cross-posted from MapleSandBox
also appeared yesterday on Rob Wood’s blog at Forbes
by Lynne Swanson
I am the author of this article in Forbes. I don’t know why Robert Wood didn’t use my real name as a signature. I submitted it to him and I have posted a comment asking him to include it. I refuse to hide or cower to a foreign bully.
Dear President Trump:
I realize that not paying taxes “makes (you) smart.” So you likely think I’m dumb for paying taxes to Canada, where I live. I think it makes me responsible. You probably would consider me “a nasty woman.” You might even call me a traitor because I have lived outside the United States for almost half a century, and relinquished American citizenship by becoming a citizen of the country I love—Canada—in 1973.
But hear me out on a real “total disaster.” The United States demands that I file tax returns to a country where I haven’t lived for 47 years just because I was born there. Even worse, the U.S. Treasury Department demands invasive information about all of my Canadian accounts. You see, Democrats, with support of some Republicans, passed the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) back in 2010. It is nasty, believe me.
I know you’re a really, really smart guy because of that not paying taxes thing. So let’s talk about FATCA, which is complex, believe me. Imagine if all of Melania’s accounts—including personal, business and even joint accounts with you—had to be reported to Slovenia just because she was born there! Or, if all of your accounts were required to be reported to Scotland because your mother hailed from there. Or, if the Czech Republic demanded all of the financial records of your three oldest children because of their mother’s birthplace. You get the idea.
This may sound like fake news, but is quite real for Americans abroad, including anyone born in U.S. These Americans are under attack, but not from terrorists. This FATCA attack comes from U.S. government! Terrible. You want to strip U.S. citizenship from anyone who burns an American flag? Ironically, if it was that easy to ditch U.S. citizenship, I’m afraid there would be Stars and Stripes ablaze around the globe. In fact, renouncing is costly, complicated and sometimes devastating.
Yet, renunciations of U.S. citizenship soared under President Obama’s administration. These people didn’t renounce because they are traitors or tax cheats. Many are patriotic Americans who built lives and paid taxes from Australia to Zimbabwe. But, IRS wants to claim them and seize their financial records because of their birthplace. Others are Accidental Americans because parents were temporarily living in the U.S. when they were born (like London’s Boris Johnson), or because a U.S. hospital was the closest one for their birth (like a Canadian police officer). I know of one Canadian caught in the FATCA nightmare whose mother went into premature labor over 50 years ago on an overnight trip to Buffalo!
Many financial institutions Build the Wall by refusing accounts to anyone born in America. Sadly, there are so many people now wanting to shed American citizenship that some U.S. Consulates have waiting lists of a year. Some are no longer responding to requests. Armed with alternative facts, sanctions and penalties, the U.S. Treasury and IRS have forced financial institutions and governments around the globe to comply with FATCA through bully-boy tactics. Your Russian Putin pal signed on, and so did China, Iraq and Mexico. But not Iran, Syria or Eritrea.
It’s strange about Eritrea, because it is the only other nation on the planet that taxes its citizens living outside its borders. But this tiny African dictatorship at least makes it easier than America does. Eritrea requests expat citizens pay 2% of their income using one simple form. No demand for financial records. No imposition of unwanted citizenship on everyone born there. In contrast, some tax compliance thugs threaten Americans outside the U.S. that the IRS will “Lock them up” if these mainly middle class folks don’t file tax returns. Notably, you haven’t released your tax returns, so I have no idea if you have offshore accounts or if you reported them.
You can straighten this out with an Executive Order for U.S. Treasury to stop tormenting millions of honest law-abiding folks who just want to live their lives in peace and protect their families and their privacy. You can urge Republicans in Congress to repeal FATCA and move to resident taxation as part of tax reform. Please ask your Chief of Staff to help. Mr. Priebus said FATCA is unconstitutional. The Republican National Committee even passed a resolution vowing to repeal FATCA and adopt residence based taxation. So dump FATCA, a “failing piece of garbage.” Please do it now. Make America Great Again, for all Americans.
A concerned former U.S. citizen”
Great letter Lynne Swanson. Lynne, I think you are on to something here: an Executive Order for U.S. Treasury to stop tormenting millions of honest law-abiding folks… Those Executive Orders seem to cover specific and general orders. If someone could write one with the 9 million overseas U.S. persons in mind – that might be helpful.
Thank you, I just added Ms. Swanson’s name to the end.
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THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!! to Lynne!!! Fabulous letter and marvelous timing!
Wow, fantastic Lynnnel! Your spiteful, childish, holier than thou, love trumps hate but our hateful rhetoric and actions are fine against people who don’t buy what we say rhetoric will do absolutely zero to change the situation this website is trying to do.
Well done! Your hero Obama and his Democrats have been the chief heavy hitters in this matter yet you want to screech about Donald Trump who had nothing to do with it. You have the disease called doublethink.
George Orwell wasn’t writing about conservatives or libertarians when he wrote Animal Farm and 1984. He was writing about left wing authoritarianism, which is sadly all too evident in the new hating on anybody who doesn’t subscribe to a whole raft of politically correct ideas – even if the people who don’t subscribe have traditionally voted Democrat.
Get your mind right – the new kinds of Democrats in the USA support the measures that this website is set up to protest. Your childish letter shows the decline of political reasoning in the USA and Canada.
Enjoy no change to the laws – the Democrats won’t support any changes and why should the new administration when people like you think that insulting people, sometimes childishly and sometimes veering on violence, is somehow evidence of being an ‘activist’.
Anybody here who supports this kind of activity whether by being mouthy or irrational actions should understand that you will never get the act repealed while these people claim to speak for you. Finally Lynnell – grow up.
@youhavenoidea Very nice requests have been made for years. There have been many articles by the press on U.S. persons overseas harmed and discriminated against.
I am quite happy to label Obama for the FATCA debacle. It is only proceeding because of Obama Executive Order. Please help us cancel that one. It is unconstitutional!
It does not sound like you have built a life overseas. If not then it is not easy to grasp what is being talked about here. It no less than the founding principles of the America disregarded by U.S. government policy toward U.S. Persons Overseas. Double Taxation without Representation (now hopefully will change), without U.S. Government Services, With excessive compliance cost, and with excessive compliance penalties.
I have no idea where you are coming from but it looks like it’s not from a very informed place. Lynne has been tireless through the past five years in attempting to bring fair treatment to the expat population. She has written reams of articles, testified in parliamentary committee, presented the expat position in interviews and sent out countless letters, emails & tweets to shine a light on the insanity and injustice of US extraterritorial taxation. Democrats who support these anti-expat measures and Republicans who do nothing to alleviate the damage are fair game to whatever words best express the frustration and anger of those who no longer live on the plantation and deeply resent their former master trying to control their lives from afar. Lynne has used different techniques, including humour, to advance the anti-CBT, anti-FBAR, anti-FATCA campaign and her work is greatly appreciated. Your snarky little missive … not so much.
What’s that buzzing noise?
Thanks everyone for your support from youhavenoidea. I’m pretty sure I know who it is. He has participated here in the past under another name.
He sent me a personal e-mail calling me an idiot and telling me to fuck off. I consider the source and ignore him.
I don’t understand youhavenoidea. Lynne sent a letter asking for help from the person who has the power to kill FATCA. What is wrong in doing that? I and others are trying to do the same.
I agree that ignoring this person aka troll is the best policy (hence my “buzzing” comment).
What’s this person done to further the interests of Americans abroad, as you have so steadfastly done? Many of us are past the trying to catch flies with honey phase.
The person who I think is youhavenoidea knows quite well what I have done to fight FATCA. This is what that person said to me in another e-mail. (The caps are all his)l:
To the best of my knowledge, Trump has not said anything about FATCA. The Republican National Committee passed a resolution to Repeal FATCA, but most Republicans have been silent since the election.
And, of course, Trump is not my President. Neither was Obama. I’m not a Democrat. I’m not a Republican. I’m not an American. I’m a Canadian.
Writing to Trump in language he understands is probably a good approach. However, the letter is very long, with multiple paragraphs each containing full sentences. If you want the letter to be read and understood it needs to be distilled to bullet points, a maximum of nine, each quite short and grammatically simple.
@Lynne. Wow, what a bunch of mindless vitriol from “youhavenoidea”. (Whose moniker really should have been “ihavenoidea”.) The last line of your last post is right on: “Trump is not my President. Neither was Obama. I’m not a Democrat. I’m not a Republican. I’m not an American. I’m a Canadian.”
Personally, I don’t give a damn whether or not Trump repeals FATCA with an executive order or Congress tortures it to death. I also don’t care whether the new administration rewrites the US tax code and eliminates Citizenship Based Taxation in the process or sits on their butts for the next 4 years. There is only one thing I want. I want FATCA out of my country…now. The US can go to hell.
@Nononymous. You mean like a series of Tweets?? I don’t think he reads them; he only sends them.
Perhaps you are unaware that Lynne is a professional writer and probably did all the things you are criticizing, quite on purpose.
My original letter had very short sentences and very short paragraphs. Robert Wood edited them into long paragraphs and sentences.
I have also sent several tweets to Trump making the points in 140 characters and with a link to the article. I sent a couple of tweets to Reince Priebus.
The Con Don doesn’t read. He watches cable news and listens to his closest co-conspirators. Then he tweets.
Is there any evidence that tweeting does anything?
BTW, the Con Don’s sleep habits may Pence’s ascent to the throne. We should be careful what we wish for.
Really I was only making sarcastic reference to Trump’s literacy issues. I like the letter. It would be too long for him to read, were he ever to see it, but we all know he won’t so this is just good fun.
EmBee @ Blazing Lynne
Glad you sent your cleverly crafted letter to Reince Priebus. Nobody’s mouth is routinely closer to Donald Trump’s ear than his. They call his position “gatekeeper” for good reason. Actually Trump is quite intelligent but I really do believe he learns by ear, more so than by the written word. So right now I’m imagining Reince reading your letter out loud to the president in the Oval Office. It’s good that Reince is well aware of FATCA and helped formulate the RNC platform which calls for its repeal.
Ok. Thanks for clarifying.
Lynne: I ditto everyone’s disgust with the commentor who “has no idea”. He obviously doesn’t have a clue or a sense of humour either. We’re all welcome to express our opinions here, but no one is entitled to do so in such an abusive and mean-spirited fashion. I am so very sad that you had to read such a trashing of your finely and humorously crafted letter.
@MuzedNoMore: Thanks. I considered the source and moved on.
Great rejoinder Lynne;
“..And, of course, Trump is not my President. Neither was Obama. I’m not a Democrat. I’m not a Republican. I’m not an American. I’m a Canadian.”
And I am sure that many of the more than 1 million Canadians claimed by the US, and the 7-9 million deemed USPs ‘abroad’ – many of whom can’t vote, and may not even know the US claims them are not members of either US political party either.
The letter is great. Terrific. It is so good.
Love the points about Slovenia, Scotland, Czech Republic — eye-opening!
I read recently that the President likes bullet points — no more than 9. I’m sure someone in the White House can find out how to turn on the lights and put this into a briefing. Well, not that sure but there’s hope.
Comment thread unfortunately polluted by clueless troll. Sad!