If you’ve been keeping up with the IRS and Foreign Tax law, you know that it is becoming increasingly difficult to escape FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act). Often, my clients will tell me that they are not really concerned about FATCA, since the IRS does not know they keep a foreign passport and/or that their foreign bank does not know I am a U.S. Citizen.
While it may take the IRS a bit longer to find you, they probably will. Hundreds of banks and foreign financial institutions have signed up to comply with FATCA. And, just because your bank does not know you are U.S. citizen will not save you. First, if your foreign bank has a U.S. address for you, they probably will presume you are a U.S. Citizen (or subject to U.S. tax) and will report you to the IRS.
This is also because even if you are a Legal Permanent Resident (Green Card Holder) and not U.S. Citizen, you are still required to pay U.S. Tax (The United States taxes U.S. Citizens and Green Card Holders on their worldwide tax - certain Foreign Tax Credits will reduce U.S. Tax). As such, the foreign banks will report ALL individuals whose accounts have any relation to the United States.
As to foreign passports, as immigration laws have become stiffer, so have customs and ICE. As a result, even if you are traveling to and from the United States on a foreign passport, the IRS will likely find you.
There is a silver-lining;
Finally, please note that many foreign banks and financial institutions are FREEZING accounts that have any relation to a U.S. owner, signatory or beneficiary – preventing individuals from even accessing their money
SEAN M. GOLDING, ESQ, EA
Sean M. Golding is one of only a few attorneys licensed in both New York & California and has accumulated 15 years of legal experience. He is also an Enrolled Agent, the highest credential awarded by the IRS. He represents clients worldwide in matters involving Civil & Criminal Tax, Probate, Estate Planning, and International Law. Sean’s clients include U.S. and foreign citizens living throughout the states, as well as abroad. Past and current clients reside in Iraq, Japan, Afghanistan, Indonesia, South Africa, Morocco, India, Pakistan, Taiwan, Nicaragua, Switzerland, Canada, Mexico, Philippines, Hong Kong, and Korea. Sean is currently enrolled in one of the nation’s Top Master of Tax Law Programs at the University of Denver in a distance program designed for experienced professionals. He worked his way through school, graduating University of Denver and Whittier Law School and earning Dean’s List distinction at both institutions. He is a partner in the law firm of Golding & Golding (http://www.GoldingLawyers.com).