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This is a follow-up on a post dealing with the same topic in late 2012, but since conditions have probably changed since then, I thought I'd ask roughly the same question.

Background: I'm a US citizen and have spent almost my entire adult life living and working abroad. My passport is up for renewal soon, so I visited the website of my local US embassy to review the current requirements. The form to fill out is the "DS FORM 82" and it requires that I enter my Social Security number. There was also this information on the form:

"Your Social Security number will be provided to the U.S: Department of Treasury, used in connection with debt collection and checked against lists of persons ineligible or potentially ineligible to receive a U.S. passport book and/or card, among other authorized uses."

This is, to my knowledge, rather new. In the past, the State Department did not communicate with the IRS. I would also add that there is a $500 fine from the IRS for failing to provide a SSN on the form.

I have a SSN, but my problem is that I have been paying taxes in the countries where I have lived, not in the US, and have managed to "fly under the radar" for many years and avoid the annual hassle of filling out 1040 forms (note: I don't make enough money to pay taxes in the US anyway). Now, I'm wondering if I will get into hot water with the IRS for non-compliance. Apparently, I recently discovered that the US government has aggressively stepped up its monitoring of expats (i.e. FACTA and FBAR etc.), essentially forcing everyone to jump through the hoops and make a full financial disclosure or potentially face very dire consequences.

My question is what are the chances of running afoul of the IRS if I simply enter my SSN on the passport renewal application form? Does anyone have any recent experience with this?

The other option, of course, is to hire a CPA (I was quoted a price of $1,800 dollars by one today) and make use of the so-called "streamlined procedure", which is essentially an IRS amnesty program for folks like myself who have been somewhat remiss in keeping up with the latest legal developments in this area.

Any thoughts? Anyone else in a similar position?

Btw, I'm a total newbie to the site and very glad to be here.
 

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The requirement isn't all that new. Give them your US social security number like they ask for. You're only in for difficulties if you have US source income that you haven't filed on. Generally speaking, they have little or no insight into foreign source income - especially prior to 2014 when all this FATCA stuff started kicking in regarding foreign bank and financial institution reporting.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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I would just renew the passport and not worry about the IRS. There's no evidence that they've stepped up enforcement against Americans overseas who don't owe them money. It's not even clear that the SSN data gets passed over from the State Department, or that the IRS does anything with it.

In other words, passport renewal is no reason not to continue staying off the radar. I renewed mine a few years ago with no plans to file tax returns, though as a minimal precaution I took advantage of temporary residence in Europe to do the renewal from an address in a different country, so that any follow-up would disappear into the void.

Tread carefully with professional advice, which will almost always recommend compliance, which is expensive and, if you have no US assets, income or property, unnecessary. FATCA can, however, cause you problems with banks in your country of residence. Educate yourself by looking at the Isaac Brock Society site and the American Expats Facebook group.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the quick responses, Bev and Nononymous. Very encouraging views indeed! I also very much appreciate the tip about the Isaac Brock Society and the American Expats Facebook group.
 

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Worst thing you can do is panic and rush to become compliant. Particularly now given that there's a small chance that the new US government might, if it's not too busy laying waste to everything in sight, get rid of FATCA or otherwise hobble the IRS so that they have even less incentive or ability to pursue US citizens abroad.

Have you had any issues with your bank in Denmark? Typically the folks in the worst position are Americans living in countries where they are denied banking services because of that US birthplace, and if they don't have an second passport then it's not possible (or at least very unwise) to renounce.
 

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Worst thing you can do is panic and rush to become compliant. Particularly now given that there's a small chance that the new US government might, if it's not too busy laying waste to everything in sight, get rid of FATCA or otherwise hobble the IRS so that they have even less incentive or ability to pursue US citizens abroad.
Yes, I am getting that message loud and clear! There is no telling what the next four years will bring. For all we know, the new administration might decide to scrap citizen-based taxation entirely in favor of resident-based taxation. Anything is possible these days and it's important to keep a cool head (although that's easier said than done).


Have you had any issues with your bank in Denmark? Typically the folks in the worst position are Americans living in countries where they are denied banking services because of that US birthplace, and if they don't have an second passport then it's not possible (or at least very unwise) to renounce.
Thanks very much for asking. I suspect that my bank doesn't even have it on record that I'm not a Danish national, but that's only because the account existed well before the advent of all this FACTA/FBAR nonsense. It must be extremely difficult for US nationals who are new arrivals abroad to open up a bank account these days. Until a few days ago, I hadn't even considered the possibility of renouncing my US citizenship to avoid the long and onerous arm of the IRS. What an odd world we live in.
 

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It's really quite stupid. Best thing is to ignore the US government to the greatest extent possible. If you have a second passport and you don't often travel to the US, then don't bother renewing.
 

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Passport Renewal & FATCA

Hey folks. Sorry for the repeat. I'm new to this. February 2019 now. Does anyone have updated info on the risks of applying to renew a US passport if you've never filed a US tax return in, like, fifty years?
 

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I see you've had a response over on the other thread where you posted this. Just to add that the State Department (which does passports) is not exactly on speaking terms with the IRS, so while they collect the information it's not always clear what they do with it.

Technically, I think they did pass a law at some point saying that they could refuse you a passport if you owed something like $50,000 in back taxes - however you'd know about this if it applied to you. There are many legit reasons why someone may not have to file US tax returns.
 
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