Privacy debate looms as Canada prepares to share bank data with U.S. http://t.co/H8tuHyVVZJ – #FATCA is #IRS attempt to tax Cdn citizens
— U.S. Citizen Abroad (@USCitizenAbroad) July 2, 2013
This article is clearly a prequel to the announcement of a FATCA IGA. It includes the following:
There has been little debate on the issue so far, partly because no details on the talks between Canada and the U.S. have been released. However, Ottawa is promising to make the deal public once it is signed.
Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart is keeping an eye on the issue.
The commissioner’s office and the Finance Ministry have discussed the negotiations with the United States, said Valerie Lawton, a spokesperson for the commissioner. She also said Ms. Stoddart has received “a few dozen” inquiries about the U.S. law, but formal complaints cannot be filed until it is in effect.
Looks like Canada’s FATCA IGA will be done in the spirit of Nancy Pelosi:
“We need to pass the law so that people can see what’s in it!“
Privacy anybody – what’s that?
The news of the last few weeks have made it very clear that the United States under the administration of Barack Obama is attempting to obliterate any remaining vestiges of human privacy. It’s the simple “FATCA of the matter”.
Queen’s Law Professor Arthur Cockfield was mentioned in this article (is this silent opposition to FATCA?). He is quoted in relation to “privacy concerns” as saying:
That concern is warranted, said Queen’s law professor Arthur Cockfield, who specializes in tax law.
“No foreign government should be able to come into our country and demand personal information about our own citizens and residents,” he said, noting that the negotiations are aimed at smoothing over this problem by ensuring exchanges are mutual and at the government-to-government level.
With respect to Professor Cockfield (who is a clear ally), the issue is providing the information to the U.S. The issue is NOT the mechanism under which it is supplied. The time has come to realize that:
– either privacy matters or it doesn’t
– either sovereignty matters or it doesn’t
– either the United States is a friendly ally or IT IS NOT.
Given the events of the last few weeks, it would insane for any country to agree to FATCA.
Last week the “It’s Time” post was the subject of discussion at the Isaac Brock Society.
If the legal avenues of opposition are not organized NOW it will be too late. To repeat:
May 30, 2013 at 8:01 pm
I read that the Eritreans had formed a group and retained the services of a human rights lawyer. Why don’t we co-ordinate as many foreign Americans as we can, spanning, say, 30 cities worldwide? We’ll need a lawyer in each city, and probably a constitutional lawyer in the US to co-ordinate the case. When we’re ready, we co-ordinate the service of 30 class action law suits at 30 embassies simultaneously. We should all challenge the ‘Saving Clause’ in the bilateral tax treaty, without which the taxing authority where we live would have precedence over the IRS; Cruel and unusual FBAR punishment; citizenship based taxation, taxation without representation etc. It seems fraught with jurisdictional and diplomatic issues, but we could at least explore the idea.
Maybe even better. Let’s try to put 1000 of us together. We all contribute according to our means, but that should give us America’s best human rights lawyer, all the way to the supreme court if need be. File in DC and make sure we’re all there for the trial. It’s not just for ourselves, it’s for all the Accidental American’s who’ll be meeting the IRS via FATCA, but most importantly, for our kids, present and future, who stand to inherit a most unfortunate ‘gene’, unless we tend to it now.
It’s time to get started.
I have sent off emails to several ‘Shadow Cabinet’ Canadian MPs with relevant portfolios and I’ll work my way down the list of others. Meetings would be good too if we can manage it. Hope all will do the same. Letters would be better, but we should e-mail first I think, because its faster. I included link to the Globe article – and noted inaccuracies – i.e. there isn’t any ‘softening’ of the blow, unless you’re a Canadian bank. I found that phone calls to MP constituency offices are sometimes successful too. Try their home riding offices vs. Ottawa as Parliament is adjourned till mid-September, and so is the Canadian Senate.
Remember to write also to the CCLA Canadian Civil Liberties Association http://ccla.org/2012/12/04/ccla-registers-privacy-concerns-over-ongoing-canada-u-s-information-exchange-negotiations/ and also to CARP – who have been following FATCA and had written to Flaherty earlier http://www.carp.ca/2012/06/15/minister-flaherty-canada-continues-to-press-for-fair-tax-deal-with-united-states/ . For CARP – emphasize the impact on seniors. Even those seniors who aren’t ‘US taxable persons’ may have their accounts reported under FATCA if they have co-signatories on their account who are children or family members resident in the US, US citizens, US greencard holders, etc – with US indicia. Also applies if their US taxable children have Power of Attorney for their accounts. This prevents Canadian citizens – including those without a direct US taxable status from doing viable future planning and having family to look out for them in times of disability and illness. The US taxable person then brings that burden and privacy breach into the accounts of others via the FBAR, and the bank reporting US indicia like a US contact number or address.
Has anyone e-mailed the article to Prof. Allison Christians?
Found this, although perhaps there is more – which requires a subscription to access:
‘US info sharing expected’
“Canada is expected to announce a deal with the United States sometime soon that will see the two countries sharing banking information, The Globe and Mail reported. Canada is expected to fall in line with the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, which will come into force on Jan. 1, 2014. The law will require foreign banks to report Americans’ offshore accounts in their countries that are worth more than $50,000 to the Internal Revenue Service. Canadian banks want the Canadian Revenue Agency to take the lead on reporting to ensure that privacy and confidentiality is respected as much as possible.”
The source ‘Embassy’ describes itself as;
“Canada’s only newspaper that exclusively covers the country’s international portfolios of diplomacy, defence, immigration, trade, and development.
Since its launch as a weekly and online newspaper in 2004, it has earned a reputation as the meeting place for some of Canada’s top foreign affairs experts, and a regular source of breaking international issue news and insider analysis.
Founded by the publishers of The Hill Times, Embassy is uniquely positioned to examine the international side of Canadian politics.
Subscribers receive daily updates on international news events from a Canadian perspective, along with opinion pieces by respected authors that offer context to Canada’s international decision making.
Embassy is Ottawa’s must-read political and diplomatic publication. Its non-partisan coverage gets beyond the political agendas while it connects the most important players in Canada’s world of international interests.”
Don’t you just love the spin given to the story via the choice of wording here: “…Canada is expected to FALL IN LINE with the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act,”
Quite a while back, someone (Tim?) said it might be possible for Canada to launch a NAFTA challenge against the threatened 30% holding that a non-compliant Canadian FI would see. Does anyone have a clue as to whether this would be a realistic option?
If the 30% withholding did indeed contravene NAFTA, then it would be one less reason for Canada to sign a one-sided, sovereignty sell-out, IGA with the US. Opposition parties could use that fact to bludgeon the government.