Mike Sullivan, MP, York South-Weston, has given his permission to share my email “conversation” with him.
My original email to Honourable Mike Sullivan, MP (NDP):
Sent: January 17, 2012 6:36 PM
To: Sullivan, Mike – M.P.
Subject: Fw: We need to make a priority the way RDSPs (as well as RESPs and TFSAs) are treated in the Canada/US Tax Treaty and taxed by the US
Dear Member of Parliament Sullivan,
I live in Calgary so am not represented by you. However, it has been brought to my attention that you were born in the US and, as such, I am interested in your views on this, personally, and for the constituents you represent.
- What are doing about your status as a US person in Canada?
- What are you doing in Parliament to fight the invasion of the US IRS?
- Have you been following in the media all of the IRS instructions and inequitable treatment to US persons in Canada and abroad, for yourself and for your US person constituents affected?
- Do you appreciate being painted with the same brush by IRS Commissioner Shulman as for real persons evading taxes that you are a tax evader?
- Do you feel that you and your ‘US person constituents’ are second-class citizens in regard to your choices for retirement savings, RESPs and RDSPs (should you have a disabled member in your family), cost of tax preparation, and loss of privacy to the US of your financial holdings?
It is interesting that I have gotten acknowledgements of receipt of the email below from only my MP’s (Michelle Rempel) constituency office and the office of Finance Minister Flaherty, with no discussion from them of what their positions are on this or if and how they are proceeding on an issue that affects about one million of their fellow Canadians.
US persons in Canada, not tax evaders, but hard-working, tax-paying people in Canada, are either paying huge sums for advice and help from US tax lawyers and accountants to bring themselves into compliance for back US tax returns and FBARs; threatened into entering into OVDI, which means they are saying they are criminals with huge penalties; hiding their heads further in the sand and hoping and praying that this will go away and they will not be affected, but then afraid to cross the border to visit aging relatives and family; or choosing to renounce their US citizenships, for some at a very great financial cost (a good portion of them “Accidental Americans”). The stress this is putting on families is staggering. Where is the outrage?
You may be interested at the inequities pointed out in this link, just released by the Association of American Residents Abroad: http://aaro.org/position-papers-2011?start=1
Sent: Wednesday, January 04, 2012 1:53 PM
To: Minister James Flaherty ; Michelle.Rempel@parl.gc.ca ; US Ambassador to Canada David Jacobson ; Gary Doer, Canadian Ambassador to the USA
Subject: We need to make a priority the way RDSPs (as well as RESPs and TFSAs) are treated in the Canada/US Tax Treaty and taxed by the US
Finance Minister James Flaherty
Member of Parliament Michelle Rempel
US Ambassador to Canada David Jacobson
Canadian Ambassador to the USA Gary Doer
Dear Government Representatives,
The Canadian disabled population who happen to be dual Canadian/US citizens, many of them “Accidental Americans” who have lived in Canada all or most of their lives, are being very much discriminated against by the IRS of the USA. Holders and Beneficiaries of Registered Disability Savings Plans, until this is addressed in the Canada / US Tax Treaty*, last revised on September 21, 2007, http://www.fin.gc.ca/treaties-conventions/USA_1-eng.asp are not getting full benefit of these plans, which are in many cases used as pension plans for the better futures of disabled Canadians.
* Protocol Amending the Convention Between Canada and the United States of America With Respect to Taxes on Income and on Capital Done at Washington on 26 September 1980, as Amended by the Protocols Done on 14 June 1983, 28 March 1984, 17 March 1995 and 29 July 1997
This electronic version of the Canada-United States Protocol signed on September 21, 2007, is provided for convenience of reference only and has no official sanction.
Can you, Minister Flaherty, Member of Parliament Rempel, US Ambassador to Canada David Jacobson and Canadian Ambassador to the USA Gary Doer, advise what you are doing to make this issue a priority or advise me if the information below is incorrect?
