax, but they have been criminalised by the law and rules on FBAR and forms 3520 & 5471.
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  #45  
Old 13.05.2010, 12:35
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Re: For US citizens: new FBAR requirements 2009/2010

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Fortunately some adults can hold a conversation, and even disagree, without becoming defensive...as you apparently have. The basic ideal of Aristotelian Rhetoric is that two parties enter a room willing to learn, exchange and perhaps change perspectives. I subscribe to that.

True, I am not a life-long immigration lawyer and/or arm-chair philosopher. However I am a United States citizen with views on why I think many well-to-do "ex pats" have problems with declaring income and being expected to file a tax return to the country to which said people hold citizenship. Fortunately for me and my right to postulate, no amount of case studies about native people will be relevant to a banker trying to stash excesses from tax collectors. Nor will those cases be relevant to people simply annoyed by the US system of government, and thus don't want to abide by laws.

I am not a special case. Just a citizen. My wife is a US citizen. My child is a US citizen. As corny as it sounds, I don't see my citizenship as a cheap attribute that I can change on a whim, like the color of my hair. I am proud to hold my citizenship, and value what my ancestors chose to do...take the plunge to become US citizens 100 years ago. Thus I am happy to fulfill my civic duty.

Thanks!

While I respect your pride in the US and etc., your comments indicate to me that you perceive most of us who live abroad to be rich money hiding bankers. But many of us, my family included, are comfortable, certainly not wealthy and not hiding money in offshore accounts. We work hard for what we have, and we would like to benefit from it. I think this perception of rich expats is also held in Congress by certain members who want to do away with some of the adjustments that were developed for US citizens living and working abroad. There's a republican in Iowa or Idaho for example. I have to look him up.


Well, I guess I'll lecture too then. THe key to this is education. As expats, we have to learn about the system, but also we need to somehow put pressure on members of congress to learn about all of their constituents and the crap that gets slipped into bills.

Your picture of Murrow suggests to me that you might be a journalist of sorts. Have you heard of civic journalism? It was a movement that tried to engage citizens through presenting different sides of an issue in depth. Between the 24 hour news cycle, media profit motives and the reluctance of some city rooms to present anything but "objective" reporting (which doesn't exist), this movement has pretty much died out, but I think a key is to report fairly and indepth to the citizens of the US... not just about expat issues, but also about their own tax issues, privacy and so on. Although I generally have aligned myself with the Democratic party, I begin to see more and more the side of Libertarians for some things. Just some. And I'm not naive enough to deny the existence of give and take, negotiation that is so essential to government.

Still, when it comes down to it, we disagree with many of the policies of the US government, including the tax code. I also disagree with the immigration process, having gone through it (my husband is a dual US-EU citizen), the practice of tax deductions on mortgage interest and corporate welfare. But we uphold the law to the best of our ability. Doesn't mean I have to like it, and it doesn't mean that I won't speak up against it every chance I get. And it doesn't mean I will remain a citizen all my life. I guess I am doing my civic duty.
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  #46  
Old 13.05.2010, 16:37
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Re: For US citizens: new FBAR requirements 2009/2010

To echo the comment above, I am sure you have noted that the newest Act dealing with foreign bank accounts etc is acronymed FATCA (no doubt for Fat Cats, it cannot be a coincidence as acronyming acts has become an art form in the US - see PATRIOT Act and other monuments of US legislation). Implication is : only fat cats have money abroad, and they deserve to be fat taxed until they are F(u)BAR.
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  #47  
Old 13.05.2010, 20:57
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Re: For US citizens: new FBAR requirements 2009/2010

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You are mistaken. My clients are unwilling Americans, persons on whom citizenship was foisted at birth despite their having been born and lived outside the United States throughout their lives. Or they were born in the USA to transients and may not even speak English. Only they find that they were subject to US laws notwithstanding the foregoing. (In one case, a British national found that he could not be sent as assistant military attaché to Washington because although he was a British Army officer he had been born in the USA to student parents and the State Department does not accredit its own citizens as diplomats, nor offer immunities to its citizens who are accredited to international organisations in the USA or are dependents of accredited diplomats.)

