This is an update on our FATCA IGA legislation lawsuit in Canada Federal Court.
The Court ordered (May 31, 2017) that Plaintiffs provide:
— Additional personal, detailed documents related to their financial affairs. [Our litigators felt that this request was not relevant to the lawsuit or of tenuous relevance to the issues raised in the action, but Court disagreed.] Plaintiffs have now provided to the Defendants the financial documents and the Court has ruled that these documents will be kept confidential.; and
— A list of harms that the Plaintiffs know and allege have already occurred or certainly will occur. [Description of harms that might occur will be provided in a later submission.}
The harms listed in the submission are generally those detailed by the Witnesses. I am not going to provide the names of the Witnesses associated with their particular situations, but show below a brief summary of some of their harms without names disclosed.
--- Harm associated with sharing of account information with United States. Plaintiffs allege that financial accounts of Canadians have been shared with United States and that this constitutes a harm. However, with one exception (name of person who received confirmation of turnover from Revenue Minister listed in document) Plaintiffs have no direct knowledge whether their own account information has been turned over nor do they know names of those who have had their accounts turned over --- that information is in Canada’s possession.
To the extent that these financial documents have been turned over, Plaintiffs allege that this violates their right to the security of person shrined in section 7 of Charter and the protection of Canadian sovereignty, and is a violation of section 15 of Charter.
Other Witness and Plaintiff harms (not all Witnesses or harms are listed below):
--- Business Person who is Canadian and U.S. citizen. Would-be Canadian partners are unwilling to have potential financial and shareholder information disclosed to U.S.
--- Canadian and U.S. citizen harmed by U.S. IRS PFIC costs taxing away gains. To eliminate harm she had to spend monies to renounce U.S. tax citizenship. Suffered psychological harm when filing forms with FINCEN, knowing possibility of large fines if there were ever to be an erroneous mistake. She feels as if she is guilty of a crime she has not committed until proven innocent.
--- Canadian and U.S. citizen on disability harmed by U.S. personhood. On disability benefits, can’t afford to become IRS compliant or renounce U.S. tax citizenship. Not being compliant with IRS exacerbated psychological harm associated with precarious financial situation. This has created conflict within family as he is unable to speak to family member about situation without family member becoming upset.
--- Canadian citizen mother trying to protect incapacitated son deemed only by the U.S. to be U.S. tax citizen. She has suffered psychological harm insofar as she has had her peace of mind taken away and has difficulty carrying on with normal life because she is unsure of her son’s wellbeing in future after she passes away. Has resulted in breakdown of relations within family.
--- Pure Canadian spouse of Canadian citizen who is deemed to be a U.S. person only by the U.S. Spouse received bank letter asking citizenship question on account with U.S.-tainted wife. This places spouse at disadvantage compared to those not married to persons deemed to be U.S. citizens.
--- Canadian citizen and formerly person deemed to be a U.S. citizen. Business partners expressed feelings that she compromised their business by sharing financial information with U.S. To escape harm she paid the costs to renounce U.S. citizenship. Feels that Canada has treated her as second class citizen.
--- Canadian citizen deemed ONLY by U.S. to be U.S. citizen having entity account. As part of the roundup in Canada of all Canadian citizen “entity” account holders who have U.S. taint, she received letter from bank asking for information on citizenship...
--- No CLN, we freeze your account Canadian citizen - deemed by U.S. to be U.S. citizen. It is sometimes claimed that Canadian financial institutions do not freeze accounts if there is a FATCA problem. Not true. This unfortunate Canadian citizen had her account frozen because her proof of no U.S. taint was not good enough: She lacked a CLN (Certificate of Loss of Nationality) that her bank required.
--- Infant receives request from bank to provide information on birth place and U.S. citizenship in order to continue holding account. [Self-explanatory.]
Other: Psychological harms are mentioned including feeling betrayed by the Canadian government, stress and frustration associated with the financial harm, and harm by simply not knowing whether or when their financial account information will be shared with the United States.
—– The brave Plaintiffs and Witnesses are my heroes for standing up for Canada and its sovereignty. I thank the other Canadians who also bravely volunteered, but were not selected.
—– NEXT STEP: In oral testimony Plaintiffs will be examined by Government attorneys, beginning with Gwen at the end of this month…