US citizens abroad get the tax letter

“The other day, my accountant called me with bad news. I have to write a cheque for $593.12 to the U.S. government,” Margaret Wente wrote for The Globe and Mail yesterday. I was floored. I’m Canadian. I have a Canadian passport. I haven’t lived in the United States since I was 14. I pay a pile of taxes here. Why should I pay money to a foreign power? ‘It’s a new investment tax,’ he said. ‘It’s supposed to help pay for Obamacare.’ Welcome to the nightmare of U.S. citizens abroad. There are hundreds of thousands of us in Canada, and millions more worldwide. Most of us are law-abiding people. But the U.S. government is treating us like tax cheats. It also says that any ‘U.S. person’ (meaning anyone born in the United States, or even anyone with American parents) must keep filing U.S. tax returns, forever – or else. This news has come as a nasty shock. Take the case of Carol Tapanila, a former American who lives in Calgary. Her developmentally disabled son, now an adult, is also deemed to be American, even though he was born in Canada. As she put it in an interview with the CBC, ‘he’s entrapped.’ Trying to figure out how to comply with U.S. tax laws has already cost her tens of thousands of dollars, and she’s had to pay taxes on her son’s disability savings plan, which the U.S. government has called an ‘offshore trust.'” Read the full article here.

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