Taxes

U.S. Government Tries to Mug the Mayor of London

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Boris Johnson
Greater London

It was only a matter of time before America's economic grab for global imperium, embodied in tax laws and, particularly, the Foreign Account Tax Compliant Act (FATCA), ran up against somebody who might actually be able to push back. Not content to roll those who reside within its own borders, the federal government insists that U.S. citizens and even long-term residents who now live abroad and may not have had a glimpse of amber waves of grain in many years owe Uncle Sam a piece of the take—and that financial institutions around the world must snitch on them to ease the mugging.

Such a broad definition of those subject to the IRS's tender ministrations reaches far and wide. It reaches so far that American tax authorities say Boris Johnson (pictured), the mayor of London, owes capital gains taxes to the land of his birth, even though he hasn't lived here since he was five years old.

The thing about Boris Johnson, who says he won't pay, is that he's not your average pushover for the thugs who keep the U.S. government fat and happy. He's not just the mayor of an important city, but he's a player in Britain's ruling Conservative Party, and discussed as a potential future prime minister of the country.

Perhaps ironically, the U.K. was once forced to spin off an important North American subsidiary partially over tax issues. That subsidiary appears to have learned the wrong lessons from the unpleasant incident.

All of which is to say, while the U.K. knuckled under to U.S. demands that it act as a deputy American tax collector, Johnson is pretty well positioned to put a hitch in that arrangement.

The question is whether Johnson, as a connected poitical figure, makes separate peace with the IRS, emphasizing that the IRS's reach applies only to the powerless. That might have some interesting international ramifications. Or will he carve out a wider exception that gives others a little relief from America's official muggers?

Or maybe the IRS will just exercise America's imperial muscle and try to make even Johnson turn out his pockets to demonstrate its power.

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56 responses to “U.S. Government Tries to Mug the Mayor of London

  1. We’re the indispensable nation. Now pay up.

  2. I’d love or him to take up the no taxation without representation mantle.

  3. “Ya sure got a pretty mouth, Boris…”

  4. But the US isn’t an empire.

    No way, no how.

    It’s totally normal for a nation-state’s government to try to enforce taxes on anyone they want anywhere in the universe.

  5. Maybe the moon will send us a bill for the trash we left there.

    1. Australia fined us for littering when Skylab landed there – we still haven’t paid.

  6. Gary Johnson / Boris Johnson 2016 ?

    1. Apparently Gary Johnson’s middle name is “Earl”. Coincidence? I think not.

    2. “Johnson & Johnson 2016 – No More Tears”

      1. ok that’s funny

        ozzy will provide the campaign soundtrack

      2. Little late to this party but I had to log in and tell you thanks for the smile you just gave me with that comment 🙂

  7. We are innovators, our government has come up with a new concept in serfdom.

  8. This does put the IRS in an interesting bind. They can hardly afford to go after Johnson and they can hardly afford not to. But between the two, my guess is they quietly leave him alone — yes, that will make it (even more) clear that the politically powerful are given breaks by the IRS, but that will be no surprise to anyone who is aware of how friendly the IRS was with Timmy ‘TurboTax’ Geithner.

    1. It seems to have disappeared, but there was a piece yesterday regarding Al Sharpton cavorting with the rich and powerful while owing millions in back taxes.
      You or me would probably be rotting in some jail; the rules are ‘elastic’.

      1. It’s on the front page of the NY Times (!) today. He’s basically running the show side-by-side with our communist mayor. Less than one year in and there are so many scandals in this administration already that even the Times can’t ignore them any more.

        1. The internet does a lot to force them to cover things they might have ignored indefinitely only 15 years ago.

      2. At least they doled out justice to Dinesh D’Souza.

  9. I guess anchor babies work both ways.

  10. Why again do the “dreamers” want citizenship?

    1. I understand their papers would come with a jar of vaseline

    2. I’m having a hard time thinking of why it would be preferable to permanent residency. I guess it’s a lot harder to take someone’s citizenship.

      1. Zeb: You have to properly renounce your permanent resident card or you are still liable for IRS taxes, AND the same “exit tax” not unlike a pimp requiring a slave to pay ransom to leave the brothel.

  11. …Johnson is pretty well positioned to put a hitch in that arrangement.

    It would be so nice if their overreach actually bit them in the ass for once.

  12. If you’re not going to give up your US citizenship you should expect to be subject to the country’s tax laws, which also means he’s entitled to its benefits as well, such as social security and medicare. Am I wrong about this?

    (BTW Boris, try using a fucking comb!)

    1. You think he is SS eligible? Or Medicare eligible? Cite plz.

      1. He probably is not regular SS or Medicare eligible, due to the details of the Totalization Agreement with the UK. He most likely has not needed to pay into it.

