— U.S. Citizen Abroad (@USCitizenAbroad) July 12, 2017
Let the Lawsuits Continue!
Another group of people, residents & citizens of other nations (yet claimed by the U.S. all the same), the Association des Américains Accidentels has formed a legal entity in order to raise funding for procuring a legal opinion and proceeding with litigation against the FATCA IGA in France and/or the European Union courts.
We began our journey in February 2014 and welcome this effort, hoping it spreads around the world. Best thing to remember:
cross posted from Association of Américains Accidentels
— Patricia Moon (@nobledreamer16) June 5, 2017
Let’s Unite to Defeat FATCA!
The “Association of Américains Accidentels” (Accidental Americans Association) is a legally formed entity under the French law of 1901.
Its aim is to defend and protect Franco-American binationals against the nefarious effects of FATCA. The consequences of this Inter Governmental Agreement (IGA) between France and the United States have been manyfold and tragic for binational citizens: French banks have refused to open accounts or have closed them, payments of inheritances have been suspended, insurance policies and mortgages have been cancelled among other bureaucratic hassles binationals have had to endure. This has resulted in feelings of great anxiety, anger as well as the feeling that French Authorities has abandoned them to their fate.
The Association has two goals: First, to seek legal opinions in French, European and International law to defeat FATCA in France or better yet in the European Union altogether and secondly to undertake the necessary judicial actions to exclude binationals from the FATCA IGA’s once and for all. Preliminary conversations with highly qualified lawyers have been promising and we think that there may be solid legal grounds to achieve this goal whether at the French or European Union level or both. But legal opinions by good lawyers are not free.
— Patricia Moon (@nobledreamer16) April 1, 2016
Continued from An Extraordinary Debate in the Canadian Senate the Day Before #FATCA IGA Received Royal Assent Part I
The Consultation of the Privacy Commissioner-An Exercise in Futility?
Given the fact that we are expecting a hearing concerning the Privacy Commissioner’s Report (which apparently was not examined before the release of information by CRA to the IRS in September, 2015), I think it is worth revisiting some of the discussions held with the Interim Privacy Commissioner Chantal Bernier prior to the actual implementation of the IGA.
Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
National Finance, April 29, 2014 OTTAWA,
2:32-4:16 pm / 4:17-4:39 pm)
*The actual session lasted 22 minutes
also available here, 10:82-89
Senator Callbeck: I have a question on privacy concerns. I understand that some serious concerns are being expressed over privacy. I’m wondering, has the Privacy Commissioner been consulted?
Mr. Ernewein: “… In our discussions with the U.S., we’ve kept the Office of the Privacy Commissioner informed about what we were doing. We’ve also made sure to alert them that the agreement was being signed, to share the agreement with them and to share the draft legislation at that time. It’s my understanding that the Privacy Commissioner does not bless, if you will, government actions or legislation, so I don’t wish to speak for the office or the commissioner, but certainly they have been kept informed of all developments.
I have not been terribly familiar with Mr. Ernewein (I only recall him from the HOC May 29 meeting), as my attention during this time was focused on the House of Commons FINA hearings. I suspect that was due to Lynne, John, and Allison testifying there. I was inclined to think Mr. Ernewein was a reasonable fellow until I read this statement. Mr. Shoom furthers this idea a bit later by basically saying that they presumed she had no objections because outside of contact initiated by them, she did not respond further. While seemingly respectful of the Commissioner, even appearing to defer to her, Mr. Ernewein achieves something much more noticeable, which is to say that he doesn’t think it is required for the Commissioner to be on board with the legislation. Perhaps the only requirement is to check with actual Ministers however, how many of them would be as familiar with The Privacy Act and PIPEDA? I guess it wouldn’t matter, since the CONS had a majority. However, it may come back to haunt them later. Ms. Bernier, however understated it may seem, made some strong points that suggest she had serious concerns about the IGA.
