This session was very relaxed and consisted mostly of Questions and Answers. There were a variety of “U.S.Person-types” – An older gentleman who was a border baby (literally spent days in the US) and only recently found out about his “obligations.” He was certain there just had to be an “exemption” for someone in his situation. Clearly in the midst of a long “OMG” moment. A middle-aged woman born in the US while her Canadian father was stationed at a base there. A couple (who it turns out I knew from years ago when our kids were in kindergarten together; we NEVER would have imagined meeting again under these circumstances) who came in the early 70’s long ago relinquished yet had received a 1099 from a CDN banking institution. Some people already compliant but unsure how to proceed.
A recurrent theme in the answers given was to “prioritize the stuff you can control.” A lot of discussion about whether or not it was worth it to allow this situation to run one’s life. Make a decision, act and move on. In some ways, this meeting more than others I have attended was more like a therapy session.
Phil gave a brief outline of this began back in 2008/09 with the issues of Swiss banks, etc.
There are still some cases from 2009 that are just clearing. (!) The reality is there are HNWI’s who are doing Quiet Disclosures who likely have prison problems, as well as money problems. Importance of establishing a good “reasonable cause case if choice is QD. OVDP/OVDI programs are great deals for those who would otherwise, owe much more if they were penalized in the standard way. It was clarified that the in-lieu of FBAR penalty, was one penalty per year, end of story. Not per account per violation per year. If one’s net worth is under a million dollars, there is no need to fear audits, penalties, etc.
Concerns about the exit tax if applicable. Big problems since pensions are deemed paid out in full. Including RRSP’s. This can trigger “bad tax stuff.” Exemption for $680,000 worth of capital gains. It was stated that generally, if the net worth is 7 million or less, there are ways to engineer a way out of some of the problems involved. One person wondered if it were worth it to renounce, get a TIN/SIN, file once and just let it go (equivalent of conceding “covered “ status). You make decisions you can live with. Important to follow the law. Know what the law is. Part of the problem is the industry and even the government departments tend to determine procedures which may not necessarily be the law.
Discussion of the badly-drafted 4079. Originally intended to determine that one had not lost US citizenship and now being used for the opposite purpose. The original intent of the questions: “Have you ever worked for a foreign government?” What they were aiming for was “were you a general in a foreign army” or “were you the president of another country?” Nothing like the lengths to which this question is being taken. (understandably, since it is badly-drafted).
For past relinquishments – one should not take the position one is American. Stick firmly to this. Bank employees unlikely to know much about citizenship issues. There was never a requirement then, to obtain a CLN. RBC is apparently a big problem right now.
Being rich or needing to remain American for employment situations are about the only reasons where there is a good point to keep USC. No indication of difficulties crossing the border, so not a reason to retain.
Presenter: John Richardson, B.A., L.L.B., J.D., is a Toronto lawyer and a member of the Ontario Bar. Citizenshipsolutions.ca
When: Sunday, November 30, 2014, 6:30 – 8:30 pm
Where:Carr Hall, St. Michael’s College, U of T, 100 St. Joseph St., Toronto ON M5S 2C4
Admission: $20 individual or $40 for a family of up to four people. Payable in cash at the door, please (to cover costs). Hope to see you and your families on November 30. Spread the word!
This session will feature a very special guest speaker!
thank you….. 🙂 that is exactly what i was trying to say
@George and @Mettleman
In an essay he wrote about the Afroyim case, Professor Peter Spiro suggested that “rights” are contingent on “personhood” and NOT on “nationality”
This distinction may have some applicability here.
There are at least two ways of looking at this.
1. Is this “non-compliance” a recognition that a U.S. law cannot apply to someone who is a Canadian citizen residing in Canada?
Under this interpretation, one is saying that he is a free person who is NOT the property of any country but agrees to obey the laws of the country where he is present. He is saying: Sorry but U.S. law ends a the U.S. border. This U.S. law simply cannot apply to me.
Under this scenario he is NOT saying:
“I will NOT comply with an unjust law.”
He is saying the law simply doesn’t apply to me because I am a Canadian citizen living in Canada.
Note that under this scenario, he (while accepting the requirement to obey the laws where he chooses to live) he is really saying:
“My rights come from my status as a being human” – my “personhood”. Because I am “human” I have rights that are NOT dependent on the permission of any Government. I believe in the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights which recognizes that I have rights because I am a human being. I do NOT and am NOT dependent on the United States of America for my rights. U.S. governments will come and go, but “my personhood” is eternal. My tombstone will NOT say that my rights come from my nationality. My tombstone will say that I was a good person “Husband, father, friend ..”.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is worth reading:
The Preamble includes:
(Notice there is no reference to citizenship or nationality.)
Because I am a “person” and NOT “property” I recognize that U.S. law ends at the U.S. border.
2. Is this “non-compliance” based on an acceptance that U.S. law DOES apply to a Canadian citizen residing in Canada, but is a conscious decision to NOT comply with an “unjust law” – making the “non-compliance” an act of “civil disobedience?
In this case the “non-compliance” assumes that the U.S. law does apply to a Canadian citizen residing in Canada. This necessarily assumes an acceptance that he is NOT a free person but U.S. property. (This is the view of the Government of Canada. NEVER FORGET that the Government of Canada believes that, because you were born in the U.S., you are the property of the U.S., and that you have only the rights that the U.S. government allows. That’s what the FATCA IGA is about.)
In contrast to the model where one has rights by virtue of being human, this model assumes (perhaps unconsciously that one’s rights come NOT from being a “Human Being” but rather from citizenship in a country. In other words, as a U.S. citizen, I don’t get my rights because I am a “Human Being” I get my rights because I am a U.S. citizen. (Think of American T.V. – Have you ever heard:
Furthermore, since my rights are NOT based on my status as a “Human” but on my status as a “U.S. citizen” I fully gratefully and graciously accept that my rights can be limited by the United States regardless of where I may be and regardless of my status as a “Human”.
Since I recognize that my rights come from my U.S. citizenship, my “non-compliance “really IS an act of “civil disobedience”.
If you believe you are a “person” and that your rights come from your “personhood” there is no civil disobedience.
If you believe that your rights (or limitations) come from your status as a U.S. citizen, then you clearly are committing an act of “civil disobedience”.
So, as the Spiro observation implies, the question that people must ask is:
Am I a person who has rights because of my “personhood” or am I the property of a country where I don’t live and don’t choose to live?
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I am sorry I am so late with putting anything up and that it is a minimal report. It ended up being a very long day,first doing signs etc at U of T, running over to a compliance condor meeting in the Beaches and back over to U of T for the meeting, It was quite a contrast between the first meeting, very limited set of choices, everything just a matter of doing as a matter of fear of the consequences (of not doing). Followed by a session where a very important point, we simply don’t know what will happen once reporting begins, definitely flavors how one orders one’s options.
Hope this helpful in some way.
You obviously don’t know the meaning of late. That’s Joe Oliver’s specialty (ACAGF too). Thank you for giving us all a peek at the proceedings. It is very helpful.
Thank you for your report. Very interesting, and yes, helpful.
Thank you, too, for your post on rights; it’s another excellent stop-and-think piece.
Yes, thank you USCitizenAbroad for that interesting and thought-provoking post on human rights. Very enlightening.
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