On March 10 2014 a small group of Canadians (with supporters in other countries) took a gamble and donated money they could not afford to try to bring down FATCA using a legal challenge approach.
What if similar groups in other countries took their governments to court over this?
One Brocker, upset that the Swiss referendum did not obtain enough signatures, already told us that:
“[The Swiss Federal] Constitution undisputably mandates guarantees of nondiscrimination and liberty of economic opportunity, as well as the right to a family and the protection of privacy, among many other things. Here at IBS, we all know that FATCA violates such guarantees, as expressed in the UDHR, as well as many constitutions around the world”.
Here is a list of countries with constitutions. How many of these constitutions guarantee fundamental rights that are violated by FATCA?:
Are there any Brockers/Sandboxers or their sympathizers in these countries who could lead anti-FATCA constitutional challenges?
See today’s new post on the Republicans Overseas website asking that this happens:
Canadians Ask “US Persons” World-Wide To Challenge Legality of FATCA
In only six days Canadians Dr. Stephen Kish and Lynne Swanson received sufficient donations from Canadians and those in other countries to retain a constitutional expert attorney. The attorney will examine the constitutionality of the proposed IGA (Intergovernmental Agreement) between the United States and Canada to implement FATCA.
They and other Canadians believe strongly that the IGA will violate Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Kish and Swanson ask concerned peoples in all countries affected by FATCA (i.e., ALL countries worldwide) to begin similar efforts to bring down the FATCA beast.
See the press release for the Canadian Charter Challenge Fund: http://maplesandbox.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/News-Release-First-Legal-Step-To-Stop-FATCA.pdf
My suggestion is that one person in each country should find a second person who is interested. The two should meet and, if they consider taking the the legal opinion approach, they should ask around widely to identify a good legal expert who has a bit of passion. Then make the call.
Countries where there appears to be “poor awareness” should especially be considered and not be excluded.
If you decide to go forward, you will need a few more like-minded people to come up with a website, a bank account for the donations, and someone to do the simple accounting.
It just takes a couple of people to begin the process, but it can’t be done unless one person takes that first step.
“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” (Martin Luther King Jr.)
IRSCompliant and I are grateful to everyone for having the faith to take that huge first step with us. I expect we will have a steep, winding staircase to climb, but we can do it together.
We encourage people elsewhere to take that first step–even if it is just a small one to begin.
@Watcher says @Edelweiss
Yes, U.S.-domiciled ETFs can be used for general investing and Hargreaves and Lansdown does a good job of specifying domicile clearly. Unlike individual stocks, these cannot be put in an ISA, which is a consideration now that the 40% tax bracket is so low. I am glad to hear that qualifying stock is not such a complicated thing to deal with and will look into that.
This is mainly for British Brockers but others may also have interest:
There was something on BBC Money box last month (?) regarding account closures of customers of Iranian origin. No explanation, just account closed. Apparently, it happened (is happening) quite a bit. A number of people affected have gotten together and are pursuing this as a breach of the Equalities Act (2010) based on **national origin discrimination**. To my knowledge this is currently going through the courts.
Regarding protests and lawsuits:
Many are just as angry as we all are: And taking class action:
THIS will be VERY interesting. They are asking people from everywhere who feel they have been harmed by IRS over reach to join a class action law suit. The suit they have launched is not yet class action but could get there very quickly.
There is a lot similar for our Canadian challenge so this US action will have to be carefully watched.
@Don and all,
Maybe we should be accumulating now a list of names of lawyers who could lead legal challenges in selected countries.
I am thinking of the possibility, only as a start, of a legal FATCA IGA challenge in the UK, but also in Switzerland and Germany — two countries that John Richardson will be visiting in early April (information sessions in Berlin, Munich, and Zurich). John might be able to meet with interested people, who could help organize, at his sessions.
For the moment, I would not worry about whether there is “poor awareness” in any country.
There is actually a UK Constitutional Law Association (blog) etc. It won’t provide advice but perhaps some of its bloggers will.
The only way for this to work is to find a legal expert who has the experience, positive track record, and commitment to take this on, and at a reasonable price. Some organizations might help us do this.
I will contact two sympathetic lawyers I know in UK/Europe who could provide some advice on selection. I suggest that one way to proceed is for the local people to speak to experts in the field, constitutional academics, etc. to find names of potential attorneys in these countries. A list will have to be provided anyway as part of due diligence in lawyer election. Some experts you will speak to will provide advice only in confidence.
To get this started you can send suggestions to me at: email@example.com
Take these complicit governments to court.
Here’s a suggestion for the UK…
When the US tried to extradite UK citizen and autistic computer hacker Gary McKinnon, the Daily Mail’s “An Affront to British Justice” campaign on his behalf did a great job of dogged advocacy against the American’s extra-jurisdictional bullying.
The Daily Mail journalists behind that were: Mark Seamark, James Black, and Rebecca Evans.
The UK popular press is silent on FATCA, probably because they never connected the dots to understand how it will discriminate against any UK citizen who was born in the US – and there are probably untold thousands of them.
London Mayor Boris Johnson is now a second class UK citizen. Although he is a UK citizen – and the Mayor of London – under the agreement between Her Majesties Revenue Agency and the US, Mr Johnson’s banking and investment suppliers are required to surrender details of his financial affairs to a foreign state. Because he was born in the United States, he is now, under the UK-US FAYTCA IGA a DISTINCTLY SECOND-CLASS British Citizen.
Contact Boris Johnson – he is very outspoken and seems to be a popular mayor and seems to be accessible. He also wrote a bliesteing account about not bein g allowed to board a US-connecting flight on holiday due to the US place-of-birth in his UK passport. In that article he made a statement regarding renunciation. Google “Boris Johnson renounces U.S. citizenship passport” or see
Legal action in the UK would alert the popular press.
British residents can nvoke the anti-discrimination aspects of 2010 Equality Act against nationality.
Thanks for the suggestions!
I’m looking for UK legal experts, but London Mayor Boris Johnson might be angry enough to help us find one or obtain other types of help. I will send him an email. Perhaps a local person in London could call his office?
–And if a legal challenge goes forward in the UK, the Daily Mail reporters you mentioned will be contacted.
One other thing to consider. 10 years ago, in the UK, there were cases of ‘war babies’ who were brought back to the UK by their mothers as infants. Basically, GI marries British woman. British wife goes to the States, has baby. Things don’t work out, wife takes baby back to the UK. Doesn’t think to register the child as British. Child, now middle-aged adult applies for British passport then there is a problem and deportation is mentioned by some Home Office civil servant. This sparked quite a bit of outrage at the time and the government reacted quickly to rescind the initial civil servants’ recommendation for deportation.
These people are going to get caught up in the current situation. I can’t imagine the outrage when they start getting targeted.
If there is anyone living in Dublin Ireland who might want to help out in a FATCA IGA legal challenge, please email me at: