February 17, 2014 UPDATE – my email regarding this: Help, I Want to Expatriate But They Won’t Let Me, Part 2
AngloInfo, Virginia La Torre Jeker J.D.: “Help! I Want to Expatriate, but They Won’t Let Me…..Part I”
My comment on this tax blog post regarding what will be discussed in Part 2:
February 10th, 2014 at 21:07
As a comment to me at isaacbrock some time ago: (http://isaacbrocksociety.ca/2013/06/29/accidental-americans-born-abroad-to-us-parents-and-not-registered-with-the-us-are-they-automatic-us-citizens-or-do-they-have-a-right-to-claim-us-citizenship-when-they-can-make-that-decision-as-an/comment-page-2/#comment-412753)
This is what is so disappointing and disturbing about this posting and string: My late friend, Andy Sundberg, founder of American Citizens Abroad, worked tirelessly during the 70s and 80s to change US law to be much more inclusive than it had been. One of the reasons was his daughters were born effectively “stateless”; he, an American, his wife, a Frenchwoman, gave birth to their daughters while living in Switzerland. He found that there were quite literally tens of thousands of people in similar circumstances.
Of course, the Cold War was still on, and many accidental Americans – and their parents – were rightly concerned about being able to be protected by America should anything happen. Andy felt that they should be granted a much broader interpretation to widen the blanket.
Andy always felt that USA should also mean “the universal spirit of America”. Little did he realize that our own government, through the spiteful acts of narrow-minded members of Congress and a vindictive little s**t of an IRS Commissioner would turn all of this into a nightmare for so many he spent years and thousands of dollars of his own money doing.
When I spoke to him two weeks before his fatal heart attack, this is what weighed heaviest on his mind. Indeed, it is my contention that he died of a broken heart because we’ve come to a point where American nationality is seen as a curse rather than the blessings of everything we grew up admiring about being American. I share his broken heart about this issue – even I have advised my godson, an accidental American born of British parents in NYC, that he should consider giving it up because of the gestapo harassment of the IRS.
As someone whose family traces its roots back to 1630, and whose ancestor was a martyr during the Revolution to establish our great country, I simply can’t believe I would EVER come to this point in the life of our nation and it physically pains me.
I gave my name to CBC Canada reporters and this is one result: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/u-s-fatca-tax-law-catches-unsuspecting-canadians-in-its-crosshairs-1.2493864
IMO, any law that ENTRAPS anyone into US citizenship (or any other citizenship), especially for a person never even registered with the US, is just BAD LAW. But, I know: the law is the law is the law. Too bad that often quoted phrase does not apply to EVERYONE.
This concern we see from others as their parents with age-related dementia are also caught into this type of ENTRAPMENT into US citizenship for their loved family members.
My comment is now out of moderation, with this reply:
Virginia La Torre Jeker J.D., says:
February 10th, 2014 at 21:14
@Calgary411 Words escape me upon reading your heartfelt and very sad comment. Thank you for sharing this.
I still think that those accidentals who’ve never been registered or have made moves to claim USC are likely in the clear. Banks are simply going to take them at their word b/c checking family tree’s and then trying to wade through the various scenarios of citizenship inheritance is going to be too time consuming and open to error for banks to bother with or risk.
It still pisses me off that I can’t relinquish my child’s citizenship on her behalf. I am allowed to acquire it for her after all. If I can decide for her that she should have Canadian citizenship b/c it is in her interests – she is being raised and educated here and will be far more Canadian than American by the time she reaches 18 – then why can’t I, as her parent, decide that American citizenship is not in her best interests and simply give hers up when I give up mine? This overreach into what is essentially not their business is just one of the many reasons that has made up my mind about becoming a former USC.