As far as we know, the IRS will most likely consider RDSP’s a foreign trust requiring the standard reporting requirements (i.e. IRS form 3520/3520A and quite likely IRS form TD F 90-22.1 under the FBAR requirements) for U.S. citizens and residents that are RDSP plan holders. Unlike RRSP’s/RRIF’s held by U.S. citizens that are afforded a tax deferral under Article XVIII(7) of the Treaty, RDSP’s are not yet eligible plans for such tax deferrals for U.S. citizens or residents. As a result, RDSP plan holders and beneficiaries that are U.S. citizens or residents will not benefit from the tax deferral currently enjoyed by Canadian RDSP plan holders.
More importantly, the U.S. reporting requirement in itself may make it too difficult for U.S. citizens to be plan holders or beneficiaries of RDSP’s. Adding the RDSP to the agenda for Canada-U.S. Income Tax Convention discussions is critical for RDSP beneficiaries who are American citizens.
Hope this helps. If you require any further assistance, please let me know.
Mackenzie Financial Corporation
180 Queen St. W., 16th Floor
Toronto, Ontario M5V 3K1
It is more than unfortunate, in fact it is immoral, if this is not a priority for the Canadian Government to address with the USA as treatment of the RDSP by the IRS makes this vulnerable population, that happen to be US / Canadian dual citizens, SECOND-CLASS CANADIANS. They should receive, as other disabled Canadians, full benefit of the Registered Disability Savings Plan.
Kind response from Honourable Mike Sullivan’s Constituency Office:
Mr. Sullivan is currently out of the country, so I am taking the liberty of providing an initial first response to you. Please be assured I will bring your email to his attention at the first opportunity, likely to be after his Caucus Retreat at the end of January.
As I have never spoken directly to him about this I cannot speak to his position on some of your questions. Mr. Sullivan is a member of the parliamentary Canada-US Association and I am sure will be interested in your concerns and in corresponding with you directly. Certainly, it is an issue that is of great interest to him, as he serves as the deputy critic on Persons with Disabilities.
Thank you for writing.
Administrative Assistant to
Mike Sullivan, MP – York South Weston
A short note from Mr. Sullivan, as well…
From: Sullivan, Mike – Personal
Sent: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 02:36 PM
Subject: US abroad issues
This subject interests me a great deal. However I’m away from my office so will give you a more thoughtful response when I return.
Mike Sullivan MP.
Then, January 30th, from Honourable Mike Sullivan…
Sent: Monday, January 30, 2012 2:45 PM
Subject: RE: We need to make a priority the way RDSPs (as well as RESPs and TFSAs) are treated in the Canada/US Tax Treaty and taxed by the US
Thank you for your email. You and hundreds of thousands of other Canadians who have past ties to the U.S. are grappling with the situation of filing IRS tax returns and FBAR report.
That said, the IRS also recognizes that the profile of the issue has been raised around potentially hundreds of thousands of Americans not filing their taxes and FBAR. The IRS also states its purpose is to bring Americans abroad into compliance with their citizenship responsibilities.
The NDP strongly supports measures to crack down on off-shore tax evasion and avoidance, but believes such efforts must target criminal behavior and not innocent law-abiding citizens.
On December 14, 2011, at the initiative of Alex Atamanenko MP for the Southern Interior of British Columbia, who has been working very hard on this file, met with U.S. Ambassador David Jacobson, together with Peter Julian (Burnaby-New Westminster) NDP Finance Critic and Hoang Mai (Brossard-La Prairie) NDP National Revenue Critic in order to address the harsh penalties.
The Ambassador confirmed that while requirements to file will not be relaxed, there was an indication of a possible loosening of the interpretation regarding the application of penalties.
IRS December memo
In December, the IRS confirmed that U.S. and dual citizens who failed to file their annual income tax returns and/or file under FBAR or pay their tax may be exempted from paying penalties, provided that they are able to show that the failure was due to reasonable cause, not wilful neglect.
For further information, see the IRS memo “Information for U.S. Citizens or Dual Citizens Residing Outside the U.S.” at http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=250788,00.html.
According to the U.S. Ambassador and the IRS memo, the IRS may consider reasonable cause for noncompliance to include being unaware of the requirement to file or pay tax.
