Despite much effort on the part of those in Switzerland who were aware of the FATCA threat, the referendum against the Swiss IGA and the unconstitutional Swiss Application Law did not obtain enough signatures Continue reading
The taxation agreement on FATCA between Switzerland and the US that would prevent American taxpayers from avoiding the [IRS] was accepted Monday by the National Council [lower house of Parliament] by 112 to 51.
Accounts held in Switzerland by American taxpayers should no longer escape the IRS. By 112 votes to 51 and 21 abstentions, the National Council passed the FATCA agreement Monday. The bill returns to the Council of States [Senate] for a minor divergence regarding the [date?] of entry into force.
The American law called FATCA was to be in effect from next January. The agreement [IGA] and its [Swiss] enforcement law… was prepared in view of this [date]. In the meantime, Washington made it known that the new rules would be applicable only from July 2014.
Past not yet dealt with.
With this treaty, Switzerland should be able to put an end to the taxation conflict with the United States. But only for future taxation of American accounts.
In order to draw a line through the past, certain banks must await the verdict of the American court system, and others must resort to a program concocted by [Washington] which would essentially put them at risk for significant fines and [require] transmission of data to [the IRS].
My assumption here is that the Swiss enforcement law is being returned to the Senate in order to change the effective date to July 2014, but I am not certain. Please see text of the enforcement law and previous discussions here at IBS: Discussions on Swiss Senate Approval of FATCA and SIF page
Here are some direct links cited on aforesaid IBS post, dating back to the June approval of FATCA and Swiss enforcement law by the Senate:
Proposed Federal Law (French): Proposed Enforcement Law
Text of the IGA (English): IGA
Text of the IGA (French): IGA-French
Report (French): Report
What really upsets me is that we had heard in the news that the debate on FATCA would go to the lower house in November. Also, I am wondering if anyone in either house of the Swiss Parliament knows that a drive for repeal is under way. The RTS article does not mention bone fide residents of Switzerland or neighboring countries. Again, our plight is ignored by the press.
Please everyone, write to RTS and other Swiss news agencies to remind them of who this will affect.
Here is another article from Le Matin that goes into more detail, sorry no time to translate this morning: http://www.lematin.ch/suisse/L-accord-FATCA-passe-le-cap-du-Conseil-national/story/29090313
It is good to see that the mainstream press is covering the FBAR / VDP issues surrounding foreign retirement accounts:
However, there is some misinformation, such as: “Americans who spend their entire career working abroad will probably not be eligible for much, if anything, from Social Security since they cannot contribute to it while working abroad.” This is not true if the country in question has a Social Security totalization agreement with the US. In such cases, it would be possible to draw Social Security benefits later in the US based upon what was paid in social security to the foreign country.
It does not appear to me that such foreign social security contributions are deductible under the Foreign Tax Credit. I believe that US Social Security contributions are (another form of discrimination). Mrs Serrato from ACA is quoted in the article as saying the same thing: “many wealth, social and value-added taxes in Europe were not eligible for credits or deductions on American taxes. ‘They could be a significant part of your foreign tax bill, but you can’t apply them to your U.S. taxes, so you just pay them,’ she said.” Yeah, right, just pay them… and give up the new refridgerator you need and cancel your vacation and your kid’s college.
What is lacking in the article is the extreme sense of outrage that many of us who are middle class and living abroad are feeling.
Please SWAT (Speical Writers and Theses) this article with comments. Thanks to Joe Smith for finding the comments page: http://bucks.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/05/financial-lessons-for-american-expatriates/?comments#comments.
There are already numerous comments and it seems that people that are commenting really understand the issues… and I haven’t seen any hostile trolls there yet!
Also, I mentionned the article in this Maple thread: http://maplesandbox.ca/2013/aca-blasts-fatca/#comment-6097
Enough signatures have been collected for an initiative to force a vote to ensure that the Swiss National Bank:
1. Stops selling gold reserves.
2. Keeps 20% of its assets in gold (currently 10%).
3. Repatriates gold held abroad (including in the US).
The Swiss People’s Party (UDC/SVP), the Christian Democrats (PDC), and the Liberal-Radical Party (PLR) are in the process of writing an initiative to anchor bank secrecy in the Constitution, with some exceptions for criminal investigations.
This page is intended as a place to cite the portions of Constitutions, Charters, Declarations and the like that prohibit discrimination on the basis of national origin. Many of us have often argued –at IBS, Maple, and elsewhere– that prohibiting participation in certain types of financial accounts and/or applying additional tax to income and/or wealth and/or forcing particular reporting requirements to a foreign jurisdiction upon people living and paying taxes in a country protected by one or more of these documents constitutes discrimination on the basis of national and/or ethnic origin. FATCA, FBAR and Double Taxation are thus largely unenforceable.
