Grassroots challenge to #FATCA in Canada :: http://t.co/NwoPQWM9BQ: http://t.co/SUq0SCZ8O5 – @Cdbankers take note!
— U.S. Citizen Abroad (@USCitizenAbroad) November 15, 2013
From the Cayman Islands Compass – November 15, 2013 – C0ngratulations to all!!!
FATCA opponents from the Isaac Brock Society and Maple Sandbox, in a Nov. 12 letter to Terry Campbell, president of the Canadian Bankers Association, asked the CBA to resist Washington.
“We implore the CBA to use its considerable influence and resources to insist that the Canadian government categorically reject Washington’s demands and to lobby for FATCA’s repeal by the American Congress,” the letter states.
The letter claims that an intergovernmental agreement to hand over private financial data to Washington “would represent a gross violation of Canadian sovereignty and would violate the rights of Canadian citizens and residents under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Canadian Human Rights Act, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, and other legal guarantees.”
Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty, who recently called FATCA “extraterritorial and “unwarranted,” saying it would “turn Canadian banks into arms of the IRS,” declared his opposition to FATCA as early as 2011, stating Canada “is not a tax haven. People do not flock to Canada to avoid paying taxes. We have existing ways of addressing these issues with the United States through our Bilateral Tax Information Exchange Agreement. We share the same goal of fighting tax evasion and we already have a system that works.”
Nonetheless, Mr. Flaherty, as part of the conservative Stephen Harper government, continues to negotiate with the U.S. Treasury, while the Canadian Bankers Association has said an IGA would resolve privacy and confidentiality issues.
“Based on the [IGA] it would not,” said Lynne Swanson, spokeswoman for Maple Sandbox.
“Asking Canadians where they were born or about other citizenship violates Canada’s banking, privacy and human rights laws. Changing those laws would violate Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” she told the Caymanian Compass.
Protesters gathered outside Toronto’s Metro Convention Center on Nov. 13 and 14 for the Canadian Institute’s conference on Regulatory Compliance for Financial Institutions. The same protesters were looking forward to a FATCA debate on Nov. 18 organized by the Toronto Centre Debates as part of a local by-election.
Peter Dunn, spokesman and administrator for the Isaac Brock Society, said he thought the Ottawa government was “already thinking twice” about agreeing to FATCA.
“There is no question FATCA is violating the Canadian Charter of Rights and privacy rights,” he said.
Interesting that the Caymans picked up the story but the Canadian media ignored it despite our news releases.
A lawyer-reporter for an international tax journal has also contacted Petros and me. Stay tuned….
Let’s hope that Canadian news outlets pick it up from these international sources 🙁
The Canadian media and the compliance mongers have a long history of (as Petros would say) “carrying water for the IRS”. They have had ample opportunity to assist with this. It is clear that they are working overtime to keep FATCA out of the public consciousness.
It seems to me that journalists give the Canadian public what many seem to value: soap opera / entertainment. I am sick to death of the many “news” stories of the Canadian Senate expense scandal and of the endless Toronto “mayor” Rob Ford revelations. What a distraction these are to what should be the running of this country and its municipalities. It is disgusting that FATCA is not even on the radar, FATCAprotesters are kicked to the curb and so many of what will be considered ‘US Persons’ in Canada are not made aware of what is just around the corner.
I attended a “coffee and discussion” session with my MP, Michelle Rempel, last evening. I didn’t like the evening’s format where she joined each table for a discussion with those seated there and listened to whatever they had to say — I would have preferred knowing what others conerns were and to have been given the opportunity to voice what I wanted to the whole room. I was able to pass out some FATCA Fact Sheets and discuss with others while waiting for our turn. None of those I had contact with there knew about FATCA and, of course, wanted to give me suggestions on how I could re-arrange financial matters for my son. (I don’t want to re-arrange financial matters for my son! I want him to have the same rights as any other Canadian!) I could hear discussion at an adjoining table about going to the US for shopping, etc. I very much wondered how many in that room had a US indicia. (The actual number of US citizens in Calgary figure given to me last night was 100,000 compared to the 83,000 number I got from my MP’s office early in my US concerns discussions there.)
While I waited, I read through the printed “Throne Speech” and circled the times the word “sovereignty” appeared. As we know, FATCA did not come up in the “Throne Speech.” In the short time that Ms. Rempel was at our table, I talked about Canadian sovereignty and our Canadian registered accounts which are not advisable investments for anyone with a ‘US indicia.’ I was referred to the person from Ms. Rempel’s office in charge of “Policy” and in my subsequent conversation with him learned that the next Conservative Policy Convention will take place in two years. I said that was much too late — that FATCA was imminent. I will be in touch and plan to attend her Policy Committee’s next meeting, which will be February of 2014.
Actually, Ms. Rempel’s office has heard from me often; I have had a one-on-one meeting with Ms. Rempel earlier this year in which I presented a package of documentation. Coincidentally and fortunately, one of her Calgary staff has just renounced US citizenship. He and I have had many conversations and Ms. Rempel indicated that she is in tune because of his family situation and his continued advocacy for my son’s (and others like him) case. So, she is quite aware of what FATCA is; however, she is not forthcoming about where our Canadian government is in negotiations with the US. My conversation with her was cut short by a person who appeared out of nowhere from the back of the room — he had not patiently waited that’s for sure. As Ms. Rempel moved on to the remaining tables as time was short, her staff member continued, with me, to inform those around us of the plight of US Persons in Canada.
Thanks for circulating our news among your fellow constituents. Just today I was speaking to a realtor who’s pretty up on politics who had never heard of FATCA. She said she was going to research it today because she was having dinner with someone in the cross-border investment field and knows quite a few Americans. I gave her the link to the Current interviews, which I happened to listen to again this morning. It lifted my funk a bit. We do what we can but to me its seems like we aren’t getting through to enough people quickly enough. We need the needle buried into the “rage” end of the gauge before anything can happen! We do have one rule that’s to our advantage, however: bad news travels fast.
Very nice shot! May many more follow.
Even Lynnley Browning (journalist embedded with DOJ) is very slowly, but at least partially, starting to get it.
CNN: More Americans ditch their passports by Lynnley Browning
“Time to dump your American passport — and with it, presumably, your bothersome U.S. tax bill. The reason, international tax lawyers say, may have less to do with offshore tax evasion and more with a new generation of sophisticated — and legal — tax planning.”
Wrong Lynnley. Most ex-pat renunciants and relinquishers are middle class and just plain tired of being abused by misguided policies from the Homeland government.
“Ditching a passport can save an American lots of money in taxes. The reason: The U.S., along with Eritrea, is one of only two countries in the world to tax its citizens on their worldwide income, regardless of where they live or work.”
Right Lynnley. But you failed to mention that Eritrea was condemned by a US backed UN Resolution for its “Diaspora Tax” among other things.
If you have not registered to vote in USA elections for 6 years, you should not be taxed.
No taxation without representation.
I guess it wasn’t heard in France – they signed the IGA
@jack59, even if you did vote you still don’t have representation! All you can do is take an issue to the POTUS since local reps do not care about expats at all. Try that and see if you get a response. They only represent their state’s issues and won’t give an expat the time of day. Further expats are not included in the census so not one of our issues is even known. There’s no one to go to, and no representation.
vin-de table, I know people in France who are terribly affected by this but, the strong arming by the U.S. is extremely difficult for small countries to stand up to. I’m sorry for France that they signed on to this very bad deal.
I completely agree with you that the US President is the closest thing expats have to any form of representation. In fact, the argument that the British used against the colonist’s demands of “No Taxation without Representation” was that the King of England represented the interests of all British citizens throughout the empire. It was referred to at that time as being “Virtual Representation.” I expect the US to at some point start trying to make similar proclamations.
As for Senators and Congressmen, they represent the interests of people physically residing within their respective states, not people who previously lived in their states but have since emigrated to other countries.
It’s not a big jump from non-territorial tax jurisdiction to non-territorial ‘representation’. Expats are already ‘virtual residents’ of the US.
If Obama is the sole representation for expats, it’s not likely he’ll be of any use to us. He’s the one who visited the FATCA abomination upon us in the first place.
Anyone who ever thought Obama was going to “improve Americas image abroad” was terribly mis lead given what has happened under his watch. It’s very clear that as a senator he was all for FATCA. How are you going to “improve Americas image abroad” while violating laws of other nations and kicking free good will ambassadors *all expats* to the curb. He’s done more to damage Americas image abroad with FATCA than any president has in the over three decades I’ve been living here.
I would like to know how the CBA is going to address the huge liabilities of the FATCA ‘Responsible Officers’? How would an IGA help them with that? ;
…”If financial crime compliance professionals think that becoming the FATCA Responsible Officer (RO) at their non-US financial institution is an easy way to a career boost, they should read the latest “Notice” from the US Treasury Department-Internal Revenue Service. They will see there is nothing easy about the job they aspire to. The Notice also included a draft agreement the foreign financial institutions (FFIs) would be required to sign.
Buried in the Treasury and IRS 38-page, single-spaced document called the “Draft FFI Agreement,” are several pages listing the duties the RO will be required to perform. They are not light. The Treasury Department issued a press release saying it will have the final version of the agreement by December 31, 2013.”…
Must read – CBA starts spinning Canadian public opinion – making the case that they are poor helpless victims and must comply with FATCA – despite ‘intense pressure from lobbyists’ in Canada, and now, we see that “Joining FATCA is likely to see amendments to the Canadian constitution to overcome difficulties in reporting personal information to a foreign government””:
“Canadian Banks Throw In The Towel In FATCA Fight
November 28, 2013 By Jim Atkins
Canadian Banks Throw In The Towel In FATCA Fight
inShare Canadian Banks Throw In The Towel In FATCA Fight
Despite intense pressure from lobbyists, Canadian banks have agreed they must obey the controversial US FATCA laws aimed at smoking out American expats with offshore bank accounts and financial holdings.”…
“The Canadian Bankers Association, the trade body for the country’s banks and credit unions, fears the repercussions of not complying with the FATCA despite the protests from US expats living in the country.”…
Wrobel also warned anyone in Canada who even refused to confirm that they were connected with US could face their non-compliance reported to the IRS.
The Canadian government is close to signing a FATCA agreement with the US that will let financial institutions report to the government, which will transmit the information on to the IRS.
Joining FATCA is likely to see amendments to the Canadian constitution to overcome difficulties in reporting personal information to a foreign government”
Those are quotes picked up from the CBC interview. It does not appear to contain any new information–just a different publication putting a different spin on it.
In terms of the statement about changing the constituion, that is what would be necessary to allow FATCA in Canada as the Americans demand it. There were no sources quoted for that, so it may be pure speculation on the part of the writer. The author clearly is not Canadian to think it is that easy to change the constitution. In fact, this information says he was born and bred in Northern UK and lives in Dubai.
Remember Meech Lake to get a sense of what is involved in changing the Canadian constitution. I don’t know how easy it is to change the constitution of other countries, but changing Canada’s would be a nightmare–especially if it is simply to meet demands of a foreign government.
In any case, I forwarded this to Flahery and Schoom with cc to Mulcair, Trudeau, May, Nash, Rankin, Hsu, Brison and Cotler.
Others may want to do the same.
Don’t get me started. I have written enough books today already!
According to an article in the Economist, treaties are sometimes signed “with reservation”. The Canadian government could approach a FATCA IGA by amending it in a similar way to that used by the Saudis when they signed the “International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights” which prohibits discrimination towards women. According to the Economist, “(Saudi Arabia) was one of of several Muslim nations that joined the treaty saying that anything that contradicted sharia law would not apply.” Similarly, Harper and Flaherty could insert a clause that would say that anything that contradicted the Canadian Charter would not apply. The IGA would be toothless while US Treasury could claim that it had another signed IGA under its belt. Robert Stack could then bellow on about “the high volume of international participation in this effort represents a quintessential race to the top”, blah, blah.