High taxes drive away US citizens

The IRS is a U.S. government program, with the force of the American military behind it, empowered to confiscate earned wages of its citizens. Those who do not comply are imprisoned and broken. Out of control government spending, self interested elected officials, and an entitlement obsessed civil service community drive taxes up. This is the formula primarily responsible for the collapse and bankruptcy of several Mediterranean, European, First world nations, and over time, successfully will hobble America’s economy if nothing is done to reverse the tax addiction of elected officials. Both U.S. political parties are guilty. Margaret Thatcher famously said, “The problem with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.” The current U.S. administration is particularly hostile to private wealth, other than that accrued by government people, or the few big left donors such as entertainers and lawyers, and are relentless provocateurs and instigators of class warfare along with its other habits of divisiveness, including race. The obsession with tax collection of this administration manifests the same exquisite impulse for control and manipulation of populations that characterize the Obama campaign machine. Obama’s governing style similarly has invested with great focus on refining to razor thin edges the ability to track down other people’s money. On August 9, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and many significant economic news outlets reported that the number of US taxpayers who renounced U.S. citizenship hit a record high. The WSJ headline and leader was strong, “Number of Americans Renouncing Citizenship Surges, Expert Says 2013 on Pace to See Highest Number of U.S. Expatriations Ever.” The prime factor for these defections among the many far reaching, across the board tax crack-downs, relates to the fact that all income earned by citizens and permanent residents, even those living abroad, can be subject to U.S. tax. The U.S. is the only nation in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development that taxes citizens wherever they reside. Additionally the US has begun a heavy push to tax all money held overseas. Since 2011, Americans, who disclose their non-U.S. bank accounts to the IRS, must file the more expansive 8938 form that asks for all foreign financial assets, including insurance contracts, loans and shareholdings in non-U.S. Companies. Failure to file the 8938 form can result in a fine of as much as $50,000. This focus on money overseas began following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11,

by Frank Kaufmann, 08/19/13 Page 1

High taxes drive away US citizens
2001, but in 2009 was ratcheted up to focus on tax collection. The crackdown now ensnares smaller violators who were not intentionally evading U.S. taxes. Average American taxpayers now line up to apply for IRS limited-amnesty programs while trying to pay off stiff penalties for past noncompliance. Jeffrey Neiman, a former federal prosecutor describes the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act as a web of rules that is “overly burdensome.” The cost of complying with these rules and regulations can be steep even for people with small tax bills. With this hyper-aggressive, wildly punitive Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, more of the estimated 6 million Americans living overseas are weighing the cost of holding a U.S. Passport. Already the number of those who have renounced U.S. citizenship in the first half of 2013 stands at 1,810 compared with 235 for the whole of 2008. President Hollande of France similarly has brought high profile loss to his country with obsessive and excessive tax greed, most famously seen with the high profile defection of France’s most popular film star Gérard Depardieu. In 2012, Depardieu’s taxes were 85% of his income. Depardieu turned in his French passport, and lives now in Nechin, Belgium, just over the border, where at least a quarter of the inhabitants are wealthy French tax exiles. When Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault declared that it is Depardieu’s patriotic duty to stay and pay, the actor responded, “I was born in 1948. I started working aged 14, as a printer, as a warehouseman, then as an actor, and I’ve always paid my taxes,” France also lost Bernard Arnault, reportedly France’s richest man, rock star Johnny Hallyday and at least 6,000 other French citizens in the past decade. The many-fold leap in U.S. defections in response to the growing and oppressive government reach that is the trademark of the Obama administration should be a bell weather. Citizens can be sure that once in place, such realities will not be reversed or repealed. One can only hope that indicators such as a surge in defections, coupled with the patent criminality of the IRS as revealed in its recent scandals and investigations, will arouse sufficient popular protest to awaken elected officials, hold them accountable, and put them on notice.

by Frank Kaufmann, 08/19/13 Page 2

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