The Tax Law and Policy Workshop is a seminar course open to both J.D. and LL.M. students, and meets twice a week.
The sessions with visiting speakers are held generally on Fridays from 1:30pm to 3:00pm in Room 122 of Allard Hall. Map / Allard Hall, University of British Columbia, 1822 East Mall, Vancouver BC
Scholars, students, and practitioners not enrolled in the course but who are interested in particular topics are welcome to attend the Friday sessions.
For further information, please contact the instructor of the course, Associate Professor Wei Cui, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The paper being presented was just released:
February 27, Ruth Mason (from University of Virginia Law School): “Citizenship Taxation”
This is all I have to say about *citizenship taxation*.
@The_Animal, will you be there? You say the right thing. I work at UBC so I will probably show up. However, this person seems conservative and accommodating to FATCA. Look at her paper closest to the subject “Exporting FATCA” http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2389500. She says things like “FATCA’s enforcement mechanism is both potent and innovative”, and “For example, can the U.S. standard become a worldwide standard, in light of competing preexisting automatic information exchange obligations, such as the EU savings directive?”
This is the paper being presented:
She has become fairly anti CBT over the past two years since the first paper was written
I unfortunately can’t make it but hope that others in the area can. Note that Ruth Mason is listed as one of the participants at the Conference on Tax and Citizenship slated for October:
I’d be resisting the urge to vomit.
She says things like “FATCA’s enforcement mechanism is both potent and innovative”, and “For example, can the U.S. standard become a worldwide standard, in light of competing preexisting automatic information exchange obligations, such as the EU savings directive?”
Of course, colleges and universities are liberal/socialist hotbeds. And where did the idea of “taxing” expats come from? A liberal/socialist Democratic money-grubbing idiot of a President.
If she has actually about-faced her previous stance, Tim, it is only after the hue and the outcry from those of us being unjustly targeted by this tax regime. I, for one, see through the sackcloth and ashes of that “Draft. Please do not cite or circulate.” epistle of concession to the injustices suffered by so many of us expats and I do not accept her mealy-mouthed apology. We have suffered too much to accept any half-hearted “Well, maybe we should change.” They should have seen the potential damage before hand and left FATCA off the HIRE Act. They bulldozed it through and then proceeded to bulldoze every other country in the world to adopt IGAs. Too little too late; I will have no other concession that outright conversion to residence-based taxation, grandfathering of ZERO tax-filing requirements and elimination of the FBAR penalties (and compensation of fines) to those who have paid them. That will only go a small way towards healing the ill-will that has developed, from those who are expats and those closest to them, towards the United States.
Right now, no-one can truly understand the deep-hatred I feel towards anyone who ventures or whom I talk to from the United States, unless they are an American expat (then I just say “you poor bastard…” when I think of the shit that they are going to have to go through with FATCA). I considered my wife a Canadian after 14 (almost 15 years) up here in Canada with me. She thinks Canadian, she works as a Canadian and has a Canadian view on what passes for politics (after Harper, I don’t think most political parties in Canada have a spine – except for the Green Party who has not stayed silent on this – the NDP rolled over and showed their belly after the IGA went through) up here and she wants to be able to vote; which is why we are planning to go after her citizenship and then she will unilaterally expatriate to Canada. All Obama is getting is a 1040-FU and a middle finger. She doesn’t recognize leeches and that’s what the United States has become.
@Tim, its a long paper and kind of a chore to read. It covers both sides of the issue but generally concludes CBT is unfair (more so to woman, it notes in the conclusion). It shows what a mucky issue this is. Kind of like debating abortion. Nothing new that hasn’t been said on IBS, just does not use colorful language, like The_Animal uses (he would make a nice academic perhaps in the Drama department).
“All Obama is getting is a 1040-FU and a middle finger.” I spit my coffee on the keyboard on that one. LoL
kermitzii, You don’t know just how close you came to where I almost ended up. I almost went into music…which is close to drama. ~laughing~ 😛 We generally used the same “green-room” at Douglas College. I was in UT Music bachelor degree program, but got the hell out of it when I realized that I just couldn’t compete with the likes of those who could sight-read, had perfect pitch etc. etc. I didn’t have the talent for it – whereas photography seems to come naturally and the understanding of the creation of an image seems to flow.
