US expats in UK living in fear of IRS discovery

Published:  14 Apr at 6 PM
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An accountancy firm working with US expats living in Britain has revealed a strong increase in the numbers of Americans declaring UK assets to the IRS for the first time.

Fears of a Trump crackdown on the amnesty declared by former President Obama would seen to be the reason for a 75 per cent increase in the number of US expats coming forward this year. The amnesty, introduced in 2012 and known as the Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedure, was intended to entice US taxpayers back into the net without their incurring drastic penalties. Many of those for whom it was intended to apply have lived overseas for many years without reporting to the IRS.

Given that the USA is one of only two world countries insisting on an annual tax return resulting in double taxation for many expat workers overseas as well as retirees on private pensions, Obama’s amnesty was seen as a generous offer to become tax-legitimate without incurring penalties. The Trump administration has not as yet made any announcement about cancelling the amnesty, but US expat living and working overseas are living in fear of a sudden about turn by the unpredictable president.

In spite of the generosity of the Obama offering, it received only a modest uptake from the estimated US expat community in Britain of around 200,000. Accountancy firms estimate some thousands of US citizens are living, working and paying tax in the UK whilst conveniently forgetting their financial obligations to the home country.

The advent of FATCA brought the matter into focus, as did the recent announcement that those found to be avoiding the IRS would have their passports cancelled if they owed over $50,000 in unpaid tax. UK banks are now forced to declare details of US customers’ assets to the IRS, tightening the net still further.

Source: GT News
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