We finally have the draft agenda of the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee public hearing on FATCA next Tuesday.
Unfortunately, all of the scheduled speakers will almost certain defend FATCA as if their lives depended on it. My sense is there is a real political problem in Europe as more become aware of the IGA terms however, many others with all of Europe’s economic and deficit problems are strongly in favor of cracking down on tax “evasion.” I do know for a fact the reason this hearing is being called is do the protestations of anti FATCA MEPs such as Sophia In’t Veld however the net effect seems to be to have a hearing that at this point is completely dominated by pro FATCA voices. I do expect some tough questions from the likse of Ms In’t Veld that I suspect will cause some real discomfort for the currently scheduled speakers. However, I expect plenty of softballs from the FATCA sympathizers on the committee. I also expect the IRS/Treasury rep to lie through his death and essentially pray on the lack of knowledge many European politicians have of the US system of government.
One problem and issue is the only organized groups against FATCA other than purely domestic US groups like Center for Freedom and Prosperity are those such as AARO, FAWCO, ACA etc that are volunteer based and relatively small. For whatever its worth I have strongly encouraged my contacts at those orgs to make a formal petition for participation(The current schedule is only a “draft”). I have not heard a response back at this point.
@Edelweiss, I think we’ll see Vice President Biden’s Tax Haven State of Delaware joining Texas and Florida in litigation against any such US transparency and reciprocity. And the Fortune 500 with them, since more than half of them are incorporated in Delaware http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/01/business/how-delaware-thrives-as-a-corporate-tax-haven.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
As Delaware’s spokesperson said in mid 2012; “……..“Companies choose our state and we are proud of it,” said Richard J. Geisenberger, Delaware’s chief deputy secretary of state and its leading ambassador to business. “We spend a lot of time in the United States and traveling internationally to let people know that Delaware is a great place to do business.” …” http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/01/business/how-delaware-thrives-as-a-corporate-tax-haven.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
All Ireland has to do is to turn up and ask some embarrassing and pointed questions at one of those travelling Delaware presentations where they tout the ‘business friendly’ advantages of that homegrown US tax haven. Then there is also Nevada and Wyoming to consider, and the US Virgin Islands.
Perhaps Ireland will highlight some of that good old arrogant US hypocrisy as takes on US Senators like our FATCA/FBAR-double-tax-and-obliterate-those-abroad friend Levin http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/consumertips/tax/10083323/Ireland-goes-on-offensive-to-counter-US-tax-haven-claims.html
Consider this statement in the same article; “…”…should take its hands out of other countries’ pockets. …. tax system is designed to tax income other people have earned,”
Nope, it wasn’t a quote about the US extraterritorial taxation stealing and extorting the legal non-US post-tax earnings and assets of individuals living ‘abroad’, around the world with zero US economic connections but deemed ‘US taxable persons’ shackled for life. It was a spokesperson from Germany, talking about Ireland.
@Edelweis mentioned the scale of the redactions – thousands of documents with almost no content deemed safe enough – in a democratic system – to disclose to the public that would be bound by them. Even if the content isn’t yet accessible, the farce of the documents shows that FATCA reeks.
Glad to see notice of this on Allison Christian’s site, giving this wider visibility. See comments from Victoria and Tim;
I just want to thank God and President Obama (they are the same, aren’t they?) for this most incredible opportunity in my lifetime to experience the US Stazi in full jackboots and the codependent EU parliament in full bleeding color.
With a business suit on top, Sophie had the coolest tights on the bottom. No one could sit near her nor match her.
I have to spend some time to write up this festival of co-dependence and Jackboot order.
I was accompanied by an AARO who was senior in rank by a few years, and Another cool woman of similar wisdom, and by Victoria who, although still a baby, far exceeds my experiences.
Anyone watching the video would have seen that the meeting was of no consequence other than a declaration of a drawn out capitulation—the entire experience was a hoot.
We have some new ideas for Contacts with the Euro Voice — the EU’s Hill, and strengthening of the contact with Sophie and a few around her who smiled in acknowledgement of the FATCA farce.
It is amazing that the Canadian Greens are some of the strongest opponents of FATCA on the other hand the EU Greens are its biggest supporters. Some of that is because while they share the same name the Canadians Greens are much more right wing. A strange world we live in.
