Peter W. Dunn has never filed an FBAR form. The recent refusal by guardians of the temples in India to expose their gold holdings to their government provides an analogy for why he refuses: no government requires an inventory of a person’s assets unless it is preparing eventual seizure. But by common law, a man’s home is his castle.
In early 2010, after I decided to relinquish my US citizenship, I was casually browsing the 1040NR booklet that the IRS sent out to me every year. That is when I first learned about FBAR and its potentially extortionate fines and criminal sentences. I was dumbstruck. While I, as a naive son of the United States born in Chicago to two citizens, had filed my tax returns to the IRS every year, never owing a thing, I had never heard of FBAR. I still have never even looked at an FBAR form. For I realized that I could not fill out one of these forms without being seriously screwed–not just me, but also my wife who is not even an American but a Canadian born on Canadian soil to two Canadian parents.
This is a matter of trust. If I had continued in my naivete about the intentions of government, believing that the United States is largely benevolent, then I suppose I could have just followed the IRS instructions in the 1040NR booklet, to file delinquent forms with a letter explaining why I had failed to file in the past, trusting that the IRS or the Justice Department wouldn’t throw the book at me. But in my anxiety, I decided to investigate whether the IRS would show lenience to those making such a disclosure of non-compliance in years gone by. I stumbled upon Phil Hodgen’s blog and read the voluntary disclosure stories of many Americans abroad who received extortionate disclosure settlements. These stories fully dissuaded me from ever filing an FBAR. I had taken the red pill and no longer believed the virtual world that United States had created in the minds of its people, that it was the freest country in the world. It had become a diseased and ravenous predator, seeking to devour its own citizens abroad.
My rationale for deciding that I could not trust the IRS with the banking information required in the FBAR form was just this: If they threw the book at those who were in an amnesty program, how much more were they going to destroy those outside the program? This OVDP raping and pillaging of US citizens abroad continues to this day. The most recent story that I heard a few days ago was of a disabled Canadian resident whose Canadian-based US lawyer had unscrupulously made her sign documents entering her into the OVDP in 2009, and the settlement fines, which she paid, has destroyed her life savings. Thanks to the IRS, she will now nothing preventing her from becoming a burden to the government of Canada and thus to all Canadian taxpayers. (This is a good reason to pass a law forbidding US lawyers from practicing tax law in Canada–they are spies for the United States and destroyers of the wealth of law-abiding Canadian residents).
After reading Hodgen’s blog, I felt that the injustice was so severe that I wrote an article, in collaboration with Monty Pelerin, for the American Thinker, “When government turns predator“, but I asked Monty to use his pen name alone, not giving me credit. He kindly agreed to protect me. My thinking was that if the Feds knew that I’d written an article explaining the FBAR jihad of the Obama administration, they could charge me of willful violation of the FBAR requirements, which had higher fines and the possibility of criminal indictment. Once, however, the honourable Jim Flaherty announced that Canada would not collect FBAR fines, I realized that my assets were safe from the IRS. I came out in the open with my knowledge of FBAR and later publicly confessed my refusal to ever file an FBAR.
What I don’t really understand is why so many of my fellow Canadians, even Brockers (our affectionate name for regular readers and contributors to this website) have filed FBARs, out of the blue as it were, because many had never even filed their US taxes before the Canadian media made them aware of the IRS’s expectations. (This made the Canadian media an accomplice, or better a collaborator, of Obama’s IRS). In India, the government has recently asked the temples to provide them with an inventory of their gold. The majority of temples have refused, claiming that the Indian people have donated this gold to honour their gods and that the government has no right to it. The Indian assumption is correct. The only reason that any government would require that its citizens provide them with an inventory of assets is in case it decides to seize them. It is the preparation for eventual theft. Thus, English law retained the concept of a “man’s home is his castle”. In principle, the king had no right to enter, inventory or seize the contents of man’s castle, unless there was reasonable cause, i.e., the suspicion that the castle owner had broken a law. This right over one’s castle was enshrined into United States law in the Fourth Amendment.
The guardians of the temples in India believe that their government is desperate and that is why it wants an inventory of the gold assets of the temples. Reason dictates that the United States has begun to insist upon the FBAR law, after many decades of neglect, only because it has fallen into financial morbidity and is therefore desperate to find new sources of revenue.
