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I hope that someone can either answer or point me toward a competent professional for my situation:

I am a born and raised American citizen who left the states in 1993, after filing taxes once as a student. I moved to France, was naturalised a French citizen in 2003, and only recently learned that I was supposed to have been filing taxes all these years in the US.

I was advised by a non-US investment attorney that since I have no financial ties to the US and no intention of living there again, that I remain "lost" to the US tax services.

However, I am now confronted with having to sign W-9 or W-8BEN for contracts to work through the Internet, or for bank accounts here in the Dominican Republic where I have been a legal resident for over 3 years, with an established and functioning LLC.

I desperately want to sign a W-8BEN and be left alone, but need some real advice on how to avoid getting into trouble, or getting potential employers in trouble.

I greatly appreciate any help !!

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    Did you renounce your U.S. citizenship when naturalized in France? – user32479 Sep 14 '15 at 17:52
  • No I did not. Guess you could say I just kind of ignored it and all paperwork having to do with it, except for renewing my passport. – Patricia Kalyn Pabst Sep 15 '15 at 19:19
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    If you have renewed your US passport, you have not renounced your US citizenship, and the fact that you are a naturalized citizen of France is irrelevant as far as US taxes are concerned. Follow the suggestions in @Brick's answer. Also, I would recommend asking the moderators to migrate your question to expatriates.SE. You can contact the moderators by clicking on the flag link below your question. – Dilip Sarwate Sep 15 '15 at 20:27
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    The form for renewing a US passport by mail (in Canada, anyway) specifically requires that the applicant include a SS number, and warns that the Passport Office is required to forward the SSN and address to the IRS... – DJohnM Sep 15 '15 at 23:10
  • Similar to money.stackexchange.com/questions/5138/… . You are required to file US tax forms, but as long as you were living and working in France or DR and paying their taxes, you will likely need to pay little or no US tax. A possibly bigger problem is you are required to report financial accounts above thresholds, and there can be serious penalties for failing to report even though there is no tax when you do report. – dave_thompson_085 Sep 20 '15 at 11:44
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You need a US-based lawyer. I think your question is beyond the scope of this forum. I would not trust a non-US lawyer to understand your position under US law. The fact that you're presented with a W-9 also seems to indicate that you're not going to be "lost" to the IRS for long (if you ever really were). US tax law extends to income of US citizens earned abroad, so it definitely seems plausible that you have a real issue that you might want to address sooner than later.

  • You might consider the other two categories of professionals who can "practice before" the IRS for general matters, namely CPAs and Enrolled Agents; see irs.gov/publications/p947/ar02.html . Unfortunately I have no recommendation how OP should find a good one; the one time I needed representation I chose a local CPA on a recommendation from my local banker. If nothing better you could try the Taxpayer Advocate Service irs.gov/Advocate ; IRS' harsh handling of overseas taxpayers is one of their bete noires. – dave_thompson_085 Sep 20 '15 at 11:40

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