I just sent this to every MP:
What is your Party’s Position on FATCA?
The Green party has released its position on FATCA.
One million voting Canadian citizens and their families and friends are waiting to hear your party’s position.
Just curious if anyone at IBS follows Garth Turner’s blog called ‘Greater Fool’. It covers topics on Canadian real estate, economics, and money. I find that a lot of the topics overlap with what is discussed here – not from a FATCA or citizen-ship based taxation perspective though. For example, a lot of talk about Cyprus, the RBC outsourcing of IT work, bitcoins, etc. Occasionally, I try to comment from a ‘US person’ living in Canada perspective. It is hard to get my voice heard, as most are mostly interested in whether or not this is a good time to buy a house, or how to invest their money, etc, but whenever I find an appropriate opening in the conversation, I try.
Ding! Ding! Ding! Slip the word FATCA in whenever and wherever you can. You never know for whom the wake-up bell will toll.
Two months after my e-mail blitz I’m still getting a response now and then. This one is from Conservative Rob Merrifield.
Thank you for taking the time to write me regarding FACTA.
Your Government has raised serious concerns directly with the US about FATCA.
We strongly believe FATCA has far reaching extraterritorial implications and would raise significant privacy concerns for Canadians.
While we’re pleased the US has taken note of our concerns by delaying FATCA’s implementation, this is only a first step.
We are actively negotiating with the United States to reach a solution that both countries find agreeable, and that treats Canadian citizens fairly.
Again thank you for taking the time to write me and please feel free to do so with any future concerns or questions.
Hon. Rob Merrifield, M.P.
Member of Parliament for Yellowhead
Chair of the Standing Committee on International Trade
And this one is from Liberal John MacKay.
I would like to thank you for taking the time to write and for sharing your concerns regarding the United States Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FACTA) and how this is affecting Canadians.
Liberals believe that the Government of Canada should stand up for honest hard working people who have been caught up by overly complex American tax rules. They are not tax cheats and it is past time for Stephen Harper to stand up for them.
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird should be asking the United States for amnesty against penalties as the IRS’s Foreign Bank Account Reporting requirements were not adequately communicated to dual-citizens living in Canada. In addition, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty should work to amend the Canada-US Tax Treaty so that the IRS does not tax savings vehicles such as RRSPs and RESPs, and instead recognize them as the tax deferred savings vehicles that they are.
We are also highly concerned that new regulations in the United States will soon force Canadian banks to share personal banking information with the IRS. This raises clear privacy concerns that must be addressed before these regulations take effect in two years’ time. We hope that the Harper Government will act to address these concerns instead of caving into American pressure as has been their past practice.
We have raised this issue in Question Period and will continue to press the Conservative government to do the right thing for Canadians
Thank you for taking the time to write.
Hon. John McKay, PC, MP
Scarborough – Guildwood
I thought it might be a good idea to re post this comment here from Jim Jatras for those who have not seen it already:
For those who haven’t, please do drop Sen Paul’s office a note asking him not to be deterred by these attacks, and to keep on standing up for consitutional principle and personal liberty in connection with the tax treaties and, especially, FATCA. Here is the link:
Messages preferably short be short, simple, and positive. But they make a difference. These are real easy issues for a Senator or Congressmen to get beat up on (See, “business” is against him — not Treasury and IRS, which no doubt placed this and a couple more in the same vein), and to start asking himself, “Why am I taking this position — just because it’s the right thing? Who’s with me?” Any encouragement is welcome.
For those who are thinking of writing a comment to Paul Rand and are worried about anonymity, like I was, even though address and name are required, use a fake address, fake email address, put your first name in, etc.
I noticed that certain fields are required to be entered, such as state, but obviously if you are abroad, you will have to just pick one from the drop down list, then if you want to clarify your non-US residence, type it into the street address fields.
I think this an important opportunity to support someone who is on our side.
Every now and then I still get a response from my mid-February e-mail blitz to all our MPs. This one from Paul Dewar (NDP) is neither extremely encouraging nor terribly discouraging. I guess I want to see someone besides Elizabeth May take a very firm and unequivocal stand against FATCA. Although phrases like “will not support an agreement that violates the privacy rights of individuals” sound good, the devil is in the details. It’s possible to morph “privacy rights” into something which makes FATCA doable in Canada, especially when catch phrases like “tax evasion” and “national security” can be drilled into people’s minds by the simple flip of a propaganda switch, making what was once unthinkable quite acceptable. Guess you could almost call this the “Boston effect” now.
Thank you for sharing your concerns regarding the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). I do apologize for my delayed response as we have had some staffing shortages in our office.
The Harper government is currently participating in closed doors negations with the US over an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) for the implementation of FATCA in Canada. Such an agreement would likely require Canada to enact laws and regulations that would require Canadian financial institutions to comply with FATCA. New Democrats have serious concerns about the lack of transparency and consultation during the negotiation process and the potential infringements on the rights of Canadians.