The video links are hopefully fixed. I neglected to acknowledge that the transcripts were made by pacifica and calgary411. Any emphases are mine.
— Patricia Moon (@nobledreamer16) December 12, 2012
I had intended to write something for Brock’s 4th birthday (December 10) but when I got up and looked at the calendar I noticed I had missed it. But then I realized, today was the 15th and that the FATCA Forum was exactly 3 years ago today. I actually feel as if it were 10 years ago, probably because so much has happened since then and it has been so intense.
Brock was certainly the start of our section of the expat movement. Absolutely no doubt about it. But the FATCA Forum was the beginning of something else equally important – Brockers coming together and becoming active in other ways. I definitely think without the Forum, things would not have taken shape in the way they have.
Likely a lot of you have never seen the videos/read the transcripts of that day. Some people seemed to think that since there weren’t hundreds of people there, it wasn’t effective. But they couldn’t have been more wrong.
Technically, if I remember (and someone please correct me if they know otherwise), the meeting was sponsored by the Progressive Canadian Party, headed by the Hon. Sinclair Stevens. I remember being quite impressed by him; such a gentleman but no-nonsense about the shenanigans that had taken place when the Conservative Party voted to dissolve the party and merge with the Canadian Alliance to form the modern-day Conservative Party of Canada. I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about. But then he started to talk about the Charter. Up to that point, I don’t recall focusing on the idea that Canada would be/could be involved in helping us out of the miserable situation we all found ourselves in which at that point was mostly about FBAR and renunciation. When he said the Charter didn’t apply just to citizens, it included permanent residents, visitors, in fact anyone who happened to be in Canada, he planted the seed for the CDN lawsuit (at least in my mind).
…. in the sense that I think it’s very appropriate today. Canada needs representation at the national level.
And what you are considering today – and I’m looking forward to some of the experts that are here to discuss it is the fact that a foreign nation is attempting to levy taxes against people who are still technically citizens of the United States – and there are over a million of them in Canada – and we say that’s just wrong. It’s just inherently wrong not to acknowledge the sovereignty in this case of Canada.
And to that extent there will be three headings that you will be told about today. But the heading that I’m most interested in is the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I was in Parliament when that was passed in 1982. I remember the debate. I remember the significance that was felt, not only in Parliament but throughout the country, that we were getting our own Charter, a Charter that would identify what is uniquely the Canadian rights and freedoms.
Now, the reason it’s relevant to today, as I’ve indicated what we’re living with is this threat from the United States, who wish to become extra-territorial in the sense of tax collection – I think it’s interesting to bear in mind some of the wording of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
In order that there is no doubt that a permanent resident of Canada has a say and it must be protected, I would refer you to s. 6 of the text of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It says:
“Every citizen of Canada and every person who has the status of a permanent resident of Canada has the right” and that section deals with certain things.
But the most significant section of the Charter is s. 15(1) – and put yourself in the context when I say “individual,” put yourself in the context of a US citizen, according to the Americans, being referred to. That section says:
“Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and in particular without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.”
That catches the so-called US citizen. Certainly if he’s been here longer than six months, he’s a permanent resident. And this Charter and coming out of today, if you agree, we will be making a representation first to Finance in Ottawa, who have requested comments on this subject. We will be making a representation among other things pointing to the need to obey the Charter of Rights that is thirty years old in Canada.
I thank you for coming. I hope to hear your input as we go ahead. But by all means, you are doing a great service for Canada and the citizens and permanent residents of Canada.
Thank you very much.