I am not referring to Norman F. Dacey, born of Irish parents in the USA and unwilling to pay US taxes on his royalties from the sale of How To Avoid Probate! in the USA after emigration to Ireland. I am referring to people who were born by chance in the USA, or born of one US parent abroad.

I mentioned tribal natives because they are a classic case of doubtful nationality. Canadian Indians have the Jay Treaty to give them plenary rights in the USA (American Indians get most of those rights in Canada), but Mexican tribal members get no rights. My point wasn't even that: it is that while Switzerland knows who its citizens are (at least once they have reached age 22 if living abroad), the USA does not and can not.

Look: this is the subject of my life's work. You can get as defensive as you like, but it's not, seemingly, your field of expertise. One is an American citizen at birth, or not. Whether or not that birth has been registered anywhere. And once possessed, US citizenship cannot be involuntarily forfeited. Proof of facts may be an issue, but once the facts of place of birth and citizenship and past residence of parent(s) are known, the citizenship of the child is fixed. For life. Unlike Switzerland, the USA does not revoke the citizenship of a person born an American citizenship for want of registration (in the case of Switzerland, by registration with a consular office between the ages of 18 and 22). http://www.eda.admin.ch/eda/en/home/...sa/usareg.html ("registration is compulsory for Swiss citizens residing abroad and is the basis for official acts.")

One problem is that in Anglo-American (i.e., the Common) Law, there is no concept of "nationality". The principle is "allegiance". Sir Francis Piggott wrote about that: http://www.uniset.ca/naty/maternity/ligeance.htm The War of 1812 was fought over it.
maybe the US should give its citizens the chance to opt out when they reach a certain legal age. but i suspect close to 100% would not have opted out. i don't know, for those US citizens on here, would you have opted out, say at 16, or 18 years of age given the chance?
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  #48  
Old 13.05.2010, 21:23
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Re: For US citizens: new FBAR requirements 2009/2010

Following a post about a couple hundreds citizens or green card holders relinquishing the privilege, I checked out a few numbers. Last year, the USA welcome 700k new naturalized citizens and 1.1Mio new legal permanent residents. Of course, most of them were sub-educated family-based immigration with little taxing potential. A good proportion were over 60/70. This having been said, if the US wanted to move towards selective immigration and bring in more of the taxable, they could change a few laws to that effect.
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  #49  
Old 14.05.2010, 11:26
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Re: For US citizens: new FBAR requirements 2009/2010

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maybe the US should give its citizens the chance to opt out when they reach a certain legal age. but i suspect close to 100% would not have opted out. i don't know, for those US citizens on here, would you have opted out, say at 16, or 18 years of age given the chance?
The earliest age a US citizen can opt out is at 18. Those who do so and who meet certain requirements are not affected by the Expatriation to Avoid Tax rules. Presumably it is accidental citizens whose "other" country of nationality prohibits dual nationality and whose lives are centred there, or who are on track for diplomatic, military, real-estate investment or civil service jobs in that other country, and lastly very wealthy families on the advice of tax counsel who renounce citizenship.

US tax law is increasingly abusive to expatriates. I suspect that most of those who abandon green cards and are caught by the expatriation tax simply ignore it, at least if they have no US assets (the clever and influential ones will get a diplomatic appointment in the USA first and thereby avoid the tax law completely if they have no US investments).

As I wrote earlier, children of foreign diplomats born in the USA are deemed, if still in the USA at age 18, to be green-card holders. I doubt that the expatriation tax envisaged that situation.
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  #50  
Old 19.05.2010, 13:04
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Re: For US citizens: new FBAR requirements 2009/2010

Ok back on topic- I sent in my form for my Freizugigkeits konto, asked hubby to make sure with the bank that I'm not on any of his accounts so we are in order.