The memo further states:
“Whether a failure to file or failure to pay is due to reasonable cause is based on a consideration of the facts and circumstances. Reasonable cause relief is generally granted by the IRS when you demonstrate that you exercised ordinary business care and prudence in meeting your tax obligations but nevertheless failed to meet them. In determining whether you exercised ordinary business care and prudence, the IRS will consider all available information, including:
– The reasons given for not meeting your tax obligations;
– Your compliance history;
– The length of time between your failure to meet your tax obligations and your subsequent compliance; and
– Circumstances beyond your control.
Reasonable cause may be established if you show that you were not aware of specific obligations to file returns or pay taxes, depending on the facts and circumstances. Among the facts and circumstances that will be considered are:
– Your education;
– Whether you have previously been subject to the tax;
– Whether you have been penalized before;
– Whether there were recent changes in the tax forms or law that you could not reasonably be expected to know; and
– The level of complexity of a tax or compliance issue.
You may have reasonable cause for noncompliance due to ignorance of the law if a reasonable and good faith effort was made to comply with the law or you were unaware of the requirement and could not reasonably be expected to know of the requirement.” (http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=250788,00.html)
As for the RDSPs and TFSAs, the IRS treats them as foreign trust, they are not eligible for such tax deferrals for U.S. citizens or residents. Adding the RDSP and the TFSA to the agenda for Canada-U.S. Income Tax Convention discussions is critical for the numerous citizens holding these saving vehicles. We will look into this issue and discuss it further with our foreign affairs critic.
For further information regarding the U.S. Examining Process for FBAR, please see http://www.irs.gov/irm/part4/irm_04-026-016.html.
You may wish to keep abreast of developments through the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa website for Taxpayers Assistance at http://canada.usembassy.gov/service/taxpayer-assistance2.html.
I hope this information is helpful. Please rest assured that my New Democrat colleagues are hard at work to persuade the authorities to loosen the interpretation regarding the application of penalties, by broadening the scope of ‘reasonable cause’.
I hope you find the foregoing helpful. Please do not hesitate to contact our office if you have any questions or comments.
Mike Sullivan, MP, York South-Weston
My further questions to Mr. Sullivan, with bolded permission and caveats…
Dear Honourable Member of Parliament Sullivan,
Thank you very much for taking the time to reply to my queries. It is certainly an example of how a government representative should be responding to their constituents, and you are not even my MP, so I appreciate it very much.
I am pleased to know that your and your NDP colleagues will keep this issue alive in your quest to persuade authorities to loosen the interpretation regarding penalties and “reasonable cause”. Many are waiting to see the response to the Taxpayer Advocate Directive from the Taxpayer Advocate Service: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-utl/recommendations_tad2011-1.pdf. The TAS Report to Congress is most enlightening: http://www.taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov/Media-Resources/FY-2011-Annual-Report-To-Congress-Full-Report
I would like to ask permission to share the information you’ve provided me on http://isaacbrocksociety.com/, where a growing number of Canadians and US persons around the world are discussing this important issue? Your response to me is relevant.
[response] As for my personal situation, I came to Canada with my family as a very young boy and so my Canadian-born children are not, as you call them, ‘accidental’ Americans. I would have had to live in the US for 10 years, at least 5 of which after I turned 14, for that to happen.
Further, (You can use my info, with 2 caveats. One, I’m not exactly sure of the rules. I was told 10 years, 5 of which after age 14, but now am told 5 years, 2 of which after age 14, is what I had to live in the US for my kids to be accidental Americans. I left when I was 5, and did not return to live.)
I am very pleased that your children do not fall into the category of “Accidental American”. My adult children, born in Canada to US parents, are considered US citizens as many others in Canada, some of them not even aware of the status the US has given them. When they find out what their responsibilities are as such, it’s truly a life-changing moment.