Wow, these academics sure seem to have a hard time getting to the point – only to miss it completely. 56 fucking pages to dance around, but never quite grasp the truth that citizenship-based taxation is fundamentally, morally wrong and indefensible – period. As many have convincingly argued before, CBT is no different than slavery, Jim Crow laws or apartheid. What exactly is there to talk about?
What really annoys me is the unstated presumption of people like Mason and Kirsch (who no doubt genuinely consider themselves our intellectual superiors) that it is somehow legitimate to lovingly, almost pornographically, explore CBT – in a world which so categorically rejects it – only because it is an American idea and policy and therefore somehow intrinsically worthy of debate. I counter that there is nothing to debate, and no need to kill innocent trees and waste energy on bits and pixels pathetically striving – and spectacularly failing – to turn lead into gold. The best I can say for Mason is that she greatly disappoints me, while Kirsch, as always, simply disgusts me. These people are no magical alchemists of inhumane tax policy and never will be. Rather, they will become the true footnotes of this sordid chapter of American history.
But what the hell do I know since I only have a lowly B.A.?
You got a B.A., you’re one up on me, Deckard, Me…I’ve just got my degree from the school of hard knocks. No fancy paper at all. I’ll let the intillekshules…(purposely misspelled) debate the benefits of CBT versus RBT. My impression is it will be a waste of time and hot air trying to convince them of the fact that there is no work-around except abolition of CBT.
But then again…like you said, what the hell do I know. I don’t have some fancy piece of paper from some fancy-schmancy Kollidge (again deliberately misspelled).
Do you think you will make it to Detroit in the fall?
I did find a bunch of technical “corrections” I am going to try send Mason later this weekend. In full disclosure I have communicated with her once and a while over the past year or two.
Ruth Mason wrote
It was my understanding that if you leave the USA and stay away over a year without informing the State Dept. that you wish to retain your GC status, the card becomes null and void and to move back to the USA you would have to go through the entire GC application process again. This is the first I’ve heard of being able to buy a “reentry permit”. It’s seems my confusion never ends.
Oops, it says “Please do not cite or circulate”. Am I in trouble?
When it comes to the Mason paper there’s the:
“Good”, “Bad” and the “Ugly”.
First the “Good”:
She is opposed to “citizenship taxation”
Second the “Bad”:/
She adds little of value to the discussion with one exception. She suggests that “citizenship taxation” will hurt immigration to the U.S.
Third the “Ugly”:
Like these academics she has NO CLUE what it is like to live under the regime of “citizenship taxation” and how difficult is to renounce. What is most striking about these people is that they cannot see this as the “moral issue” that it really is. U.S. “citizenship taxation” is primarily “place of birth” taxation. It works like this:
If you were born in America then you must pay America (even if you were privileged enough to be born in the gutter”.
These academics are simply too heavenly to be of any earthly use. Their focus is exclusively on whether “citizenship taxation” can be justified. In answering this question it might be helpful to begin with an understanding of what “citizenship taxation” really is. It would be interesting to take Kirsh, Mason and others and force them to live under this regime for a time.
I haven’t read the paper yet but, Deckard, I have to say I absolutely love your comment! To paraphrase: what’s there to study? There are 7.8 million (or whatever) walking studies around the world who are all screaming for justice and have been for years. The U. S. has to get off the pot and fix this once and for all.
Thanks, USCitizenAbroad, for your take on the good, the bad and the ugly of the paper.
It also was clear to me when reading that the author does not understand because she is NOT going through what we are. I absolutely believe that NO ONE who is not going through this horror can fully understand what we are going through, which also includes those in the US tax compliance industry, the *foreign financial institutions* that hold / *take care of* our money, our own governments and the media. I got the feeling that the author was trying to please or not offend other academics in her tip-toe wording.
