From The Ludwig von Mises Institute, a well-researched article entitled FATCA and the End of Bank Secrecy by Cezary Blaszczyk, a graduate of the Faculty of Law at Warsaw University. In reference to recent news about America’s wide-ranging online surveillance operations, Mr. Blaszcyk notes that:
Few, if any, of those commenting of late on such affairs mentioned that numerous nations across the globe actually acknowledged the U.S. government’s anti-privacy offensive months before by accepting its Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).
Blaszcyk demonstrates how little resistance there has been to FATCA from foreign governments, in particular from those in Europe, whom he implies should really know better:
It seems that there is little understanding that it was banking secrecy that helped to resist twentieth-century dictatorships and that high tax rates — not money havens — are responsible for tax evasion, as Prince Hans-Adam of Lichtenstein has pinpointed. Clearly the amount of information collected for the purpose of future tax investigation is enormous, leaving little place for human privacy and dignity. Most importantly, it raises a question as to who gave participating states a right to gather information on people that are not their citizens.
With reference to the article’s concluding sentence:
“Most importantly, it raises a question as to who gave participating states a right to gather information on people that are not their citizens.”
On the contrary, it should be noted that many US Persons ARE, in fact, citizens of these same participating states. As dual citizens, frequently “accidental”, they may have very little if any connection to their US place of birth. Therefore, the most egregious aspect of FATCA IGA’s is how a country would agree to gather information about their OWN citizens and willingly hand it over to a FOREIGN government – the United States of America. THIS is the greatest betrayal of all, for it represents an existential threat not only to individual citizens but to entire nations as they willingly forfeit their national sovereignty to appease the American Empire.
The US is engaged in a veritable world war of intimidation and treasury-raiding and it is winning without a single shot being fired. This callous, undeserving victor is laughing all the way to every bank around the globe.
I am not even a US citizen my green card status is invalid and I may be the first to deal with legal ramification because of sale of that stupid survior right condo that had a negative capital gain.
@JN: Calgary posted at Maple Sandox asking me to reply here.
Like Mark Twain, I’m not sure what country you are thinking about class action. In the U.S., in Canada, in Europe or other.
Here is what I can tell you about Canada.
Em is correct. There is nothing for us to take legal action in Canada yet.
Three of us consulted one of Canada’s most prominent constitutional lawyers over a year ago. He advised us then that if Canadian banks violate Canadian banking, privacy and human rights laws, we will have grounds for a lawsuit against the banks. If the government changes laws to accommodate a foreign government, we will have grounds for a Charter of Rights challenge against the government.
He also advised us “Don’t lawyer up now” as there were no grounds for a lawsuit until we know what banks will do or what the government will do. I keep him informed as there are developments and he continues to advise there are no grounds for legal action yet. However, he is on standby for us if we need him to quickly go into action.
I also contacted Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) about FATCA a year ago. In December, they wrote a letter to Finance Canada outlining their reasons for objecting to FATCA. CCLA also advises it is “premature” for court action.
Peter Hogg, a leading constitutional lawyer, has sent a letter to Finance Canada outlining all of the reasons why FATCA violates the Charter. He recommended an IGA only include information provided to IRS on residents of United States who have assets and income in Canada.
I am aware from a Freedom of Information request I submitted to Finance Canada that Mr. Hogg has had discussions with Finance Canada, but I do not know what was discussed or the outcome.
However, I understand Mr. Hogg is well-respected by the government and has represtented them in some cases. He is also the former dean of law at Osoode Law School.
There have been three court cases in Canada where IRS tried to gain jurisdiction here on Canadians. Each time the courts denied IRS claims.
There have been earlier court decisions when IRS tried to gain jurisdiction in Canada through various avenues. IRS was unsuccessful. Instead, Canadian courts upheld rights of Canadian citizens.
In United States of America v Harden, Supreme Court of Canada stated: “A foreign State cannot escape the application of the rule that in no circumstances will the courts directly or indirectly enforce the revenue laws of another country…”
In Van denMark v Toronto Dominion, High Court of Justice stated: “One must sympathize with the position of the bank but that position is the result of its election to carry on business in more than one country and that cannot influence the application of Canadian law.”
In Chua v Minister of National Revenue, a judicial review compared one group of Canadian citizens (Convention citizens) and “all other Canadian citizens.” The court stated: “First…Convention citizens have less rights than all other Canadian citizens. Second, Convention citizens are deprived of fundamental justice…The impugned law has a discriminatory purpose or effect.”
The “convention citizens” in that last case were Canadian citizens who had been U.S. citizens. It was actually the case of one woman, but this is a precedent for us.
IRS doesn’t get three strikes and you’re out. It may take a fourth case with us to convey the message to them. (and I still don’t know if they will get it!)
I know it’s frustrating not to be able to take any action yet.
Calgary says “after Canada signs away our rights” in an IGA. I know others believe that will happen. I prefer to say IF Canada signs away our rights. I’m still not convinced Canada will do that.
Some people say if Canada was going to say no, wouldn’t they have done that by now. I see it the opposite.
If Canada was going to sign a standard IGA Model 1 or Model 2 agreement, wouldn’t they have done that by now? I think the long delay means Canada is holding out. Two years ago, Jim Flaherty said Canada was seeking an exemption from FATCA as we already have effective information exchange based on residence.
I don’t think Canada will get an exemption, but I’m optimistic our rights will be protected. I know many think I’m naive to believe that.
If banks or the government do plan to violate our rights, that is when we launch legal action.
There is another Sandboxer/Brocker who has an idea about organizing before we need to actually take action. I hope that suggestion will be posted at Maple Sandbox or here.
In the meantime, we need to be vigilant and keep up the pressure on the government.
@Blaze, legal action of the nature you’re suggested against banks or government seem like it would cost much more than the number of Sandboxers/Brockers could afford to chip in.
If it comes to that, how would it be financed? Has the lawyer you consulted offered to work pro bono on a case of this magnitude? Just curious…young and naïve I guess…
Thanks, Blaze, for updating all of us here at Isaac Brock. As there are new readers and commenters here and at Maple Sandbox, it is prudent to revisit this subject and other relevant issues from time to time.
@Chris: No, the lawyer has not offered to work pro-bono. However, I think we could pull together hundreds of people to fight it.
@Chris: You are not young and naive. Your question is a very valid and important one.
After we first consulted the lawyer, someone (Bubblebustin’ maybe?) pointed out if 500 people each gave $1,000 to the cause, we would have $500,000. That would be a good starting point.
Once word is out about what this means for up to one million Canadians, I think we would get far more than 500 involved.
It is also entirely possible that CCLA would also step in and provide some sort of support to help this through the courts. Please note, I have not discussed that possibility with anyone at CCLA, but the fact they are opposing FATCA at an early stage is a good sign.