[response] With respect to your question concerning MP’s born in the U.S., I note that there is currently no general prohibition on U.S. citizens’ running for an elected office in a foreign government. However, it would appear that “ accepting, serving in, or performing duties in a foreign government is a potentially expatriating act if the person is a national of that country or takes an oath of allegiance in connection with the position.” As a Canadian Citizen and a Canadian Federal Government Member of Parliament, I most assuredly took an oath of office and am proud of it.
Further, (As for the ‘certificate’ I have never had one, nor was I offered one. Apparently the law changed in 1967, meaning merely voting in a foreign election ceased to be a loss of nationality event after that date. And apparently if I want to lose my US citizenship, I must actively go to a consulate and do so.)
As you should be proud of it! Do you, though, have that important piece of paper to accompany your Canadian passport – your personal Certificate of Loss of Nationality? You likely have special status to cross the border without question, but many of us who came to Canada in the 1960’s and 1970’s and were warned that we would be relinquishing our US citizenship when we took our Oath of Canadian Citizenship did not know of and did not receive that important piece of paper. We were not informed by the US when they changed their laws that we were actually again US citizens. We were not given a choice to opt in or opt out. We assumed and lived our lives as only Canadians – working, raising our families, paying our Canadian taxes, generally trying our best to be good citizens, living in the country of our choice.
I appreciate that you are giving of your valuable time. Could you give your further response to the above? There are many taking note of the NDP position on this important subject.
Again, thank you.
(Mr. Sullivan’s response inserted into message above)
@tiger, arrow and others: there are at least a few of us at IBS–who renounced by becoming Canadian in 1970s or even earlier. We had every reason to believe that act was legal, binding and final. I know I’ve said that on other posts, but I will continue to say it because it is true–and I don’t understand how rules about something as basic and important as citizenship could possibly change without the individual being informed.
I asked a friend last week if he remembered a conversation we had in 1995 when dual citzenship became possible for Americans. He asked me if I could get my US citizenship back. Not only did he remember his question,, he remembered my exact answer. It was “Maybe, but I don’t want it back.” I’ve told him he may be going to US Consulate with me. No other friend or colleague or even my American family ever asked the question because they knew I had no interest in being a US citizen again.
In any case, it may be worthwhile that some of us in this situation consult a knowledgable lawyer together. I say knowledgeable because I did consult with a US Immigration lawyer where I live in Ontario. He told me because I was never given a CLN (I didn’t know nor was I told there was such a thing in 1973!), the US still considers me a citizen. Then he referred me to a tax lawyer at Deloitte Thouche. I didn’t follow up. I believe the Ontario lawyer is wrong and Calgary’s lawyer is right.
We could probably reduce our costs and have a united front if we consult together. I don’t know how that would work as we are all in different provinces and Calgary is in yet another province. What do you think?
I am having the same dilemma about going to the Consulate to formalize. I want to stay off everyone’s radar! Plus, I don’t want the hassle of traveling to a Consulate, going through the formal process and sitting on edge for months to see what will happen. More importantly, like you, I don’t know why I should have to. They were the ones who told me (us!) 40 years ago my decision to renounce by becoming Canadian was permanent. At the time, they told me I would regret this down the road when I wanted to be a citizen again. They pointed out I was young (22) and I would change my mind as I got older, but I wouldn’t be able to do that. Well, I’m 61 now and I haven’t changed my mind or resolve about anything–except my resolve is even stronger now. I, like Steven Harper, “am Canadian and only a “Canadian.” It’s the US government who changed their mind without telling me!
Eric and Calgary, thanks for posting the info from Mr. Mai. Fascinating questions. It is fabulous to see them so strongly, clearly and thoroughly presented. I await the government’s response.
Mr. Mai has also presented an option I hadn’t considered–Civil Liberties. Does anyone know if anyone has contacted Canadian Civil Liberties Association about this. Would they be willing to take on both American and Canadian governments about this? I think it’ very possible!
KalC: I agree Canadian banks don’t like this any better than we do. My bank (TD Canada Trust) knows my American history just by virtue of having gotten to know me personally over the 40 years I have been a CT customer. This is part of the excellent customer service I always received my Canada Trust branch. They know their customers and their needs well. For the first time, that could be working to my disadvantage.
