Petros responds to Barrie McKenna’s comment at Isaac Brock.
Doing nothing about your IRS obligations is a viable option, as long as you know the risks. I’ve made that quite clear. What I’ve tried to do is offer a little of the very expensive CA advice — for free. Take it or leave it.
Dear Mr. Mckenna
First, thanks very much for your comment. I am honored that you have commented here at our humble blog.
I can see your view that the article is a service to your readers. You explain some of the risks and some of the options. That’s great and that is a service to many people, especially those who might be coming to the issue for the first time.
I think however that you misunderstand some of us who are your most vocal readers on the subject. I concede that the cross-border professionals themselves speaking with you is a plus, giving us a true glimpse of where their services would lead us. You do very clearly lay out some options for us, even renunciation of citizenship.
But while this is useful and good, we, your loyal readers, want the media to expose this story for what it is: It is a shakedown; it has every element of a good mob-type story: the evil border guards, the Kafkaesque State Department officials, the tax-evading Treasurer of the United States, the obstinate Commissioner of the IRS who ignores the Tax Advocate Service, the President who will not hear our pleas for leniency, and the thousands of innocent and helpless victims.
We, the victims, often want access to the United States only so that we can visit our aging parents and other family. But the United States is making access contingent upon compliance to the tax code, and that is pretty much leading us to a police state, where no one gets in or out if they haven’t first paid up. This is ominous. The border guards are now income tax enforcers.
This is what our neighbour to the South has become, and this is what all Canadians need to hear. Furthermore, those of us affected by this mess don’t want so much to hear how we can come clean with the IRS. We are not tax cheats, but loyal taxpayers in Canada. We want someone to tell us that we are innocent victims, assuaging our false guilt and shame. We want the media to tell the truth about how the IRS and the United States have become evil through this extra-territorial overreach, and we need to know that the media and the Canadian government have heard our cries for help and will do something to protect us. My hope is that the the Canadian media will soon realize how serious these threats are and begin to write about them and to fight this affront to Canadian sovereignty.
So again, I thank you for your article. But I am begging you: Most of us at the Isaac Brock Society want to feel that you have heard our pain. We want you and your readers to know that we are not dirty people who need to come clean, but law-abiding, outstanding residents of Canada who have done nothing to deserve this treatment. We are persecuted for being born in the United States or to US parents and most of us feel that we have no one to protect us or to plead our cause. We can’t afford the accountants or the lawyers. We can’t afford the fines. We are just humble, hard-working people.
What I’m asking is this: We need your columns not merely to give us the options before us; we need them to pry into the larger moral and legal issues. The tone of your article suggests that the IRS has the right to shake us down just because we are Americans. But this leaves aside too many questions, such as, “How the hell is that fair?”
Where is your outrage? We want to see it.
Sincerely, Peter W. Dunn
Nicely said. I wonder if it will wake them up. I fear that unless it can be shown that the combination of the IRS witch hunt and FATCA will affect many many more people in Canada than just we expats, they’ll shrug it off. Might be worth doing some digging on the investor aspects of all this — which hits all non-Americans in all countries.
Very nice response Peter.
Peter, Your response is excellent, lets hope he does something to bring it to the attention of his readers. I sure hope so!!
Bravo Peter. I hope Mr. McKenna will seriously consider your response and buckle down to do some real, good, old-fashioned journalism!
Excellent reply, Peter. Unfortunately, I don’t believe the MSM is likely to change its tone very much until we start to see some very obvious, if-it-bleeds-it-leads incidents – arrests and detentions at the border, massive fines rolling in from OVDI 2011, missed deathbed goodbyes or missed funerals and so on. Until then, this will remain an abstract concept about potential threats and citizens’ “obligations” to their country of birth. A few lambs are indeed going to have to be slaughtered to fully catch the attention of a rather lazy and superficial fourth estate.
Very nice response. The reporting of the mainstream media is a strong argument for the existence of this and other blogs.
Wow! Well put Peter. That article made me so angry.
Excellent reply, Peter. I’m not optimistic that McKenna will listen or respond, but I’m willing to be surprised. But the more often we hammer these points, maybe the better the chance that eventually our Canadian government and media will take the points seriously.
Awesome! I hope Barry McKenna has the class and professionalism to follow up.
Very well expressed indeed. As a law abiding US citizen living and working in Brazil who was forced by US tax legislation to either violate the laws of the US by not paying my income tax obligation as mandated by the Tax Reform Act of 1976, or violate Brazilian law by purchasing US dollars illegally on the black market and smuggling them out of the country in violation of its money-laundering laws, I also had to make a tough decision. I was younger then, so I decided to throw in the towel and return to the US to seek a new career, which I was most fortunate to find.
Some of my close American friends there chose to become naturalized Brazilian citizens and formally renounce their US citizenship before a US consular offician in Brazil. Athough it was not an easy decision for any of us to make, one way or the other, I to this day have great respect for those who chose to become Brazilians and stay in Brazil. It certainly was not easy for them. Fortunately at that time it was not as difficult as it is today since then there was no exit tax. Today the descison is much tougher as a result of the exit tax incormporated into the Renunciation process just a few years back.
I have not regretted the decision I took back then, but I have never ceased to work very hard to try to wake up our legislators and Administration officials that citizen-based taxation is an abomination that works against the best interests of the US. It has been a lonely battle. I remain totally convinced that in balance citizenship based taxation does far more harm to the best interests of the US which is far more important to the pittance that this tax generates for the US Treasury. Few US citizens living in the US are even aware that US citizens abroad are double taxed. And since very few ever expect to live and work abroad, the subject is of little interest or concern to them. And since it is not an issue on which our legislators will take a stand, is it does not enhance their chances of reelection, they just push it aside.
It is my firm opinion that the only way this is ever going to be turned around is if foreign governments, like Canada take a very strong stand with the United States that taxing its citizens who in accordance with US law are also dual citizens of the US, and US citizens who are residents of that foreign country is a violation of the soverignty that it will no longer tolerate. I would certainlyh like to see the Canadian government take a stand on this. It would probably requre more than words. Perhaps it would take some sort of serious theats of some kind of sanctions, although offhand I can’t suggerst what they might be. This tax is ceertainly detrimental to the best interests of Canadians who discover they are also dual US citizens, and for that reason alone it would be most encouraging to me to see Canada take a firm stand against it. Our Congress needs to be made aware that it has created serrious ;problems for the US in its relations with Canada and our other friends.
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