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Confessions of a tax dodger

by geezer in Paris Wed Oct 14th, 2009 at 05:25:06 AM EST

The level of misinformation about the UBS-tax dodgers story is only equaled by the level of vitriol and hypocrisy.
Almost everyone has it wrong. Perhaps it's the need to have a villain to throw rocks at, or perhaps it's just hate-the-rich, sour grapes. In any case, here's my attempt to set the record straight.


Many years ago my wife and I decided we would like to retire and live in France when we got to retirement age. Since we knew our US social security would not supply a living wage- not by half- we would have to work during retirement. But France expressly prohibits working by holders of the Carte Sejour- visitor's long term visa. What to do? We thought we might work on line. But we were told that if any payments were made to any French account that looked like income earned in France, in a job that might be held by a French person, the hammer falls, and your visa can be lost.
The solution we found was to open a corporate account with a Swiss bank . It cost us $800 to create a corporation in a totally legal manner.
Over the years, we would travel to Europe on cheap winter package deals, go by Geneva and deposit money saved from work at home. Not a lot-- as sailmakers, we didn't have a lot to deposit- but we wanted to keep the thing active, and learn to live in Europe, and that included doing bank things.
We did not declare the account, or pay taxes on it.
Why not?
First, we asked our tax guy in the US. His advice was to not mention the account, because having a foreign account was an automatic audit, a thoroughly unpleasant experience, but to pay the tax on any income, so in the future no one could accuse us of cheating- just of overlooking to mention it. This was many years ago, when the US was more confident of it's status as King of the World, and therefore less defensive- so penalties were far milder.
As to taxes, the account earned so little in interest that it would have made no difference whatever on our taxes anyway.
Years pass, my wife dies, I remarry. We have two children. I have an accident that costs me my legs. I Get a settlement from the insurance company of the guy that ran over me. I come to France for a superb prosthetics program that is simply not available in the US, and never leave, legally remaining on a Carte Sejour. In the wake of 9/11, the US government makes it incredibly difficult to do funds transfers out of any account in the US-- personal appearances are now required. Shit. In my wheelchair? I think, "Aha! We already have that ancient account, with a few dying tech stocks in it, and no cash. We can finally use it!"
----See it coming?
I deposit my settlement in the account, which now has enough money in it for us to live, frugally, for perhaps ten years.
Over five years, the account predictably declines in value to about half it's original value.
The UBS side of the story:
UBS gets greedy, and opens a bunch of branches in the US, laying themselves open to US pressure.
They have aggressively courted US customers, and are alleged to have offered corporate accounts and advice to customers on how to evade taxes. They never did any of this with us.

The plot thickens. The US wants the money from all those accounts of multi-billionaires who allegedly hang out at the UBS club. UBS says, piss off. So the pressure is ratcheted up. A couple high-level executives of UBS get jailed in Florida, and the US demands draconian action or UBS will lose their access to US accounts and money, and perhaps their executives will get to stay a while. Kidnapping? Ransom? Not if the Gov does it- only if a bunch of starving nobodies from some third-world pesthole do it.
We get a notice in the mail that our account data is among thousands UBS has sent along to the IRS--used to pay off the IRS, and get UBS out of the shit. Kiss, kiss.  "Yass, massa, I done wrong. Nevah again, and here's my customers to eat as a token of submission."

Does this sound like the story you've read about in soo many places in the blog world and MSM?

Are there bad guys? Yes, I'm fairly sure there are many rich people who hid lots of money. I also suspect their names remain safe, for the most part, by whatever means that the really rich have to arrange such things.

But are there others like us who just got caught up in a game of economic imperialism typical of the US? Yes--lots more.

Was I a fool? Yes. I should have declared the account.
Did I cheat anybody? Hell no.