I have told them I do NOT consider myself a “US person” because I was told I was renouncing (you all know that story, I don’t need to tell it again!) in 1973. They said Canadian Bankers Association told them customers my be required to provide documentation confirming that. I’ve let them know if they comply with FATCA, I will consider that a contravention of privacy and Human Rights Laws and I will transfer my assets to a credit union which does no business in US. They know I’m serious because they know I have about 30% of my assets with a credit union.
Now, on top of all the other stress related to this, there is a bit of tension in my relationship with the financial institution where I have banked for 40 years!
I would agree this is the current situation at present. Current banking law in Canada specifies a drivers license as the basic form of ID required to open account. I don’t see this changing.
@ Blaze, Perhaps a good idea, finding a lawyer to represent those of us who performed “an expatriating act” back in the 60’s 70’s.
@ all of the above.
I am not sure the front line investment account mgrs at the Canadian institutions even now know what might be expected of them. Certainly my investment person at RBC, knows I was born in the U.S. and would be required to “throw me under the bus”, if that is what Royal Bank’s Compliance Officer rules. As the FATCA rules are still evolving, perhaps we will soon find some good news about the “reporting of U.S. persons”. I certainly hope so.
I have had a most interesting email today from a friend who is dealing with all of this as someone who works for a cross-border tax lawyer. I was told that should I decide to “come forward”, it was best to not first file for the CLN because then the IRS would look upon me as only coming forward “after the official date” (in their eyes – the official date is when I notify State). My friend thought it best to come forward under “Quiet Disclosure”, file 6 years of returns and FBARs and then apply for the CLN. That way, when I apply for the CLN, I am already compliant and only have to file the short year on a 1040NR and the special Exit form the IRS requires.
Just had an e-mail from Paul Dewar (one of the many politicians we’ve written to) He is planning an information session on FATCA and FBAR’s for constituents in Ottawa Centre. Not too handy for us in BC to attend, but anyone out there from Ottawa who could attend and report back. No date or place has been confirmed.
Blaze asked: Does anyone know if anyone has contacted Canadian Civil Liberties Association about this.
Five months ago I checked in with a Civil Liberties Association longtime insider. My doubts that they would be much interested in undertaking anything on our situation was confirmed. This meshes with the lack of traction to be had on the Human Rights front. The liberties and rights stuff seems quite circumscribed and inaccessible.
The dawn’s early light these days looks more like a harsh third-degree bulb …
@usxcanada: Thanks. Sounds like Civil Liberties could be another dead end. Darn! If we from Eritrea, I think they or Human Rights Commission would have a very different attitude.
@Tiger, Arrow and Others who relinqusuished in 60s and 70s, is there a way we can connect privately, rather than through a public forum?
Thanks for making contact with these MPs (and the NDP in particular). Just a thought, as you know:
1. The NDP is having a leadership convention; and
2. There is a by-election going in the riding of Toronto Danforth (which if you believe the papers the NDP is likely to win – this is about a replacement for Jack Layton).
What about making contact with the various candidates and asking for their opinion on this. The NDP candidate in Toronto Danforth (Craig Scot) is (according to the news) a law professor who teaches human rights law. Now, I don’t know if he would have any interest in this or not, but it might be worth a try. I have been told that the NDP campaigns as a team in Toronto (and this would include Mike Sullivan). Hence, ….
Anyway, nothing ventured nothing gained. You seem to be very good at this thing (contacting politicians). This is not my forte, or I would …
Also, I would not rule out contacting the Liberal candidate. But, I the Liberals have been silent on this issue. Also, don’t forget the candidates for leadership. Mulclair is a dual citizen (France). So, he might have some sensitivity to this.
