This post appeared on the RenounceUScitizenship blog
#Americansabroad in Canada may soon be unable to receive payments from Government http://t.co/5eikEu9NXV
— U.S. Citizen Abroad (@USCitizenAbroad) September 16, 2013
Update September 17/13:
What began as a simple post describing that the Government of Canada will soon be discontinuing sending cheques took a sharp turn. It quickly became an attempted discussion between:
U.S. citizens abroad desperate to be heard and a compliance lawyer. Although the comments have interesting content, they are more important for what they reveal about attitudes. It’s tough for tax
tax chattels Americans abroad to be heard. The compliance lawyer tweeted some of his comments to this thread as follows:
Are you a US taxpayer abroad in denial about FATCA? See discussion at http://t.co/5Crhpq7ets
— David S. Lesperance (@dslesperance) September 16, 2013
Denial dies hard for people who recently discovered existing US tax liability. See discussion at http://t.co/5Crhpq7ets
— David S. Lesperance (@dslesperance) September 16, 2013
More on those following the discussion re: Hidden Americans in Canada and FATCA http://t.co/5Crhpq7ets
— David S. Lesperance (@dslesperance) September 17, 2013
The discussion reminded me of two ships passing in the night – never to meet.
Government of Canada to phase out cheques in favour of Direct Deposit to bank accounts
With direct deposit, the Government of Canada deposits payments automatically into your bank account.
It’s a way to receive your payments without any postal delay. Not only will you receive your payments on time and be able to access them quickly, but you can also be sure they will never be lost, stolen, or damaged.
By April 2016, the Government of Canada will be phasing out cheques in favour of direct deposit for all government payments. You will therefore need to sign up for direct deposit. Given the benefits, why wait?
Sign up for direct deposit now! It’s convenient, secure and reliable.
How to apply
Select the program that applies to you:
Direct deposit for Employment Insurance
Direct deposit for Canada Pension Plan (including Post-Retirement Benefit) and Old Age Security
Direct deposit for apprenticeship grants
Direct deposit for Canada Child Tax Benefit and for Universal Child Care Benefit
Direct deposit for GST/HST credit
Direct deposit for other Government of Canada programs and services
Looks like the Government of Canada will require a bank account for all government cheques. Therefore. anybody who is:
1. Suspected of being a U.S. person; and
2. Who becomes “FATCA Recalcitrant” and has his/her account closed
Will be unable to receive payments from the Government of Canada. It’s important to note that at the present time, any person, on showing the appropriate ID can get a Government of Canada cheque cashed at any bank. To be specific:
You can cash your Government of Canada cheque at any branch of a bank in Canada that has tellers.
The “noose is tightening” around U.S. citizens abroad. Frankly, if you don’t take steps to
escape from U.S. slavery relinquish your U.S. citizenship and become a free human being – you deserve what is coming to you!
How do you like freedom now?
To watch a video of the benefits of NOT being a U.S. person and being a free person click here.
I will also laughingly add “Compliance Condor” to the long list of names I have been called including:
-Tax Evasion Enabler
-Neo-Con Genguis Khan
I accept this as the price I pay for laying out what I feel is the reality of the situation. Many prefer to use these ad hominem labels, instead of pointing out any weakness in my position. That is their priviledge.
David S Lesperance –
Based on over 2 decades of legal experience, I believe that this is not a problem which will go away because of denial; belief in “magical solutions” like Charter applications; or lobbying the US or Canadian government. The steamroller will roll over you, if you just stand there and do nothing but close your eyes, swear, and cry about the unfairness of it all. It will roll over you whether you were an “active tax evader”; an “innocent Accidental American”; or compliance is expensive.
The last thing I want to do is sell anybody anything. The thing that keeps me going here is simple interest in the psycho-social-historical situation, which personal circumstances have already dragged me through. A little like the fascination of gazing at a roadside accident that turns into a crazy traffic jam. On many occasions and from many angles I have tried to pragmatize vigorous tendencies to take action. I have a proclivity for yanking out a metaphorical can-opener and attempting to use it to disrupt rigid frameworks, to ice febrile hopes, to shake up obsessive fixations, etc. I promote the tag line Sauve qui peut. It is embarrassing to see fallacies lobbed at you because you bring an unwanted message, and vituperations streamed at you on the basis of your presumed base motivations. Embarrassing. Every so often the Brock lynch mob gets het up about something that seems not “Brock-respectable” – something that may deter imaginary brand-new sensitive souls who are ultra prissy about where they will garner their internet info. In my book, the way you have been treated would turn off anyone who wants to exercise logic and find real information. Rather than craft a functional personal resolution, some around here prefer to fantasize about a plethora of mass salvations: class action, Charter challenge, FATCA defusing, true Canadian strength and freedom, sympathies due the persecuted if the rest would only understand, inept enforcement that can never have reach anyway, ostrich bunker six inches down, educating the masses, breaking through the media stonewall, take your pick. If I were you I’d shut up, go away, and earn some real money. But I hope you don’t do that. You know a lot, you have a lot of experience, and you may be able and willing to share useful tidbits.
