“Trump must show his mettle and reverse a fatally flawed, misguided law“
NEWS PROVIDED BY
Campaign to Repeal FATCA
Feb 07, 2017, 10:26 ET
WASHINGTON, Feb. 7, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Nigel Green, founder and CEO of deVere Group, one of the world’s largest independent financial organizations, has launched a Washington, DC-based lobbying and media campaign to repeal the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, or FATCA.
With Obama in the White House doing away with FATCA was virtually impossible, despite repeal bills introduced by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC). “FATCA is a textbook example of a bad law that doesn’t achieve its stated purpose but does manage to unleash a host of unanticipated destructive consequences,” states Sen. Paul.
As his co-leader of the Campaign to Repeal FATCA, Green has turned to former U.S. diplomat and longtime Senate leadership staffer Jim Jatras of the media and government relations firm Global Strategic Communications Group (GSCG). Jatras, a leading authority on FATCA, edits the online publication www.RepealFATCA.com, which is dedicated to getting rid of what he calls “the worst law most Americans have never heard of.“
On Green’s initiative, Jatras is assembling a team of experienced DC professionals to push the repeal effort over the top. “Nigel’s deciding to step up to the plate is just tremendous,” says Jatras. “Billions of dollars have been wasted worldwide complying with FATCA, billions of words have been written complaining about it. Now it’s time for action. When that tax bill gets to President Trump’s desk, we want FATCA repeal in it.”
For more information on FATCA and the Campaign to Repeal FATCA, contact GSCG, below.
Unfortunately, no, it’s almost certain no one approved it. Remember, they don’t even have their full Cabinet approved, much less sub-Cabinet positions. All Executive offices are carrying on with their tasks as instructed until someone tells them to stop. FATCA, unfortunately, is way down on the list of concerns — but they’ll get there. Reince Priebus and perhaps two to three other people in the whole operation have ever heard of the damn thing and are not yet in a position to dig in and set a new policy. For example, OMB Director-designate Mick Mulvaney, who does know what FATCA’s about and I believe will have authority to nullify the IGAs, isn’t even confirmed yet. His only task right now is to GET confirmed and get into his chair at the White House. Meanwhile, the bureaucrats keep hauling the water as instructed, like the bewitched broom in the Sorcerer’s Apprentice.
Either that or it aligns nicely with a policy of screwing the Ukraine…
Thank you for your take on it. I certainly hope you are correct.
Last line in this article: http://www.iexpats.com/behind-scenes-repeal-fatca-campaign/
“The IRS disclosed FATCA has raised $10 billion in tax from more than 100,000 taxpayers.”
Seems to me they’re attributing to FATCA any all recoveries, including OVDP, penalties (not just “in tax”), and who knows what else. Or maybe they’re just presenting what the revenue projection was supposed to have been?
Anyone have the answer?
@Jim Jatras: looks like careless reporting. The latest IRS statement is that FATCA brings in $0 of revenue =)
The officialese name for that is “Strategic Revenue-Producing Initiatives (which do not have immediately measurable ROI, but clear long-term revenue effects)”. Previously they were estimating $67 million of revenue from FATCA in the first year and $155 million of revenue in the second year
Any guess where that $10 billion figure came from then?
And whoever understands this better than I do, please post comment on iexpats and ask for correction. Gracias!
@Jim Jatras: I believe that $10 billion figure came from a lower-situated orifice on the body of the individual who invented that figure. A fictitious fiscal fart. It’s already been well-documented that Treasury officials have admitted to pulling figures out of–um–the air when it comes to “lost overseas tax revenue”.
Someone contacted them and that mistaken line was removed.
I need asap a SHORT expat story about hardship caused by Fatca, specifically caused by financial harm inflicted, excessive compliance costs/penalties, denial of banking, insurance etc, job or business loss or difficulties, AND leading to renunciation or considering it. Please email messages asap to email@example.com. Must be:
1. True. Willing to have real name published.
2. Short: 2 or 3 sentences
3. Heart wrenching. Real hardship
4. Middle class. Not fit false “fat cat” stereotype.
Jim Jatras, thank you for the opportunity. I hope this isn’t too long (our stories are never short) — I feel it all needs to be said…
Thanks, Carol! I’ll see what I can do with it!
