The upsurge subsided some in the second quarter but has been ongoing since the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service began aggressively enforcing tax rules for American expatriates. The crackdown on the Foreign Bank Account Report is fresh, though the law has been in existence since 1970. Under the law, U.S. taxpayers are required to file if they held one or more foreign accounts totaling more than $10,000 over the course of a year.
“Many people have been getting caught up on their U.S. tax filings and then renouncing,” said Andrew Mitchel, an international tax lawyer who analyzes Treasury Department data.
For a U.S. citizen or resident alien, the rules for filing income, estate and gift tax returns and paying estimated taxes are generally the same whether one is in the country or abroad. A person’s worldwide income is subject to U.S. income tax, regardless of where he or she resides.
The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act is intended to ensure that the Internal Revenue Service obtains information on accounts held abroad by U.S. taxpayers at foreign financial institutions. (Read more from “Expatriates Choosing to Leave the U.S. Rather Than Pay Taxes” HERE)