Introduction â€“ During the 2007 legislative year in the USA there was a bill in congress that almost got enacted into law. This bill would have imposed an exit tax on individuals leaving the USA as in no longer being permanent residents or renouncing their citizenships. This bill was referred to as H.R. 3056, "Tax Collection Responsibility Act of 2007. This bill did not pass in 2007. Similar bills were introduced during the last six sessions of the USA congress. There are people bearing down hard to get this bill passed. Since we are now in the end of President Bush term we should watch carefully to see if this bill passes. They may wait until after the election to pass it but still in time. This is a common tactic they use with controversial legislation.
Remember the vast majority of the USA is either: retired, unemployed, in prison, disabled with pension, or works for a government either city, county, state and national. It appears (depending on who you talk to) that only a few million people are left working in the private sector in the USA and many of those are in service industry positions as in "Would you like fries with that". The only people likely to be upset are the retirees and people in the private sector who are fed up and planning to leave. To the other they can care less and this is a way for their government to extract more money to dole out to them so the will be cheering the legislators on.
Why They Leave â€“ There are a number of reasons. The short list would be as follows: Lack of affordable healthcare and drugs in the USA, crime, high cost of living, lack of freedom due to war on terror posture they have taken, dropping real estate prices, declining dollar has eroded confidence in the country, large amounts of bankruptcies, business failures and businesses moving overseas. A general trend is retired people sell their home, cars, furniture and then move living offshore their savings and pensions if any. They find prescription drugs generally do not require a prescription and cost about 35% of what they were used to paying. They find medical care to be far cheaper and find out doctors make house calls for as little as $25.00. They buy a nice home or condo for less than the USA prices although in some countries the recently declined USA prices are actually less. If you are on a fixed income like social security from the USA it is like the government gave you a decrease of 50% since the dollar used to be on par with the Euro five years ago and now it take 1.5 USD to buy one Euro. Panama is on the USD so when a European comes here they get a 50% discount on the real estate, cars etc. Americans have it tough these days. Americans have to worry not only about inflating prices in the offshore market but also the declining dollar. Many have realized this and bought property early on and some have switched their savings to Euros.
The fine details are meaningless since when the bill is reintroduced it will undoubtedly be different but the general scope of the bill will be the same and that general scope is to deter expatriation and make it economically painful as well. The basic idea was to discourage people from leaving the USA and to collect more taxes. They were imposing a tax of 30% on all assets valued over $600,000 lumped together. This was to be based on fair market value at the time of the expatriation. This 30% would have applied to any unrealized gains from IRA's, pensions plans etc. If you gifted assets same 30% would apply. They also had income levels for past five years and a figure of total indebtedness. Essentially they were saying if you paid this new tax you would not have to be paying IRS taxes for 10 years which is the way it is for expatriates now who renounce their citizenship. The proposed bill would tax those not giving up their citizenships just leaving.
They also were addressing people who still remain USA citizens but just reside out of the USA long term. The actual formulas for years spent outside the USA, dollar amounts etc are not worth much except since they will be different in the next bill but they do show you the direction it is going generally speaking. These things change every time legislation is reintroduced. The way the real estate market is dropping may cause them to reduce the amount from $600,000 to $350,000. We do not know.
[...] The penalty is never being able to return to the USA again. So they seem to be imposing some sort of ruling regarding your taxes had to be paid for the past five years (paid not filed).
There are a lot of people outside the USA who have passports from the USA who never ever filed a US Tax Return. This will hit them hard. We are told that 63% of Americans residing abroad never file any tax returns. We can expect an IRS procedure to be part of the process when leaving or entering the USA when this is enacted and they will have power to block your entrance or departure. It is coming just a question of when. Perhaps they will go to full exit visas, which require an IRS clearance. Imagine your friendly IRS agent knowledgeable in all the applicable laws and regulations having power over whether or not you can leave the country. When entering a clearance may also be required. They may confiscate funds you are carrying and go though your luggage looking for more things to seize. Then they can examine your records, passport, computer, cell phone etc. before you get an IRS interrogation. Think we are kidding? How many people would have believed 10 years ago that their laptops and cell phones could be confiscated for no cause when entering the USA or that they could not bring a bottle of water onto the plane. Did you know that up until the early 1970â€™s people would get on airplanes in the USA with their hunting rifles in cases and lay them down in the aisle. You used to be able to just walk onto planes doing shuttle runs like New York City to DC or San Francisco to Los Angeles and just buy your ticket on the plane. Look at things now. So donâ€™t think IRS clearances are not around the corner. This proposed legislation hints at it starting.
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Someone posted this on the forum dontgetmarried. I don't know which link he got the information from, but its scary.
Being used to the USSR I am very mindful of authorities. I file all my 1040s and I notify my state tax authorities by mail every year that I am abroad. I also take care not to make too much money. Presently if you make less that $80,000+ you do not have to pay tax but you still have to file. I file. I also notify the Treasury Department whenever I have more than 10K in a foreign bank account. It is all a bit of a nuisance, but it is not very time consuming- the whole thing take about one-two hours or less and is done once a year. Also, I strive to be "rich" not by making more money but by finding cheaper countries to live in. This is how I deal with it. The smart ones will learn to slither around these restrictions which is the Asian way of doing things.
A brain is a terrible thing to wash!
Why do you bother doing this? If it's in a foreign account the government can't touch it I thought. How would they ever know you had money overseas? Couldn't you stash money in Switzerland or Panama and not worry about the government getting a hold of anything you don't report?
"The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor and stoic philosopher, 121-180 A.D.