American Taxpayers Living Abroad

“FATCA was created in part because of the fear of the United States government that the globalization of finance would give far more people the opportunity to hide their money. It was becoming very clear that it wasn't going to be just the very wealthy, but that it could really be the middle class and upper-middle class that could start moving income offshore.”  Richard Harvey, Villanova Tax Law Professor, FATCA Co-author.

Greg Dewald, Bright!Tax, Expatriate Heros
Cincinnati Startup assisting 7 million US expats worldwide lifts anchor in NYC, scouts international sites for new HQ.

New York, NY -- Though it had been in the works for some time, just this summer, the US Treasury Department unleashed a regulatory tsunami upon US citizens living and working abroad, the Foreign Asset Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). Uncle Sam and President Obama haven’t exactly spelled out “FATCAT”, but they’re only one letter off. And though their initial interest was to target the 1 percent with significant quiet offshore holdings, the average American expat has, unfortunately, been caught in the cross-hairs ...

Greg Dewald, Bright!TaxGreg Dewald, Founder and CEO, Bright!Tax
Bowdeya Tweh, Cincinnati Enquirer 

The growing complexity of financial disclosures of American citizens living abroad could be a boon for a Covington native's business.

Entrepreneur Greg Dewald launched Bright!Tax, a cloud-based, U.S. income tax preparation firm, in 2010. But now, the company's founder and chief executive is looking to expand the operation and open new office space in Europe or Asia, reflecting the global reach of the business.

Dewald said Bright!Tax employs 10 certified public accountants, but in the next few years, he wants to grow that number to 50. Bright!Tax has a data center in New York City, but the company and its associates all work and interact virtually. In a few years, Bright!Tax has grown to work with clients in 100 countries, Dewald said. The business is targeting the seven million U.S. citizens that live or work abroad but have to abide by federal tax rules that require Americans to file tax returns each year.

renounce citizenship, americans leaving US, us expat tax, american expatriate tax
Ella Jameson - America; land of the free, home of the brave. For years the US has been seen as the land of opportunity, the country where dreams come true. But for how much longer? There are an estimated 7 million Americans living abroad and the number is only increasing -- over 150,000 Americans departed the country last year. It isn't just that they're leaving, either -- more people than ever before are choosing to renounce their US citizenship.

In the first three months of 2013 679 American citizens chose to turn in their US passports, the highest number for more than 15 years. There was surprise at this high number, but more shock was to come during the last quarter of 2013 when a staggering 1,130 US citizens opted to renounce their citizenship. This is the second highest quarterly number ever, and 1,115 more than the same period just four years ago.

So what's causing so many Americans to leave home with so little hesitance? Predictably, the leading factors are financial, but monetary reasons are not the exclusive cause.

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 ...