Thank you for your suggestion, I have sent my most recent correspondence on this subject to the NDP Office in Ottawa with separate correspondence to Craig Scott (NDP, Toronto Danforth), with copies to NDP MPs Mike Sullivan and Hoang Mai, with whom I’ve corresponded before…
Sent: Monday, February 20, 2012 3:36 PM
To: Craig Scott
Cc: Hoang.Mai@parl.gc.ca ; Mike.Sullivan@parl.gc.ca
Subject: Human Rights — US Persons in Canada, particularly the disabled population…
Dear Mr. Scott,
I am forwarding the following correspondence to you to get your views on the overreach of the US regarding US citizenship-based tax for dual citizens and other US persons in Canada. I would particularly be interested in your view on the human rights aspect of the rights of disabled ‘US persons’ in Canada. Many US persons in Canada will be interested in your views.
I have previously corresponded with Honourable Mike Sullivan and he took the time and consideration to reply although I am across Canada (in Alberta) from his constituency. I have also sent copies of correspondence to Hoang Mai.
I am doing this not for my son or me or our specific story – I want it to transfer to every affected disabled person in Canada (and, by extension, other countries). I know I am in deep financially and I won’t be going in any deeper with the Washington, DC attorney. He will determine if there is a case or if the mountain to climb is insurmountable, in which case I cannot forego more of my retirement income. In my gut I know there have to be many that don’t know this. Their day-to-day lives with disabled family members (in most cases) precludes their energies going to keeping up with US citizenship responsibilities if they have any clue that they have any.
As well, I see that my 37-year old son, besides negligent in registering with the US, getting a social security number, filing back tax returns and FBARs, should have (in their mind) registered with the Selective Service:
We can’t renounce on their behalf but we can help them to complete a form that means their enrolment in an organisation where their lives are at risk.
Who Must Register?
With few exceptions, all male United States citizens and male aliens residing in the United States and its territories must register within 30 days of their 18th birthday.
Parolees, refugees, and applicants for asylum are considered to be residents of the United States and therefore must register within 30 days of their 18th birthday.
Disabled men who are able to function in public, with or without assistance, must register. A friend or relative may help a disabled man complete the registration form if he is unable to do so himself.
The following correspondence was sent last week:
Honourable George VanderBurg (Note: this is the Alberta Minister over Assured Income for Severely Handicapped & Persons with Developmental Disability)
Office of the Minister
227 Legislature Building
10800 – 97 Avenue
Dear Honourable Minister VanderBurg,
I am forwarding the email below that I sent to Federal Canadian Government representatives and would ask if you can review this.
The question I would like answered specifically by you and others in your Ministry is this:
Is the cost of administration or compliance of my son’s US yearly income tax returns or yearly Department of Treasury Foreign Bank Account Report (FBAR) requirements as a US citizen an appropriate use of his AISH or PDD funding? (As an Alberta taxpayer, I would hope not!)
FBARs include all financial accounts (including his RDSP and TFSA which are taxable in the US as regarded as “foreign trusts” by the US, so benefit negated to him vs someone without a US citizenship) when the aggregate amount is over $10,000.
At this moment, he is not in compliance with his US tax obligations.
I met in Calgary yesterday with a US tax lawyer and a Washington, DC based Immigration and Nationality lawyer to find a way that my adult son’s supposed US citizenship can be renounced (even though he was born in Canada, raised in Canada, never registered in the US, never lived in the US, never received any benefit from the US). I have been told by the US Consulate in Calgary that even with a court order I cannot renounce on my son’s behalf (and he has to have the perceptual ability to understand what US citizenship is and why he would want to renounce it, without his decision being influenced by me or anyone else).
Your response to this will assist in building an argument for my son (and any other Canadian or Alberta developmentally delayed person in the same situation, and I’m sure my family cannot be the only one in Canada affected) having a “compelling need” for renunciation of his US citizenship.
(My MP’s constituency office tells me that there are an estimated 83,000 US citizens in Calgary alone!)
Thank you very much for your time and response.
Calgary, AB, Canada
Sent: Thursday, February 16, 2012 11:46 AM
To: Prime Minister Stephen Harper ; Minister James Flaherty ; Michelle.Rempel@parl.gc.ca ; Gary Doer, Canadian Ambassador to the USA ; US Ambassador to Canada David Jacobson
Cc: Mike.Sullivan@parl.gc.ca ; Hoang.Mai@parl.gc.ca
Subject: Discrimination of US Persons in Canada –Renunciation of “Accidental Americans” with Developmental Disability
Dear Government Representatives,
Yesterday I engaged a second US Immigration and Nationality lawyer from Washington, DC in my quest for my son to be able to renounce his US citizenship. This drains further funds from my Canadian retirement savings and its being spent in Canada.
