According to the Hill magazine a “son” of FATCA proposal by Carl Levin is heading for Senate approval as soon as today. Link below:
Credit and Debit cards issues by non-FATCA compliant banks such as Canadian credit unions will not be accepted in the US anymore.
Update: Son of FATCA proposal attached by to Highway Bill by voice vote. Will try to provide more details. Absolute Disgrace.
Further Update: The amendment is so new it doesn’t even show up on the Senate website yet. Bill still far from final Senate approval. I should note that while I am not an expert on US politics I seem to have heard some place that the main sponsor of the Highway Bill California Senator Barbara Boxer earlier had indicated she was opposed to any non transportation related amendments being made to this bill. The US Senate won’t be in session until Monday so we should now more about what actually passed by then. I do feel though that for those of you still involved in US politics and American Citizens Abroad this might be a good opportunity to make a stand. Given the large number of expats from California this might be a very good opportunity to put some pressure on California Senator Barbara Boxer.
Looks like the US fines you for spending money in Cuba:
Seems like the threats on paper aren’t really enforced and you just get fined if you carelessly left a “paper trail” allowing your visit there to be traced somehow. As long as you book everything in cash seems like the visit would be untraceable since the Cubans stamp separate pieces of paper for visiting US tourists that can later be discarded.
@dom Pomodoro, You are correct, there seems to be very little effort to enforce it. Even when I traveled there 4 years ago with a proper Treasury Department license and listed Cuba and Mexico (we had traveled via Mexico) as countries visited on the customs declaration which is stamped by Immigration when you return to the US, the officer seemed to ignore it. Only one of the 8 (we all cleared US immigration separately) in our group was asked if he had a copy of the Treasury Department license, which he only glanced to see that he had a copy, but did not look at it.. This was in Miami.
I am aware of a similar group that cleared immigration in another city, I think it was Nashville, who did have all of the few trinkets they had bought at the Havana airport confiscated, but our bags were not even opened.
There is hardly anything to buy in Cuba except rum, cigars and a few handcraft items.
But very ocassionally you do read of someone being fined for having traveled illegally to Cuba.
@Tim, @JustMe (re; ways of cracking the US media) @all; I saw this NewYorkTimes story, and realized that it offered an angle to publicize the impact of blocking the use of credit cards from non-compliant FFIs – on trade, retail, cross-border shopping, etc. Comments are closed, but perhaps they would consider a follow-up story? http://www.nytimes.com/content/help/site/editorial/letters/letters.html
Basically, if the subject of tapping overseas markets was important enough for the NYTs to write at length about, and as they state, the US retailers find that the ‘overseas’ market is becoming more important to them, anything that makes payment impossible (Senator Levin’s amendment) will throw a huge wrench into any of those efforts. The story specifically mentions Canada and Australia as target markets. Maybe it’s a way of getting retailers to lobby against it. They probably don’t know about the proposal, or FATCA and the implications for selling goods abroad.
“Macy’s is one of several retailers trying to extend its international presence to its Web operations by shipping overseas. In the last year, Williams-Sonoma, J. Crew, Aéropostale, Crate and Barrel and Lane Bryant have added international shipping to their Web sites, while Ann Taylor and Neiman Marcus are working on it….
“Some of the retailers are meeting existing or anticipated overseas demand, while others are testing the waters before opening stores in other countries.”
…”Forrester Research expects online retail sales in the Western Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America regions to increase 67 percent from 2011 to 2015, compared with 42 percent for the United States.”…
“……traffic to American Web sites from international visitors is already high. In December, 14 percent of visitors to jcrew.com were from outside the United States, as were 36 percent of visitors to abercrombie.com, according to the research firm comScore.”…
“The retailers have been looking for new avenues of growth beyond the U.S.,” said John D. Morris, a retail analyst with BMO Capital Markets”……
…”Macy’s has found that Australian shoppers are particularly interested in its trendy clothes, while Canadians want basics like coats, shoes and underwear. “…
Thanks for drawing attention to this one. I can do a 150 words to the Editor, no problem. Likely will NOT get published, but nothing ventured, nothing gained, as they say. I will keep it measured, and if nothing else, it will get STEPHANIE CLIFFORD’s attention. Also, will see if I can just get the email address of Stephanie and write her. Sometimes, surprisingly, journalist espond. Thanks for pointing this opportunity out.
@just me, why don’t you throw one at the US Chamber of Commerce also?
Find me the appropriate link, and I will! I have a busy day, today…. thnx 🙂
As much as I feel vindictive toward those who continue to heap pain on us, your previous words resonated in me…the contact page with the USCC is:
I’m sure you are more honed up on how to present this issue than I am. Thank you!