In July I flew to Alaska in an urgent search for my missing father, and I was not arrested. Now that I think that my father has disappeared forever, I have no further reason to enter the United States again before the FBAR statute of limitations (six years after my relinquishment of US citizenship in 2011, i.e., 2018). So I can openly defy the United States with even greater impunity. Those of you who are less vocal have nothing at all to worry about, provided your assets are in Canada. So this is what I have to say to the United States Federal Government regarding FBAR filing requirements:
[While the common expression begins with a four-letter word beginning with “F”, discretion and good manners prevents me from actually writing it here–but as my wife always says to me, “Consider it said!”]
Petros I so agree with you. IN Jamaioca in the 1970s the Government ordered that all residents with foreign assets – bank accounts, shares and so on – must declare these to the Bank of Jamaica …. but dont fret … you can keep the assets where they are … just declare them. In the fullness of time later in the same 1970s the same Government ordered that ALL foreign assets MUST be liquidated and remitted to Jamaica forthwith. In due course the ruling was that a person could not get more that US$50.00 per ANNUM for foreign travel. Of course, depending on who you knew and so on ….. and whether you had done the declarations in the first place …. the law abiding got shafted and the not so law abiding others survived for the most part with their assets intact; laundered happily in the said US of A.
Governments should NEVER have more than bare minimum information about the people. The people must have FULL information about their Government. Anything else is a Highway to Tyranny.
I am confused about my situation. I became a Canadian citizen in 1993. I had filed us taxes up to 1993, including 1993. I never heard of FBURS when I filed. I did mine and my husband’s taxes myself. He died in 2001, avoiding this horror situation. He never liked the US government. We never owned a home. I bought a house with a down payment using his life insurance. I retired early in 2005 and sold that house, buying a much less costly house with no mortgage. I sold that after a few years and moved in with a friend, sharing expenses.
All my money is all Canadian, and CPP and pension from my last job. I have two locked in RRSPS from 2previous jobs and my husband’s retired pensions in RRSPS.
I went for my CLN in July and requested it back
dated to 1993. I am waiting for it. I was told it would take about 4 months.
I did not pay $450, nor provide FBURS.
Say, I am denied my CLN. Do I tell my Canadian banks thst I am an American person, when the time comes, sign their form? If I get no US income , assets, investments and have no properties in the US, then the Canadian banks can’t kick me off my accounts. I have resigned myself to never going back to the US A. I did vacation there before FATCA, sigh.
Kal on here says RRSPS
will not be an issue. I hope so because I take a little each year out. Ini a few years I will have to rrif them. I would like to buy a house again but I am waiting for FATCA in Canada to be settled. I worry a lot. FATCA is on my mind every day. It has become as stressful as my son and husband dying.
You do not deserve this kind of stress; it is tragic and appalling.
Suggest you write to your MP to tell them your personal story and how this is affecting your well-being.
It seems unlikely that yr CLN would be denied, unless there was some action after you became a Canadian citizen to re-affirm U.S. citizenship (voting, renewing US passport). And they would probably contact you to discuss that. Who knows what effect the current US government shutdown may have on the timing? In the end you should receive it. Suggest email from time to time to ask its progress.
In my opinion, I don’t think you should tell your banks anything unless they ask. And then state that you are a Canadian citizen residing in Canada. Asking your nationality (where you were born) is a violation of privacy. The banks know how unlawful that is; it’s a big problem for them. Certainly don’t volunteer any information.
Thanks, Wondering, for your wise comment to northernstar. That there is a moment of stress in getting to the end for northernstar is immoral. I agree that Canadian government representatives need to know of this situation — how it is affecting this Canadian citizen and, by extension, so many others. It is their job to listen, vote accordingly, and respond. I, too, am pretty confident that the CLN will come, but that does nothing for northernstar until that receipt. I also agree that no information on US status should be volunteered to a Canadian bank, especially before that CLN is in hand.
@Wondering and @ Calgary 411
I have been writing to my NDP mp with all my details. I get his email reply they are negotiating, nothing personal except my name. Same with Kevin Schoom and Flaherty and May. Trudeau never replies.
I am sitting tight, anxious and resigned. Worst case scenario is in all my RRSPs. I pay a canadian income tax for one year and then just have my cpp and previous job pension to live on. I will just put the money in a house and never leave Canada. Somehow I can live, without a bank account, I guess. I have friends who can help me work around it.
