Not anywhere, and certainly not in the Land of the Free….. And you have no idea when you are going to jail.
For those in the Land of the Free, the absolute best that you could do (if you were able to read and understand 40,000 new laws and x,000,000,000 pages of new regulations each year) would be to confirm that you are not doing something that is illegal. But you can’t.
There are no signs that say “It is legal to park your car here”. There are only signs or written laws here or there which prohibit parking. Sometimes its always prohibited, sometimes its prohibited during certain hours of the day on certain hours of the week.
You have to live your life only knowing what you think you know. You think you know that not robbing a bank is not illegal. But you really can’t be sure unless you’ve read and understood and remembered all of those laws and all of those regulations.
This was supposed to have been “solved” by the Bill of Rights and other such constitutional instruments. But these are not useful to you either. You have the right for free speech — for everything which isn’t prohibited and for everything that any particular policeman or prosecutor doesn’t disagree with. You have the right against search and seizure, unless you live and bank outside the US.
So, instead of enjoying your life, feeling free, knowing that what you are doing is legal, and being productive to society, you really should sit down and start reading about all of the things you are doing that are illegal.
And if you are American, you will still need to know all of American laws in addition to the laws where you live–even if you aren’t in America. Your government isn’t going to help you. Your government is going to be doing everything it can to be finding you guilty and fining you. And especially be doing everything it can to find you.
So, sit down and start reading the 70,000 page US tax code. You should have known that —, in addition to filing and paying taxes in the country where you live and receive services — you also should have been filing and paying taxes to the Land of the Free. This is according to an 1860’s law that you should have read about — a law that was made to punish Civil War deserters by forcing them to pay US income taxes from Canada or Europe. Get humping.
Don’t forget to dive into the 1970’s Bank Security Act. What exciting reading it could be. It was made to punish really bad guys—criminals selling drugs and racketeering that they couldn’t convict some other way. The theory was that, if the police could not convict these bad guys using real policework and using real laws, that they would create a new law for which bad guys could be convicted. The police would use the law upon the ones that they knew were bad guys. It’s a double jeopardy law—they could convict a bad guy twice or, if they didn’t have evidence of a real crime, then they could convict a bad guy on a new law.
The new law that they created for the bad guys required that the bad guys would fill out a form (called FBAR), which declared all of the assets that the bad guys had stored outside USA. If these bad guys didn’t fill out their form and send it in yearly to the special police (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, FINCEN), then the bad guys would get jail time and huge fines which could take away the profits that they supposedly made doing all the bad things that bad people do. The law was passed unanymously and police were left with the responsibility to determine which bad guys would get prosecuted. Nobody complained about constitutionality when bad guys got double jail and their assets were confiscated three times over.
The FBAR has a special category of punishment. If someone non-willing does not report oneself to the FInancial Crimes Enforcement Network each year, the fines are up to $10,000 per violation (per account per year). No one complained about this when police and prosecutors were only going after guys that they “knew” were “badguys”
In the late 1990’s, there were only about 300,000 people that knew about and fulfilled this form law which required them to report in to the police each year.
Lo, comes 9-11, and the mood changes. It seems that there are bad guys everywhere, and nobody knows who might be a bad guy. People not banking in US are suspect. US citizens not living in US are suspect. US citizens not living in US and not banking in US could be bad guys.
Lets go to the period 2004 to 2008. The US IRS stops informing US expatriates of the FBAR form in its Publication 54 for expatriates. This creates the potential for even more unknowing persons.
Fast forward to 2009. The 2010 Congress and the President decide not to tell US citizens about what is legal and what is not illegal. Instead, they decide to locate all of the persons who have not been reading the entire book of US law and regulation. In addition, what used to be considered “burden of proof” is now becoming called “imposed certain negative presumptions” The law, FATCA is passed.
FATCA changes the assumption that the FBAR was made for bad guys. FATCA now assumes that all of the 8.7 million US citizens living overseas are bad guys. These bad guys should have been reporting themselves yearly to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.
All of this required a media effort to help entrap victims and to fully collect punishment revenue. The old “The Law is the Law” saying was brought out. Also “Ignorance is no excuse (even when it was the US government enabling the ignorance). These sayings allowed the administration to label everyone except those non-ignorant 300,000 people as the new “BAD GUYs”. “TAX EVADERS”.
Yeah, right. Nonwillfully not following unconstitutional laws that no one knows about. Laws which require people to report themselves yearly to a police agency. Now FATCA is looking for all the US persons that didn’t know about the law which is designed to confiscate their assets.
So, FATCA and FBAR and dual taxation of US citizens are all laws that every US citizen not living in USA should have known about because they should have been reading the 40,000 new laws passed each year.
If you are citizen of the Land of the Free, or if you have a Greencard for the Land of the Free, or if you are one of the 10’s of millions of immigrants living in the Land of the Free, you need to be aware that you are never doing anything that is legal. Prepare yourself for FATCA and FBAR.