It wouldn’t make sense if you could see it anyway

Today I happened to run across the IRS’ list of tax forms provided in Braille format for the benefit of blind and visually-impaired taxpayers who are filling out their own returns. All the forms that an ordinary Homeland taxpayer might need are there. But quite a number of forms that ordinary overseas taxpayers might need are not: Form 8621 for your “foreign” ETFs, Forms 8858 or 8865 if you’re self-employed through a “foreign” sole proprietorship or partnership entity (for example, a blind husband running a business jointly with his sighted wife), and Form 926 if you form a “foreign” corporation and invest money or property into it so it can actually do business, for example.

Of course, even if you have 20/20 vision, it is not reasonably possible to properly fulfill all your reporting requirements as a U.S. Person abroad and still lead a normal financial life in your country of settlement. Whether or not you can see, more likely than not you’ll need professional assistance to properly comply with the punitive U.S. filing requirements. But the absence of Braille versions of those forms is just another small symptom of the same problem we all face: no one in the IRS even understands how many ordinary non-resident taxpayers are supposed to be filing these ridiculous forms, and no one involved in implementing the insane system is interested in making it easier to become compliant.

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2 thoughts on “It wouldn’t make sense if you could see it anyway

  1. Thanks for this post, Eric. I can’t even imagine a blind or visually-impaired person trying to complete their US returns using Braille forms.

    We haven’t even considered here this segment of all the people having to deal with the absurdity of compliance for US-based taxation and reporting from a country outside the US. This may catch up even a small portion of “accidental Americans”.

    The nightmare enlarges like a pebble thrown into a pond.

  2. Many years ago after first arriving in the USA I accidentally took the “blind deduction” instead of the “standard deduction”. (In my defense I had never done 1040s before.) BTW the IRS caught the error (probably because there was a blind form of some kind in Braille that they required and had not received). The error was corrected and now I’m grateful they didn’t penalize me $10,000 for failure to file a form or out and out blind tax fraud. Needless to say my husband likes to remind me about that boo-boo at times.

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