There's far more. The penalty I will pay is not based on unpaid taxes, as has been so often said incorrectly- I probably will have little to pay there- This is a punishment. Not for tax evasion, but just for NOT TELLING THEM ABOUT THE ACCOUNT.  It's called an FBAR penalty. It's a straightforward bite, 20%  of the account's PEAK value over the last six years. Sound--not so bad? Remember, these guys in the IRS are tasked with ---getting money, not being nice guys. They know most accounts have declined hugely in value from 2003 till 2008. That apparent 20% will be far greater in reality. The worse your brokerage hit, the more the IRS will take of whatever is left.
Since our account is in consistent decline due to our use of the money in daily living, to supplement the $1100 per month I get from SSA, (yes, all you Europeans, that's what I get as a disabled retiree in the Land of the Brave),I will likely lose almost all of the remains. Our lawyer says it could be worse--he's got a retired customer, 84, who got hit hard by the stock crash, and will lose all of what's left, and still owe a bundle.
This is not an appeal for sympathy, but a reaction to the level of hatred, and the incredible level of misinformation on the whole subject.
What's really going on here?
It looks to me like theater- a straw man diversion - a convenient villain propped up to absorb the angst of both the right and left, in hard times.
I think, in a deeper sense, it's punishment for those who would take their money and lives, and go  elsewhere.

It's the citizens who are viewed as property, and our departure is seen as theft---of ourselves.

Display:
First, we asked our tax guy in the US. His advice was to not mention the account, because having a foreign account was an automatic audit, a thoroughly unpleasant experience, but to pay the tax on any income, so in the future no one could accuse us of cheating- just of overlooking to mention it.

I never used an accountant, filling in the forms myself. There are pretty clear rules in the instructions telling you that you must file a certain form every year with the Treasury (not the IRS) declaring all your accounts, if the total is over a certain amount. I've done it for over 10 years (it used to be a real pain, with a separate form for each account), and have never once been audited.

UBS gets greedy, and opens a bunch of branches in the US, laying themselves open to US pressure.

Reminds me of Citibank. I had an account with CItibank Deutschland (past tense, as it's now Credit Mutuel...). One year I got a letter asking for my Social Security number, threatening to close my account within a few weeks if I didn't comply. My lesson was to warn Americans not to open an account with a bank with ties to the U.S. (Presumably tax evaders wouldn't open an account there anyway...)

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Wed Oct 14th, 2009 at 05:38:12 AM EST
European Tribune - Confessions of a tax dodger
It's the citizens who are viewed as property, and our departure is seen as theft---of ourselves.
The US is unusual in that it taxes its citizens' worldwide income regardless of source or residence.

I am told that Croatia is planning on 1) taking voting rights away from non-resident citizens (on the excuse that this allows double voting at elections - if true, this means they don't know how to run an election); 2) start taxing income of citizens residing abroad.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 14th, 2009 at 06:08:39 AM EST
Migeru:
The US is unusual in that it taxes its citizens' worldwide income regardless of source or residence.
One of the benefits of being an imperial power - you can tax income earned abroad even if it has already been taxed in the country of residence.  You are never outside the imperial sphere of influence regardless of local tax laws.

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Oct 14th, 2009 at 09:54:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
tax income earned abroad even if it has already been taxed in the country of residence.

Well, the USG does give foreign tax credits for income taxes paid to foreign countries, but I don't think it evens out. States also have their own laws about foreign income.  Virginia started taxing foreign derived income of it's residents several years ago and the credit issue is pretty murky.  The State can't touch a foreign resident though like the USG can.

Having foreign derived income has pretty much made my life miserable due to the amount of record keeping I have to do throughout the year and the headaches at tax return filing time.  The income is not that great considering the headaches.  I don't think we would miss the money much.  I declare the foreign bank account each year but we don't keep enough money in it to require a report to Treasury/Customs.  Still, the requirement to report an account to Treasury is onerous in my opinion because it's discriminatory against persons having foreign legitimate, honest foreign connections. What other class of American citizens is required to routinely report his/her bank accounts to the Government?

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears

by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Thu Oct 15th, 2009 at 10:59:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Furthermore, there is a very nasty catch in the ATM. There is a special clause in the instructions that requires you to fill out the ATM form, but filling it out in a different way than specified in the instructions. It's incredibly confusing, but it looks like you compute the ATM without the foreign tax credit, and then divide the result by 10. So  if all your income is from abroad, some of it will be taxed at 2.6%, even if you are living in a country that taxes that income at over 97.4%.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Fri Oct 16th, 2009 at 01:24:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Alternative Minimum Tax

