This might be old news, but thought I would share my concerns and recent information to fellow Canadian/US citizens.
My position as a Canadian/US citizen is that these Financial Institutions in Canada will have to start putting pen to paper on this US legislation less than 5 months away, and not a single bite of information has been forthcoming from my Bank verbally or otherwise other than the generic drips of information one can readily find on the internet.
if I am to consider signing away my privacy rights then I should be afforded the opportunity to consult a Lawyer to look over the legislation to ascertain what exact information i am allowing the IRS to digest from my accounts.
My fear is that the banks, having at least 2 years to think about this and devise a plan of attack, will one day send me paperwork which has to be completed in a timely manner or else I will be labelled as a recalitraint account holder.
After many calls and emails regarding any updates regarding what my Financial Institution was going to do about FATCA and how it will effect me. I finally received a response via telephone.
Basically in a nutshell, FATCA is coming and there is no way to stop it. Although the US Government does recognize the problems some countries will have (Canada in particular) with privacy rights etc, this will not be a show stopper.
The individual in question eluded to two possible solutions to the bank privacy laws, one was a possiblility of entering into a same country exception which would allow your information to be tabulated by the Canadian government, (i think thats how it works), and the other is to manipulate language for those of us who are also US persons and re-classify us under a new title called Unique Citizenship Status (her words not mine). Although she would not entertain much discussion on this matter, she did say that if you could provide a certificate of lost nationality prior to or during the implementation of FATCA, you would be relieved of this extra reporting criteria….(essentially giving you back your rights and freedoms!)
Finally, and the only question she could definitely not answer, is if FATCA is a forward looking legislation, or if it will be available to do past audits on certain account holders without there knowledge. In other words, once you sign away your privacy, could this new legislation be used by the IRS to start fingering through your past bank records to try and uncover, or discover something you may have forgotten to place on your FBAR etc?
In closing, I will tell you that the above information was derived from a phone call from someone high up in my personal Financial Institution….not sure if I can say the name of the institution but it starts with an ‘R’.
Also, not even sure if this individual is privy to all of the ‘goings on’ of FATCA or the direction there institution will take…..i will tell you that they refused to send me an email regarding my questions, so my assumptions were that they did not want this conversation to come back and haunt them from a liability perspective.