whats the reality about bank and tax filing for expats

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whats the reality about bank and tax filing for expats


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Old 19th April 2019, 04:02 PM
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Default whats the reality about bank and tax filing for expats

I just moved back to Germany after living in the US for 20 years, am german born first and naturalized american. Had to open up a bank account here and was asked a dumb question about being american, of course i said no. My german ID, passport and german birth of place could confirm that. But it made me read up on the whole BS the "free" america imposes on its citizens, honestly regret becoming US citizen by now. So I have zero intention to ever going back to the US to live, of course to visit but I doubt I'd spend more than 1 month in the usa again. social security is a joke to begin with and i doubt that anyone still gets anything in 20 years, so am not concerned, especially since i'll start up in Germany now and will have german pensions anyways by then. I read over all those US-based tax lawyers and their scare-agenda to people in order to gain business.
Question is, in my situation do I really care about fbar, fatca, tax reporting, etc especially since nothing ties me to the usa other than a passport? secondly all those penalties for failing to file fbar or failing to do a tax return, are they actually REALLY applied to expats and IF SO what are the changes that the IRS could ever even collect anything.... it all appears to me that its purely a scare tactic of the IRS and a bunch of lawyers trying to gain business.

I would also need to mention that i have moderate finances under 100k and maybe a job in Germany paying say 40k a year, so i am by far a big fish for anyone. I understand it if i'd sit on a boat load of money and assets that the US wants to collect more but for a regular guy that's maybe slightly above average it shouldn't really matter.

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Old 19th April 2019, 08:19 PM
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Users Flag! Originally from usa. Users Flag! Expat in france.
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It basically comes down to your own assessment of your risk level and how much you're willing to bear. The key "risk factors" involve any financial assets you may or may not have in the US (which are those assets the IRS could potentially seize if they decide you owe them "significant" sums), and any likelihood that you might either want to return to the US for the long-term or to draw US social security (or if you have a US IRA, 401K or other deferred tax pension fund).

There are some miscellaneous risks - such as a law that permits denial of a US passport to anyone determined to owe back taxes in the amount of $50,000 or more (currently, at least). Though they don't seem to be too keen on enforcing that one, the situation could potentially change in the future.

But without a US birthplace, you're probably in a better position to ignore things than someone born in the US, who has that US birthplace on their "foreign" passport. Or, you can avoid the whole risk thing by renouncing, which costs $2350 at your local US consulate.

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Old 20th April 2019, 12:14 AM
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Short answer: it's a big scare tactic and there's no way to collect any penalties, fines, taxes etc. if you don't have assets in the US.

If you have a German birthplace on your ID, just keep your mouth shut about having acquired US citizenship and you'll be fine. You did the right thing. As long as the banks aren't aware of your having had a US address in the past, all clear, no FATCA reporting. Don't file any US tax returns from Germany and you've effectively disappeared from the IRS radar.

That at least is the current situation. Who knows what the future might hold, but as long as you're a German-born German citizen living in Germany, I wouldn't worry about the US government finding you.
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Old 21st April 2019, 12:58 PM
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Users Flag! Originally from germany. Users Flag! Expat in portugal.
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I agree with Nononymous. It is not so good when bankers, administrators, etc. know too much personal about someone.
Data protection often serves only the counterpart (better cash instead of delivering their own Vita at each checkout), the same is with second passports.
In addition, it is not always helpful to wave with certain passports ...

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