U did what alot of people did. They got a citizenship or a GC for their kids because they had it. They figured it would give them more choices & it would allow them better opportunties they may miss out on. U are not the only one who did that but then here is the trick… if u want to give it up for them.. u can’t cause they figure they are minors & they must decide when they reach 18. If u knew what u do now… I gurantee u would have never done it. I would have done things totally different.. spend every frigging dime as I got it instead of saving & investing like a frigging hoarder
I too registered my children at the US consulate before I was a Canadian Citizen. I thought being a dual would give them more opportunities… I regret it so much. One is dead and one is just now realizing that the US citizenship is really an albratross around one’s neck.. I wait each day for the mail waiting for my CLN.
Thank you for introducing the website of AngloInfo. I am passing it on to a friend who will find it helpful in helping American expats who are not having their OMG moment.
This may be the US media version of the story on relinquishment / renunciation that Patrick Cain, Global News (Canada) is interviewing folks for.
ASSOCIATED PRESS writer @AdGeller is interested in speaking with #Americansabroad.
Adam Geller is a New York based national writer for the Associated Press. He is considering an article on the whole issue of Americans abroad and renunciations of U.S. citizenship (or not). Mr. Geller has lived overseas.
He is interested in interviewing people in different circumstances, for example:
– renouncing because of the impact of U.S. citizenship on marriages
– “Accidental Americans” who have never had a connection to the U.S. with the exception of place of birth (any Windsor resident born in a Detroit hospital?)
– those who feel they must renounce so to that they can plan for retirement
– OVDI, OVDP
– and any other circumstance.
My impression is that he is working very hard to understand, the varying circumstances and narratives, of Americans abroad. I encourage you to contact him. The tweet above references his most recent article.
You may contact Mr. Geller at:
ageller at ap dot org (or I suppose at the above Twitter account).
Or if you don’t want to be interviewed, I am guessing that if you leave your comments here, he will see them.
PS: I talked with Patrick Cain, Global News, today about my son not being able to renounce US citizenship because of a developmental disability. Patrick is now looking for persons with whom he can talk with, say, elderly parent(s) that might be denied the right to renounce their US citizenship due to ‘mental incapacity’ — and their children looking after their affairs would not be able to do so on their behalf.
At this point in time your son is off the US tax system and may remain off using the current FATCA rules.
If you can past relinquish pre-1995 there may be no tax consequences. If you renounce there may tax consequences.
You still have protection of Canadian Government and Courts in Canada.
It is also unlikely for IRS to come after you because of your story and their cost involved even if you cross the border,
The point is that:
All in my family (except one) have been able to renounce and we have our precious CLNs to show our local CANADIAN “foreign financial institutions”. (I should have been able to claim my relinquishment of decades ago Canadian citizenship. I was too ignorant and made too many mistakes, shooting myself in the foot as they say. I didn’t know soon enough what was what — and I ended up renouncing my US citizenship instead, with all of the added cost involved. My mistake; my decision; my result. The outcome is the same: I have my CLN.)
My son with a developmental disability (and others like him) cannot renounce nor can I or other parents, guardians or trustees on his or their family member’s behalf. In my mind (only), there is something wrong about any law that entraps someone into an unwanted, unregistered for citizenship; i.e. automatically bestowed. If anything, it should be an “opt-in” to any extra citizenship if the qualifications exist, not an “opt-out” which I see as entrapment for some like my son.
But, anyway, it no longer matters for me. For me, it is just semantics, principle, morality, right vs wrong; common sense gone awry. The US has all of my son’s account information in their hot little hands in the Foreign Bank Account Reports I have handed over to them. If they want to use what they have against my “Canadian” family, I guess they can.
I would like to know what my future and that for my son holds. However, I know I am no longer in control of that destiny. I lost control of any of my own financial planning strategy a long time ago.
I now know, by experience, all the things I SHOULD HAVE done but didn’t. It’s too late for my situation. I really don’t care what is unlikely, what the US might or might not DECIDE to do in my and my son’s minnow case. My dad was a gambler; I’m not. But I now realize it is all a crap shoot.
It may not be too late for others if they can look at my mistakes and learn from them. Others can make better choices than I did.