John Richardson was one of the first people to make us aware of the fact that FATCA et al, was NOT about taxes. People often miss his point when he says “You don’t have a TAX problem, you have a COMPLIANCE problem. They haven’t filed their taxes, how is it they don’t have a tax problem? They don’t understand what he means when he says it’s a myth that Americans abroad won’t owe any taxes. Of course what he means is that once you have dealt with the compliance problem by filing, THEN you will begin to have tax problems. He was the first person I can remember who made us understand that it wasn’t about owing income tax; of course, many do not due to the FEIE, FTC etc. I believe nobody understands better than he, where we WILL owe:
- when we sell our homes
- when we invest in tax-deferred savings accounts that the US will not recognize
- when we invest in non-US mutual funds
- when we file a US tax return as MFS (incurring AMT & Obamacare tax)
Understanding tax is not the point, it is understanding how it affects peoples’ lives. And one of the reasons he gets this better than anyone else could not possibly be demonstrated better than the following explanation:
Now the US is a country that really doesn’t like anything that they call ‘foreign’. In fact, if you were actually to look at the Internal Revenue Code in theUS, you would see that the word ‘foreign’ wherever the word ‘foreign’ is, the word ‘penalty’ is sure to follow. Now what this means is that a number of day-to-day activities that people in Canada and other countries engage in, which by the way are heavily promoted by government policy, things as unimportant in life as retirement planning for example, are in fact subject to US tax laws and are taxed in very, are not recognized, as tax-saving vehicles. Now I’m going to give you one example. I could give you more but I just want to give you one example to demonstrate the point. As you know, the Government of Canada in 2009 introduced something called a TFSA, Tax-Free Savings Account. How many have heard of that? And, it is, I think this is very important to understand that this is part of what is considered to be desirable domestic Canadian policy to assist and encourage people to save for retirement. Agreed?
Well, let me tell you what that is from the point of the United States Government. First of all, it is not recognized as anything, but remember that US Persons are required to file tax returns accordingly to exactly the same laws that people in the United States are and because there are no TF(S)A’s in the US, therefore there are no TFSA’s anywhere in the world, but under US law for example, these are considered to be a ‘foreign trust’. Now, so what you ask? Well, in theUStax system on the one hand there’s the issue of how much tax is owing. But, there’s another dimension to it, which is used which I think also, I suspect, to raise revenue and this has to do with the filing of information returns.
OK? So, in other words, it’s OK to have a foreign trust, but what’s not OK is to not report it to the IRS. Well, you might think, OK, so what, so let’s, we’ll call them up and drop them a line. Not so simple. Very complicated reporting requirements, very complicated forms. For those of you who areUStax geeks, you might recognize the Form 3520 for those who have been thinking about this. You say so what, give me the form, I’ll fill it out. You will not be able to fill out this form without professional help, totalling thousands of dollars, if you can even find that kind of professional help in this country. And, the penalty for non-willful, $10,000. How many think that’s absolutely outrageous? You do? Well, you’re not going to believe what I’m about to tell you next then. Because, it’s a foreign trust and the one thing theUStax system is based on a system of complete distrust, they want verification from what is called the Trustee. Now in people talk that means if you have a TFSA at, say, the Toronto Dominion Bank, the Toronto Dominion Bank would be the Trustee and the Trustee, under US (imagine this, OK), under US law, the Trustee, the TD Bank, is required to file with the IRS a form which essentially duplicates your form to essentially just validate that in fact you’re telling them the truth. You think the TD Bank is going to do that; how many imagine they’re going to do that? No, they’re not.
Well, the problem is this. Two problems. The first is, your tax return if you’re living in the USis due April 15th. For people outside the US, it’s June 15th and you can get an extension until October (OK, if you don’t owe them any money. We’ll get to that – I see you’ve had some problems here – I’ll be interested in hearing later.). If this form is not filed by March 15th, which by the way is well before the due date of your tax return, then you, not the TD Bank, you are subject to another $10,000 penalty. OK? Now, I’m going to just continue the discussion of the forms and the penalties in a specific way, but what you need to understand, and for the purpose of this whole discussion today, is that when we’re dealing with theUS tax system, we have taxes, which you understand. I mean there’s nobody inCanada who could not understand taxes. How many think they are high? Oh, you don’t? OK, but what you don’t understand and what’s left out of this discussion is the information returns which are actually the bigger problem, a) because nobody knows about them and b) because I guarantee you, and I’m going to stand by this word (I would rarely use the word, guarantee) that nobody except a person who does not own anything except the shirt on their back could afford to file a US tax return for under about $3,000, and I don’t care who you are. If you have anything, OK, if you have anything, it’s going to be much more and I know somebody personally who filed aUS tax return in 2011 that was almost 200 pages of information returns. Very middle class person as far as I can see unless there’s some stash that he hasn’t told me about, in which case I don’t think he’d be telling to the US government either. But my point is that we are dealing with a tax system of enormous complexity. I’ve heard it referred to when it’s applied to US Persons abroad as simply nothing more than a tax and penalty club.