@Swedish Citizen – Please do write it up. It’s quite the story. I briefly mentioned in in a short post I wrote this morning about the meeting (not my notes which I will publish later when I get them cleaned up). I though we were a great team and you were FABULOUS. It was an inspiration to watch you patiently persist in order to get heard.
I second that, Victoria. A top-notch team and I hope we’ll be able to continue our fight over here. Although yesterday’s meeting was essentially a lot of the usual bla-bla, at least Sophie in ‘t Veld defended us. A real pasionaria for our cause! The European Commission representative insisted on the need for an EU Framework, but when pinned down by Sophie, said we duals should turn to our member state officials for support. Europe, where are you? We were able to talk at length to an EP official and to MEP Astrid Lulling from Luxembourg after the meeting and will be following up.
The European Parliament hearing on FATCA should now be available on YouTube.
This is Estonian or Polish version_
It sounds English to me. I have had that problem before but it seemed to work fine for me this time. At 47 minutes five seconds she is definitely speaking in English on my computer.
or, well maybe it starts in Polish
Here is the GReek Alde Member preaching against tax evasion
Interesting he did not attend this hearing essentially letting In’t Veld represent the ALDE grouping(who might be seen as taking a different view). There at least four to five times as many staff members and EU Commission people as there were elected MEP’s in the room.
She speaks again at the end of the video. She asks about protection of EU Citizens (using info provided by the 4 of us), to which he noteably chews on his Words for awhile until he Thinks úp the answer that it is the problem of the countries, and sort of mumbles out that it isn’t the EU problem.
Does Ms In’t Veld have a fan club? I just about fell asleep before she came on like gang busters!
The US government should be absolutely embarrassed by the fact that reciprocity was not initially included in FATCA. If they were truly interested in joining forces with the rest of the world in an effort to stamp out international tax evasion (which they were not) they would have never used a 30% withholding to threaten their partners. But it sure has gotten everyone’s attention, as someone pointed out.
The US has been completely adversarial from the beginning and can not be trusted to play nice! Would someone please drive a stake through this thing’s heart and give the US the shame it deserves for creating such a monster?
Let me add some updates on the EU FATCA Forum.. First of all, thanks to for everything he did to raise awareness about this hearing, encourage participation, and then copy the video and move it over to Youtube so it is available to us. We have a big debt to him for all these efforts.
I know Victoria will be blogging on her experience, and I have already read some reports that have been created and may already be one her blog. I guess I should go look now, before I hit enter here.
Yes, it is there. You must read it…
The Chair opened the meeting as a hearing on “FATCA, the first step toward international automatic exchange of information”.. (IE global GATCA, and if you listen to the entire hearing that was the discussion until Sophie refocused it later. This hearing only happened because of her insistence.)
First of all, I recommend that you want the whole thing. It was interesting hearing the 5 Expert FATCAnatics and champions of GATCA auto exchanges make their presentations. Like to know how they think.
And then came the MPs, with their questions. There really were some good ones, and some usual as you would expect proclamations that we all want to stop tax evasion, etc, etc, etc. And isn’t FATCA great blah blah blah..
Here are some links to the more direct comments that you must see…
The first speaker up, was a Mr Stark, of the Treasury with a title befitting a Big Shot FATCAnatic…
(or is it the smaller the bureaucratic standing, the longer the Title?) Anyway he was:
Robert Stack, Deputy Assistant, Secretary for International Tax Affairs, International Tax Council of the United States Department of Treasury
His opening comments starts below, and runs less than five minutes… I will paste the transcript of his comments below the video..
Then followed the other four, which you should watch, but next I wanted to give you the direct link to the start point for Sohpie. I have not done a transcript, yet, but she is really worth watching.
Now, following here, there were some other MPs that had some pretty good questions, especially the guy wondering if FATCA would turn into a Monster. I bet Mark Twain and Victoria wanted to shout out, “Yes IT WILL”
After all the questions, the Chair went back to the Panelist, and starting with Mr Stark let them respond to the questions.
Here is the direct link to the start point for his comments…
Here is the transcript of what he had to say.
Then came some other panelist answering the questions that had been raised about timing, data security, EU jurisdiction, etc and Sophie got in one further question that had not yet been addressed by any of the panelist, and was specifically NOT addressed by Mr Stark.
The Dual Citizen question.
Thank you for your hard work in putting this together and to those who were able to attend as our representatives. Thank you Just Me for the transcripts.
