Democrats Abroad has published a report of their four month study of how FATCA affects Americans. These reports have been sent to “selected members of Congress and senior officials at the US Treasury and IRS.” DA also indicates discusions with them are ongoing.
DA Report DataPack-CDNS top the list of respondents; 31.8% of those denied jobs due 2 #FATCA Senior Exec Positions http://t.co/6HNFnd4NZK
— ADCSovereignty (@ADCSovereignty) September 15, 2014
The report consists of the following (3) documents:
1. Executive Summary of 2014 FATCA RESEARCH PROJECT – “FATCA: Affecting Everyday Americans Every Day”
2. 2014 FATCA RESEARCH PROJECT – “FATCA: Affecting Everyday Americans Every Day”
3. 2014 FATCA RESEARCH PROJECT – Datapack
Perhaps reaching out to a well respected columnist like George Will? I think he would certainly empathize with the “Taxation without representation and without government services or benefits is tyranny” theme.
I think the ACA’s RBT video lays out a good case to homelanders without stepping on their sensitivities. It could form the basis of a PR campaign in the USA. Remember the scene in “V for Vendetta” when all the TV screens were taken over for the hero’s message? Would that we could do likewise. (sigh)
It would definitely be helpful if someone prominent in the US would advocate in our behalf. In fact a major part of the campaign, if there ever were to be one, should really be from the ‘homeland’ and completely non-partisan. I’d love the narrative to change from “fleeing tax cheats” to a real concern for the loss of good-will ambassadors and the freedom to migrate throughout the world.
Thanks for posting your ideas about PR, etc.
It would be great to take advantage of all these ideas; hiring a PR firm, booking space for display ads in major papers, and writing open letters for full pages, etc. However, there is one basic problem with all of these and it is simply, the cost is prohibitive. While non-profits & charitable groups are sometimes able to obtain a reduction in rates, the costs of what is being suggested are out of our reach. (Please see links below). We have had a consultation with a professional fund raiser who advised that non-profits normally lack the funds to deal with the issue of frequency (as JC has stated). It is extremely ineffective to spend thousands of dollars for a single ad, no matter the size of the ad or the prominence of the publication.
From the beginning, ADCS-ADCS has focused on using our donations toward litigation. We could revisit that and explore budgeting for additional areas however, by necessity, we would have to have a substantial increase in the amounts we are receiving before considering changes. From Stephen’s post you already know how tight it will be to make next month’s legal bill — and it seems that all our donations will continue to come from people who do not have much money and are struggling to pay their bills.
We would be very uncomfortable in taking money away from our legal fund to mount a costly PR effort.
If someone within our community were a professional PR person, and could volunteer to serve in that capacity, that would be the most likely way we could gain this connection.
We do send press releases to major publications on a regular basis. We do have people who are developing ongoing relationships with reporters. We do have people who have contact with TV and radio programs (like John’s two radio interviews in Calgary). With your help we have managed to get a lot of coverage concerning our cause at no “cost” (except our time and your time). We also have tried reaching out to prominent expats and corporations by snail mail, email and twitter, and by telephone. This has not been effective. One of the Directors has been paying personally for internet approaches (e.g., Google ads) to boost our presence.
We could do a lot more if we had more money and if more people were able to volunteer their time and effort and brought in new suggestions that they themselves would be willing to take forward. If you are interested, please contact me on the ADCS website. We could really use the help.
How FATCA will impact those of modest means (low income families).
Homelanders like to trumpet the fact that we have an “foreign earned income exemption” of 97,000. Unfortunately, the trump card is the “earned income” classification. Earned income means pay checks from an employer. So what does that do to most sources of income for those expats of low-income or on social assistance?
a) Welfare payments are not considered “earned income” in IRS’s POV.
b) Disability payments are not considered “earned income” in IRS’s POV
c) Employment Insurance is not considered “earned income” in IRS’s POV
d) Worker’s Compensation is not considered “earned income” in IRS’s POV
e) Child Support Payments are not considered “earned income” in IRS’s POV
f) Canada Child Tax Benefit payments are not considered “earned income” in IRS’s point of view.
So all of these are taxed by the United States Internal Revenue Service in its overreaching grasp. Since most expats of modest means have a corresponding lack of education, they are furthermore hindered by not being able to understand the intricacies of the US tax system. Furthermore they do not have the monetary resources to get into compliance as their choice is between putting food on the table for their families or starving and coming into compliance.
