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)
@JC. As I posted in another thread, I made my request in March.
In May I asked if the submissions had been given to MPs. The answer was no.
I asked to have my ATI request filled before my testimony in May. That request was denied.
In asked for my request to be filled before MPs voted in the House of Commons in June. That request was ignored.
I received the submissions soon after the vote was taken.
My thoughts on sending letters to MP’S: If the elected person is a conservative it is virtually pointless to address them with our plight. They can do absolutely nothing for us because Harper will have their heads. They will no longer have a job and will get kicked out of their positions. Harper is a ruthless and uncaring individual and a bully. Nobody wants to loose their job and stand up for what is right. It’s called whistle blower! If we can get the opposition on our side perhaps it might make a difference especially in this election year. Even the big Canadian newspapers are afraid to print. They seem to be controlled as well.
I am afraid you are quite correct. My letter to my MP, a prominent cabinet minister, has gone unanswered, like many others. Harper has all of them on a short rope in his dictatorship. Our letters allow us to vent and hopefully instill some guilt in these so called elected representatives. Even the opposition has been strangely silent, it is very frustrating. With an election coming up it would be a great chance to make this an election issue, yet there is nothing.
JOHN BAIRD TO RESIGN THIS WEEK??? Do we have WhiteKat to thank?
@at WhiteKat: CBC is reporting that John Baird is resigning as Foreign Affairs Minister as early as tomorrow (Tuesday) and that he will not run for reelection.
I have no idea if this is accurate or what it may mean for you or us. I suspect it will not make any difference on our issues.
Ooops. Bubblebustin’ and I were posting at the same time.
I hope one of Baird’s last official readings was WhiteKat’s letter. I agree — likely nothing in his resignation for our cause.
I was wondering when he was going to get back to his new constituent.
He would rather resign than reply to a constituent re FATCA.
Would you write to Harper next?
LOL, EmBee. WhiteKat’s poison pen, yes!
@Bubblebustin, one died.
@Embee FUCK YES! Harper should be SCARED!
Watching Baird right now in House of Commons giving his resignation speech,
He has the audacity to speak about freedom, human rights, values and how Canada “stands tall in the world.”
He says no greater honour than to serve Canadians.
Yeah right. He and the Cons sure sold Canada and Canadians out on all of that with the FATCA IGA.
I watched it all too, Blaze. What’s the urgency to resign now when doing so does more harm than good to the Conservative brand and when he could have just waited with another election’s around the corner? He talked about values and Canada’s image in the world. To be a fly on his kitchen wall…
Not to add to the controversy about Canadian Conservatives / conservatives, but Mohamed Fahmy has similar opinions to many here when he says, http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2015/02/15/mohamed-fahmy-bail_n_6687602.html?1424019483&utm_hp_ref=canada
(his dual status countries).
It’s a very-very sad situation! And WhiteKat’s letter is really touching. But perhaps there are sound reasons for the FATCA implementation. US lose $100 billion per year because of the offshore tax non-compliance.
FATCA is an unmitigated disaster. Here are just a few ways the real culprits are going to avoid it’s reaches, from none other than one of its proponents, Sen. Carl Levin:
And don’t think the indiscriminate use of coercion isn’t going to blow back on the US. We’re already seeing efforts by the rest of the world to avoid the US and the US dollar.
Richard M: Even Obama estimates FATCA will only result in $800 million a year or $8 billion over ten years. Yet banks around the world are spending many times that amount. It is estimated Canadian banks alone will spend over $500 million to comply.
More importantly, comparing White Kat and millions of honest people around the world to tax evaders in the United States stashing their money off shore is disgusting.
There are far better ways to combat real tax evasion. Attacking the fundamental rights of citizens and residents of other countries should not even be considered.
Sound reasons for FATCA implementation?
Yes, and the mob can give you sound reasons for its use of extortion.
FATCA is about enforcement of citizenship-based taxation, theft for which there is no justification whatsoever.
Reading up today on development of Chinese International Payment System & Brics’ New Development Bank (NDB) & Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). England has signed on to be a founding member of AIIB; there are 28 founding embers. We should pommel the CDN govt with demands to do the same.After all, our first loyalty is still to the Queen and not the US. Just one of those little things that has popped up that will change the playground for #FATCA! Apparently, the alternative to SWIFT is expected to be operational by the end of this year. Knew this was on the horizon but not that it was happening in the near future.
Of course the US does not like it. I am just waiting for them to “seed” the western world with erroneous info to create bias…….But what do they expect? #FATCA, spying on allies, etc. Its what you teach your kids in KG- “if you do that, there will be a consequence.” LOL!
Perhaps you could try considering that FATCA is not at all about taxation.
Theo Caldwell, Special to Financial Post | February 11, 2014 10:01 AM ET
I would also add that even if it were about taxation, it doesn’t justify violating the sovereignty of other nations.
If someone’s immediate family member is murdered, that is terrible, but it doesn’t give them the right to spend the rest of their lives breaking into innocent people’s homes in the middle of the night in the remote chance the murderer might be hiding out there.
@ Richard M.
I see you have fallen for that big bad 100 billion dollar number. It’s just a number they pulled out of a hat or a low down body orifice. It has lots of zeroes but it signifies nothing. Financial institutions (FIs) around the world lose big time with FATCA costs but the IRS will collect barely enough to run the U.S. government behemoth for 2 hours a year. FATCA is NOT about collecting taxes, it is ALL about CONTROL. Foreign Attack To Control All And that control does not mean simply control of those the IRS deems to be “US persons for tax purposes”. It means control of the FIs which lined up like cattle in a slaughter house chute to get their GIIN, the institutional equivalent of an individual SS number. Once the IRS has the database completed of whose account is in which FI and where that FI is located — BINGO! The confiscations begin. Theo Caldwell’s quote which Tricia Moon provided is spot on.
The BBC had an article yesterday on the UK becoming a founding member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Quoted within the article
“America has reportedly urged other nations to step back from the AIIB. Officially at least, the US says that it’s a sovereign matter for the UK but has repeatedly called for higher governance standards in the AIIB as befits a multilateral institution.
So, the UK is allowed a degree of sovereignty every now and again when the US says it’s ok… And isn’t it good to know the US sets such high bank governance standards.