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri Oct 16th, 2009 at 07:56:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The more I think about it, the more incompetent your tax guy seems to be. How did he expect you to declare income from this account? You would have to specify the source, which would already alert them to the foreign account. And the penalties were already draconian back in 2004 (the earliest I could find online) - it won't help you now, but it looks like the 20% you are being charged is the "amnesty" rate for people who voluntarily disclose their account; they could have fined you the full amount of the account, up to a maximun of $100.000 (we wouldn't want to hurt the really rich, would we), so that a tax consultant should have known better than to suggest taking that risk.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Wed Oct 14th, 2009 at 06:52:13 AM EST
My "incompetent accountant" was the son of the chief IRS special investigator during the Nixon administration.
Nixon sent his flunky around to my friend's father with a list of the guys Nixon wanted to crucify. It was big news at the time--perhaps you are (fortunately) too young to remember. The IRS was to be the ultimate weapon. My friend's dad told the flunky- and Nixon- to fuck off. He thought he knew full well the nasty consequences that might follow- he planned to retire soon, anyway. Boy, was he wrong.
He was ultimately charged with child abuse. Yes, child abuse. He beat the rap,(four years of lawyers) but his life was ruined, he lost it and went off to the bug farm for some R&R. When he got out, he turned. He became the best adviser in the world for those who wanted to fuck over the IRS. He taught his son the whole thing- the key data for the profiles the IRS use(d) to define cases to audit or etc. As to the rest of your comment, none of this "amnesty" program existed then, and the IRS guidelines for FBAR penalties (which I have) specifically recommended agents not levy any draconian charges, since the purpose of the penalty structure was only to insure future compliance This all changed in 2004.. and again in 2007...
Declare under "other" --easy, at the time. I should have done so, but the income was so small it would have changed nothing.
I'm not being charged 20% You fell for it. I'm being charged about 60%. I explained that.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Wed Oct 14th, 2009 at 01:52:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I apologize for misunderstanding the background, but I would suspect that if they wanted to screw you the last thing to do would be to let them get you on a trivial matter like declaring an account.

As for the last point, though, I think I did understand you. The penalty structure seems to apply to all the years that you did not file the form, so it could be 100% of the original value, i.e., much more than the current value. So it would be 60% with the "amnesty" and some percentage I don't like to even think of without it.

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Wed Oct 14th, 2009 at 02:09:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
About right. But it used to be a trivial matter. No more. Think capital flight.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Thu Oct 15th, 2009 at 04:17:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Brilliant concluding statement.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Wed Oct 14th, 2009 at 08:33:09 AM EST
Umm, you've been here more than 5 years haven't you ? Can't you get yourself made into a nautralised citizen by dint of residence ? Then you can stick a finger up at Uncle Sam.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Oct 14th, 2009 at 10:01:26 AM EST
His income is from Social Security, and they could presumably come after that. Also, 5 years is not always enough - in Italy, for example, it's 10 years for non EU-citizens.

Furthermore, even if you give up your U.S. citizenship, the U.S. can still claim taxes for a number of years after that. Of course, with no assets in the U.S, you should be safe if you don't visit the U.S. - aassuming that the U.S. doesn't decide that your country is next on the list for regime change.

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Wed Oct 14th, 2009 at 10:31:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, we intend to research that. At least for the girls, that might be possible. And for Ivonne. But my "Tete de granite" for languages will probably prevent me from French citizenship.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Wed Oct 14th, 2009 at 03:35:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Does France really have that a serious language test for citizenship? I suspect your knowledge will be better than many other applicants anyway, (It's unlikely to be as easy as the U.S. I have a cousin whose test consisted of writing "The cat sat on the mat"....)

I've started thinking about Italian citizenship (long term, in case the UK. leaves the EU and Scotland does not leave the UK...) and they don't seem to have any exam or language test.

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Wed Oct 14th, 2009 at 04:38:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's an issue we only recently considered- we were afraid French citizenship would cost me my SSI pension, even though it's a pension based on taxes already paid. The level of vitriol is high and climbing, and the usual response in the US to domestic blunders seems to be to squash someone.
But the value of the pension is so small it almost does not matter these days.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Thu Oct 15th, 2009 at 04:14:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've a feeling it's a long time until they do it (if at all) to people who have another citizenship. But I wouldn't give up my American citizenship - I can definitely see them doing it to non-citizens (I did have a colleague who applied for US citizenship for precisely this reason. That was well over 10 years ago; this isn't the first time this has been going on).
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Thu Oct 15th, 2009 at 04:41:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But I wouldn't give up my American citizenship -
The US does their best to discourage dual citizenship. I think I would be faced with that choice. Any one with experience, speak up- I could use the info.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Thu Oct 15th, 2009 at 04:48:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They used to, but now they pretty much restrict themselves to saying that they don't "encourage" it. I think you would have no problems, as (if I remember correctly) native-born Americans have quite strong protection from being stripped of their citizenship due to a Supreme Court ruling. But I'd be glad of more details as well, since that might be an issue if I apply for Italian citizenship.

The other thing to check is what the French attitude is. They may have strong rules forcing you to renounce it (just swearing allegiance to France and renouncing other ties as part of a standard ceremony doesn't seem to count any more as far as the U.S. is concerned).

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Thu Oct 15th, 2009 at 04:54:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have no personal experience (yet), but France accepts dual citizenship.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Oct 15th, 2009 at 05:31:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From the French government Public Service site:

Quel est le régime de la double nationalité ? - Service-public.frWhat are the rules of dual nationality? Service-public.fr

La loi française n'exige pas qu'un étranger devenu français renonce à sa nationalité d'origine ou qu'un Français ayant acquis une nationalité étrangère renonce à la nationalité française. 

French law does not require a foreigner who has become French to give up her/is original nationality, or that a French person having acquired a foreign nationality should give up their French nationality.
......
Un Français binational ne peut cependant faire prévaloir sa nationalité française auprès des autorités de l'autre Etat dont il possède aussi la nationalité lorsqu'il réside sur son territoire. Ce binational est alors généralement considéré par cet Etat comme son ressortissant exclusif et, il s'en suit que la protection diplomatique de la France ne peut s'exercer contre l'autre Etat dont dépend le binational et, réciproquement, pour l'Etat étranger qui ne peut faire bénéficier de sa protection le binational sur le territoire français. A bi-national French person, however, cannot claim precedence for her/is French nationality with the authorities of the other country s/he holds the nationality of, when s/he resides in that country. In this case, the dual citizen is generally considered by that country as exclusively its national, and it follows that the diplomatic protection of France cannot be applied against the other country the bi-national is a dependent of, and, reciprocally, the foreign state cannot extend its protection to the dual citizen on French territory.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Oct 15th, 2009 at 05:50:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is one of the best resources regarding US dual citizenship. It's by a private party but he's done his homework...

http://www.richw.org/dualcit/

Basically a non-issue unless you've the need for a top level US gov. security clearance. And who wants one of those, anyway?  :-P

by gioele (gioele(daught)sandler(aaaattttt)gmail(daught)kom) on Thu Oct 15th, 2009 at 05:18:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Or if you're an ambassador for the other country. Just by chance, in today's Ha'aretz
Michael Oren, Israel's ambassador to Washington, told Haaretz last month that he was "enjoying every minute" of his new job. But according to another interview with the New York Times, before all the fun started, he had to undergo one painful experience.

He told of how difficult it was for him to sign an official "oath of renunciation" of his American citizenship. He had little choice, though, as Israeli ambassadors are not allowed to hold dual citizenships.

The ceremony was so traumatic that his friends from the American Embassy in Tel Aviv supported and hugged him after it was all over.

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Fri Oct 16th, 2009 at 02:34:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
US property

Renunciation of U.S. Citizenship

A person wishing to renounce his or her U.S. citizenship must voluntarily and with intent to relinquish U.S. citizenship:

  1. appear in person before a U.S. consular or diplomatic officer,
  2. in a foreign country (normally at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate); and
  3. sign an oath of renunciation

Renunciations that do not meet the conditions described above have no legal effect. Because of the provisions of section 349(a)(5), Americans cannot effectively renounce their citizenship by mail, through an agent, or while in the United States. In fact, U.S. courts have held certain attempts to renounce U.S. citizenship to be ineffective on a variety of grounds, as discussed below....