If implemented, the IGA would likely require Canadian banks, investment funds and other financial institutions to disclose annually to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) accounts held by American citizens, including dual citizens in Canada. Failure to disclose account information could result in a withholding tax applied to U.S. income earned by the institution or by account holder. The goal of this policy is to aggressively target American citizens who are improperly shielding assets in offshore accounts.
Essentially, FATCA would allow the United States to bypass the exchange of information between the IRS and the Canada Revenue Agency and instead get information directly from Canadian financial institutions and there are widespread concerns that this exchange of information could potentially violate existing Canadian privacy laws.
New Democrats have repeatedly raised concerns over FATCA with the Conservatives and asserted that the government has a responsibility to protect innocent Canadian citizens from the improper and unreasonable intrusion of a foreign government.
New Democrats are fighting for the Conservatives to finally get serious when it comes to tax havens. We believe the Canadian Government has a responsibility to protect Canada’s tax base, and while we understand the United States’ desire to protect their own tax base, this cannot come at the cost of the rights of individuals residing in our own country. We are demanding answers and transparency from the Conservatives on FATCA, and will not support an agreement that violates the privacy rights of individuals.
My New Democrat colleagues and I will continue to stand up for fair taxation and for privacy rights.
Please do not hesitate to contact me with any further questions or concerns.
Paul Dewar, MP
@Em, I got the same one.
I guess it’s the uncertainty of what those secret negotiations might bring that makes me want to see our politicians direct more hell, fire and damnation at the damn form nation for trying to infect Canada and the whole world with the FATCA virus. However I do realize that even though FATCA consumes my attention it is just one of many items on their agendas. Still, like Oliver, I WANT MORE!
@Em, I want more – I want the other leaders of the federal parties to put an anti-FATCA statement on their official party websites. There is nothing on the federal NDP site. No statement re FATCA that I can see, from NDP leader Mulcair – despite the very strong statements by the BC NDP caucus and other individual NDP MPs.
And, where was Bob Rae, and now, Justin Trudeau?
And what about the Bloc Quebecois?
I find it hard to believe that the Bloc Quebecois would support the US extraterritorial taxation of those in Quebec, given that their raison d’etre is SOVEREIGNTY! See this statistic regarding opinion on the area of sovereignty and taxation; “………The number one area of autonomy that those polled had hoped for was with regard to culture at 34%, the next highest areas of autonomy cherished were the economy at 32%, taxation at 26%, and immigration and the environment at 15% each.……” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quebec_sovereignty_movement
…”The First Referendum and Patriation
On May 20, 1980, the PQ government held a referendum on Québec sovereignty. The preamble to the referendum question read as follows:
“The Government of Québec has made public its proposal to negotiate a new agreement with the rest of Canada, based on the equality of nations; this agreement would enable Québec to acquire exclusive power to make its laws, levy its taxes and establish relations abroad …”
…….”Québec has a legitimate desire to possess all the levers necessary to develop its economy, promote itsculture and take its place as the only majority French-speaking people in North America. For this to happen, it must have the fundamental tools of any people: the ability to levy all its own taxes, to make all its own laws and to conclude all its own treaties. In short, Québec needs its sovereignty.”
Has anyone alerted the Bloc, that the Harper government is in the process of concluding a treaty/IGA with the US, that Quebec will be bound by, without consulting them, and at stake is autonomy and sovereignty issues?
I haven’t emailed Justin yet, so thought it was about time, and sent this.
Dear Mr. Trudeau,
Are you aware that some Canadians are the ‘New Jews’? Their crime: Born in USA, but no longer living there. They are also often referred to as ‘US Persons’.
These hundreds of thousands of ‘US Persons’ living in Canada are mostly just average law-abiding people who pay taxes in Canada. Many left the USA decades ago, many are Canadian, and some have been dual citizens from birth. Most have no idea the USA considers them taxpayers especially if they left as young children. USA is the only country (except Eritrea) that taxes its citizens no matter where in the world they reside, and no matter where their income is earned.
Until recently, the USA was not enforcing its policy of taxing ‘US Persons’ in Canada, nor did it attempt to educate them about the requirement to file annual tax returns or FBARs (foreign bank account reports). All bank accounts in Canada having a ‘US Person’ with signing authority are considered ‘foreign’ and automatically suspected to be hidden, off-shore accounts, thus subject to life-altering penalties for non-reporting.
With FATCA, Canadian financial institutions are forced to seek out those who were ‘Born in the USA’ and send details of all the accounts of these ‘US Persons’ to the IRS. Since the majority of ‘US Persons’ in Canada (even those who’ve been filing US tax returns) haven’t been reporting their so-called ”foreign’ accounts, IRS will have a field day assessing penalties.
