Some of you may be aware that I have been talking to John Weston re matters affecting US persons resident in Canada. He’s been designated the federal government’s go-to man on these issues and has used my circumstances as his exhibit in a letter he wrote to Minister Flaherty. I wrote to him yesterday complaining about the deafening silence from our government on FATCA (other than by the official opposition party), FATCA as it affects my children, updating him on our OVDI submission, and asking him if he can give me more information on his earlier suggestion that we may be able to have the capital gains tax on the sale of our home in Canada eliminated through Article 25 of the tax treaty. I received a response from his office today. It’s the usual short and sweet, but some of you may be interested in following up with Mr Weston because of the following:
“Pls thank (Bubblebustin) for the letter; advise her we have passed her concerns to the Minister and sought a response; and that I have personally invited a top US tax attorney, the former Dep. Commissioner of the IRS to Ottawa”
Am crossing my fingers that your story in Weston’s hands and a former IRS Dep.Commissioner’s ears will illustrate the reality of how this situation is making it impossible for honest citizens and permanent residents to live, work and save in Canada (and elswhere) under these conditions. Thank you for pursuing it with your MP – it may make all the difference.
I see that MP Weston also has international experience, and a background in constitutional law:
“John studied International Relations at Harvard and Law at Osgoode Hall; and he has studied languages in Switzerland, Poland, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Based in Taiwan for 10 years, his work has taken him throughout the Pacific Rim. He has run successful law firms in Taiwan and Vancouver, and is a member of the bars of B.C. and New York, and of the Law Society of England & Wales. A well-established constitutional lawyer, in 2002 he was a founder of the Canadian Constitution Foundation.”
I think that would be very relevant to discussing these issues.
To be fair I don’t think there are discussions happening behind closed doors I just don’t know effect they are having. I think one issue is the US authorities by passing the legislation they have over the years have really painted themselves into a corner in terms of offering any relief. The more interesting MP is John Weston’s next door neighbor Andrew Saxton who used to run HSBC private banking department in Singapore and now is Tony Clement’s deputy at Treasury Board. (I found out in addition to Flaherty Tony Clement and Christian Paradis are also involved with FATCA issues).
Invited. Doesn’t man he will go. Hope he does-he’s a reasonable guy.
I am in Andrew Saxton’s riding. I wrote to him in early February; received a phone call from someone in his constituency office on February 8th. They told me that Mr. Saxton was writing me a letter in response. After one month, when I had not received it, I phoned the constituency office. It is now May 1st and I am still waiting for that letter. He must write very, very slowly!
For anyone that is waiting on a response from the Canadian government ….ie Finance Minister Flaherty – know that you will most likely get the same nice form letter 3-4 pages that I did which was the EXACT letter that was posted on here despite the questions in my letter to him were on matters of what “Canada” is going to do. Frankly I don’t think they still know. It was similar to the letter from my MP (Bev Oda) who is useless. . They seem to be still naive in thinking the U.S. will punish anyone and their definition of a small fish is “misguided” at best.
I explained to him in the letter I had been a citizen for over 20 years and had no idea that there were any ties to the U.S. because I didn’t have any. No U.S. passport in over 25 years, no property, no voting…etc. It was explained to me by the Consulate at the time that if I wanted to retain U.S. dual citizenship – I had to do something about it and never did. I wanted to understand what protections that were in place for those that had paid taxes and been citizens here for almost 30 years.
I have no intention of filing because I never have and didn’t know I needed to because I never considered I was a dual citizen. I told him in the note I made over 150K a few years back so I could be fined for each year and couldn’t pay it even if I wanted to because I was no longer a 6 figure wage earner thanks to the economy and downsizing. So guess I was a bigger fish for 2-3 years – but now am self-employed and am a wee tiny fish – but am caught in a net. I would basically lose my house. I asked as a citizen and a taxpayer what he was going to do for banks who will be asking us to provide information that is unconstitutional as to where we are born so they can punt us from the bank – even though we pay taxes here and have been with the bank 25 years. And let’s just say CRA is not going back 10 years like the U.S. and pay me back taxes I paid …..I heard they will only go back 3 years by an accountant and that doesn’t really help me. I explained I was between a rock and hard place because I couldn’t even renounce or relinquish because I don’t have the money to pay up because we are talking over 150K I would owe in fines and taxes and am not losing my house or threatening my kids educational future over some idiot (Obama) who is looking to secure a second term on the backs of those of abroad because he has bankrupted the government in his first term.