What she misses entirely is the urgency of the situation – navel gazing is not an option for those most affected by the US’s systemic mistreatment of its most valuable asset abroad – it’s citizens. It’s already too late for over 3,400 people last year, and thousands in the preceding years. This is a crisis situation. Enough talk.
Thanks for your analysis of the technical aspects of Ms Mason’s paper. The last thing we need is a supporter of RBT to be discredited by the proponents of CBT. The situation is just too dire for that.
I read a couple of years ago that something like an average of 120 Canadians renounce Canadian citizenship a year. Population differences considered, Americans renounce their citizenship at over three times the rate of Canadians. How is it Americans are more inclined to renounce due to taxes than Canada, a ‘higher’ tax country? This is not tax evasion, it’s tax persecution.
I doubt it. I think that she probably just doesn’t want the paper treated as if it were a final draft.
My thought about it was that I am not sure how much it really adds to the debate. It’s plowing a well-trod furrow and the horse has some blinders on (which keep it to that well-trod furrow).
I’m not sure I understand what all the fuss is about. This is being presented as part of the Tax Law and Policy Workshop seminar course, right? So it’s necessary to provide background and current arguments from ALL sides and then to present evidence of YOUR argument. And she’s against CBT.
Though I found a few errors (“People who cannot secure citizenship elsewhere cannot relinquish their U.S. citizenship.”) and ommissions (no mention was made of those deemed mentally incapable of renouncing citizenship), I found the paper relatively well written and comprehensive and her arguments were well made.
A paper and a presentation like this isn’t supposed to be an passionate and emotional plea. Yes, we’re living it here and we’re desperate to have changes made quickly, but this isn’t being presented to people with the power to make those changes. It’s a seminar at a university.
It would be interesting to attend to hear reactions from the course participants. If there is someone going, please post your reactions and comments afterwards!
@Kathy, I probably will be there as I work at UBC. I’m not very good at taking notes though.
That’s OK. General impressions are good. Thanks!
I went to the seminar today. The most interesting thing was seeing all these law students not just in the room but the entire building (it is at the law school, which I have never been to). Nascent lawyers, they already look and act like lawyers. I wonder how they pick them. And the students interact totally. Anyway, this is a course for a Masters level program so students were quite mature and asked really good questions, there was about 15 students, 3 law professors and me. Ruth is mild mannered but very knowledgeable, just like the paper draft she has. She basically went through the points of her paper. One student asked what are the positive reasons for CBT besides supporting a global police force that can rescue you from anything (NOT). Well it make the US passport “worth more”. Ruth pointed out that among states the situation is like US person abroad vs. US person in USA, there is different level of support for things by taxes (she compared rural Virginia where she is from, to New York city). So that is like rural Ontario vs. rural Virginia in terms of US tax support (NOT). She went through the reasons for renouncing and thought the main one was the cost and time involved with filing returns to the IRS, even when no taxes are not owed 80% of the time. She forgot to mention my reason, which is capital gains tax on the sale of the principle residence (very important for Vancouver). She talked about different way of defining citizenship in detail and with much knowledge. She and people in the audience talked for about 10 minutes about the ADCS lawsuit (not by name) and one law prof did not think the chances were that good. Everybody knew which part of the Charter was being challenged (after all, they are law graduate students and profs). There were many other good questions and of course nobody in the audience had an OMG moment and they are all USA not-persons, but Ruth did mention several cases where people who did not know they were US persons found out who they were and then found out they have been liable for taxes. I think that is the most dangerous and unethical thing about the US CBT — the OMG moment and its fallout.
Thanks for that summary of the Vancouver workshop. So Ruth Mason, NOT being a U.S. citizen living abroad, is not about to be too passionate about the downsides of U.S. CBT but at least she is taking a scholarly look at them. BTW, there’s more than cost and time involved with U.S. tax forms — there’s the outrageous penalties for foot faults and the outright wrongness of having to lay bare the details of your bank accounts.