Anyone understand what’s the point of this bill introduced a couple of weeks ago, and who actually wants it? (“To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to exempt premiums paid on non-cash-value property and casualty insurance from the taxes to enforce reporting on certain foreign accounts”.) One of the sponsors (John Larson) is a donkey, the other two are elephants (Jason Smith and Ed Royce).
At this late date, Congresscritters should be introducing bills to repeal the whole bloody thing, not just to tweak it at the margins. Maybe some of the sponsors would be sympathetic to that goal.
This is intriguing;
‘Lobbying against FATCA on Capitol Hill’
Sunday, February 19, 2017
………”…The Caricom heads of government, through Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne, announced that the community is considering hiring a US firm to lobby the Trump Administration and Congress on FATCA…”……
“……Interestingly, the front- runner for the lobbying contract is a firm headed by former US Attorney General Eric Holder, a democrat and black American with one immigrant parent (Barbados) who would have been part of the US apparatus for enforcement. Perhaps there is some sense in that. Who better to deal with FATCA than he who enforced it?….”……
It appears that this effort by CARICOM, assuming it comes off, is intended NOT to repeal FATCA but to achieve a soft landing for compliance and not run the risk of sanctions while the compliance vendors batter down resistance, notably from Trinidad and Tobago opposition leader Mrs. Kamla Persad-Bissessar. It’s not coincidental that the announcement was made by T&T’s PM Dr. Keith Rowley, who has been adamant that FATCA compliance is the only path forward. The fact that CARICOM would consider retaining (also not confirmed) a major figure from the recently departed administration who gave us FATCA in the first place, not to mention someone who is unlikely to have a lot of throw-weight with the GOP-controlled White House and Congress is not a positive signal regarding the intent of this effort. It’s unclear in the same article who is behind this. Governments? Financial institutions? In all likelihood, it’s the compliance vendors, notably the accounting firms, anxious to maintain their gravy train worth billions of dollars.
That said, I am happy to be proved wrong. If indeed whomever CARICOM retains is willing to get into the trenches with our Campaign to Repeal FATCA — welcome! Let’s git ‘er done!
I should also note that the same PM Rowley denounced me by name for suggesting that FATCA can and should be repealed. Consistent with procedure of the T&T parliament, I have filed the following with the Speaker and distributed it to T&T media:
Date: February 20, 2017
To: The Hon. Bridgid Annisette-George
Speaker, House of Representatives, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
From: James George Jatras, Esq.
CC: Mrs. Jacqui Sampson-Meiguel, Clerk of the House
Subject: Response to comments of Hon Dr. K. Rowley
Reference: Standing Order 18. BROADCASTING AND THE OPPORTUNITY TO RESPOND
Pursuant to Standing Order 18 of the House of Representatives of the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago, this is submitted to the Speaker, the Hon. Bridgid Annisette-George. It concerns the comments made about me in parliamentary debate by the distinguished Prime Minister, the Hon Dr. K. Rowley, on February 13, 2017. The relevant sections are quoted below in the Appendix. Also pursuant to Standing Order 18, I ask that this response be incorporated in the parliamentary record.
Dr. Rowley made his comments with the clear purpose of adversely affecting my reputation and inflicting injury to me in my occupation. He did so based on my public suggestion that Trinidad and Tobago’s capitulation to the FATCA diktat is unnecessary, or at least premature, and that it would be prudent to wait until the new administration in Washington has a chance to formulate its approach based on the 2016 Republican Party Platform’s pledge to repeal FATCA. However, Dr. Rowley’s government has insisted on taking its guidance from the dead hand of the departed administration, as voiced by the U.S. embassy in Port of Spain, the FATCA compliance industry (for which FATCA has been a multi-billion dollar windfall), and institutions that parrot the compliance industry’s line. As I indicated in my publicly available submission to the JSC on February 10, such a path would diminish Trinidad and Tobago’s national sovereignty, inflict unnecessary costs on Trinidad and Tobago’s consumers and taxpayers (costs which the government has not yet disclosed, for example the amount of public money that will be spent by Trinidad and Tobago’s state institutions acting as virtual agents of the IRS), and violate the privacy of residents of Trinidad and Tobago – an abuse not limited to holders of U.S. passports. In addition to my JSC submission, I publicized the exceptional courage of the distinguished Opposition Leader, Mrs. Kamla Persad-Bissessar, in my commentary in the Washington publication The Hill on February 1, 2017 (“Tiny island nation standing up to ‘hare-brained’ tax haven law”).
