My name is Mark Goodfield. Welcome to The Blunt Bean Counter ™, a blog that shares my thoughts on income taxes, finance and the psychology of money. I am a Chartered Professional Accountant and a partner with a National Accounting Firm in Toronto. This blog is meant for everyone, but in particular for high net worth individuals and owners of private corporations. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are written solely in my personal capacity and cannot be attributed to the accounting firm with which I am affiliated. My posts are blunt, opinionated and even have a twist of humor/sarcasm. You've been warned. Please note the blog posts are time sensitive and subject to changes in legislation or law.

Friday, December 2, 2011

The IRS may have a true Amnesty for Americans living in Canada

As discussed several times in my blog, citizens of the United States must file yearly income tax returns and numerous forms even though they live in Canada. A recent quiet amnesty program (quiet since no one really heard about it until the newspapers started reporting it) stirred up a hornet’s nest, into which Finance Minister Jim Flaherty jumped saying that “U.S. authorities are spreading unnecessary stress and fear among law-abiding Canadians in their aggressive pursuit of offshore tax cheats.” 

Many U.S. citizens living in Canada filed U.S. income tax returns for prior years under the recent amnesty program, paying thousands of dollars in penalties, while often paying as much to income tax preparers.

However, there may be good news on the horizon. Barrie McKenna reports in today’s Globe and Mail that it appears that the IRS may have a final well publicized amnesty program where they may waive penalties for U.S. citizens who come clean and don't owe any U.S. taxes. Mr. McKenna reports the new rules will be announced within weeks.

Finally, Mr. McKenna reports that Americans who took part in the earlier amnesty program this year or one in 2009, may be able to reapply and get back penalties they paid.

The devil will be in the details, but stay tuned; U.S. citizens living in Canada may now have one last shot to come clean without any punitive financial cost.

The blogs posted on The Blunt Bean Counter provide information of a general nature. These posts should not be considered specific advice; as each reader's personal financial situation is unique and fact specific. Please contact a professional advisor prior to implementing or acting upon any of the information contained in one of the blogs.