A person who wants to renounce U.S. citizenship cannot decide to retain some of the privileges of citizenship, as this would be logically inconsistent with the concept of renunciation. Thus, such a person can be said to lack a full understanding of renouncing citizenship and/or lack the necessary intent to renounce citizenship, and the Department of State will not approve a loss of citizenship in such instances....

but

E. TAX & MILITARY OBLIGATIONS /NO ESCAPE FROM PROSECUTION

Also, persons who wish to renounce U.S. citizenship should also be aware that the fact that a person has renounced U.S. citizenship may have no effect whatsoever on his or her U.S. tax or military service obligations (contact the Internal Revenue Service or U.S. Selective Service for more information). In addition, the act of renouncing U.S. citizenship will not allow persons to avoid possible prosecution for crimes which they may have committed in the United States, or escape the repayment of financial obligations previously incurred in the United States or incurred as United States citizens abroad.

F. RENUNCIATION FOR MINOR CHILDREN

Parents cannot renounce U.S. citizenship on behalf of their minor children. Before an oath of renunciation will be administered under Section 349(a)(5) of the INA, a person under the age of eighteen must convince a U.S. diplomatic or consular officer that he/she fully understands the nature and consequences of the oath of renunciation, is not subject to duress or undue influence, and is voluntarily seeking to renounce his/her U.S. citizenship.



Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri Oct 16th, 2009 at 08:06:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That doesn't sound too bad. All that is needed is to convince the consular officer. Compare with Greece
For the renouncement a declaration is submitted before the Greek Consul of the place of residence of the interested person, as well as an application to the Minister of the Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization. The approval of the application is effective after the consent of the Citizenship Council, with a decision of the Minister of the Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization and it is published at the Government Gazette.
or Israel
Once Israeli citizenship is acquired, it becomes very hard to renounce. Citizenship is seen as a personal allegiance between the individual and the State in which rights and obligations for life are a central component. To acquire citizenship, the individual must be willing to risk his or her life for the country, via military service. Citizenship may only be renounced once the Minister of the Interior has expressed his consent on the individual's request. Under section 10 of the Citizenship Law, an Israeli citizen of full age may decide to renounce their citizenship. This renunciation will only take effect once the Minister of the Interior has expressed consent over the claim.
Conversion to Christianity or Islam may help with getting that approval...
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Fri Oct 16th, 2009 at 08:30:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You know, I never really put the thought in the forefront of my mind- seems like a draconian move, and it never occurred to me that any protection of any sort might accrue. I guess I've lived so much of my life on the outside of the nation-state I just never expect much from them.

Also, my deep shame for my countrymen and women who have ignored, failed to resist the ongoing tragedy of US actions does not require the abandonment of the moral obligation to speak out, to avoid making the same mistake I rail against. And, considering their ability to shrug off criticism or comment from "abroad", it seems likely that one can speak more effectively from the inside.

Still, I deeply admire the French, for all their imperfections, and would like my kids to be French citizens.

As for me?

I'm 67. By the time I speak good French, I'll be dead.  

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Tue Oct 20th, 2009 at 05:31:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
US State Department Services Dual Nationality

U.S. law does not mention dual nationality or require a person to choose one citizenship or another. Also, a person who is automatically granted another citizenship does not risk losing U.S. citizenship. However, a person who acquires a foreign citizenship by applying for it may lose U.S. citizenship. In order to lose U.S. citizenship, the law requires that the person must apply for the foreign citizenship voluntarily, by free choice, and with the intention to give up U.S. citizenship.

Intent can be shown by the person's statements or conduct. The U.S. Government recognizes that dual nationality exists but does not encourage it as a matter of policy because of the problems it may cause.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Oct 15th, 2009 at 05:58:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From the same site
The Department has a uniform administrative standard of evidence based on the premise that U.S. citizens intend to retain United States citizenship when they obtain naturalization in a foreign state, subscribe to a declaration of allegiance to a foreign state, serve in the armed forces of a foreign state not engaged in hostilities with the United States, or accept non-policy level employment with a foreign government.

DISPOSITION OF CASES WHEN ADMINISTRATIVE PREMISE IS APPLICABLE

In light of the administrative premise discussed above, a person who:

is naturalized in a foreign country;

takes a routine oath of allegiance to a foreign state;

serves in the armed forces of a foreign state not engaged in hostilities with the United States, or

accepts non-policy level employment with a foreign government,

and in so doing wishes to retain U.S. citizenship need not submit prior to the commission of a potentially expatriating act a statement or evidence of his or her intent to retain U.S. citizenship since such an intent will be presumed.