As I have communicated to you before, my son (and I am sure the sons and daughters of many others in the same situation as my family) are told by the US Consulate that, even with a court order, trustees (as I am with Assured Income for Severely Handicapped in Alberta), or those granted Guardianship and/or Trusteeship through the Court of Queen’s Bench to represent the best interests of their family member (or the Public Guardian or Trustee) cannot renounce on the developmentally delayed person’s behalf.
I have given these reasons for it not being in my son’s best interest to have a US citizenship as well as the citizenship of the country where he resides, Canada.
Besides being born in Canada, raised in Canada, schooled in Canada, works in Canada, receives disability benefits from Canada, never registered with the US, never lived in the US, and never received any benefit from the US:
o my son cannot carry out the responsibility of administration of a US citizenship (lack of perceptual capacity to be able to complete US returns or to understand the consequences);
o nor should the benefits he receives from the Government of Alberta ever be used for tax compliance in a second country to the one he lives in and receives benefits from.
• Absurdly, for my son to have the RIGHT to renounce his US citizenship if he did indeed have the perceptual capacity to make that important decision or realize the actual consequences of renunciation of US citizenship, he would have to apply for a US social security number, back file at least five years of US returns (for which he would owe $0.00), file Foreign Bank Account Reports (FBAR) as his financial accounts are over $10,000 with Tax Free Savings Account and Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP). There could also be resulting financial penalties. (As I understand it, I, as his mother and the Holder of his RDSP, am taxable to the US yearly for the Grants and Bonds that the Canadian Government has contributed to his RDSP since it was opened in February 2009.)
• My son is already discriminated against because his benefits to the Canadian Registered Disability Savings Plan are negated from that of a Canadian without a US connection.
• Because of health concerns (besides developmental disability, he has asthma, attention deficit disorder and hereditary hemochromatosis), it is makes no sense for my son to ever live in the US where he would not have the health care insurance or benefits he has in Canada.
• Who will administer my son’s US citizenship when I am either incapacitated or deceased? I do not want to leave this responsibility and expense to my husband (who is not his birth father) nor to my daughter nor to an executor who would have to be paid from my son’s disability benefits.
I have also asked the following questions:
o If the US Department of State will not let us relinquish or renounce on behalf of our disabled children when we have been granted trusteeship to look after / manage their finances by our province in the country where we live and have become citizens, will they also accept that we, their trustees, will not file our children’s US tax returns and FBARs?
o If this is the case, are these dependent individuals at risk of being arrested upon crossing the border into US territory because they have not filed US tax returns and FBARs?
o In order for our dependent children to be able to have the same benefit for their registered accounts (Registered Disability Savings Plan and Tax-Free Savings Account) as does a disabled person with only Canadian citizenship, will we have to adopt for them a “don’t ask / don’t tell” / fly under the radar policy?
o Should cost of the administration for compliance of US tax returns (with $0.00 owed) be borne by the agencies that serve the disabled in Canada (or any other country)?
o Should cost of the administration for compliance of US tax returns (with $0.00 owed) be borne by the estate of our disabled sons or daughters?
o Who in the States will look after the needs of my disabled son or daughter when I am incapacitated and not able to do so? Will the US move my son or daughter to the States for their care when I become incapacitated?
o What benefits are my disabled son or disabled daughter receiving from the US? Would it not make more sense for these dependent individuals to be cared for in the country of their birth? Is common sense used at all in determining the law for these individuals?
o How does the US determine that this is not discrimination on the basis of citizenship, i.e. our dependent children have additional compliance requirements, additional expense of administration, all for $0.00 owing to the US, because they are considered US citizens in addition to the citizenship of their birthplace, Canada? They are also denied assistance in choosing or renouncing US citizenship when they have assistance in decision-making of trustees and/or guardians where they live, Canada.
o As far as I can tell, they are denied any health care assistance from the US in the country of their residence. They are denied being able to access financial benefit of legal tax laws to save for their retirement in their resident country, in this case Canada, afforded to others who hold only Canadian citizenship. In addition to all of the expense we have incurred so far in defense of our dependent children, must we also incur expense of consulting with a Human Rights lawyer to determine our children’s human rights?
