cross-posted from: Repeal Fatca.com
Source RepealFatca.com | filed in News | Author James George Jatras
Ten days shy of two years after I was told via letter that Treasury would give “expedited treatment” to my FOIA request for records related to FATCA “Intergovernmental Agreements” (IGAs), they finally have begun to be delivered. This follows persistent and determined intervention with the Department by Congressman Bill Posey (R-FL8), a respected member of the House Financial Services Committee who has been the leading voice on the Hill questioning the IGAs’ legal authority.
As indicated in the cover letter from Ryan Law, Treasury’s Director of FOIA and Transparency, additional documents may be provided following State Department review.
The initial tranche of documents can be downloaded in PDF format here. Note that I have not reviewed or modified these documents. This is a “raw dump,” and I rely on readers to review them and notify me at email@example.com and the interested public of anything of significance.
Mr. Law’s letter to me dated October 9, 2015, which I received via email on October 14, can be downloaded in PDF format here.
My take on the UK is as follows:
The official at the HMRC that seemed to lead the negotiation (if you can call it that) was a lady called Kate Ramm (http://www.taxjournal.com/tj/content/kate-ramm).
Based on the documentation, the UK didn’t once mention dual citizens, or accidentals or anything of that nature. The core of the negotiation was to ‘anglicise’ the wording drafted by its American authors.
The point was made by Kate Ramm ‘ so the wording better fits domestic legislation.’
The US-UK negotiation really was the US handing he HMRC / FCO a document and sign here. The US allowed (opps or would have Kate rather used ‘permitted’) wording changes that would not impact on document itself.
Here are a couple of interesting paragraphs I found.
p. 615 –
We think the insertion of “citizens” in Annex 1,II,3. quite substantially changes the scope and effect of
the provision and would mean that none of our insurers could benefit from this because they would
have to show that they can’t sell products to US persons resident in the UK. We would therefore like
“citizens” to be removed.
As we explained we are concerned that the local FFI wording give rises to EU litigation risks in
respect of both the Freedom of Establishment and the Free movement of Capital. We can’t entirely
remove those risks because that would require wording that you would find unacceptable. However, we
do think that making the wording as factual as possible, so that it looks less like a prohibition or
restriction, would be helpful to us. We have therefore suggested some changes in the attached.
* Article 1 (1) (kk) – to introduce the words Competent Authority rather than just FATCA partner.
> * Annex II , II B, 2, we have inserted the word provides or provided rather than “maintains”, this
seems to fit with what our banks do under domestic legislation and we think it makes the text more
factual ( see comments above)
> * “Will ” or “shall” – our Double Taxation Agreements, including our DTA with the US use the word
“shall”. However our legal advice is that the UK tends to use either “will” or “must ” in our domestic
legislation as “shall” has been found to mean “may” depending on the context in which it is used. We
have therefore used “will” in the attached but we are clear that that whatever word we agree upon we
are referring to commitments that both parties need to deliver and are not referring to things that are
The document was fully redacted on the following pages:
Over 41% of the document had blank pages.
Another annoying statement from Kate was the following:
On a slightly connected point it looks like I will be in Washington between the 3- 5th October and
assuming that we have signed the agreement by then I’m happy to buy you, Manal & Danielle the
celebratory drink that we never managed in London! Although I can’t promise that I might not also
have a list of implementation issues to discuss …..
A celebratory drink for throwing how many British citizens under the FATCA bus? I suppose the drink was paid for by the HMRC as well.
The tone, the language, the mood exemplified in this document was it was no real negotiation, just get the wording right and when I’m in Washington, DC so Kate can buy here celebratory drink on the public purse.
What a farce.
One other thought –
Surprise, surprise, Kate’s position is as follows:
Job title: Assistant Director, Business Customer Unit, HMRC
Kate Ramm is an Assistant Director in the Business Customer Unit in HMRC. Her role involves understanding the issues affecting Large Business Customers, and using this understanding within HMRC to influence HMRC’s service delivery for this customer group. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; tel: 0207 147 0379.
Looking after Large Business Customers – translation “The Banks.”
If it is something they want to happen it will happen over night, such as a group with the same political beliefs they have, but if it is the other party you are in for a long wait. In fact it might wait until the preferred group looses the election and then it gets done. It doesn’t matter which party, they both do it to the other one.
The only way to stop this nonsense is to disband the IRS and put a taxing system in place that does not lend itself to partisan politics.
None of this preferred treatment would take place if we had a National Sales tax such as the FairTax. Anyone who doesn’t want a sales tax instead of the Marxist Income tax, deserves the bad treatment they get.
Jim–at least you got something. My initial comments:
1) basically only 3 countries by my count: UK, Canada and Swiss. And all are the biggest running dogs for Uncle Sam, we already knew that. What about correspondence with the other 200 countries, especially the ones that are not such poodles for the Yanks like Brazil, India, China (or even France).
2) What about internal correspondence within US Treasury about all this, that’s where the rubber hits the road and where it gets interesting. Or did Treasury “accidentally” delete all those emails perhaps.
3) Seems this document drop is just “running out the clock” because most is just revised drafts of FATCA agreements which are already public anyway
So it took 2 years for these documents to be delivered?
They can do with us whatever they want. We are all pawns in the game.
There are times when I think we would all be better off colonising the planet Mars. OK, the home landers would probably still try and enforce their will on us but at least they would need to fly 300 million miles to do it.
I think that the blank pages are redactions rather than blank pages per se.
To me, the dates involved just illustrate the utter bad faith in the utterly disingenuous call by Finance Canada for comments by persons in Canada via their announcement dated November 8, 2012 (directly below) as compared with the emails between Brian Ernewein and Manal Corwin, cc’d to Danielle Rolfes, Michael Plowigian, Jesse Eggert and Kevin Shoom. They’d already agreed to do whatever they were going to do regardless of what was submitted to them by Canadian taxpayers, citizens and residents. It was a BS exercise to pretend that they gave a shit what Canadians thought of what Harper had already decided to cede to the US – selling all of us and our homegrown and locally held Canadian assets and taxpayer revenues (paying for FATCA implementation and defense) all down the river to the US.
“Negotiation of an Information Exchange Agreement with the United States
November 8, 2012
Negotiations are being held between Canada and the United States on an agreement to improve cross-border tax compliance through enhanced information exchange under the Canada-United States Tax Convention, including information exchange in support of the provisions enacted by the United States commonly known as the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).
The purpose of this bulletin is to inform persons whose interests are affected by the provisions of FATCA that the Government is actively seeking a solution to issues raised by such provisions. The Government of Canada has received input from many individuals and groups in relation to the implications of FATCA.
Persons wishing to offer additional comments concerning the negotiations may send their views to:
Department of Finance
17th Floor, East Tower
140 O’Connor Street
For further information contact:
Business Income Tax Division