Indeed, you just did, while I was posting! Thanks for that straight talk. May fewer ships sail straight into sad wreckage as a result. Sauve qui peut!
@USXCanada, And just when I was starting to like you.
@David, It’s interesting how you showed up here when you did. A couple of comments re: your points.
1. You say: “Continuing to delay ….results in a) limiting of options to deal with the situation” Really? Ask those who entered some of the earlier amnesty programs if they wished they’d waited a little longer.
2.You say: “Once uncovering the Hidden American, the IRS will be able to collect.” Have you not heard the very clear statement made by Flaherty that Canada will not collect taxes or penalties on behalf of IRS if that tax/penalty was incurred while the ‘US person’ was also a Canadian citizen?
David, my daughter understands that renewing a passport after you have become a citizen of another country is considered intent to be a dua,l so the act is more about appearances, and that she is still a dual until she renounces. But there is no talking her out of her plan, so whether they pat her on the head and dismiss her or not, the consulate will have to get used to her eating up their time once a year until they give in.
@DavidLesperance: The words WhiteKat refers to are in Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s letter to many of us (Some of us have received two letters from him)
“While the Canada-United States Income Tax Convention contains a provision that allows for the collection of taxes imposed by the other country, this does not apply to penalties imposed under laws that impose only a reporting requirement. Furthermore, the CRA does not and will not collect the U.S. tax liability of a Canadian citizen if the individual was a Canadian citizen at the time the liability arose (whether or not the individual was also a U.S. citizen at that time.”
In each of three attempts IRS made to gain jurisdiction in Canada, Canadian courts rejected their efforts.
In terms of the Charter of Rights, I will rely on the opinions of two of Canada’s top constitutional lawyers. Joe Arvay and Peter Hogg. I understand they have often been on opposite sides in constitutional cases. On FATCA, they are of like mind. FATCA violates Canada’s Charter of Rights.
Like or dislike is trivial and idiosyncratic. I don’t like cucumbers, you don’t like tomatoes. What matters is clear assessment of what the “reality” of our situation is. Reality is best gotten at through the ongoing jostle of conflicting viewpoints. The point is the assemblage of genuine data within a functional interpretative framework, as much of it as possible, as good as can be had. Zipping past the information to put a hate on for a personality constructed from a few words is cheap self-indulgence. Consider the function of the social gadfly. If it is any comfort, I don’t subscribe to everything that anyone has to say – and I probably would avoid taking on Lesperance as the counsel that I would pay to resolve my situation. The difficulty of finding trustworthy expert guidance is on a par with, if not more parlous than, comprehending the dazzling facets of the FATCA behemoth.
Blaze trots out the worn comforts of the old Flaherty chestnut, which is nothing more than a parroting of a flunky’s restatement of what already sits in the treaty. To reiterate two points on that. (1) The corollary is accepting a forever no-go status for US territory, aka de facto exile. (2) The situation could change. Canada does not have a great history on standing up to the bully. OK, maybe if you like to go back to 1812. That was then.
To those who fantasize mass salvations like class action and Charter challenge: show me a precedent or two. What was the wrong, what was the remedy, and … how long did the contestation take and what did the action cost? Courts have a strong tendency not to find against their governments, and when they do, somehow the enforcement goes weak and fuzzy. Just ask a beleagured Indigenous Canadian, whether with treaty or without (not one of the boughten comprador class).
Sauve qui peut.
