It’s been said that ignorance can’t be an excuse for violating the law, but after I read this, I thought to myself “How in the heck would I know something like this?” Fortunately, I don’t have more than $10,000 (US) in my bank account in Korea, but if I did, I think I would be a little angry that it’s always assumed the consumer MUST know every bit of code or law that exists. We should be lawyers without the law degree or know all the different aspects of the law that aren’t intuitive? I think it’s unfair…
Nevertheless, since we can’t claim “ignorance” in court, I thought I’d warn all you expats by copying the part of the article titled “A Wake-Up Call for Global Tax Cheats” in Businessweek recently here:
“It’s not just blatant tax cheats who have reason to worry. The IRS has also focused increased attention on the more than 700,000 U.S. taxpayers thought to be concealing assets in overseas accounts. Some may be doing so unintentionally, like expatriates living abroad and banking locally. A law dating back to 1970 requires a U.S. taxpayer with an overseas account of $10,000 or more to disclose it to the IRS. Until 2004, people who failed to file that special form received a maximum fine of $100,000, and the law was rarely enforced. Now they can face penalties that amount to as much as half the balance in the cloaked accounts, along with prison terms of up to 10 years.”
How do you like them apples?