Imagine Mr Stack sounding a little like Alan Alda when you read his. I wonder if he feels at all like a seller of snake oil.
I am amazed at Sophie’s “impassioned questions…” “If you want to invest in the United States , then you must play by our rules.” Is it a matter of “them” beating down our door to invest in our economy, or is it important to the US to make it attractive for foreign capital to be invested in the US ? How many tens of millions of American jobs exist because of foreign capital invested in the US ? Take it out and invest it elsewhere and the US economy would collapse overnight. There are plenty of places in the world competing for foreign investment so if we slam our doors shut they simply “drive their pigs to a different market” so jobs disappear in the US and get created elsewhere..
This sounds as though she believes that the US is “the only show in town” and because we are the United States of America everybody in the world is clamoring to invest in the United States . There are plenty of reasons already to not invest in the US so we don’t need to establish more obstacles.
Very much like the attitude of Senator Proxmire (D,WI) back in the 1970s who really believed that foreigners were so anxious to purchase American products that they would come crawling on hands and knees begging to buy them. We do them a favor by selling our products to them. It was therefore totally unnecessary for US citizens to live and work abroad selling our products since they contributed nothing to the sale of US exports or the creating of jobs for Americans here at home. So we will instead tax US citizens living abroad so they will stay home ‘where they belong.” We’ve had enough of Americans relocating abroad who, swathed in mink are spending their tax evasion dollars at the gambling tables in Monte Carlo.
The adjective that came to mind when listening to Mr. Stack was supercilious and I’ll let others try to guess the noun to go with it. However Ms. i’nt Veld was superb and it was a pleasure to watch her in action. I really want to thank Sophie (aka Sophia), her staff, Victoria, the others in the Brock or Brock-like delegation, Tim for getting the youtube link up so quickly (the livestream was impossible to listen to on my computer) and Just Me for the transcript. Don’t miss Victoria’s blog for her wonderful description of her Belgium adventure and coming soon her impressions of the speakers and what they had to say, combined I’m sure with a great overall analysis of what it means for the FATCA affected.
Tim, you are a STAR for posting the video on Youtube and thank you so much, Marvin, for the transcripts.
Em, I put up a post today which turned out to be a rather passionate editorial as opposed to a dispassionate accounting of what happened at the meeting.
I would very much like (if you all are OK with that) to crosspost it here. I’m still stymied by that new pop-up that asks me for my credentials. Thus far everything I’ve entered has been wrong. If I can I’ll get Peter on Skype this afternoon and see if I can’t get it worked out.
Call me on skype and I can solve that for you. It should be simple, and please do post here, it was excellent.
BTW, I saw Marks comment on Linkedin, and I think the EU Charter of Rights on data protection is a key here to correcting the errors of FATCA and protecting EU residents.
Protection of personal data
1. Everyone has the right to the protection of personal data concerning him or her.
2. Such data must be processed fairly for specified purposes and on the basis of the consent of the person concerned or some other legitimate basis laid down by law. Everyone has the right of access to data which has been collected concerning him or her, and the right to have it rectified.
3. Compliance with these rules shall be subject to control by an independent authority.
yes, Sophie had impassioned questions, but I think you meant your comments to apply to Mr Stark’s assertions.. 🙂
I devoured your latest EU meeting blog posting earlier today. Great stuff! You and Sophie in’t Veld have absolutely the right stuff and we’re so lucky to have you both on our side. Something tells me Sophie is not going to let go of this issue. I know you won’t. The secrecy surrounding the EU negotiations (Canadian ones too) regarding FATCA is just appalling. Sadly that seems to be the way of the world these days, wrong as it is. It isn’t just FATCA, it’s trade agreements like the TPP and our even more ominous NAU. Very disturbing!
@Em, I thought that our group made a damn good team. Really good mix of EU citizens and families of EU citizens. Some of us were official reps of organizations and had business cards or had experience working with the EP. One of us was so audacious and persistent, and I was so damn impressed, that I kissed him on the way out. All of us were passionate. It was a lot of fun, too. And we learned a lot and made some good connections. I talked to Peter yesterday and I should be able to crosspost today.
And my deep gratitude to all of you for watching the video, for comments, and for your moral support.
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Victoria Ferauge and Ellen Lebelle wrote a report for AARO about the EU meeting. They managed to make it quite precise while keeping their emotions in check (not an easy feat). It’s an excellent summary of the presentations made by the principal speakers.