Gearing up for Obama’s visit: Finance Ministry to rush Cabinet note to sign US FATCA by December 31 – The E… http://t.co/LtTCZdyfLc
— U.S. Citizen Abroad (@USCitizenAbroad) December 22, 2014
NEW DELHI: The finance ministry is planning to rush through a Cabinet note seeking permission to sign an accord with the US on exchanging investment information before a December 31 deadline, ahead of President Barack Obama’s visit to Delhi at the end of January.
The government has got the goahead of the justice MB Shah-led special investigation team (SIT) on black money, which allows India to sign international treaties that include confidentiality clauses, an issue that had prevented ..
Read more at:
This article is open for comments and they are beginning.
By signing a FATCA IGA India is agreeing to assist the U.S. in imposing U.S. law on India.
The imposition of U.S. law on India includes:
1. The imposition of U.S. law on anybody that the U.S. now or in the future decides to deem a “U.S. person” who will primarily be citizens and residents of India. The U.S. and only the U.S. determines who is a “U.S. person”.
2. Requirements imposed on Indian financial institutions to “round up” those who the U.S. deems to be “U.S. persons” – i.e. those citizens of India with some kind of U.S. connection (probably resulting from their place of birth).
3. Imposing “U.S. law” – past (penalties), present (a requirement to live the “American Way”) and future (creating an “underclass of persons unable to plan for retirement) – on those “citizens of India” that India offers to the U.S..
4. The “U.S. law” imposed on these unfortunate people is a code of requirements and prohibitions that the “citizens” of no other nation are subject to. (The “rights” of “U.S. persons” are only what the U.S. allows. “Sorry, you can’t invest in this – You’re an American”.)
5. These requirements include a requirement to attack the economy of India (yup, double taxation is the forced extraction of “after tax income” from the economy of India to the U.S. Treasury).
6. These requirements include the requirement to report on the private financial information of “citizens of India” who have the misfortune to be affiliated with someone who the U.S. decides to “deem” a U.S. person.
A FATCA IGA is nothing less and nothing more than entering OVDP for countries.
Because a FATCA IGA is an:
Offshore – Yes, all non-U.S. countries are offshore
Voluntary – Yes, these countries are voluntarily surrendering their sovereignty to the USA
Disclosure – Yes, they are going to allow the U.S. to designate who they are looking for, find them and then disclose them to the USA.
Program – Of course it’s a program. This particular program is called the Model 1 IGA.
Someone really should go to India and have a conversation with their Finance Ministry before they decide to “Commit suicide to avoid dying.”