Secondly all accounts that are not disclosed by means of an FBAR are subject to a financial penalty of $10,000 per account that is not considered wilful non-disclosure – the penalty for wilful is $100,000 or 50% of one’s account balance, whichever is greater. How is someone who makes $18,000 per annum supposed to come up with $10,000 for a non-wilful penalty let alone $100,000 (if the whim of the IRS is that the account-holder is a wilful non-disclosure)? For these families there is no financial safety net to dip into. For these people there is not a single way to come into compliance that would not wreak financial ruin on the family.
“There has to be a better way” is the constant refrain that I’ve been hearing from everyone. Unfortunately there is NO way for those of low-income to even think of coming into “compliance”.
@The_Animal Nicely stated.
@ Tricia Moon. The rate card shows that a 1/2 page in NYT Business is only $US133,000. No doubt that is a list price that may come down upon negotiation and with multiple placements (example, link #2 says $70,000 for full page).
Part of the ad would be a call to action to get more donations. If this approach is pursued then it would be like advertising for any type of business, where you hope it would be worthwhile with your good planning, but you would not know until you try it out.
Wishful thinking: groups combine to present a united front with joint funded action. ADCS, AA, AARO, DA, RA.
Outside of paid advertising then there is the real PR where free advertising is sought. Robert Wood/Forbes has been cooperative (or just doing his articles because our area of concern is a specialty of his) but then some of his articles have not had many views. WSJ and The Economist have had a few “zingers.” I have not yet listened to the interview on IBS today.
Tricia, for the seminars for which a modest fee is asked to pay for a seminar, is it strongly suggested that part of attendance is to make a voluntary donation to ADCS after the meeting?
I am sorry but I don’t think you can have it both ways. To get FBAR penalties they need to have $10k in assets. If they had a pension where the money is locked away then they would have no tax penalty and could file the back dated FBARs for free. If they have $10k in the bank then they really aren’t having problems putting food on the table. Now of course that $10k isn’t indexed for inflation so the problem gets worse over time.
I think the poor US persons living abroad have nothing to fear from the IRS. They can ignore it all since they have nothing to tax or take. The IRS won’t go after them unless it’s to pile on because of some other crime.
The IRS is going to be money driven picking off people who have a substantial fine to pay. Lets say $10k in fines as it probably takes $5k or so just to spin up the process. I guess they can have cheap warning letters for people with tax balances in the small $ks and hope they voluntarily give them the cash.
This is like the argument advanced here quite often that X doesn’t earn enough to have to pay taxes to the IRS at the same time as saying they have to pay NIIT on their primary house sale ($500k+ in gains). You have money and the US wants it to give healthcare to people who can’t actually be bothered to work.
You still have to disclose whether or not you have accounts whether or not they are over $10K or not according to the FBAR form. THEY will determine if it is wilful non-compliance or not. SO either way you stick your head into the noose. Regardless of where your financial position is, the FBAR form is the penalty that they will be hitting them hard with.
The IRS doesn’t play nice. And it’s only a matter of time before they start going after everyone. Mark my words.
Luckily I don’t play nice either. My response is this:
“Reporting and Filing Information
A person who holds a foreign financial account may have a reporting obligation even when the account produces no taxable income. The reporting obligation is met by answering questions on a tax return about foreign accounts (for example, the questions about foreign accounts on Form 1040 Schedule B) and by filing an FBAR.
The FBAR is a calendar year report and must be filed on or before June 30 of the year following the calendar year being reported. Effective July 1, 2013, the FBAR must be filed electronically through FinCEN’s BSA E-Filing System. The FBAR is not filed with a federal tax return. When the IRS grants a filing extension for a taxpayer’s income tax return, it does not extend the time to file an FBAR. There is no provision for requesting an extension of time to file an FBAR.
Those required to file an FBAR who fail to properly file a complete and correct FBAR may be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $10,000 per violation for nonwillful violations that are not due to reasonable cause. For willful violations, the penalty may be the greater of $100,000 or 50 percent of the balance in the account at the time of the violation, for each violation. For guidance on circumstances including natural disasters that prevent timely filing of an FBAR, see FIN-2013-G002 (June 24, 2013).”
You only have to file the FBAR when the aggregate balance of all your foreign account exceeds $10k. So if you’re needing to file the FBAR you aren’t having problems putting food on the table.
Now the IRS allows you to file back FBAR without penalty if there was no tax due. This is in the OVDP FAQ. So if the money was locked away in a pension you wouldn’t owe taxes and you could just file the FBAR without penalty.
I honestly believe poor people have nothing to fear from the IRS. It’s grab for cash and they don’t have any.
Here’s a scenario for you.
