Thank you for your correspondence concerning the United States Foreign Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and the stance of the Liberal party on the issue. Please excuse my delay in responding to your email – my office has been working to respond to correspondence that had been misplaced during a recent staff transition.
Liberals were the first to raise the issue some years ago, pressuring the Conservative government to pursue amnesty against penalties as the IRS’s Foreign Bank Account Reporting requirements were not adequately communicated to Canadians who would be affected. A two-year amnesty period was negotiated in the face of overwhelming pressure from Liberals and concerned Canadians. Together, we sent a clear signal that Canadians expect their government to stand up for the honest and hardworking people who have been caught up by overly complex American tax rules. Canadians are not international tax cheats and it was past time for Stephen Harper to stand up for them.
During the two year amnesty period, we also made it clear that the government should address the concerns of Canadians regarding the US taxation of tax savings vehicles like RRSP and RESPs and regulations under FATCA that will force Canadian banks to share personal banking information with the IRS. These issues present immense sovereignty and privacy concerns for Canadians. The IRS does not have the jurisdiction or authority to persecute persons living and working in Canada. These people are already paying taxes – in Canada.
Over the amnesty period, the Harper government appears to have made no attempts to safeguard the interests of Canadians who will be victimized by the IRS if FACTA is allowed to proceed. As it stands, FACTA will compel not just dual citizens, but persons known to the US government residing in Canada to report to the IRS. These include dual-citizens, Canadians with American spouses, Canadians who have worked in the United States, and others. I am deeply disappointed in the government’s inaction on an issue that so brazenly threatens so many Canadians. I assure you that the Liberal Party will continue to pressure the Harper Government to address these concerns instead of caving into American pressure as has been its past practice.
Thank you once again for your correspondence; please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of further assistance on this or any other issue.
Hon. Dr. Hedy Fry, P.C., M.P.
Health Critic – Liberal Party of Canada