@David. You comment about people needing to deal with reality and stop complaining. Well people posting on this site are dealing with it and facing reality but they are also trying to influence a flawed policy. My spouse and I are dealing with it through relinquishment which is on its way after a recent visit to Calgary. But we only found our solution though the excellent advice of those who contribute to this blog and who had actual experience. This was invaluable to us because we almost entered an OVDI program on the advice of a US lawyer, a US tax consultant and a US immigration authority. We were adised to enter the program at an estimated legal and accounting expense of $40,000. Because my spouse has been in Canada for 43 years and had taken out Canadian citizenship in 1980, and married a born and bred Canadian, never had a US passport, owned no property in the US, did not vote in the US and paid no US taxes, always travelled on a Canadian passport, she was able to relinquish and qualify for a CLN which is on its way. But the aforementioned consultants did not advise this but rather promoted the expensive OVDI route. The Isaac Brock Society blog came to the rescue and the advice of the bloggers led us to our course of action. We were advised by many never to enter OVDI in our circumstance because in 1980 taking out Canadian citizenship constituted relinquishment with which the Calgary consulate agreed.So we are taking action but we are also trying to influence policy in Canada and elsewhere. And again this is based on real experience. So we are not just complaining and ‘grieving’. I am sure this also characterizes the activity of other bloggers who you label as going through your trumped up stages of grief. I am glad we did not take advice from those who gain from giving uninformed advice.
No one here at IBS needs to ‘show you’ anything. Look for yourself. Anyway, what do you care? You are free, n’est–ce pas?
Venting raw expression of personalized resentment is one variety of the ad hominem fallacy.
Riddle; When is a lawyer not an ‘advocat’?
Answer; When he is also judge and jury.
@USXCanada, You mistake personal resentment for disinterest.
WhiteKat – That’s interesting. I took what was really your personal resentment for disinterest? Not my recollection.
@David. We can’t eat warnings though we are force-fed almost nothing but. Our table is ever laden with magically replenishing platefuls.
Real-life pragmatic advice would prove more nourishing.
Solicitous of the solicitor? What kind of an ‘advocat’ is he?
Clients and readers are expected to be thick-skinned, yet the author is tender-headed?
We have already had a surfeit of warnings and blame.
And now for something different?
Perhaps starting with some actual concrete and practical advice for those urged and rushed to comply – but who either have no assets sufficient to pay for professional assistance, or who would use up all their available assets if they tried. For those who are not HNW, options are limited. Many have just enough to be subjected to FBAR and other reporting type penalties, and be subject to filing, but not enough to pay anyone for help.
How about some advice about the current state and calculated risks of quietly backfiling or filing going forward? How about some advice about crafting a letter of reasonable cause?
How about some pro bono help for those without means?
Any circular 230 concerns that restrict advice to mere parroting of IRS preferences – which we have already had plenty of?
And in terms of blame – those with limited education, literacy, language skills and other assets cannot be held to task as agents of their own demise. And none of us were born with an IRS chip implant that downloaded information at birth about US tax obligations and US tax law.
We receive warnings issued from multiple sources. We have a surfeit and surplus of warnings in a variety of voices, a variety of tunes and representing a variety of interests.
Warnings are not advocacy, or useful professional advice, or strategy or explanation. Blame and fear are not helpful.
There are other ways to cut to the chase.
David seems no Michael Miller or Phil Hodgen or Jack Townsend.
Thanks for your usual thoughtful elaborations. It’s not clear how I could be construed as “solicitous of the solicitor,” since I’ve said he seems not to be the type I’d choose to engage (though real evidence on this point is too skinny to see at all). I have a propensity to stand up for anybody who is getting abused. Anybody. Abuse does not happen when people stick to issues and take great care with imputing motivations. The undesirability of keeping a neck sticking through a closing window is a valid point. Those who like to analyze and strategize have not done much with the pragmatics of the temporal factor, notably immortalized in this quotation from Phil Hodgen:
Sauve qui peut. Time’s a-wastin.’
usxcanada, time is precious to be sure and I agree with Hodgen. It’s not going to get better or easier to cut ties and if you don’t have the means, the innate tax filing ninja abilities and/or the will to remain a dual – why bother?
The only thing that bothered me about the conversation with David was that he seemed to assume that we knew nothing and that the activism – such as it is – was pointless because it was doomed.
I think most of us know the score and have a handle on our own situations and if some of us want to tilt at the democracy windmill, shouldn’t we? We aren’t likely to change anything because democracy is largely broken on the federal level at any rate. But we can make noise, warn others and generally make those in power annoyed and/or uncomfortable about being a party to something that is clearly being peddled in a disingenuous manner at best.
All this debate, planning, action and follow up serves the purpose – for me anyway – of passing the time while I wait to be allowed to make my next move in a manner that feels productive even if it might not actually produce any change.
And who knows. Things could change. Odd things happen all the time. For example, America didn’t unilaterally bomb the crap out of Syria last week. Who’d have thunk that a few weeks ago?
