I heard again from Honourable Mike Sullivan and responded:
“Thanks once again for getting back to me. …
We at the site, http://isaacbrocksociety.com/The Isaac Brock Society, LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL UNITED STATES PERSONS IN CANADA AND ABROAD, have been very pleased with your office’s and Mr. Sullivan’s immediate response to my original correspondence, as well as seeing the position that the NDP has stated on this important issue. I will be very pleased to hear from you further Mr. Sullivan, when you are back in Ottawa.
Many of us (US persons in Canada) would like to clarify — does an MP who was born in the US automatically lose his or her US citizenship when they accept employment with a foreign government and take a position in which they make policy issues http://www.travel.state.gov/law/citizenship/citizenship_779.html?
Do MPs who happen to have been born in the US or have “accidental American citizenship” automatically get an important document from the US, the Certificate of Loss of Nationality, http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/81609.pdf ? This important document most of us did not receive when we became US citizens so long ago.
For instance, I was warned when I took my Canadian Oath of Citizenship in March of 1975 that I would be relinquishing my US citizenship, with no mention of having to get a Certificate of Loss of Nationality. Over the years, I believed and lived my life as a Canadian citizen only until I was informed in 2008 that I was still a US citizen as the US had changed their laws (and that my children, born and raised in Canada, are “accidental US citizens” – do you, Mr. Sullivan have any of those in your family?). Personally, I have now complied with back tax returns and FBARs from 2005, although I am seeking legal advice right now on how to remedy the fact that I did not properly report to the US the RDSP that I hold for my adult son (so, as I read it, I will be taxable for the Canadian Disability Savings Bond and Canadian Disability Savings Grant portions of my son’s RDSP and also liable for penalty for not having reported it on my FBARs of 2008, 2009 – this account is identified on my FBAR or 2010).
The US did not do its job of effectively informing all of the US persons who had taken up residence or become citizens of other countries of their change in law or our responsibilities even though there were many avenues open for them to do so. Indeed, we would have had to have been very perceptive or consulting with cross-border professionals constantly for most of us to have known this. We went about our business in Canada, and elsewhere, earning our livings, raising our families, paying taxes, being good citizens of our chosen countries. The US let it all ride when they should have done a thorough job of informing. Now we are being labelled TAX EVADERS (and the media has people believing it, especially in the US but also in Canada and beyond) because of the overreach of the US in their citizenship-based taxation, rather than resident-based taxation as most of the rest of the world. It is causing untold emotional and financial grief for us and I am among many who are taking steps to properly renounce US citizenship. Many among us will go further underground, choosing never to cross the Canada / US border – they cannot afford the extra dollars required to comply so will hide in fear. Many, especially “accidental Americans” do not yet realize their responsibility to the US tax people.
We pay exorbitant amounts of our hard-earned, in my case Canadian, money to pay cross-border tax accountants and US tax lawyers to assure we are in compliance; we lose our Canadian privacy rights (and even more so when FATCA takes effect); and if we hold over $10,000 in foreign bank accounts and $50,000 in foreign assets, respectively, have to file yearly Foreign Bank Account Reports and now IRS Form 8938, with our 1040 tax returns, as well as other required forms to the US; to say nothing about double taxation when we draw on our RRSPs and other Canadian pensions. This makes us second-class Canadian citizens (i.e., with regard to our TFSAs, our RESPs, and for the disabled our RDSPs that we may hold for that disabled loved one in our family. Generally, we will owe very little or no tax to the US for this expensive undertaking. But the penalties for making a mistake or not knowing are staggering – and immoral, affecting non-US spouse’s financial privacy, further affecting marriages, good health, on and on.
We feel it is an important conversation we need to have with you and with all Members of Parliament that we have elected to represent us, the estimated one million US persons in Canada.
We hope that you, indeed all MPs and all government representatives that we have elected to represent us, including Prime Minister Harper, feel this as important as we do.
Thanks again for your attention to this important issue.