NorthernStar. You have nothing to fear. I guarantee it. Either you get a CLN in which case you are free or you don’t . If, on the small chance you don’t, you are still free. As far as your bank is concerned ,you are Canadian; RRSPs and RRIFs will be exempt from any reporting. You have no US assets or other connections and no plans to visit. The IRS can’t even pay their own employees let alone bother you.
Take it as gospel from someone who used to lose sleep over this BS but through learning about it now I don’t worry about it at all.
You have a legal right to open a personal bank account in Canada.
Section 4(1) of the Access to Basic Banking Services Regulations states that subject to a few exceptions, a bank shall open an personal deposit account with a deposit of less than $150,000 for an individual who can present valid identification. Valid ID means a drivers license or Canadian citizenship card.
THank you. I know you told me this before but thanks for your reinsurance.
Thank you for the info. I wrote it down and can have peace of mind now. I am very appreciative to you both and all our other Brockers.
I will be watching and learning on this site. So glad I found it.
@NothernStar: Your Canadian bank has no right to ask you where you were born. If they do ask, tell them they have no legal right to ask and you will not provide that information.
If they threaten to close your account, you can join with others in a legal challenge. None of us will go through this alone.
If the government changes the law to allow the banks to gather that information (which I personally don’t believe they will), you can join others in a Charter Challenge.
There seems to be different rules applied to US source income for assets like mutual funds, but we did not discuss that with Joe Arvay, the constitutional lawyer we consulted, so I don’t know if that is legal or not. However, that does not seem to apply to your situation.
Read this article I wrote for The Money Guide on Canadian Protections from IRS.
Most importantly, don’t stress too much about this. Don’t let US and IRS take any more from you emotionally, mentally or physically. (Easier said than done, I know!).
I thought you and others might be interested in this post by Phil Hodgen. It is posted only as an FYI, not as an endorsement.
‘Expatriate without filing FBARs? Sure thing’ – Hodgen Law
” This post is for people who want to renounce their U.S. citizenship (or cancel their green card status) but they have not filed FBARs. They are concerned that …”
I found a pdf about e-filing the FBAR. It’s a FinCen document. It says:
FinCEN has streamlined the process for electronic filing an Individual Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR), FinCEN 114. . The new process removes the requirement for registering and creating an account on the BSA E-Filing System prior to downloading, completing, and submitting the report to the system. This process is available for individuals who are required to file an FBAR. Businesses, including CPAs, should register and create an account as an Institution on the BSA E-Filing System prior to downloading, completing and submitting FBARs on behalf of their business or clients.
Individuals can access the new process by clicking on the File an Individual FBAR on the BSA E-Filing Home Page (http://bsaefiling.fincen.treas.gov/main.html):
What exactly is this “new process” that’s supposed to be “streamlined”? I have to say this scares me and I don’t want our computer hooked up to something with a FinCen logo on it. Will FinCen use computer backdoors or whatever to crawl through everything on our computer using this e-filing system of theirs? I’m sorry but I’m only computer literate enough to read on the internet, send an e-mail and sometimes figure out how to make comments here and there. My husband is much better at this sort of stuff but I wonder about people, like me, who simply would not be able to navigate this e-filing maze. Will my husband, for his own security from FinCen, have to create a single purpose e-mail account and file FBAR from an outside computer? Wouldn’t that give g-mail or whatever access to his FBAR information? This just doesn’t seem safe, considering the personal information that gets put into a FBAR. Anything that goes out on the internet is ripe for the picking by governments and hackers I think. Frankly their saying this is a “secure” system does not make it so. There simply has to be a way to mail a FBAR like before.
Here’s where I found the pdf.
There is NEVER good news about FBAR in my opinion. Only it’s total annihilation would be good news.
I know Brock is really busy now (I keep getting an “overload” notice) so I’ll back out and give the newbies a better chance of getting in. I’ll try to resolve my e-file/FinCen terror later. The FearBAR’s not due until June 30th anyway. So Em will exit, stage left. (I’ll try to catch up in less busy hours.) Good luck to everyone trying to untangle the US tax web. 🙂
PS: My husband showed me how to double toss out the cookies, in case I did some damage by downloading that FinCen pdf and clicking on that link. I should not let my curiosity get the better of me like that.