In fact when the IRS is done with them, it may as well just send them (and their families) to the gas chambers because most of them won’t feel like they have much left to live for.
Can you help?
Now is the time for all Brockers (and supporters) to go on a massive email blitz. I just sent this to a few MP’s, Harper, Trudeau, Flaherty, and Shoom:
Please check out the 363 comments on a recent article on the Globe: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/canadas-information-sharing-deal-with-us-under-fire/article12913617/
Despite that the article is missing key facts about FATCA and the discriminatory issues surrounding the worst US law most Canadians (and Americans) have never heard of, the vast majority of commenters make it clear they do not want Canada to enforce US law on Canadians resident in Canada.
FATCA is so distasteful to virtually ALL Canadians (once they understand it), that to sign an IGA with the USA will surely cause a revolt!
Do the right thing before it’s too late! Just SAY NO TO FATCA!
A few weeks ago, I sent a brief comment to Obama criticizing FATCA. Here is the response I got back today:
Thank you for writing. I understand the strong views many Americans have about taxes, and I appreciate your perspective.
This is a make-or-break moment for the middle class and those trying to reach it. That is why my top priority is growing the economy and creating jobs by building a rising, thriving middle class. To do that, we need a tax code that rewards hard work and ensures everyone—especially the wealthiest Americans and big corporations—pays their fair share and plays by the same rules. As we move forward to address our ongoing fiscal challenges, we need a balanced approach that both cuts spending and asks the wealthy to do a little more so we can protect the investments in education, manufacturing, clean energy, and small business that help America thrive.
Since I took office, my Administration has cut taxes for the middle class, families, and small businesses. The Recovery Act cut taxes for 95 percent of American workers, assisting 120 million families. Further tax relief I enacted helps bring the cost of college within reach for students, enables more seniors to make ends meet, and assists responsible first-time homebuyers. To uphold our commitments to our service members, I signed the Returning Heroes and Wounded Warriors tax credits into law—rewarding companies that hire our Nation’s unemployed and disabled veterans. And in January 2013, I signed the American Taxpayer Relief Act, which permanently extended income tax cuts for 98 percent of Americans while asking the wealthiest households to pay a little more to help reduce the deficit. Finally, I have signed 18 tax breaks for small businesses to help jumpstart the private sector and help them expand and hire.
But there is more work to do. We need bipartisan, comprehensive tax reform that creates jobs and cuts the deficit in a balanced way. I am ready to reform our tax code to eliminate loopholes for the wealthiest taxpayers and biggest corporations, special interest carve-outs, and other tax expenditures that stack the deck against small business owners and middle-class families. For too long, our tax code has benefited the wealthy and well-connected at the expense of the majority of Americans. That is why I am committed to making our tax system simpler and fairer for the middle class and ensuring everyone plays by the same rules. I have urged Congress to enact the Buffett Rule, which would prevent millionaires and billionaires from using loopholes and special tax breaks to pay taxes at a lower rate than middle-class families. As we all come together to make tough choices, we cannot afford to continue allowing some of the wealthiest Americans to avoid paying their fair share.
Our current corporate tax system is outdated, unfair, and inefficient. Worst of all, it even provides tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas. It is unnecessarily complicated and forces America’s small businesses to spend countless hours and dollars filing their taxes. That is why my Administration released a framework for reform that simplifies the tax code, eliminates dozens of tax loopholes and subsidies, and promotes job creation right here at home. To increase competitiveness for companies across our Nation, our framework lowers the corporate tax rate, cuts tax rates further for manufacturers who are creating new products here in America, and includes a basic minimum tax for every multinational company—because no company should be able to avoid paying its fair share of taxes by moving jobs and profits out of the United States. I have also repeatedly called on Congress to stop giving away $4 billion a year in oil subsidies to an industry that has never been more profitable, and instead pass clean energy tax credits to create jobs and homegrown clean energy technology.
The American story is not about what we can do on our own; it is about what we can accomplish together. Our Nation’s success is possible only because previous generations sacrificed to make investments on our behalf. We must now join together in the same spirit to do what is right for our country’s future. To learn more about my tax reform plans, please visit http://www.WhiteHouse.gov/issues/taxes.
Thank you, again, for writing.
Thanks for sharing that obfuscating piece of non-response from Obama. I think at least one other has had the exact same or very similar. I got a few far more brief pro forma unrelated responses to my numerous emails on the topic to the Whitehouse before I gave up.
What a joke eh? My comment was specifically directed towards FATCA, and was short and to the point. In return I get a long winded dissertation with no mention of FATCA whatsoever – why even bother responding?
Your letter was thrown in the “tax, middle class” pile for response. “Foreign” didn’t even register.