With BC/Canada Consolidated Student Loans, for a 22 week (semester) programme, you can get a maximum of $11,220.00 per semester. Does that mean that “So if you’re needing to file the FBAR you aren’t having problems putting food on the table”? Because from what I see that’s the minimum a family needs to stay treading water. So an expat can’t go back to school to better their life because of US taxation? Well…luckily for us, most of the money goes direct-pay to the school for tuition and doesn’t even TOUCH our account. But for some people they aren’t that lucky and have the full amount hit their bank account where “holy shit, they just hit minimum threshold limits” for filing Form 8938 and FBAR. You see where there’d be a major problem?
Well, hopefully the USG will allow my wife to file her 1040s sans Form 8938 (since she’s below the threshold there) & FBAR (since she’s also below the threshold there) without too much fuss and get the fucking hell out of the system before she finishes her degree. She’s trying to make a better life for herself as well as for our family after I had a bad fall down a set of improperly maintained steps (and suffered nerve damage to my back). I’m trying to build a career at wildlife photography, but that’s a slow process.
…and the last fucking thing I need is the US government on my ass or hers. As I’ve said before, they can KISS MY ASS.
I am having trouble reading recent comments. When I click on a comment listed under “Recent Comments” my browser opens in the correct thread, but often on the completely wrong page – not the one where the recent comment occurs. For example, when I click on The_Animal’s comment just before this one, I am taken to a page on which his comment does not appear.
I apologise if this a known problem and I should read something about it elsewhere.
Ricard: – The point I was trying to make was that even part-time students – note the Ontario Post-Secondary page link. – can potentially run you afoul of FBAR should your school opt that “you pay them” versus “direct-pay to school” from Ontario Student Loans.
Maximum for part-time students
The amount of aid you receive depends on your educational plans and personal circumstances. The table below shows the maximum amount available through each program.
Maximum per Academic Year
Part-Time Canada Student Loan
Your outstanding Part-Time Canada Student Loan balance can’t exceed $10,000 at any time. Lord help them if they’re full-time.
Now your mentioning form 8936 and the balances to have to file that form are very big.
I completely agree that all of this stuff is crap. The government has taken a large amount of money from me to get compliant but I actually have money. I don’t think you have much if anything to worry about if you don’t have much because it costs a lot for them to get anything from you. Check your balances each year to see if you have to file the forms.
Read the OVDP FAQ and see that you can file delinquent stuff without problems if you declared all income in the accounts.
WSJ article on DA research: Comments appear open:
Navigating to the most recent comment often involves an extra step or two at Brock. When you find yourself on the right thread but the wrong page (i.e. older comments) you have to click on the blue “number of comments” link to get to where you want to be (it’s below the thread title). On some threads this link is not available so then you go to the long URL and delete everything after the title, reload or refresh the page, and voila you are where you want to be. It may seem cumbersome to navigate this way but sometimes it is faster than advancing through the newer comments arrows.
Here is a Lousiana candidate addressing Lemmings Abroad, by telling all of the overseas viewers everything that she is doing domestically. (The New Orleans dike, schools, dah dah dah)
She’s done an outstanding job identifying all the issues facing her constituents living abroad, NOT! #clueless
Here are the Lemmings Abroad who will be voting or her
The Overseas Voters Guide has been updated appropriately.
Please share with your Lemming friends.
Don’t know which of the Democrats Abroad As Stepford Wives threads to post this on, but here’s the latest DA missive explaining away US hypocrisy – justifying why FATCA is good – despite US hypocrisy as tax haven to the world, and despite the true effects; punishing US expats living lawful lives abroad who are already paying taxes to the countries where they are ACTUAL RESIDENTS – while the US balks at providing any reciprocity – even the faux type and simultaneously touting FATCA as the inspiration or (false) foundation for the OECD Common Reporting (based on true residency, not citizenship/quasi-citizenship status).
It would be great to hear an update from the Mythster Stack on US reciprocity internationally and the ‘global standard’.
“The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) is rapidly becoming the global standard in the effort to curtail offshore tax evasion. This month’s G-20 communique marked another important milestone; highlighting the importance of global tax transparency and a renewed commitment to work towards an international standard for the exchange of tax information……”
And then there is the rationalizations that the Harper Conservatives offered for signing us away to the FATCA IGA, when the US Treasury has no authority to enter into the IGA agreements – and the US had no intention of providing anything to any other country, or to force the US financial sector to provide any information to other countries under the actual FATCA legislation.
Worth a refresher – revisit:
http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2292645 Christians, Allison, What You Give and What You Get: Reciprocity Under a Model 1 Intergovernmental Agreement on FATCA (April 12, 2013). Cayman Fin. Rev. April 2013. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2292645
‘Myth vs. FATCA: The Truth About Treasury’s Effort To Combat Offshore Tax Evasion’
By: Robert Stack
The links for the DA reports are now dead. Does anyone have a copy to repost?
the summary only is here
another summary (only) here