Never say never but be aware that usually the house (aka govt) wins … because they cheat.
You are right, never say never.
I am watching right now one of my favorite movies that inspires me each time I watch it,
Erin Brockovich . We must be like her. Not give up.
Remember Silkwood? Sometimes we will have sacrifice much if the cause is just.
We must fight this evil FATCA.
What inspires you all?
None of us would be here if we did not care or want to give up.
people like David make me more inspired.
Together we are strong. And we can get more people like us who to fight the cheaters.
usxcanada; it was the tone and lack of any other useful content – with which David L. addressed those of us who have now been at this firsthand for several years, as well as the blanket blame and intolerance of the newly shocked that I couldn’t swallow as the price of any potential future useful participation. Didn’t seem the approach of someone coming here with entirely altruistic motives and insight. Or of an advocate. Checked out his website. He refers to his clients as ‘Golden Geese’. This is a quote from the site; ..”..We want to provide a handbook for present and aspiring Mobile Global Elites (including newly minted knowledge workers, High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs), and “mass-affluent” retirees), to survive and thrive in a world where, as predicted in the original Manifesto, “individuals, companies, communities and countries will either be catapulted into a new prosperity, or relegated to poverty, obscurity and extinction.”…” http://www.flightofthegoldengeese.com/book-intro/ . also …”He says his clients net worth ranges from $10 million to the billions of dollars…” http://blogs.wsj.com/wealth/2010/01/06/golden-geese-higher-taxes-wealth-exodus/ It doesn’t sound like many of us would appear on his radar. Especially those already in relative poverty, obscurity and too low net worth to buy access to his help and thus avoid extinction. There doesn’t appear to be much content useful to IBS on his website. Nothing that I could see on FATCA, and nothing that could be construed as altruistic advocacy or useful nitty gritty information that would offer tools to those trying to do something about their own personal situation – particularly those who don’t have a ‘simple’ zero US return with no FBAR or other reporting obligations or taxable complexities. Not everyone has the money or skills to do a DYI. Nothing on the Lesperance site that remotely resembles Phil Hodgen, Jack Townsend and Michael Miller. I find it unlikely that minnows and krill or even the moderately comfortable fish are of any interest to him at all.
The assumption that all could and can afford to do something about their situation – I don’t think that is valid at all. The Taxpayer Advocate has raised that point herself several times. And, some of us here truly do know at firsthand just exactly how much even the smallest krill might spend if they have any complexities at all, and cannot master all this themselves. Krill with a small TFSA, and possibly their entire life savings after decades might equal 10,001. – a fairly low net worth, but still a big form and potential reporting penalty problem. And even if we can do the paperwork ourselves, consultation with a knowledgeable legal professional is still often warranted – even if only at strategic junctures – as Just Me did, and help with understanding how to write up a reasonable cause letter. There goes the TFSA.
In this case, I feel that it was IBS readers and the non-compliant in general who were being abused – right off the bat.
And in terms of jumping the gun and questioning motives, I think the jury is still out on whether that was warranted or not. Mixed motives are possible – and we need to keep that in mind to protect ourselves – and other readers. There could still be marginal benefit to us – as long as the audience is a savvy one with enough information, experience and critical powers to try and sift out the real information from the indirect marketing. But we’ve got silent readers – and are trying to warn more people, which then puts the professionals and the newbies in direct contact. There is a real dilemma there. And information that goes beyond what has been put together here – appears to be in short supply.
Urging people to become compliant without any real advice about options is like yelling ‘fire!’ in a building without showing people how to find the exits. And blaming them for not being able to get out when they find the doors are jammed isn’t constructive.
If David thinks he has some insight into the process that people go through when gobsmacked by all this, perhaps there is room for him to exercise some thought about how to address ordinary people here so that they can take in the information through the fog of fear and confusion. As I said, we have no shortage of people warning us and urging us to comply, as well as those saying that resistance is futile. The real question is still – HOW and WHERE to find the exits – many of which are blocked – by lack of funds, by lack of information, and by being unable to penetrate the deliberate veil of IRS silence and willfulness that clouds our understanding about what is truly happening behind the scenes.
We might be steamrollered, but we don’t have to go down quietly. How about as much kicking and screaming as possible?
I love your building on fire analogy.
I agree wholeheartedly with Badger. And I am the type that is not shy to kick and scream…
Kick and scream. Buzz and sting. We will all fight this thing. (Some exceptions noted.)
Goooooooo, Brockers! (insert mental image of cheerleaders with pompoms thrown up up in the air here)