April 5, 2011 - Phil Hodgen

This is what a tax evader looks like, Mr. Shulman

This is the real life situation for a person who called me, sufficiently anonymized so that only my caller would know.

American citizen.  Moved abroad as a child, has lived abroad since then.  Now has college-age kids.  Spouse is a citizen of the country of resident, and is a school teacher.  She filed tax returns because she never worked at a wage-paying job.  They paid their taxes scrupulously in the home country.

Her only crime is that she is on joint accounts with her husband.

Participated in the first Voluntary Disclosure Program.

Penalty?  $46,000.

She started weeping on the phone when she called me.  This is money set aside for the kids’ education.  She said she had always been proud to be an American citizen.  Now she is ashamed of her heritage.

Way to go, Commissioner Shulman.  This is what tax evaders look like.

Yep.  You sure showed her.  And you showed millions of other Americans living abroad exactly what to expect if they raise their hands and try to clean up their paperwork.

Voluntary Disclosure