After reading the completely unacceptable response to MP Ted Hsu’s order paper question (OPQ 816), WhiteKat decided to reach out, once again (in spite of previous communications being unsatisfying) and this time, write her story from the heart. Her MP, the Hon. John Baird is the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Department that provided this “response.”
I thought it deserved a thread of its own as this letter is a real gem.
“Its been awhile since I’ve emailed/mailed any government reps. I was inspired by a comment, written by Stephen Arvay on the Allison Christians post.”
If you have two to four hours to watch the “Stupid Bowl” coming up on Sunday, then you have a few hours per week to read, be informed and write your representatives. We must put the pressure on in volumes of letter, emails, faxes, phone calls!
“I hope lots of you do the same! Yes, the lawsuit is important, but we cannot stop our bitching either!”
“Here is my latest to my MP John Baird.”
I am writing to you about the FATCA IGA with the USA, that was signed by the Conservative government in Feb 2014.
I am very, very sad and totally disillusioned. I cannot believe I have lived in such an innocent state of unknowing for nearly 1/2 a century in that I thought Canada would protect ALL her citizens from foreign threats – not just a subset of them.
Apparently, I am a second class Canadian citizen. You really have no idea how horrible this feels unless it happens to you. It is a living nightmare that I stress about every single day. The last two Canada Days, I have found myself in tears. And if it can happen to me, it can happen to any Canadian.
I don’t remember the first 20 months or so of my life, which was spent in the USA while my Canadian parents lived there. I haven’t got an American bone in my body, but had the misfortune to be born on US soil. I’ve lived and worked only in Canada since moving back ‘home’ as a toddler.
Can you imagine the shock I went through just over two years ago, when I heard about FATCA and discovered that not only was I a delinquent US tax-filer, but was also required to report my Canadian accounts to the FINANCIAL CRIMES ENFORCEMENT NETWORK every year? And worse, my own country was going to shine a light on me so that the IRS would have knowledge of my existence, along with the private details of my bank accounts, most of which are held jointly with my 100% pure Canadian husband. He was not too pleased to say the least, and this has caused big rifts in our marriage.
Please help Mr Baird. I have done nothing wrong, unless to be born on US soil is a crime. How was I to know all these years, that USA was unique in the world with its byzantine ‘place of birth’ taxation laws? I have paid all taxes ever owed to the Canadian government and have been a law abiding citizen and productive member of Canadian society for over 50 years.
I am seriously stressing out, and at age 52 this is not good for my health. I have NO IDEA what to do. I cannot afford the financial costs to get into good standing with the IRS. I estimate 15-20K as I have lots of low-value Passive Foreign Income Corporations (i.e. Canadian mutual funds), several RESPS (one for each of my 3 children), several small RRSPS, and a TFSA (all considered foreign trusts).
Although I thought I was being a responsible parent and adult, saving for my children’s education and my retirement, I have in fact caused nothing but huge problems for myself and family.
I am scared to death of the penalties that IRS will assess for my not reporting my and my husband’s so-called ‘foreign accounts’ to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, which is what will happen when my financial institution reports me to the CRA under FATCA.
Did you know that the penalties for not filing FBARS (FOREIGN bank account reports) for my CANADIAN accounts are 50% of the value of the account for each of the last 6 years (i.e. 300% of the value of the account)?
Will the Canadian government take care of my husband and me after we hand over our life savings to the US government?
I would love to renounce US citizenship, but this does not relieve me of past compliance requirements for US tax reporting and FBARs, and in fact puts a red X on me for the IRS. Not only that, but renunciation is expensive! In 2008 it was free. In 2010 it was $450, and in 2014 it was raised to an unbelievable $2,350 (US dollars). I believe Canada charges $100 to renounce Canadian citizenship and that it can be done by mail.
So basically, I am damned if I do, and damned if I don’t. There is NO painless way out of the mess I am in, yet I am just a decent person trying to live an average life. Why is this happening to me? Why is my government not protecting me? Why is it handing me over to the USA which will allow it to literally destroy me and my Canadian born spouse and children?
I don’t know which is worse – the threat of financial devastation from the USA simply for spending the first 20 months of my life there, or the horrible feeling that the ground I thought was beneath my feet all these decades was never really there! Sometimes, I think it is the latter – it is that soul destroying.
Please, is there someone in the Conservative party who actually cares about the millions of Canadians who are suffering like I and my family are, or is everyone just concerned about keeping their jobs and their pensions? I have truly lost faith in Canadian government.
Very sad second-class Canadian
Kxxxxxxx Pxxxx (name not withheld from Mr. Baird)