No, I’m not looking for consolation, for retribution for all of my ignorance, for further advice on what I should do. It’s done. I only try to put what I’ve done here as a record. Actually writing it out, makes my own mind better understand what I have done.
If anyone can learn from my mistakes, which are now my past history, that will be the good for me that comes out of everything I did wrong.
What really matters is that you did many right things. You stood up for yourself and, as the awesome mother you are, you did everything in your power to protect your son. For you …
One blue sky above us,
One ocean lapping on our shores,
One earth so green and brown,
Who could ask for more.
Thanks, Em. I don’t regret any of the things I’ve done that came after all the mistakes I made and do regret.
By standing up for myself (and hopefully for others), I at least retain some of my self-worth. I have been betrayed by the government of the country I was born and raised in. I have now been betrayed by the government of the country I chose to live and raise my family in. I was betraying myself by hiding; my wheels were spinning. Although it was hard to muster up the courage, I have no regret in speaking out, that very important right I believe in.
The message of your verse is beautiful — thanks, my special friend!
Not my verse of course but I let “Rainbow Race” run through my head whenever it needs a calming down. It’s an American folk song, sung by my hero Pete Seeger and adapted as a protest song in Norway in 2012. Good for you … No regrets and onward!
I think that you did a great job in making people aware that there was a problem with FATCA and the savings plans for disabled Canadians. It was good to see some recognition of the problem in the IGA.
U have done your son and others who are having the same problem a great service by putting a face to the situation that is going to cause nothing by heartache & financial hardship to many. Most people hear the term taxs evader &/or off-shore banking as the rich who have loads of money sitting on a beach sipping their drinks & having no worries. No one gets this will only cause hardship to middle to lower classes. In reality… this can ruin the middle class. I also think people miss the point of what u are trying to do for your son.. U are not only worried about the situation now… but the future for him when u will be unable to help and champion for him because you as his mother want & need to insure he has the best u can give him…
So I applaud & bow to u on your bravery by coming forward to share with one & all. And thank you so much for keeping the problem in front so everyone can see how wrong & evil a country can be
Thank you, US_Person_Foreigner.
We have a whole lot of stories to tell. That we are afraid to come forward and tell them in fear for ourselves and our families (fear which I still, or even more so now, do have) is a story in itself.
Every Canadian MP, our government representatives, must intimately know ALL aspects of FATCA and must know their US Person constituents stories. Blowing us off with no discussion, no answers to our questions is not appropriate. They are to represent me and my family. Their knowledge of FATCA, US citizenship-based taxation, how it wreaks collateral damage to so many of Canada’s population, the complicity of the Canadian government in draining the resources from Canada’s treasury, the cost to every single Canadian. If I don’t know that plus have their full support that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms will continue to protect ALL Canadians, then my vote will not have been earned.
It is time for every Canadian, but especially US-defined US Persons in Canada, to wake up and shake off our apathy to see that our rights are systematically being taken away from us.
TIme to shed the shackles of US tax slavery. It is time to speak loudly.
Is it correct that if one’s children got USC before they were 18 through a USC parent, and now are adults, they can relinquish it if they choose? Seems like a child’s right issue to relinquish if they want, even if they are in their 40’s today. There have been cases of children divorcing their parents, and courts hear the case. I feel sick about my adult children who were 9, 15, and 17.
Thanks for your support, Publius. There is recognition of the problem, a better awareness, but not solving of the problem. I’ll keep on keeping on.
I just had a lengthy conversation with Adam Geller, AP.
I asked him one question:
His answer was “No” so of all the people of asked that question, so far 100% did not learn about citizenship-based taxation in their US schooling. Did you?
@Calgary411 quoted the late Andy Sundberg as having said his “daughters were born effectively ‘stateless’; he, an American, his wife, a Frenchwoman, gave birth to their daughters while living in Switzerland. He found that there were quite literally tens of thousands of people in similar circumstances.”
