ENFORCING THE EXIT TAX AGAINST EXPATRIATES: CALIFORNIA STATE BAR RECOMMENDS CHANGE

Excerpted from ENFORCING THE EXIT TAX AGAINST EXPATRIATES: CALIFORNIA STATE BAR RECOMMENDS CHANGE by Joseph R Viola December 8, 2017

This piece is a report of an article by Helen S. Cheng and Dina Y. Name of Withers Bergman LLP by was originally published in the November 13, 2017 issue of Tax Notes.

Here is a summary (leaving out details of the Exit Tax with which we are all already familiar):

In theory, surrendering your U.S. citizenship for tax purposes can be expensive. However, the IRS sometimes has difficulty enforcing the exit tax against expatriates. Now the State Bar of California is recommending legislative changes that would make enforcement easier and expatriation more expensive.

Once an exit tax is assessed, the IRS has authority to place tax levies on the person’s domestic accounts, but has limited authority to collect the amount owed from any property held overseas.

To correct this, the State Bar of California’s proposal recommends that the U.S. legislature amend the Internal Revenue Code and related laws to close the information gaps and improve communication between the departments. The proposed laws, if adopted would essentially change the order of filing, requiring a U.S. taxpayer to complete Form 8854 and pay the exit tax before completing expatriation through the State Department or Department of Homeland Security. They would also allow the departments to exchange information about expatriating taxpayers, to the extent necessary to enforce the exit tax.

In addition, the Bar recommends requiring expatriates to consent to ongoing personal jurisdiction in the U.S. for five years.This would allow the IRS to seek enforcement in U.S. courts, rather than filing tax collection matters abroad.

I haven’t seen anything else about this idea and have no knowledge that it has gained ground. However, were this to happen, presuming those who can remain under the radar will continue, those who need to renounce may find it a lot harder……….

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