THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to the 101 people (!!!!) who have recently added their names to the Human Rights Complaint that was originally filed with the United Nations in 2014. The number of signatories is now almost quadruple that of the original submission.
In addition, the number of countries represented by the signers has almost doubled, from 10 in 2014 to 19!!
Every year since the Complaint’s filing we have sent a “Support Document” detailing, from online testimonies, the abuses that have been suffered by ordinary folk around the world because of United States CBT/FATCA and FBAR. It has always been accompanied by a short, one or two-paragraph letter simply reminding the UN that we’re still here and waiting for their response. This year the complete failure of the US government to adopt RBT/TBT for individuals, despite its promises to do so, warrants a larger package and a louder message to be sent to the United Nations.
This year’s “Support Document” is accompanied by the long list of additional signatories as well as the following letter (signed by myself and “Karen”) updating our situation. She and “Calgary” have been instrumental in the success of this current campaign and I thank them both deeply for everything they have done.
I hope that supporters will tweet this out to the media, post it on every website they know, send the link to their government representatives, and just get the word out that this action is in the works and we will NOT be ignored any longer.
For the “update” letter, please continue reading. December 2017
To: The United Nations Human Rights Council
It is now over three years since a group of individuals submitted a Human Rights Complaint against the United States of America for harms suffered as a result of that country’s extra-territorial tax policies. These individuals represent an estimated eight to nine million people from all walks of life scattered across the globe, powerless in the face of the nation that claims control over them.
Politicians and government officials come and go but they often leave in their wake a body of law and regulation that, while seeming appropriate at the time, prove, in the future, to be as destructive as any mine-field. Such is the 1913 US tax law that imposes income taxation on “citizens” rather than “residents”. In the insular world of 1913 one can understand that the two words could have been thoughtlessly equated. But one hundred years later the difference is clear….. painfully so for residents of countries outside the United States who are also deemed (by US law, and with or without their knowledge or consent) to be “citizens” of the US. Despite the Republican Party’s 2016 election promise that this out-dated practice of Citizenship-Based Taxation (CBT) would be replaced with the world standard of Residence/Territorial-Based Taxation (RBT/TBT), the tax reform bill about to become law contains not a single inclusion of any measure which would provide relief. To the contrary, a provision in the bill actually promises to make matters worse particularly for any “American” living “overseas” who owns a business. As someone said in a recent blog comment: “We asked for a life jacket and were thrown an anvil.”
We are out of time. The best opportunity for comprehensive tax reform in a generation has focused on the needs of corporate America (with all its resources) and left individuals (with relatively few resources) swinging upside down in the wind to ensure that the last penny falls from their pockets.
We can wait no longer for the wheels of bureaucracy to grind away toward a distant dream of a resolution to our community’s collective nightmare. We need the help of the United Nations Human Rights Council NOW, not seven years from now nor a decade or two. The United Nations has traditionally been the world’s “go to” organization in all matters relating to the violation of human rights (largely by governments), be it lack of a population’s basic necessities, discrimination against groups or individuals, or management of refugees. The modern world has introduced a whole new category of government abuse facilitated by a combination of out-dated law and 21st century cyber-surveillance. The community of “expatriate Americans” is but its first victim.
With the demise of any hope of the adoption of residence/territorial based taxation or the repeal of the 2010 Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) our domestic recourse is at full stop. True, there is a lawsuit (against FATCA alone) currently being appealed at the Supreme Court level in the United States. Two lower courts nimbly redirected the blame by determining that the plaintiffs in the case, if they had suffered any harm at all, had not suffered it at the hands of the US government but rather at the hands of their local “foreign” banks! The fact that the banks’ actions were the direct result of US threat was not accepted. Lawsuits and appeals are also currently underway in Canada, France and Israel but their decisions will be years away and will affect only the residents of those countries.
There needs to be one decision, one action, which solves the issue once and for all, NOW. International law, as stated in Article 38 of the “Statute of the International Court of Justice”, already recognizes “international custom, as evidence of a general practice accepted as law” and “the general principles of law recognized by civilized nations” as the basis of justice. Already the taxation standard, practiced and established for many years by 98% of the world’s nations, is based on residence &/or territoriality. The United States of America and the dictatorship of Eritrea (already condemned for the practice by the United Nations) are the only two outliers who use citizenship as their basis for the imposition of tax. Since BOTH Eritrea and the United States are clearly not acting according to general custom, they are BOTH clearly in violation of international law. The practice needs to be condemned by ALL nations and ALL international organizations no matter WHAT nation is the perpetrator, no matter its size, no matter its power. In other words, the world and all its governing bodies must abide by Article 2 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights: “… no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.”
The resolution of our case will be one of the least costly ever brought before your organization. We require no money, no food supplies, no education programs, no refugee camps, and no military intervention. All we ask is a moment of the Human Rights Council’s time to consider our situation with compassion and common sense. Our case is more than adequately proclaimed in the Human Rights Complaint (submitted August 7, 2014) that this letter and the accompanying document support. We have been scrupulous in living up to our agreement not to publish our Complaint until being given permission to do so by the United Nations. At this juncture in the process, over three years in, we must respectfully request that the United Nations Human Rights Council deal immediately with our Complaint.
Attached for your interest is a “Support Document”, the fourth such that we have sent you over the years, giving quotes from and links to testimonies (posted online since August, 2016) of individuals adversely affected by US extra-territorial tax law. Also, we have attached a list of people who wish to have their names added as signatories to the Complaint. We are awaiting a timely response along with news of the acceptance of our Complaint into the complaints process.
[signatures of myself &”Karen”]
For further explanation of the additional negative impact of certain provisions now included in the US tax reform bill , please see: http://fixthetaxtreaty.org/2017/12/04/call-to-action/