Sophia Yan - As they crisscross the globe, IRS rules require expat American pilots to record exactly how long they're flying over the U.S., foreign countries and international waters. Once they land, the pilots have to track exactly when they're working, and when they're off the clock.

Here's why: If they ever face an IRS audit, the pilots will have to prove -- using flight plans or other documents -- exactly how much money they've earned in each jurisdiction, on land or in the air.

New Streamlined ProcedureIRS Introduces New Streamlined Procedure

Big Data and an ever aggressive approach by the IRS toward ferreting out Americans living abroad who are not current with their US tax filing has, so far, not yielded the results that the US government hoped for. With a tax system that is based largely upon voluntary compliance, the United States wields a big stick, and yet they realize that in reality a carrot may yield a much better result. The big stick in this circumstance is FATCA, the Foreign Asset Tax Compliance Act, which so far has signed on 77 thousand banks worldwide and 70 countries to report to the US where Americans reside and what accounts they hold. The carrot, on the other hand is the New Streamlined Procedure ...

us expat tax, expatriate tax, american expat tax, fatca, fbar, feie
Robert W. Wood - An astounding 77,000 banks and financial institutions—even some in Russia—have registered under FATCA—the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act. America’s global tax law requires foreign banks to reveal American accounts holding over $50,000. Non-compliant institutions could be frozen out of U.S. markets, so everyone is complying. The fact that 77,000 banks have registered and some 70 countries are providing government help to the IRS means almost no foreign account is secret.

Welcome to the era of Big Data. The IRS has rapidly expanded its technology so that at a glance they can track virtually everything you do worldwide. It is no longer prudent for any American living outside the US to base any personal planning, including US tax compliance, on the assumption that the US government won't locate you. The better assumption is that more than likely the details of your financial and personal life have already come to rest somewhere in a government computer. Here are the 13 ways the IRS currently tracks you:

Perhaps most compelling is the default strategy the IRS employs when pursuing individuals whom they deem to be non-compliant ...

American Expat Tax, US Expat Tax, Tax Tips, Amnesty
Expat Briefing - Major changes to the Internal Revenue Service's offshore voluntary compliance program have been welcomed by American Citizens Abroad. The program is offered to overseas American citizens that have not deliberately failed to abide by their tax obligations.

ACA said that the changes, effective from July 1, 2014, demonstrate that the IRS has listened to ACA, the National Taxpayer Advocate, and tax professionals, "who have highlighted the dire need for a specific IRS program to allow Americans and green card holders resident abroad to enter into tax compliance."

IRS, American Expat Tax, Expatriate Tax, amnesty program
Barrie Mckenna - For three years now, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service has moved to deploy a massive dragnet to stop tax cheats from stashing cash offshore.

The crackdown hinges on identifying every account held by every American anywhere in the world, no matter how small. Collect everything to nab and punish relatively few big law breakers.

The IRS is doing this by coercing foreign financial institutions, and governments, to disclose where Americans hold their money, including bank and brokerage accounts, partnerships, mutual funds and the like. The problem with this approach ...

PictureAaahh, Streamlined Procedure!
You are an American citizen living abroad and you have just found out, through one source and then another source that you are required to file US income taxes every year. Who knew? You may feel overcome with an angst and a fear that life abroad – once blissful and so secure – is about to change and change a lot.

While it is true that, indeed, as an American citizen you do need to file taxes with the United States on your worldwide income each year, the fact that you have not been compliant is not as ominous as it may at first seem. One often hears horror stories, mostly hearsay, of how this American or another’s life had been opened up and read like a book by the IRS. The reality though is not so scary. The IRS realizes that many Americans living abroad did not know of their obligation to file their US taxes and are offering a safe and worry-free path forward ...

Living abroad, us expat tax, expat tax, feieYour Tax Home Could Still Be in the US
Robert Wood - If you live and work abroad you probably know about the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion that can allow you to collect tax-free money. If you qualify, the foreign earned income exclusion can make up for some of them. But some people think they qualify and then do not.

In James F. Daly and Candace H. Daly, the Tax Court ruled that a couple did not qualify even though the husband worked primarily in Iraq and Afghanistan. His tax home was still in the U.S., said the court. The foreign earned income exclusion is a great benefit, currently allowing up to $97,600 tax-free. Daly’s case concerned 2007 ($85,700) and 2008 ($87,600). 

Tax Tips, Americans Living Abroad, ExpatBetter Ingredients, Better Tax Tips.
Michael Lewis - Working and living overseas is an adventure that few Americans get to enjoy. An estimated 6.3 million worked abroad in 2012 - many lived in exotic places, immersing themselves in a new culture often very different from that of the United States. But one obligation shared by U.S. citizens everywhere is the requirement to file and pay U.S. income taxes, regardless of domicile.

The United States is the only industrialized nation that taxes its overseas citizens, even if they are paying taxes elsewhere. As a consequence, if you are an expatriate - an American citizen living abroad - you should be aware of the income tax laws affecting you, as well as the opportunities you have to minimize their impact.

renounce citizenship, fatca, fbar, us expats, expatriates, us expat tax, expatriate taxRecord Numbers Renounce U.S. Citizenship
Robert W. Wood - The number of Americans renouncing United States citizenship or terminating long-term residency is on a record pace. Every 3 months, the government publishes the names of individuals who renounced U.S. citizenship or gave up a green card. This public outing puts Americans on notice who relinquished their rights.

For January to March, 1,001 people are on the latest list. One name you’ll recognize? Tina Turner. The total for one quarter last year was even higher, but it’s nearly a 50% jump from January to March of 2013. With 2,999 for all of 2013, the number for 2014 could top 4,000. But these are just IRS and Treasury Department numbers.