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Rock and roll and the expat spirit go hand in hand. The desire to hit the open road, see new places and experience new adventures are staples of both great rock n’ roll and expat life.

Still, a burning questions remains:

How would the lyrics of travel-related rock songs have been dampened had the writers of these songs been aware of U.S. tax requirements which are placed on American expats around the world?

With that in mind, Expat Tax CPA’s is proud to present…..
Popular Rock Songs About Travel: Rewritten to Account for IRS Tax Laws Pertaining To U.S. Expats!

1 – Born In The USA by Bruce Springsteen

Interesting fact about this massive 1984 hit by The Boss: From the title, you might think that this is a patriotic tune. In reality, though, the song is a criticism of the United States’ treatment of Vietnam War vets. If you didn’t know that, don’t feel bad. Ronald Reagan didn’t either, and he actually used this song during his 1984 reelection campaign!

Anyway, if you think the song is already critical of the U.S., imagine if Springsteen had been aware of the onerous tax requirements faced by American expats! And if you’re annoyed that you need to file U.S. taxes from abroad, you may just find yourself singing this in the shower.
Original Lyrics
Born in the U.S.A.,
I was born in the U.S.A.
I was born in the U.S.A.,
born in the U.S.A.

Revised For Expat Taxes
Born in the U.S.A.,
I need to file from overseas today!
And if I delay,
penalties to the IRS I will need to pay!

2) Leaving On A Jet Plane – Written by John Denver, Made Famous By Peter Paul & Mary

This timeless ballad tells the story of two sweethearts about to be separated by great distances. In this version, however, John Denver makes the lyrics even more bittersweet, as the song’s natural heartbreak is compounded by the realities of FBAR, FATCA, and other expat tax requirements.
Original Lyrics
So kiss me and smile for me
Tell me that you’ll wait for me
Hold me like you’ll never let me go
‘Cause I’m leavin’ on a jet plane
Don’t know when I’ll be back again
Oh babe, I hate to go

Revised For Expat Taxes
So kiss me and file for me
So my returns: late they will not be
Foreign holdings: to the IRS I must show
‘Cause I’m leavin’ on a jet plane
Don’t know why I’ll be taxed again
Oh FATCA, I wish you’d go!!!!

3) Where The Streets Have No Name by U2

When it comes to sheer influence on the world’s political stage, no band can match U2. The band (and Bono in particular) have met with countless world leaders, and have expressed strong views on a variety of emotionally charged issues.

It is therefore only natural to wonder how the lyrics of “Where The Streets Have No Name” would have differed if it had been written from the point of view of an American expat.
Original Lyrics
Where the streets have no name
Where the streets have no name
We’re still building
Then burning down love, burning down love
And when I go there
I go there with you
(It’s all I can do)

Revised For Expat Taxes
I’ll report all my gains
‘Cause FATCA’s not a game
I sure wish the American gov
Would make me free of…
FATCA – That’s my prayer!
Stop taxing me too
Because it gives me the blues

4) Ramble On by Led Zeppelin

This song tells the tale of a trip to Mordor, Middle Earth (a hostile region in J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy). While not a particularly common destination for Americans, expats in Mordor would still be required to a) file an annual tax return with the IRS and b) report their foreign bank accounts via an FBAR (assuming their account contained $10,000 or more at any time during the past year).

In this version, Led Zeppelin tells the story of a stubborn expat who refuses to comply, and “Gambles On” by taking her chances that she will not be penalized.

(For the record, this approach is not advisable. All U.S. expats are strongly encouraged to comply with their requirements as quickly as possible).
Original Lyrics
Ramble On, And now’s the time, the time is now, to sing my song!
I’m goin’ ’round the world, I got to find my girl, on my way!
I’ve been this way ten years to the day, Ramble On!
Gotta find the queen of all my dreams.

Revised For Expat Taxes
Gamble On! I’ll be fine, and I vow I won’t play along!
I’m goin’ round the world, they’ll never find this girl, there’s no way!
I haven’t filed for ten years to the day, but I’ll still Gamble On!
That they won’t find all of my foreign revenue streams!
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