Here is the key Supreme Court ruling (which incidentally seems to answer my doubt on whether naturalized citizens have the same protection as natural born Americans - the ruling is based on the 14th Amendment, which applies to both).
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Thu Oct 15th, 2009 at 06:20:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
geezer in Paris: we were afraid French citizenship would cost me my SSI pension, even though it's a pension based on taxes already paid.

By 'SSI' do you mean 'social security income' or 'supplemental security income'.

If the former, than French citizenship will not cost you your social security benefits.

However, if the former:

WHO  IS  ELIGIBLE  FOR  SSI ?  

Anyone who is:

  • aged (age 65 or older);
  • blind; or
  • disabled.

And, who:
        ...
  • is a resident of one of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, or the Northern Mariana Islands; and
  • is not absent from the country for a full calendar month or more than 30 consecutive days;

Understanding Supplemental Security Income (SSI)-- SSI Eligibility


Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Thu Oct 15th, 2009 at 06:05:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry, the block quote applies to the latter, not former, case, i.e. SSI = "supplemental security income".

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Thu Oct 15th, 2009 at 06:07:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We deduced that. Thanks very much. I meant the Social Security pension, not the supplemental.
Sobering. I need to look into the supplemental more- may already be history.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Tue Oct 20th, 2009 at 05:39:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
AFAIK you don't need to be a US citizen to get SS retirement checks.

When I worked in the US, they sure didn't ask for my citizenship before withholding from my paychecks :)

According to the last statement I received, the only reason I'm not eligible when I turn 65 is that I have not worked enough years in the USA (still 3-4 years short), but that's all.

by Bernard on Thu Oct 15th, 2009 at 04:36:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think his main concern is that that could change. If you have budget problems, cutting benefits to nonvoters would be quite tempting...
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Fri Oct 16th, 2009 at 01:20:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
exactly. And I still think the US actions vis. tax havens relate more to the need for a goat and capital flight than any sense of tax fairness.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Tue Oct 20th, 2009 at 05:41:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here is the US-France Social Security agreement:

http://www.ssa.gov/international/Agreement_Pamphlets/france.html#coverage

by gioele (gioele(daught)sandler(aaaattttt)gmail(daught)kom) on Thu Oct 15th, 2009 at 05:24:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I appears to me that your title is necessarily self-deprecatory. You were never a tax dodger, but rather someone who wanted (and needed) to live outside the US sphere of influence.  Your crime was not to continue to act as a docile citizen showing fealty to the realm.

Some questions - would it matter if you took out French citizenship?  Could you? On the presumption that you don't want to return to the USA - what can the IIRS do to you?  Go after your pension?  (PS don't answer publicly here if you don't want the IIRS to follow!)  Google is not always your friend.

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Oct 14th, 2009 at 10:01:49 AM EST
that should have said unnecessarily...

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Oct 14th, 2009 at 10:55:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
US tax law is so complex that it cannot avoid being capricious.  

That's in good times--and we have now moved into a time of lawless government.  

You said it best:  Our overlords do not like for serfs to run away from the plantation.  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Fri Oct 16th, 2009 at 06:26:09 PM EST
Yes.
Thanks to all for the kind thoughts and real help, and we are determined to stay-
Ivonne and I are willing to sell pencils on the corner if it comes to that, but I'm not dead yet- there may be another career left in the old brain.
Time will tell.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Tue Oct 20th, 2009 at 05:45:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Too late for the diary, but the myopic, dead-cold policies of our politicians make my blood run cold.  The sense of abandonment and betrayal for normal people with foreign interests, being treated almost as traitors, is appalling. The abuse of power about double taxation is unconscionable.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.
by metavision on Sun Nov 8th, 2009 at 06:03:53 PM EST
By the way, the group Democrats Abroad was working against the double taxation issue through a petition, a year or two ago, so they may be a source of info.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.
by metavision on Sun Nov 8th, 2009 at 06:07:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I believe they still are. They send people to Washington once or twice a year to lobby.

In addition to double taxation, people from the US transferred to Europe by their corporations are subject to taxation on their salaries and on any differential paid them to make up for the dollar decline. Apparently, it turns into an accounting nightmare for both employee and corporation.

by Mnemosyne on Sun Nov 8th, 2009 at 07:39:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Those US based international corporations are the most likely avenue for any change in US tax treatment of income earned abroad. The corporations are the REAL constituents of the government.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Nov 9th, 2009 at 04:34:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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