Well, not a perfect story. But, any story at this stage, is better than nothing. It provides opportunity.
Tax Evaders Beware! Money’s Getting Harder To Hide
The narrative is fairly predictable, and while not wrong, the emphasis is NOT where I would like it. However, it is the conventional wisdom (CW) version, and arises out of all the partisan focus on Romney’s tax situation, Swiss Bank Accounts and the battle over his lack of tax return disclosure. (see preceding story)
FATCA gets a passing mention which is significant as it is the first time since it was passed in 2010 that it has been uttered on NPR. Also, since this is only a 4 minute story, I understand that they would not get into the peripheral issues that impact you and I.
Have a listen, and see what you think. I am still pondering a 1200 character response on their web site. That is their limit. Now, the question is, how to use this opportunity to expand their understanding of a BIGGER story of unintended consequences on immigrants and expats.
*Yesterday, I learned that if, and only if I renounce US citizenship, then I can refinance my mortgage for 5 years at an interest rate of 0.9%, saving over $21000 in interest. As such, I’m currently in a state of confusion. I returned to Switzerland 11 years ago to find a job and never imagined that such could possibly result in me giving up US citizenship. Now, I just can’t believe it that banks are refusing to refinance my mortgage simply because I’m a US person and it is even more unbelievable that this is directly because of US policy. I feel rather betrayed, rejected and abandoned by the US government and am not sure if I’m overreacting. So, this weekend, I’ll be heading to the the alps where I first came after leaving the US when I was 10, to bring back old memories. I lived there for 3 years and it was one of the most fascinating and difficult times in my life, where I lost and gained many friendships, learned to enjoy life in a totally different world, encountered, for the first time, pro/anti-Americanism and pro-communism, discovered what it is like to be disliked for being American or non-American, and became one with nature, fascinated with other cultures and learned to love Switzerland, Italy and Austria. I discovered that one of the most beautiful feelings in life is to climb a mountain. It totally changed my life. Now, my life may change again but in a much different way. So, I’ll go back to my roots and move on from there. My heart, brain and logic is telling me to cut my ties with America, while my worst-case scenario planning views both circumstances as being a possible long-term risk.
Apology accepted, and frankly I wasn’t insulted that much. 🙂 I have heard the rants for years about NPR from some very good friends, so understand the arguments, and yet those same friends listen regularly and voluntarily pay contributions to their local public radio station, as do I. Go figure. Most of the funding does come from individual contributions, which might be different than the Swiss model. I will avoid the Rush discussion other than to say, years ago he amused me, but I have grown tired of him. In fact, I fear it when he takes up a position I agree with, because I know it shuts down progressives whose support we need to change things.
Anyway, we have beat that subject to death, and I propose a Beer Summit, next time I am in Switzerland! Then we can discussion the finer points of Austrian economics!
BTW…. I am not a big rap fan, but I did get a kick out of this video contrasting the two conflicting schools of economic thought. I have posted it somewhere here previously, but maybe you would enjoy seeing it, or maybe not! LOL
and then you might enjoy this conversation, if you can set aside that it was done by Planet Money, a NPR program. 🙂
It’s a Deep Read interview with Nicholas Wapshott, the author of the new book Keynes Hayek: The Clash That Defined Modern Economics.
swisspinoy, you’re going through what I think many of us are going through or have gone through. I think it is RIDICULOUS shame that you would have to cut all ties from where you were born just to be able to live an unencumbered life elsewhere (I don’t know if you were born there, but I was).
I don’t exactly have any desire to go to the US right now until they calm down a bit with their X-rated scanners and TSA gropes– if that will ever happen — but I can only imagine that my parents and relatives are going to act as if nothing has changed. I still speak the same language! I’m still the same person, just I don’t live there.
At least for me, I’ve done a million self-questions about where I live, would I go back?, what would I do? what would my wife do? Keep in mind the place where I live is not Canada; the culture is different and so is the language. Every time I ask myself these questions, it keeps coming back to the same thing:: having a Brazilian passport allows more “flexibility” to live wherever I want to and not be hassled or burdened with US Citizenship. Since you are already a Swiss citizen, it’s faster for you. I still have to wait for something to come through with the citizenship here, which gives me more [agonizing] time to think about it.
This is terrible. Another example of how USP’s are becoming second class citizens in the world. Would this constitute duress in any application to renounce US citizenship? Again, we must censor ourselves of the effect of US policies for our own preservation!
*I’m beginning to better understand the situation many Brocks find themselves in.
@geeez, I was born in the US and lived there half of my life. This weekend, I came to the conclusion that the US is making it more difficult for me to move forwards and that I can progress just fine as a Swiss citizen without US complications. I’m getting the impression that the US position towards Americans abroad is just becoming worse regardless of the efforts made by IBS, ACA and the many other organizations. As such, I’m willing to try something different. I could schedule in a date to renounce/relinquish with a given set of conditions. If the conditions are were before the deadline, then I would keep the US passport and otherwise give it up. I doubt that this would change anything, but if other people joined in, then it might get some attention. It never hurts to try something. 🙂
That is a very interesting concept. What might those conditions be? You wouldn’t want those conditions, should they not be met, to effect your ability to renounce or re-enter the US (duress, Reed Amendment). You could demonstrate how US policy is causing USC’s to renounce citizenship. I would consider participation in a project like this. Remove the gag!
*bubblebustin, it could be something simple like the introduction of foreign addresses in the US system, or a bit more demanding like representation for Americans abroad in the house and senate, or something that would make a lot of sense like territorial taxation for individuals, or something necessary like a multiparty system. It is unlikely that I would be denied the ability to renounce or re-enter the US. My retirement savings are not large enough for FATCA. My income has generally been below the average annual net income tax liability. I’m a US veteran with US ancestry going back to the Mayflower and I’ve been a dual citizen since birth. Heck, I’m even a liberal who likes Obama as an individual and would vote for either party if they cut spending, broke up their monopoly and stopped threatening me for paying taxes where I live!
My guess — and feel free to prove me wrong — is that you won’t get the US to budge. My theory is that the current wave of renunciations is a net short-term benefit for the US. Not only do they get to avoid processing a chunky paper tax return every year for $0 in tax receipts, but they also get $450 with which to run the federal government for another 4 milliseconds. Every little bit helps, after all!
*As I posted in another thread:
The huffingtonpost article on this topic now has 226 comments and one mod is asking what he/she can do to help Americans abroad: