March 25, 2012 - Phil Hodgen

IRS chases another person out of the USA

A real-life story submitted to me today. Draw your own conclusions.

I am a foreigner that lived and worked in the US under a work permit. (Not even a green card)

I struggled the past years to make a living, because I was self-employed under an employee that had few jobs, and under the rules of a work permit, you can legally work only under your US employee, in the US.

In 2009 I learned via the Internet about the fbar requirements, and the vdpi.

My tax accountant that I contacted about this said that it would have nothing to do with me, as I am a foreigner and not an American citizen.

I learned again through another Internet article, that also America “persons” are required to voluntarily disclose. I checked the definition of an America “person” and realized, that is me.

I emailed my tax accountant again, forwarded again the article online, and he said that as long as my home money was just sitting there. That I don’t need to file myself to the programme. He was also the one that had never checked the box in my income return that I had assets in my home country. He had never asked me if I have one.

I called the IR to verify, and filed myself voluntarily, after they said I must do so, to come ‘clean”, and after they promised that a person like me would not be what they are looking for and I would be treated fairly.

Since than I went through hell. I learned that they would take 20% of the highest amount of my assets I ever had on my home countries’ bank account (which I opened when I was 20 years younger) away from me. And an additional 80 000 Dollar for the 8 years I hadn’t filed the fbar. Even so I was not aware about any of these requirements.

I was also not aware that in the vdpi it didn’t matter that I had that money on my home account before I even put a foot in this country, and that this money was mine, as I had paid all taxes due, in my country, where I had earned that money with hard work!

It also didn’t helped that I could proof that even my tax accountant had no idea about these requirements. So how should I know, not an expert in tax law?

I learned that in the vdpi each sub-account back home was defined as an account, counting again with it’s highest value.

In my case, I had over the years many sub-accounts, for better interest rates, at the same bank, upon advise from my bank to cover the bank fees (interest income tax for that filed in my home country). Those sub-accounts amounts went back, for example after 2-3 month being fixed, back into my main account Meaning, even so I had only 50 K in its entire, in some years it counted as if I had 250K, because I had “several (sub) accounts” that are considered by the IRS as individual accounts. So, in on year my assets have been as high as 250K. 20% of that I was to pay to the IRS. Even so I had only 50K in savings in reality.

I went through psychological torture and hell because of the following:

– I found nobody to advise me.

– I was poor, because I had for 2007-2009 no real income because of the economic crisis that started earlier than 2008 in my job-field, (remember it was illegal for me to work elsewhere and not under my employee that provided for my work-permit, but had no jobs to forward to me)

– The assets I once had back home on my account I had long time already wired to my US account and had lived from it, paying rent, and food and transportation.

– I spend 12 hours per day, distressed, desperate, for 2 years to search on the internet for help and information, to find CPA’s, and Tax lawyers

– I tried to find others in my situation, help groups, forums that share real information, only to learn that there wasn’t any useful, and those few with email addresses that I contacted seemed to be too scared to be “investigated or caught “ via the spying tools of the powerful US / IRS mechanisms that we all know violate privacy rights. That was the response that I got, if at all.

– I didn’t had the 20 to 30 000 retainer fees the Tax lawyers demanded to take on my case

– The lawyers that I consulted gave me information where I knew after 10 minutes that I knew more about the vdpi and penalties than they do. I had to pay them, even so I would not know where from, my last savings dwindling

– The IRS had no information, cruel and heartless I was left alone and scared

– I was offered to opt-out. I researched about that, and realized that people in similar situations like mine had been hit even harder with more penalties and costs than under the vdpi.

At the end, I realized one thing. I am poor. I can’t pay lawyers. Didn’t find lawyers anyhow. This is too big for me to handle, the costs would ruin me to a point that I would never ever in my old age recover. That I am not willing to pay for penalties so absurd, so unfair and therefore in my view really criminal.

This vdpi was a high price for me to pay, my true love for this beautiful, special land, and it’s people, remains intact, but my faith in the state is broken. I turned my back to the US.

I left the US, and will never go back. Now I am still in stress, because I don’t know how save I am from the claws of this country. So, my life has been partly ruined, because I lost my live in the US, many dreams, and now I am feeling as if I am still not save, even outside, and again I search for information, and it is difficult, again I seek advise in regards to what the US could now do to me, might do based on my case, and what best I should do to be protected from them.

These are heartbreaking stories. Remember this person’s story when you read the next gloating press release from the Internal Revenue Service. Shameful.

Expatriation Voluntary Disclosure