With all due respect for the once-upon-a-time value put upon having American citizenship and the more recent eagerness not to impose it on children of expatriates, this makes no sense.
Let’s assume that neither Andy nor his (noncitizen?) spouse could pass US nationality to a child born abroad for lack of qualifying (5-year, of which 2 after 14th birthday) residence (or, in the case of nonmarital children, 1-year uninterrupted presence by the mother).
The child of a French mother, wherever born, is a French citizen. http://www.consulfrance-sanfrancisco.org/spip.php?article2662
A child born in Switzerland, otherwise stateless, will be Swiss, implementing (something which neither the USA nor the UK do) the Conventions on statelessness and on the rights of the child. But the Swiss authorities are likely to consult the Swiss Institute of Comparative Law, and in a recorded case they refused to attribute Swiss nationality to a child who, if the parents registered the birth at the Peruvian Embassy’s consular section, could obtain a Peruvian passport: Département fédéral de justice et police v. Vilchez, Trib. féd., Cour de droit public, 29 June 1979, A.T.F., 105, 1979, Ib, p. 63, Clunet, 114.1987.674
The big issue, as I’ve said elsewhere, is not the attribution or not of nationality by a country: after all many countries exorbitantly attribute their nationality to offspring of the diaspora (Greece is only one example). International law says only that at any time other than birth, adoption or marriage (the latter case being largely obsolete in the Western world), nationality can only be attributed with the consent of the individual or, for a minor, his or her parent or guardian. The unsettled question is when a foreign country has to recognise such nationality when the person in question also possesses another, or others. Especially if s/he possesses that foreign country’s nationality.
Any treaty that obliges a country to treat “citizens” of a treaty partner as if they were “residents” of that country, even if also citizens of that other country, where they actually reside, is troubling. Who is to decide issues of nationality and expatriation?
One would want to see how these issues are resolved in practice. Pre-WW II case law and treaty interpretation largely assumed that each person had one nationality, or else a single “dominant” nationality. The conflict of jus soli and jus sanguinis and the expansiveness brought on by gender equality has yielded chaos. (One of my daughters has four (4) nationalities. Her newborn would have had 5 (because her husband had two, neither of which is American), except that never having lived, and scarcely ever visited, the USA she could not pass on US citizenship to her child. Once upon a time we would have been dismayed; today we see that as a benefit*.)
*But see INS §322 regarding an option for naturalisation http://tinyurl.com/pelnwru
Thanks, 5th Swiss.
I’ve just finished an interview with Adam Geller of Associated Press. I’ve just sent him your additional INTERESTING comment. Thank you for that. I’m off to walk the dog and will re-read it when I’m back.
February 17, 2014 UPDATE – my email regarding this: Help, I Want to Expatriate But They Won’t Let Me, Part 2
So, more money for proper advice since the country in which my son was born, Canada, will / can do nothing to protect him? In fact the Government of Canada just waived my son’s rights in signing an IGA with the US. (And the rights of others like my son; and the rights of other persons who may have a “mental incapacity” like someone with age-related dementia.) The person with Mental Incompetency Issues is even lesser than the second-class Canadian citizenship that all other ‘US Persons in Canada’ now have with the US IGA, compared to “all other Canadians, no matter where their ‘national origin’ or the ‘national origin’ of their parent ( s ).
Or, do I just do nothing and ***HOPE*** that ***they*** (whoever they is: local CANADIAN “foreign financial institutions” or the Canada Revenue Agency or the US Treasury or IRS [ who has the information on my son in my FBARs (Foreign Bank Account Reports) ] will not take action? I refuse to register him with the US and the abyss of cost of administration of compliance of a US citizenship never registered / never asked for (the only purpose for which would be the ability to renounce, which he can’t). It’s a circular argument.
NEVER MIND: Just Me just solved my problem — his strategy to deal with it, is with that clever little Mormon trick. Turn it off. 🙂