Now I have another question- what about credit cards- meaning we have one with the Kantonal bank which is also directly linked to his account. Do I have to take my name off this as well (I really dont want the US knowing more about my business than needed )

Hubby said the woman at the bank wasnt shocked about all this- apparently there are a lot more US peeps here in town doing the same thing.
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  #51  
Old 19.05.2010, 18:52
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Re: For US citizens: new FBAR requirements 2009/2010

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Ok back on topic- I sent in my form for my Freizugigkeits konto, asked hubby to make sure with the bank that I'm not on any of his accounts so we are in order.

Now I have another question- what about credit cards- meaning we have one with the Kantonal bank which is also directly linked to his account. Do I have to take my name off this as well (I really dont want the US knowing more about my business than needed )

Hubby said the woman at the bank wasnt shocked about all this- apparently there are a lot more US peeps here in town doing the same thing.
Irony of ironies: you could have a $10 million mortgage and a huge credit card debt and Treasury/IRS don't want to know.

It is credit balances that matter. Some US persons aggregate their accounts to find a net balance. I don't think that satisfies Treasury requirements for FBARs but it's not likely to lead to prosecution. The IRS doesn't bring to court cases they don't think they can win.
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  #52  
Old 03.06.2010, 15:09
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Re: For US citizens: new FBAR requirements 2009/2010

I have a technical, non-philosophical question about the FBAR. Do I need to report the Sparkonto for the deposit on our apartment? It is an escrow account, collecting (nominal) interest, but we have no signatory authority over it or access to it. Any thoughts?
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  #53  
Old 03.06.2010, 17:29
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Re: For US citizens: new FBAR requirements 2009/2010

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I have a technical, non-philosophical question about the FBAR. Do I need to report the Sparkonto for the deposit on our apartment? It is an escrow account, collecting (nominal) interest, but we have no signatory authority over it or access to it. Any thoughts?
I reported mine. My name was on it, so I figured better to include than to exclude and be wrong!
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Old 05.06.2010, 20:34
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Re: For US citizens: new FBAR requirements 2009/2010

Just a reminder - your FBAR for 2009 is due 30 June 2010. It must be received on that date, not mailed by.
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Old 06.06.2010, 15:49
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Re: For US citizens: new FBAR requirements 2009/2010

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I have a technical, non-philosophical question about the FBAR. Do I need to report the Sparkonto for the deposit on our apartment? It is an escrow account, collecting (nominal) interest, but we have no signatory authority over it or access to it. Any thoughts?
Yes. You need to report it, and you need to report the interest you earn on it on your tax return.
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Old 19.06.2010, 17:22
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Re: For US citizens: new FBAR requirements 2009/2010

Just a bump to remind those of you to whom this applies that the FBAR is due at the end of this month...
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Old 13.04.2011, 17:36
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Re: For US citizens: new FBAR requirements 2009/2010

FYI - there's a new version of Form TD F 90-22.1 for reporting your foreign accounts. You can get it here.
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Old 14.04.2011, 09:34
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Re: For US citizens: new FBAR requirements 2009/2010

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FYI - there's a new version of Form TD F 90-22.1 for reporting your foreign accounts. You can get it here.

And apparently new instructions that haven't been issued yet.
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Old 14.04.2011, 11:18
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Re: For US citizens: new FBAR requirements 2009/2010

I so intelligently decided to hold most of my accounts in USD.

Last year my Swiss bank account hit the dreaded 10K mark. Does
anyone know when FUBAR is due this year? With the tax return?

Cheers!!
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Old 14.04.2011, 11:22
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Re: For US citizens: new FBAR requirements 2009/2010

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I so intelligently decided to hold most of my accounts in USD.

Last year my Swiss bank account hit the dreaded 10K mark. Does
anyone know when FUBAR is due this year? With the tax return?

Cheers!!
It's due by June 30 every year (until they change it, of course...).
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