Here, with permission, is Cindy’s email to me. We’ve never met, I don’t know her full name, and she is not a client of the firm.
I’ve been in total shock for the past month as I stumbled upon this requirement by total chance.
I’ve lost countless nights of sleep, all of my weekends and evenings to gathering past information in order to file taxes (I’m not taxable), so that I can then submit the FBAR. I’m petrified to do so. I’ll probably have everything I need to do so in the next couple weeks.
This has affected my life in every way – I think it’s sinful that I’m crying myself to sleep, because of the IRS – while I am an honest tax-paying citizen.
My story is probably boring, but I could discuss over the phone if you like if this interests you or might bring something to your article.
I’m 33 and single, I’ve been living in France for 13 years, am naturalized French (and born American).
I had NO idea about these reports until I started searching on tax information for stock options I need to cash due to leaving a company.
The worst part is I’m seriously considering revoking my American citizenship over it (it being thousands of dollars) – and as a proud American, it’s breaking my heart.
Cindy’s reaction is — in my experience — typical, except with less profanity. I would guess that the vast, vast majority of Americans living abroad are unaware of the paperwork requirements that the IRS Commissioner blithely assumes all taxpayers know backwards and forwards. Heh. As if.
The country’s in the very best of hands.
Perverse incentives, Mr. Shulman.