Canada Ratifies UN Convention on Rights of Disabled
OTTAWA, Ontario, March 16, 2010) – The Canadian government announced that they have ratified the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The Hon. Lawrence Cannon (CPC-Pontiac), Minister of Foreign Affairs, ratified the Convention at the UN headquarters in New York on Thursday. “Canada is committed to promoting and protecting the rights of persons with disabilities and enabling their full participation in society,” he commented in a press release beforehand. “Ratification of this convention underscores the Government of Canada’s strong commitment to this goal.”
It is good to see you, Minister Flaherty, stand up for the rights and privacy of all Canadians in your dealings with the US. Please stand firm in representing us and all Canadians.
In the meantime can you also tell me so I can communicate it to other Canadian ‘US person’ taxpayers what you are doing to protect those most vulnerable from the overreach of the US, the disabled community of Canada?
I have just committed another amount of my retirement savings for 10 hours of time from a US Immigration and Nationality lawyer in trying to obtain my son’s renunciation. This is in addition to a considerable sum to have gotten into compliance with my US taxes for the years 2005 – 2010. I will pay an additional fee for my 2011 US taxes to be prepared by a cross-border CA. As well, I am obtaining services of a US tax attorney to make sure all of my filings and FBARs are correct (i.e., I failed to report my son’s RDSP to the US, thereby subject to potential penalty for not filing on US tax returns, as well as FBARs for my son (since his financial accounts now exceed $10,000) so that at least needs to be remedied. As soon as I am sure all is correct, I will make my appointment to renounce my US citizenship (which I was under the impression I had done when I became a Canadian citizen in 1975). Do you feel these sums of money to be taken from my and others’ Canadian retirement accounts or other Canadian savings, etc., are appropriate and just? There are so many other issues of discrimination for US persons in Canada, but the disabled population is what I want to address today and request answers from you.
I, and other families who do not have a voice (or indeed don’t even yet know this affects them), would like to know what steps you are taking on issues regarding US citizenship and the disabled population in Canada.
My appreciation for your attention to this.
Calgary, AB, Canada
@Calgary: I posted the text of a letter I received from Bob Rae today on the “Canadians Still Protected” thread. I know others are ticked off at the Liberals for not replying to them, but the Liberal response was the first I received of seven letters I sent on January 25 to Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers and others.
Unfortunately, Rae did not mention RDSPs, but it may be worthwhile following up with him. It may be no one has brought this to his attention yet.
I will scan the letter and e-mail you a copy.
Thanks — I can forward all this on to him as well. I’m glad someone here has finally heard from the Liberals.
@ Blaze. Thanks for this information.
I have forwarded my previous correspondence on to Mr. Rae, with the preface…
“Dear Honourable Minister Rae,
I am taking the liberty of forwarding recent correspondence I have sent to other government representatives as I have just heard from a fellow Canadian that she got a response from you. She is considered by the US a US citizen even though she was warned (as was I) that she would relinquish her citizenship when she took the Oath of Canadian Citizenship in the 70’s. We were glad that the Liberal Party is cognizant of the overreach of the US into the lives of Canadian citizens.
I and many others of the estimated one million considered ‘US persons in Canada’ would be pleased if you could review the email correspondence below and advise me of your and the Liberal position and actions, specifically on the human rights of US persons in Canada, particularly our disabled population, those with the least voice as it pertains to…
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Equality before and under law and equal protection and benefit of law
15. (1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.
Affirmative action programs
(2) Subsection (1) does not preclude any law, program or activity that has as its object the amelioration of conditions of disadvantaged individuals or groups including those that are disadvantaged because of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.
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