Got the American nationality also obtained the passport as I was born there only but I have never visited USA, and I do not have social security number.

My question is: With the new law (FATCA), do I have to pay taxes or not?


4 Answers 4


Yes, you do. Every American citizen does. The new law has nothing to do with it, you were subject to the American taxation your whole life. The new law just makes it harder for you to ignore it.

You'll have to file a yearly tax return (IRS form 1040), and check, considering the foreign income exclusion (form 2555) and foreign tax credit (form 1116) whether you actually owe any money to the US government or not. If you do - you have to pay.

Don't forget the FBAR and other various forms that exist to punish you for being a US citizen.

Read more in the IRS Publication 54.

  • 1
    Note that if you earn a small enough amount of income in a given year (currently, under $10,000 for single persons under 65 years of age), you may not be required to file a tax return (but, don't forget, still might be required to file an FBAR). See Charts A, B, and C of the instructions for Form 1040 (irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i1040.pdf).
    – Dan Getz
    Commented Jan 5, 2015 at 13:14
  • @DanGetz how is it different from any other American?
    – littleadv
    Commented Jan 5, 2015 at 17:09
  • 1
    it isn't, was that confusing?
    – Dan Getz
    Commented Jan 6, 2015 at 11:24
  • Irrelevant, I might say. In any case, if FBAR is requiried to be filed - so does Schedule B.
    – littleadv
    Commented Jan 6, 2015 at 16:14

Depends on your definition of "have to." If you are willing to commit to never having any assets in USA (including your body), then you can let your conscience decide whether the law is worth the paperwork.


Tax obligations travel with American nationality. If you don't live in the United States, the first $90k or so of your income is not taxed, but you still have to file a return. Sounds like you acquired a rather expensive passport.

ps FATCA has nothing to do with your obligation to file a tax return. You do need to report foreign bank accounts if you have $10k or more in the account at any time during the year.

  • 1
    Actually, the $10k threshold is an aggregate value of all foreign accounts. So, if you have $8000 in two different accounts (even in two different countries), you need to file the FBAR. irs.gov/irm/part4/irm_04-026-016.html
    – Kent
    Commented Jan 14, 2015 at 23:59

If you do not have a Social Security number, then you could not have told it to who ever employs you or does your banking, so there's no way for them to report your income & assets to the US IRS. If you wanted to pay taxes, you'd have to do a bit of work just to make it possible.

  • That's not to say some resourceful and ambitious person won't get the wild notion of hunting for passport numbers that can't be connected to a Social Security number.
    – WGroleau
    Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 22:33
  • 1
    It only takes one disgruntled neighbor to call your bank and tell them you're an American. Yes SSN, no SSN - they'll just freeze your account and let the IRS figure it out.
    – littleadv
    Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 7:07
  • True. Does the IRS still offer a five hundred dollar reward for tattling on tax cheats?
    – WGroleau
    Commented Nov 28, 2015 at 16:04
  • I believe it is now a percentage of the tax recovered. irs.gov/uac/Whistleblower-Informant-Award
    – littleadv
    Commented Nov 28, 2015 at 17:26
  • Saw an ad on a wall at work offering to pay "under the table" for a room. Did not claim the reward, but wrote on the ad "good way for me to get the $500 reward from IRS and for you to lose your security clearance."
    – WGroleau
    Commented Nov 28, 2015 at 18:48

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