The letter did not address any of this. It only talked about the small fish and how the U.S. isn’t going after grandmas and most people don’t owe…blah blah blah and how they have expressed their concerns to Obama and company who don’t give a rats ass. I wanted to scream….did you read the letter at all. The only positive piece in the letter was that CRA will never collect for the IRS. In the end he told me to contact an accountant or lawyer and thought you have to be kidding….I already told you I knew what I owed from an accountant and who can afford a lawyer to fight the U.S. government – I would be paying them plus the U.S. so everyone wins but me.
As much as I love Canada ….I don’t really trust any elected official who all seem to sway with the weather and do things primarily in their own best interest to get re-elected. There are not many that stick their necks out ….especially these days. Don’t think the NDP who seem to be fighting this are not using this as an agenda item against the PCs who are in power….it they were in power now – I am sure the PCs or Liberals would have this as a cause. To be honest, I don’t care about the motivation as long as someone sticks to it as a cause and it seems there is a lot of quiet lately.
I want to see when this all goes into affect and people start losing their bank accounts …some constitutional lawyer who is watching create a suit against the bank on behalf of people like us because I think there is something there. The U.S. is tromping on the rights of people in other countries and if the country itself is going to roll over and let the U.S. (Big Brother) do this – then shame on them …. and one hopes that constitutions and rights of other countries will wake up some lawyers to make a name for themselves …because this could be huge.
As far as I am concerned my kids are safe though that was a question in the letter as well for those in the net who were born here. They were born here, have Canadian father and no one in the U.S. government knows they exist. They have a Canadian passport with Canadian birth place- actually have no interest in the U.S. except to shop and have never considered themselves anything but Canadian and can’t figure out how the U.S. government can think they could have control over kids like them that are born in another country to a mother of a different nationality who was already a Canadian citizen when they were born.
If the U.S. was ever concerned (which they are not) about what people think of them abroad, then I think the last decade of things they have done under the last 2 Presidents including this will make it an all time low. The sad part is this is the “government” not the people as my family members in the U.S. and friends are as disgusted at policies, loss of freedoms and rights and things that have occurred in the last 10 years. Unfortunately citizens get “painted” with the brush of their country. There is a reason that people like Canadians abroad….both the country and the people.
There was a time months ago I stressed on this daily after I found out about this and was worse when I found out if I renounced I had to pay up. I never considered complying with blackmail. Think about it ….it is only the bigger fish or those have been low are medium wage earners (who would never owe) – but lets face it today 158K is not a millionaire and if you made over that a few years with commissions and in my case back child support owed for years – renouncing or complying could make you lose your savings, house, kid’s education and pension – all for being born in a country who decided to go after anyone to bail them out. Instead today – if there is an issue at my bank (which shows me as CDN) – I have a local credit union and I have gotten over any sadness of never returning to the U.S. – so I sleep a lot better at night even if Flaherty and company do nothing.
To be fair Flaherty has probably done more on this issue than any other Finance Minister in the world. I do feel reasonably confident as long we are vigilent we can come out of this with a satisfactory outcome. Unfortionately government departments whether in Canada or the United States are very slow moving. I will try to provide some more information on this issue I am expecting to receive this evening.
@proudCanadian. Thanks for that. Cynicism of the government in this case is not without justification. What was nice about my face to face meeting with John Weston is I could see that he was genuinely moved by what my husband and I were going through in our decision to enter OVDI. I also learned that someone in his office has a spouse who is a US citizen who had not been meeting their filing obligations. With the decision to enter OVDI also came the determination to use my voice to the best of my ability to right this wrong. Maybe I’m not as powerful or smart as I could be, but I’m trying my best to bring this situation to light to end this insanity. I have talked to many people who have the “don’t let the door hit you mentality” and occasionally they change their tone if you make enough of an effort. How can you expect someone to understand off the bat a situation that is incomprehensible to most? Combine that with blind patriotism and ignorance and you have a recipe for getting stonewalled. However, I’ve come to realize that in each of these people you have the potential to enlighten one more person, if you can manage the patience. I’ve irritated a lot of people, but I’m not hiding and I’m not yet ready to give up the citizenship of the country I was born in because I’m being persecuted by that country.
BTW, something I think we ofter overlook is the number of Americans who live among us. There are very few of us who don’t know other US persons in our walks of life. So the same can be assumed of those who we feel have the most potential to harm us: bankers, politicians, and whoever we feel aren’t doing enough to reverse the outcome. Our investment advisor with a big bank is concerned because he has relatives who are US citizens. We are everywhere! Our weakness is that most of us are lying low either feeling hopeless or thinking others will deal with it.