When my friend Brian told me the American tax police were after him, I thought he must be nuts. Brian is a worrier. He gets a little paranoid sometimes. “We haven’t filed a U.S. tax return in 20 years,” he said. “Now our accountant says we have to – or else.”
Margaret Wente, contributor to the Globe & Mail, came to Canada at the age of 13 and she’s been a citizen since 1979. She doesn’t have a US passport or any US earnings, but now she’s on the IRS hit list and her retirement savings may be forfeit.
On the penalties for failure to file, she is dumbfounded. “This is so absurd it can’t possibly be true. But it is.”
Like many of us caught in this “Kafkaesque nightmare,” Wente is scared and confused. She doesn’t want to be tricked into being a criminal, but she’s afraid of the draconian penalties imposed even on those voluntarily coming forward.