The reason that the whole thing seems like a game to me is that the worst offenders are actually US citizens. Many of the people I work with both US and non US citizens have worked in many countries and hold foreign bank accounts. I am constantly amazed how little US citizens (at least those I work with) seem to know of their own tax laws. The ex pats sometimes have some inkling of the obligations to report foreign income, interest, FBAR etc. Many of the US citizens have no idea that they were even supposed to be filing US tax forms, let alone reporting foreign income and forms like FBAR. In terms of general income tax reporting I have found that ex pats are generally more cautious about things like deductions whereas the locals claim all sorts of outrageous and patently fraudlent things. They just say that the chance of getting caught is so unlikely that it's not big deal. I always strive to do the right thing but even my tax professional was advising me to take all kinds of dubious deductions I was fairly sure I couldnt take and also totally failed to inform me of my obligations to file forms like FBAR. I fired them and decided to go it alone now, hence questions like this one.I'll most likely continue to file as I have been and secretly hope that some of my coworkers get audited just so I can stand by and watch the show...That said I feel that no matter how honest I try to be something will trip me up somewhere along the line.
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