With FATCA’s 1 July deadline right around the corner, many desperate non-U.S. banks are turning to technology companies purporting to offer “compliance solutions” to help them hunt down all those tax-evading, money-laundering, drug-dealing U.S. Persons abroad who sneakily disguised themselves as ordinary, law-abiding immigrants interested only in paying water bills and buying groceries. How well are these so-called “solutions” likely to perform? Well, attention to detail is crucial in both software development and tax compliance, so let’s take a closer look at the level of attention to detail that one of these compliance firms demonstrates in other areas …
More than a year ago on Twitter, I noted this hilariously awful map of Intergovernmental Agreements posted by Thomson Reuters — apparently they thought that Tasmania declared independence from Australia, Siberia broke away from western Russia, and then Sakhalin & the Kuriles counter-seceded from Siberia, all because of FATCA. From the Internet Archive, if you don’t believe that’s a genuine screenshot:
— Marvin Van Horn (@FATCA_Fallout) April 19, 2014
Just_Me tweeted this today and it brings to mind some of the concerns arising out of the beginning of the end of any kind of privacy as we know it whether it be financial, medical or just plain personal. This article also reminded me of some of Abby Deshman’s points at the Pathways2Privacy Symposium which some Brockers attended on March 20-21 in Toronto. I was shocked to find out that the police keep a file on each and every type of contact made with the public. Examples are making 911 calls, criminal convictions, acquittals, stay-of-proceedings, not-criminally responsible verdicts, suspects never charged and even casual police contact. I was even more shocked to hear that there is almost no privay protection for this information and that the police routinely release such information on demand for servicing or on demand by the community. (!) In addition, there is a growing industry in Canada and the US (and possibly now, the UK) of selling this information to 3rd party providers. This amounts to the police making a profit from releasing records that most of the public believes and expects to be private.
A Brocker recently received this letter from her MP with regard to the IGA.
I shared your concerns about the U.S. Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act
(FATCA). I am thrilled to report that on February 5, 2014, Canada and the
United States signed an inter-governmental agreement under the longstanding
Canada-U.S. Tax Convention. This agreement brings a series of lengthy
negotiations to a conclusion which, I believe, will be of great benefit to
dual citizens and Americans living in Canada.
— U.S. Citizen Abroad (@USCitizenAbroad) January 18, 2014
This strong indictment from a Washington based lawyer Eileen O’Connor (who once headed the tax division of the U.S. Department of Justice) Includes:
Lost in the bewilderment about the Obama administration choosing which parts of Obamacare it would apply to which people and when, has been that it has been doing the same thing with the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). The Administration has time and again delayed effective dates that were set in the statute. Nobody is complaining, though, because nobody can comply. Not the government, and not the financial institutions subject to the law.
Embedded in the charmingly-named HIRE Act, FATCA requires any financial institution anywhere in the world to report to the US government the results of any dealings it has with any person or entity subject to US tax laws. Just as nationalizing activities amounting to one-sixth of the national economy was a pretty tall order, so too was requiring global financial reporting.
Another problem with FATCA implementation is the intergovernmental agreements Treasury has been trying to negotiate around the globe. A few are in place; more are in the works.
Under the agreements, the foreign government agrees to require its financial institutions to provide information on US persons either directly to the IRS (a Model 2 agreement), or to the foreign government, which will then provide it to IRS (a Model 1 agreement). To entice foreign governments to enter into these agreements, Treasury has been promising to reciprocate, to the extent allowed by law.
The catch is that the reciprocation is not presently allowed by U.S. law. This is clear from the Administration’s budget request for 2014, the “Analysis and Perspectives” for which asks, on page 202, for the authority to reciprocate.
Rep. Bill Posey, R-FL, wrote to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew last summer, asking him to stop negotiating FATCA-implementing intergovernmental agreements with foreign governments, because his promise of US reciprocation is one on which he cannot deliver. Even if providing this information to foreign governments were permissible under US law, Posey believes doing so would discourage foreign investment in the US, thus depriving the US of capital that would otherwise be available for business formation and growth.
There are currently two great comments – perhaps you may want to add your thoughts.
This post appeared on the RenounceUSCitizenship blog.
Basking in the glory of OVDP and the FBAR Fundraiser for Individuals:
The Department of Justice Announces OVDP for Banks!
— U.S. Citizen Abroad (@USCitizenAbroad) August 30, 2013
On August 30, 2013 the U.S. Department of Justice created a voluntary disclosure program for Swiss banks. It was clearly premised on the OVDP program for people. My post describing OVDP for banks ended with: