Update January 2018: This post has been updated with some new links and discussion.
Prologue – The “Story Of The Century
— John Richardson – U.S. Citizenship Lawyer (@ExpatriationLaw) November 3, 2014
Since July 1, 2014, the United States via threats threats of the FATCA Sanction, has begun a “world wide hunt” for people born in the United States
(or are otherwise deemed to be “U.S. tax subjects”). A compilation of my posts describing the mechanics, effects and costs of FATCA and the FATCA IGAs is available in “The Little Red FATCA Book“. FATCA has spawned litigation against both the U.S. and Canadian Governments. A discussion of the “Alliance For The Defense Of Canadian Sovereignty” FATCA lawsuit against the Government of Canada is available here. Some thoughts on the “U.S. FATCA Legal Action” lawsuit against the U.S. Government are here. Both lawsuits have been vigorously defended by the respective Governments. The U.S. lawsuit may have reached the end of its viability (lack of standing and various procedural issues). The Canadian lawsuit continues.
With respect to those “Born In The USA”, the U.S. legal “claim of tax jurisdiction” is two-fold:
1. Those born in the United States (unless they have relinquished U.S. citizenship” for both tax and nationality purposes) are U.S. citizens.
2. Citizens of the United States are subject to the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code regardless of where they live in the world. The Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”) includes but is not limited to the obligation to pay taxes according to U.S. tax rules. The “IRC” also includes a wide range of “penalty laden reporting requirements“. The “IRC” also strongly discourages (through penalties and sanctions) participation in non-U.S. pension plans, non-U.S. investments (including non-U.S. mutual funds), the use of “non-U.S. business corporations” and (incredibly) non-U.S. spouses. (Even the divorce of a U.S. citizen and non-citizen is likely to be significantly more expensive.) As a result, the “extra-territorial application of the “IRC”) has the effect of exercising U.S. “control” over the lives of it’s citizens who do NOT live in the United States. Therefore, it is clear that the “extra-territorial” application of the “IRC” both (1) imposes the full force of the “IRC” on the resident/citizens of other countries and (2) has the effect of imposing the U.S. cultural values mandated in the “IRC” on those other countries. One can identify a list of the “10 Commandments” which are imposed on Americans abroad in an FBAR and FATCA world.
(Note that with the exception of U.S. citizens and “permanent residents”, as per Internal Revenue Code Sec. 7701(b), an actual physical connection to the United States is required to establish U.S. tax residency.)
As the article referenced in the above tweet makes clear, many people “claimed” by the United States as “tax residents”have never had any connection to the United States except that they were born there. The article includes:
Awad Al-Zahrani, whose son has US citizenship, said he would give it up.
“My son got the passport since he was born there while I was studying in the country back in 2000. At the time, the Saudi embassy had told me that it would not be a problem for him to hold two passports. Now that we have to pay taxes, though, we’ll be giving the US passport up.”
Abdulrahman Al-Habib, head of journalism studies at KAU, argues that Saudis who were born in the US should be exempt from paying taxes.
“We should establish a unified center to help Saudis clear their former tax registers,” he said.
US Consul-General Todd Holmstorm,however, confirmed that US citizens should pay income tax and called on their international counterparts to help them eliminate tax evasion.
“The tax law is designed to combat evasion through increasing transparency in the financials of US taxpayers,” he said.
Mr. Holmstorm’s bio indicates that his career has had a Canadian connection in Ottawa, Canada. His comments in the above article imply that he believes that those (1) born in the U.S. who (2) do not live in the U.S. and (3) do not pay taxes to the U.S. are guilty of “tax evasion”. Strong language indeed. Yet, these are his words which clearly reflect the attitude and policy of the U.S. Government.
Last September, due to the efforts of Suzanne Herman,
Representative Bill Posey (R-FL) sent an
excellent letter to Treasury Secretary Mnuchin,
asking him to deal with #FATCA.
This post included the text of the letter and some 60+ comments from Brockers. What Rep. Posey received is a stark contrast to the expectation expressed in this comment:
October 16, 2017 at 2:12 pm
According to RO on its FB page:
“At Republicans Overseas’ request, RNC Co-Chairman Bob Paduchik personally delivered Rep. Mark Meadows’ and Sen. Rand Paul’s joint letter on the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s office. Secretary Mnuchin is fully aware that 9 million overseas Americans have been suffering under FATCA tyranny.
As a result, FATCA is included in the 2nd Report to the President on Identifying and Reducing Tax Regulatory Burdens by the Treasury (https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Documents/2018-03004_Tax_EO_report.pdf).
In the report to the President recommending actions to eliminate or mitigate burdens imposed on taxpayers by eight specific tax regulations, the Treasury indicated that it is considering possible reforms of regulations issued pursuant to FATCA. Thank you Co-Chairman Bob-Paduchick.”
This is the response Rep. Posey received from the Treasury Department:
November 8, 2017
The Honorable Bill Posey
U.S. House of Representatives Washington, DC 20515
Dear Representative Posey:
Thank you for your letter regarding the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). As you are aware, Congress passed FATCA legislation in 2010 to strengthen the integrity of the U.S. voluntary tax compliance system and to combat the use of foreign financial accounts and foreign entities to facilitate tax evasion. FATCA provides the IRS with information about U.S. taxpayers’ use of foreign financial accounts and certain higher-risk foreign entities, so that these foreign accounts and investments are subject to disclosure to the IRS, similar to the disclosures for accounts and investments held or made inside the United States that the IRS already receives.
Continue reading →
This Is an Urgent Campaign to Repeal FATCA ALERT!
Support the Paul Amendment to Repeal FATCA!
November 29, 2017
This week the Senate version of the tax reform bill will come to the Senate
floor. The Campaign to Repeal FATCA has learned that Senator Rand Paul
(R-Kentucky) plans to offer as a floor amendment his bill S. 869 to repeal
the so-called “Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).
The Campaign to Repeal FATCA is asking everyone immediately to contact your
Senators with this simple message:
“Support the Paul Amendment to Repeal FATCA!”
You can find the contact information for your state’s two Senators
here. Given the partisan divide
in the Senate, it is especially important to contact Republican Senators. If
your state has one from each party, contact the Republican first!
Here is a suggested draft message you can use via the email contact. (NOTE:
If you are contacting a Democratic Senator, please delete the sentence in
red referring to the Platform.):
Continue reading →
Campaign to Repeal FATCA
November 14, 2017
The Honorable Steven Terner Mnuchin
Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20220
Dear Secretary Mnuchin:
The Campaign to Repeal FATCA (www.RepealFATCAcom) was launched earlier this year with one purpose: to get rid of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act. FATCA is a textbook example of a badly conceived, badly written, and badly enforced law that doesn’t achieve its stated purpose but does inflict an excess of harmful consequences on citizens, American taxpayers around the world, the global financial and investment sectors, and the principle of national sovereignty.
As Co-Leaders of the Campaign, we are writing to you on the supposition that in a democratic country elections should have consequences. When a political party stands before the electorate on declared principles and makes specific promises, those principles and promises should be reflected in how that party governs under its mandate from the voters.
The 2016 Republican Platform reads in part:
“The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and the Foreign Bank and Asset Reporting Requirements result in government’s warrantless seizure of personal financial information without reasonable suspicion or probable cause. Americans overseas should enjoy the same rights as Americans residing in the United States, whose private financial information is not subject to disclosure to the government except as to interest earned. The requirement for all banks around the world to provide detailed information to the IRS about American account holders outside the United States has resulted in banks refusing service to them. Thus, FATCA not only allows ‘unreasonable search and seizures’ but also threatens the ability of overseas Americans to lead normal lives. We call for its repeal and for a change to residency-based taxation for U.S. citizens overseas.”
This Republican pledge to repeal FATCA rests on the deepest and most cherished American principles, not least a decent respect for the privacy of citizens who are not engaged in lawbreaking and are not even suspected of doing so. Even the IRS’s own Taxpayer Advocate Service has criticized FATCA’s “enforcement-oriented regime with respect to international taxpayers” with its “operative assumption [that] appears to be that all such taxpayers should be suspected of fraudulent activity, unless proven otherwise.”
Continue reading →
Excerpted from AngloInfoBlog
Posted on September 21, 2017
by Virginia La Torre Jeker J.D.
My heart fell when I saw this tweet this morning, though I told myself it likely won’t affect any “minnows.” Haven’t we had more than our “fair share” of bad news? Will there never be an end to this perverse & persistent notion that #AmericansAbroad, #AccidentalAmericans et al are automatically guilty of tax evasion?
RS CID Chief: “Significant” International Tax Investigations Under Way
— V. La Torre Jeker JD (@VLJeker) September 21, 2017
So the IRS is forming a new International Tax Enforcement Group in Washington DC.The group will be comprised of IRS personnel in DC as well as IRS agents from other IRS locations around the nation, personnel from the Justice Department’s Tax Division as well as international partners.
Continue reading →
I wrote this introduction for a program to be presented to tax professionals outside of North America back in March 2017. It was only meant as a general guide for those who might have been completely unaware of our grassroots movement as well as several attempts made by Congress to study our situation. It was not meant to be a complete discussion of the entire history of all our efforts but simply to inform them that we exist. To stimulate them to be more than paper-pushers and blind parrots for the IRS.
I still have a hard time believing effective tax reform for our dilemma will happen. Partially because awareness is not “new.” Since Dave Camp and the W&M call for submissions 4 years ago, there have been no less than 9 different studies, drafts etc and up to now, no real progress, no change. In addition, the general dysfunction of Congress (they can’t get health reform right) and the Trump Administration continues. It is now nearly September. There will be a huge effort needed to deal with Hurricane Harvey.
Will we or won’t we see tax reform?
Can this situation be tolerated as is for years to come?
What do YOU think?
— U.S. Citizen Abroad (@USCitizenAbroad) July 12, 2017
Many thanks Trish for lending us a hand in our search. Documents should be sent to ericmartin2017 at hotmail dot com. We thank in advance our Canadian friends for their help. We too are fighting FATCA with all our energy with one simple im: to win!
I already saw the many responses on Brock. We are grateful, all this is very useful. We intend to milk this idiosyncrasy of our constitution to the fullest.
I’ve received a request from our fellow expats-in-peril Association des Américains Accidentels to search for documents to help them in their litigation.
As of this week, we have hired a lawyer to get a legal opinion re: FATCA.
One of the angle we are pursuing is non reciprocity. Under the French Constitution (article 55) a treaty which is not reciprocal becomes null and void, as simple as that. We are presently looking for all documents written par the IRS/Treasury to US Senators or any other documents emanating from the US Treasury which point to the fact that the US has no intention of making FATCA reciprocal.
We are now in full gear and our aim is to make FATCA null in void in France and perhaps at the European level too. (it is another avenue we are exploring too)
In advance many many thanks,
Eric and Fabien
Please help their legal challenge: Let’s Unite to Defeat FATCA
Courtesy of Andrew Grossmann · @andygr
28th May 2017 from TwitLonger TwitLonger
This is a transcript from the FATCA Hearing held in Washington D.C on April 26, 2017.
I think it is interesting to actually read the testimonies that we heard that day. Some of the more striking aspects seem even more shocking and the mistakes stick out like sore thumbs……………..All emphases are mine – Patricia Moon