Rather than answer the merits of my assertions – or better yet, himself initiating dialogue with the incoming U.S. administration, as Mrs. Persad-Bissessar kindly invited him to do prior to writing to then-President-Elect Donald Trump on January 13th instant – Dr. Rowley instead has sought to discredit me professionally and personally. Specifically, he has claimed that I am “a commercial business for hire” who would promote someone as “emperor of Babylon” if hired for that purpose; that my “firm is notorious for publicly defending or contracting himself to work on behalf of odious international figures”; and that I am “setting out to deceive” regarding the risks of FATCA non-compliance.
With respect to these derogatory claims, I ask the Speaker to note the following:
1. The fact that Dr. Rowley has chosen to defame me rather than to refute the points I have made should be taken as confirmation that my arguments are sound and that no such refutation is forthcoming. I hereby accept Dr. Rowley’s concession of all points in dispute.
2. Regarding my supposedly unscrupulous, mercenary gun “for hire” motivations, I note that for five years I have edited RepealFATCA.com as an often lonely voice of opposition against what I have called “the worst law most Americans have never heard of.” In doing so in have incurred unreimbursed out-of-pocket costs into the thousands of dollars of my own money and devoted many hundreds, if not thousands, of man-hours I could better have put into compensated activities. I did so because I regard FATCA as an outrage against the rule of law, personal privacy, due process, sound governance, and international comity. Granted, I also did so in part with the aim of putting the activity on paying basis at some point. Recently, with the launch of the Washington-based Campaign to Repeal FATCA at the initiative of Nigel Green, founder and CEO of deVere Group, some financial support has begun. To put it bluntly, while I believe our Campaign has an excellent chance of success, the funds available to it are a small fraction of the profits accruing to the self-interested FATCA compliance industry. It is no exaggeration to say that if the effort to repeal FATCA had at its disposal just one day’s revenues extracted by compliance vendors from Trinidad and Tobago alone this oppressive and hare-brained law would already be an unpleasant memory. If Dr. Rowley is looking for mercenary motives, I suggest he turn his gaze to persons in the compliance industry whose eager assurances to everyone that FATCA is here to stay have been widely quoted in the media. The same could be said regarding the late report that CARICOM has decided to retain U.S. lobbying services to achieve a soft landing for FATCA compliance, which at a reported U.S. $240,000 do not seem to be offered gratis.
3. Regarding my “notorious” work for “odious international figures,” I note that prior to my work with my current company, Global Strategic Communications Group, I was part of the government relations practices of two major law firms, Venable and Squire Sanders. Since leaving government service in 2002 I have worked for many clients, both American and non-American, public and private. Consistent with American law, these activities were registered under the Foreign Agent Registration Act for foreign official clients (such as the governments of India, Taiwan, Philippines, Ukraine, and others) and the Lobbying Disclosure Act for others. I invite anyone to visit the registration data bases for those two acts, available respectively on the websites of the U.S. Department of Justice and of the U.S. Congress, and report who might qualify as “odious.” Perhaps a U.S. citizen wrongly imprisoned in UAE since 2008, persecuted ethnic and religious communities in Kosovo, or a mother of young children imprisoned in Georgia because of her political beliefs?
4. Finally, Dr. Rowley attempts to turn my words against me by quoting me to the effect that under FATCA the U.S. is threatening “crippling penalties” for non-compliance, thereby exposing my attempt to “deceive” regarding the damage Trinidad and Tobago may suffer if compliance is delayed. Such an argument is misdirected. It would have some merit if, and only if, no prospect of relief from the threat of FATCA sanctions existed, or was even a remote possibility, other than compliance. (Even then one might object that “the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must” is not a sound basis for statecraft on the part of either country involved, but this is not the time to rehearse the Melian Dialogue.) But that manifestly is not the case. Yes, perhaps if the U.S. election had turned out differently, if the party that inflicted FATCA on the world still controlled the Congress and the White House, if the new ruling party’s Platform didn’t promise to repeal this monstrosity – then perhaps the counsel of submission disguised as pragmatism might have some merit. Rather, given the political landscape in Washington, Trinidad and Tobago has at least reason for optimism regarding an outcome that would maintain national dignity as well as avoid both costs of sanctions and those of compliance. One would think at least exploring a course that escapes both the Scylla of compliance and the Charibdis of sanctions is preferable to choosing one over the other.
In addition to putting this response in the parliamentary record, I also express my willingness to engage in dialogue with Dr. Rowley on this matter. His apology for his unfounded defamatory remarks would also be appreciated but is not a condition for any communication. The important thing is to do what is best for both our countries.
HOR Hansard 7:00 – 11:00 PM, 2017 Feb 13
Hon Dr. K. Rowley:—interestingly enough, the person who is doing that and who is advising the Opposition, I am simply saying to my colleagues, you got to be careful who you are talking to and who is advising you because Mr. Jatras is commercial business for hire. If you want to be seen as the emperor of Babylon, he is for hire to promote you in that way. So we are unimpressed to what Mr. Jatras has to say. As a matter of fact, if you see who Mr. Jatras’ clients are I would advise my colleague, the Member for Siparia, to stay far from him.
[ . . . ]
Hon Dr. K. Rowley: I am simply saying to those who were paying attention all day today—Madam, let me just make it quite clear. I am not speaking to my colleagues on the other side. I am speaking to the people of Trinidad and Tobago who might have been misled [Desk thumping] and those who believe that Mr. Jatras’ advice is useful advice. Mr. Jatras’ firm is notorious for publicly defending or contracting himself to work on behalf of odious international figures and I could name many of them, but I do not want to upset my colleagues on the other side. [ . . . ]
. . . And I could say to the people of Trinidad and Tobago, anybody who is telling you that this passage is unimportant and nothing big will happen if it does not pass, they are setting out to deceive you, as Mr. Jatras and his company and friends say, the crippling penalties—because 30 per cent surcharge on a foreign transaction is a crippling action in the financing of Trinidad and Tobago.
Wow, Jim, great comeback!
I somehow missed your stinging piece in the Whistleblower published February 2nd:
Rowley Government in sleazy scare campaign …KAMLA – THE BRAVE
Nice one Jim Jatras. I agree with you 100% to this point, and thank you for what you’re doing.
I have another question, that may seem way off base, but I’m actually quite serious. Do you think the USA has been using threats of bodily harm against the individuals or their families with whom they’re “negotiating” these IGAs? Or, on the contrary, could there be a promise of massive “nudge nudge, wink wink” payoffs to those signing an IGA? It just seems so possible given that nobody could be stupid enough to actually be supportive of FATCA and what it will do to a country’s sovereignty and tax base.
Absent this, I don’t get it. Why would Dr. Rowley would be so fanatic about this?
Thanks! I hadn’t seen that pickup.
My guess is that the second is closer to the truth. Not so much payoffs and threats to politicians but the massive stake the compliance industry has in FATCA has a corrosive effect on the position of the financial institutions, who in turn have a lot of political clout. Consider the impact of the CBA in Canada, which was the loudest, most insistent voice demanding the IGA between Washington and Ottawa. https://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2014/03/03/enforce_canadian_law_not_fatca.html Once the compliance mongers had convinced CBA and its members that FATCA was here to stay and that sanctions would be even more devastating than compliance costs (which would be passed on to consumers anyway) which politician is going to fall on his sword to oppose them over trifles like personal privacy and national sovereignty? Maybe there are direct threats and bribes in some cases — in this fallen world nothing can surprise me — but Occam’s Razor suggests it’s just politicians sucking up to power and money.
T & T Guardian today:
Fatca compliance deadline looms
So, did Trump and Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley of T & T talk about FATCA in Sunday’s phone conversation?
“A political analyst says the call US President Donald Trump made to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley on Sunday reflects the importance of T&T in the region. However, a former prime minister says more details on what the two leaders spoke about should be made public.
Prime Minister Rowley is the first Caribbean leader to have received a direct call from President Trump but the Office of the Prime Minister is remaining mum on whether the two leaders discussed the Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and immigration issues.
US media had hinted hours before the call was made that the President intended to call Dr Rowley and Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela. According to an Associated Press (AP) report, the call to Dr Rowley was made at about 4.40 pm on Sunday. The White House said the leaders discussed shared priorities, while the Prime Minister’s office said in a brief statement that the two leaders acknowledged the close working relationship between T&T and the US and committed to strengthening that relationship. They also committed to working together on security, trade and other matters
There was no indication from either the White House or the Office of the Prime Minister that FATCA or immigration was part of the discussion………..”
‘Analyst on Trump, Rowley talks:
A reflection of T&T’s importance’
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
I’ve seen no indication that FATCA came up. But there is a report that the call did not come for free.
No more Mr. Nice Guy