        He would certainly become SSI eligible when he gets old, though, were his income low enough. He also could, like all other Americans, become eligible for SSI by claiming disability.

        1. Thanks John Thacker, I wasn’t aware of this Agreement.

          1. You’re welcome. There’s about 20 or 30 countries that we have agreements to reduce possible SS/Medicare double taxation with.

    2. The point is that the tax laws are bullshit. No other country on Earth pulls this sort of shit.

      1. Eritrea does. A bunch more do it for corporations only, not individuals. This isn’t a bad overview.

        1. I think Somalia has some free-lance tax collection bullshit going on, too. I seem to recall Uncle Sam once upon a time frowned upon that sort of piracy.

          1. Anyone who agrees that taxation is morally legitimate cannot without contradiction argue against any size of tax increase. Or they can explain how and why a certain percentage is the acceptable moral limit.

    3. Yes. You are wrong about this.

      1. Explain.

        This is what happens when you allow “dual citizenship”. I want to see Boris thumb his nose at the IRS as much as the next guy but why should he get a pass that none of us Real Americans do?

        1. This is my issue. I’m all for Boris getting out of his obligation, but not if he gets special treatment because his notoriety. All Americans that are in his shoes should enjoy this freedom from taxation.

        2. Real Americans who live overseas and earn their money overseas should not have to pay income taxes on that money.

          Period. Full stop.

          This would apply to Boris and every other Real American who lives overseas and earns their money overseas. Fairness!

          1. Are they going after him for “income” or capital gains?

            1. Capital gains, for selling a house in Britain that he bought in Britain. The gain for selling a house is completely excluded under UK tax, but there’s a cap on the exclusion in the US.

              Generally he doesn’t owe US tax on things, since UK tax is greater, but in this case US tax is greater so he owes.

        3. PRetty much what R C Dean said.

          Jurisdiction: I think our goverment should learn what it means. But they won’t. So I actively root for anyone who tells em to bugger off. Thats my entire thesis here.

    4. There’s a many-months wait for an appointment for the privilege of renouncing US citizenship AND some taxation victims are not eligible. Like, if you don’t like the estate tax and you want to renounce, but you’re old and lost your marbles they say you’re not competent to renounce.

  13. I would’ve responded with “Everyone in the US owes London 238 years of taxes.”

  14. Thing is, he’s not a super poster boy for FATCA itself, as opposed to being a poster boy for why worldwide taxation of citizens is stupid. He’s pretty clearly violating our (dumb) tax laws; FATCA is about enforcement.

    The most sympathetic victims for FATCA itself are Americans abroad who pay all their absurd taxes, but who banks won’t do business with just because they don’t want the hassle.

    1. That’d be fucking me. Love it or leave it, so I left. Keep filing and paying to the parasites or renounce and pay their “filing fee”. 2 decades and I haven’t set foot in the US, won’t collect SS or use any of your services. I’ll sign in a second, but you gotta stick me for thousands more bc FYTW.

  15. my buddy’s sister makes $79 an hour on the computer . She has been out of work for 10 months but last month her income was $17508 just working on the computer for a few hours. visit this website…

    ?????? http://www.payinsider.com

    1. Wonder what kind of taxes she pays, kayledysonmul, if that is your real name.

    2. Congratulations, she only had to work 220 hours that month and will owe approximately 70k in taxes.

    3. This board needs a FLAG THIS COMMENT feature.

  16. It’s too bad this didn’t happen to one of London’s previous socialist mayors.

  17. Dude does not seem to have a clue man.

    http://www.Safe-Anon.tk

    1. It would be totally cool if you and kayledysonmul got it on and she had a bunch of bot babies.

      1. Anonbot + work at home bot – casual encounters bot?

  18. While I do have some sympathy for the guy – taxing foreign earnings is shit.

    BUT

    He’s a huge socialist (borderline communist really) ass who RENEWED HIS US PASSPORT 2 years ago.

    You consider yourself British and not American? Cool. Don’t want to have to pay those taxes? Then cut ties – not saying you have to *formally* renounce citizenship, the process is stupid onerous and an embarrassment to a ‘free’ state – don’t ‘keep your options open’.

    1. Do you have a cite for that passport comment?
      As to being a ‘borderline communist’ – are you confusing him with his predecessor “Ken the Red”?

      1. I emailed the mayors office and the staff confirmed he holds a US Passport. It dates back to when they wouldn’t let him board a US-bound flight to change planes for Mexico, and he was mad and informally renounced US citizenship but not formally as he should have done.

  19. No Good Deed Goes Unpunished:
    In 2008, Johnson – breaking protocol – endorsed Senator Barack Obama in the Presidential Election.

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