Here is a sample e-mail to the National Retail Federation
http://www.nrf.com/modules.php?name=Pages&sp_id=1&pmenu_id=1 since they had page on government relations http://www.nrf.com/modules.php?name=Dashboard&id=2&pmenu_id=14&utm_source=NRF.com&utm_medium=Navigation&utm_campaign=IS_ABtest&utm_term=Government_Relations
I am contacting you because I am an American consumer living longterm outside the US, who relies on online shopping to purchase American goods – which I pay for using credit cards. I often use online options to purchase my favourite brands, which are not available where I live. I also use online ordering to send gifts to family and friends within the US. Anything that makes it harder to do that means that I would have to look to buy gifts and goods elsewhere – i.e. outside the US. For example, crossborder shopping trips with friends would be less desirable – if perfectly legal but non-US credit cards, stop being usable in the US – as in when the credit cards are issued by Canadian banks that won’t sign on to FATCA. See proposal by Senator Levin http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/domestic-taxes/215075-financial-services-lobby-concerned-about-tax-evasion-proposal and http://www.calvinonfundtax.com/2012/03/17/senate-approves-highway-bill-ffi-amendment-house-strategy-remains-uncertain/ The problem is, that what the Senator means by banks which ‘impede’ his efforts re ‘money laundering’, is actually only that they refused to sign on to FATCA and impose it on their customers.
Many financial entities, and governments are opposed to the cost and privacy concerns that come with implementing FATCA, so it should come as no surprise that there is significant reluctance to sign on – which is not the same as impeding attempts to prevent money laundering. Up in Canada, there are lots of consumers who want to buy American goods, but also don’t want the US to be telling the Canadian government, and their banks what to do. The imposition of rules that would restrict the use of Canadian registered credit cards – and the refusal to recognize them for use in the US is not only a barrier to retail, but there will also be a significant backlash from Canadian consumers when they are told that the US government has enacted legislation that will make their cards unusable in the US.
The ability to purchase goods from retailers in the US, by consumers like me is an important issue outside the US. I saw the NYTimes story below, discussed on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/americancitizensabroad . I don’t think that the unintended consequences are understood yet. I suspect though that after shoppers are turned away, there will be a belated recognition that the US is cutting off it’s nose to spite it’s face.
See this recent story in the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/21/business/us-stores-learn-the-ropes-of-shipping-to-foreign-shoppers.html?_r=2&scp=2&sq=stephanie+clifford&st=cse
“Forrester Research expects online retail sales in the Western Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America regions to increase 67 percent from 2011 to 2015, compared with 42 percent for the United States.”
“And traffic to American Web sites from international visitors is already high. In December, 14 percent of visitors to jcrew.com were from outside the United States, as were 36 percent of visitors to abercrombie.com, according to the research firm comScore.”
“The retailers have been looking for new avenues of growth beyond the U.S.,” said John D. Morris, a retail analyst with BMO Capital Markets. A handful of retailers have sold internationally for some time. Abercrombie & Fitch, for instance, has shipped to overseas consumers for about a decade, while Nordstrom began doing so in 2009.”
“International visitors are coming to American sites because of lower prices and the availability of products they cannot get in their own countries, according to Forrester. Macy’s has found that Australian shoppers are particularly interested in its trendy clothes, while Canadians want basics like coats, shoes and underwear. ”
Recently however, legislation called FATCA http://www.forbes.com/sites/robertwood/2011/11/30/fatca-carries-fat-price-tag/ was enacted, that will make it much harder for US persons ‘abroad’ to open and maintain ordinary bank accounts in the non-US countries where they live, work and study.
Like many Americans and others ‘abroad’, I have been following stories about the impact of FATCA on international banking services, http://www.cba.ca/en/research-and-advocacy/47-regulatory-enviornment/598-foreign-account-tax-compliance-act- and the ability of US citizens who live abroad to bank outside the US. Recently, I saw this story about related legislation that would make the credit cards from non-US banks not recognized in the US http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/domestic-taxes/215075-financial-services-lobby-concerned-about-tax-evasion-proposal – a proposal to block the use of credit cards to buy goods in the US – if the credit cards are issued by a “non-compliant FFI” (as defined by FATCA related legislation – courtesy of Senator Levin).
To make it clear, if those of us ‘abroad’ – cannot use our domestic credit cards to purchase goods online from US retailers, or to buy them in person – as tourists shopping in the US (quite a popular reason to travel to the US from border cities in Canada for example) then that is a loss to us as consumers, but it is also a bigger loss for American retailers. Online shopping is growing, and anything which is a barrier to purchasing US retail (and other goods) will discourage us from buying from the US. In this instance, the interests of consumers, and the interests of retailers and manufacturers aligns. I am in favor of curbing tax evasion, but the efforts as enacted are seriously encroaching on the everyday lives of consumers. We will certainly also be facing higher fees if our bank and credit card issuers decide to pass on the costs of compliance to consumers – which is inevitable if they end up subject to FATCA and related proposals.
I see that you follow government initiatives that might impact on your members, http://www.nrf.com/modules.php?name=Dashboard&id=2&pmenu_id=14&utm_source=NRF.com&utm_medium=Navigation&utm_campaign=IS_ABtest&utm_term=Government_Relations and I think that this qualifies as one.
a US consumer ‘abroad’
Someone asked previous about Canadian credit union and credit cards. Most actually don’t issue their own cards other than through third party marketing agreement such CUETS. They do all issue debit cards which can either be used on the domestic Interac network or through Maestro. They can only be used at ATM’s or pin pads. Interestingly enough some merchants close to the border in the US have been able to get Interac pads installed which historically only existed in Canada. I am assuming this had to be approved by the government at some point but it has definately flown under the radar screen.
@all, it might be worth sending e-mails or letters the the NRF, as there will be an event in May http://www.retailmeansjobs.com/ where National Retail Federation members will descend on Washington to lobby about issues that they see as important – perhaps that might help to lobby against the ‘Son of FATCA’ credit card provision:
See their agenda – http://www.retailmeansjobs.com/Agenda – which provides talking points to address;
“The Retail Industry’s Agenda for Jobs, Innovation and Consumer Value”
“SPUR JOB CREATION
As one of America’s largest industry sectors, retail supports one in four American jobs and drives a large percentage of our nation’s new job growth. With unemployment at 9.1 percent in July, it is critical that every policy decision be viewed through the lens of whether it supports or hinders job creation.”
Encourage global trade: Smart trade policy that eliminates trade barriers at home and abroad and facilitates international commerce will help American companies grow and be more competitive, improve American families’ standard of living, and support and create American jobs. Retail operations and global supply chains alone support millions of American blue and white collar jobs not only in retailing, but also supporting industries such as manufacturing, agriculture and services.”
“Make Change Happen”
“For the past twelve months, NRF has diligently been pushing for the retail industry’s interests on Capitol Hill, focusing on sales tax fairness, job creation, travel visa reform, privacy issues and more. At the center of it all, the Retail Means Jobs campaign has been educating lawmakers, consumers and the general public about the jobs, innovation and consumer value that retail brings to America.”
“This May 15-16, during NRF’s 77th Annual Washington Leadership Conference, NRF and more than 100 retailers will storm Capitol Hill to address these critical policy issues with legislators.”
“While NRF’s team of lobbyists is a fierce and incredibly strong advocate for the industry, it is your voice and your story that adds texture and real meaning to our efforts.”
Just an update on the Senate transportation bill..
The House just passed a 3 month extension, as they rejected the Senate version…
However, the struggle isn’t over yet..
Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., co-author of the Senate bill, said Democrats would try to attach the Senate bill to the House-passed extension Thursday afternoon. If they are successful, that would require further action by the House.
If this is indeed part of what the Senate passes and the House is in agreement, these amendments wiill be enacted. Perhaps this will be a good thing in the long run, because it will just add more “salt to the wound” and hopefully make it easier to draw attention to all of the damage that the US is headed for, as a result of citizenship based taxation, which is really the basic source of all of these problems, which will be accentuated by these amendments. The problems will just have been mltipled in magnitude by the enactment of these Amendments. It might, perhaps, help to get the tourist industry riled up when they realize what the credit card restriction is going to do to smash their ricebowl. The more support we can generate the better.
I’m not sure, but it seems to me that too many FFI’s are planning to comply with FATCA and hence the rice bowl might just only get a small chip nocked off of it 🙁
I love metaphors…is the world really America’s sandbox and we just get to play in it???
NO America is a box of quicksand and we are all getting devouered by it 🙁
Not sure if you have been reading the back and forth between me and Tim on NZ FFIs. From what I see, they will just “complain but comply”, looking to NZ government for law modification so that they can handle the “passthru” withholding requirements, or enter into a reciprocity tax data exchange in a government to government deal like the 5 EU countries. Tim sees it differently, and frankly he is more knowledgeable than I, so I hope he is right. I have targeted a couple journalist for some email messaging or might call if I can find their numbers. Would like to stir a bit of interest in the media down here.
On the other thread I have posting on today I just found news that yesterday the CDN govt indicated they were not willing to enter into an intergovernment agreement similar to those of the five EU countries at this time.
@Tim. That is good to hear. Hope Canada can be the core of an axis of opposition countries. BTW, which “other thread” are you referring too. I hope it isn’t one that I am not subscribed to, so am missing them. Please advise.
The other thread is the one related to Credit Union Central of Canada and FATCA. You have already posted on it check out the beginning article.
@tim. gotcha… Will back in the comment string.
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