Further to my post last Sunday here at IBS, SWAT–Switzerland IGA: Still not enough information available in Switzerland, I received a reply email from the Swiss State Secretariat for International Financial Matters (SIF) yesterday. I stand corrected: it seems that I didn’t search hard enough on the Swiss Federal Authorities site (admin.ch) and that not only the agreement text is now available in Swiss national languages, but also a “law of application” has been drafted to enforce the agreement. From what I understand, Parliament will be formally informed of the package to vote on by 15 March 2013, but is not expected to vote on the issue until next summer. It would appear that the Cantons, Communes, Political Parties, etc. are expected to provide feedback by 15 March and this feedback will go to Parliament in some formal fashion, but of course this does not preclude lobbying directly to deputies outside of the formal consultation procedure between now and the vote next summer.
I am flabergasted that the only official Swiss government press release that I seem to be able to find on the FATCA IGA contains only and merely the same sort of general summary of the agreement that we saw in the announcement last summer about impending negotiations and the December announcement about pending signature.
[Addendum: As it turns out, while the press release did not give links to the agreement in its text, there was a link in the righthand column to a French translation of the agreement: http://www.news.admin.ch/NSBSubscriber/message/attachments/29631.pdf as well as a link to documents related to the parliamentary consulation on the agreement, which I had clicked on the other day but didn't see anything related to FATCA--you have to scroll down several pages or CTRL-F and search for FATCA: http://www.admin.ch/ch/f/gg/pc/pendent.html I will be creating another post today on the response I received from the Swiss State Secretariat for International Financial Matters].
Almost a month later, the Swiss people are being kept in the dark. I wrote the Swiss federal government spokesman that issues the press releases today on this matter:
Bonjour Monsieur Tuor,
Je trouve aberrant que votre annonce sur admin.ch (http://www.admin.ch/aktuell/00089/index.html?lang=fr&msg-id=47779) à propos de FATCA ne donne ni référence au texte de l’accord, ni au texte du règlement d’application FATCA, à savoir :
Les implications de FATCA en termes de son complexité ainsi que les menaces posées par son application méritent une analyse approfondie par le peuple suisse et ses élus au parlement.
Il n’est également pas évident si le parlement va débattre l’accord pendant la session de mars 2013, ou plus tard. Auriez-vous des informations à ce propos ?
Aussi, comment est-ce que le conseil fédéral puisse signer un tel accord sans referendum obligatoire (Art 140a,b, 141a CFS) accompagné des modifications constitutionnelles nécessaires, vu que FATCA est incompatible avec des multiples protections garanties par la Constitution, comme par exemple : liberté d’opportunité économique, anti-discrimination, droit de famille ? Sans mentionner la loi réglant la question de nationalité dominante (RS291 Art 23). Si l’accord FATCA est approuvé, le résultat est l’adhésion à une communauté supranationale parce que le principe juridique américain en matière de taxation « Last in Time Rule » permet les autorités américains de changer les règles de jeu quand ils veulent, malgré des traités, conventions et accords. Et alors, le conseil fédéral n’agit pas en bonne foi et ne veut pas protéger les suisses contre l’arbitraire (Art 9 CFS).
Une acceptation d’une loi extraterritoriale étrangère comme FATCA est une claire violation du mandat constitutionnel « La Confédération suisse protège la liberté et les droits du peuple et elle assure L’indépendance et la sécurité du pays. » (Art 2 Al 1 CFS).
Et tout ça à l’insu du souverain peuple suisse !
Je demande des explications !
Jefferson D. Tomas
All Brockers who can speak and/or write in French, German, or Italian, please SWAT this guy (Special Writers and Theses): +41 31 322 46 16, email@example.com.
I can’t find the thread here where we discussed this during the bumpy ride last week as Petros jacked up the IBS bus and redid the wheels, but according to Allison Christians blog it seems that Victoria has, after initial refusal by the OECD to the ACA, gotten the go-ahead to attend OECD meeting “on behalf of ACA and all the people I know who are keenly interested in this topic. I plan on taking lots and lots of notes” http://taxpol.blogspot.ch/2013/02/oecd-public-briefing-not-really-public.html I understand that she will be attending today, the 12th.
For those of you who do not know Victoria, here is her own blog: http://thefranco-americanflophouse.blogspot.ca
Bon Courage Victoria!!!