This post appeared on the RenounceUSCitizenship blog.
Basking in the glory of OVDP and the FBAR Fundraiser for Individuals:
The Department of Justice Announces OVDP for Banks!
DOJ announces new #OVDP program for Swiss banks that allowed US clients http://t.co/JM99xytMt7 – Banks pay fine based on % of deposits
— U.S. Citizen Abroad (@USCitizenAbroad) August 30, 2013
On August 30, 2013 the U.S. Department of Justice created a voluntary disclosure program for Swiss banks. It was clearly premised on the OVDP program for people. My post describing OVDP for banks ended with:
The possible next step …
The U.S. is clearly on a mission to confiscate assets throughout the world.
In the beginning, there was OVDP for individuals.
Now we have OVDP for banks.
Coming soon, OVDP for financial advisors.
Soon, we will all become Whistleblowers.
The solution to this is for the U.S. to simply absorb all the other sovereign nations of the world. Once we become one country, there will be no more “offshore accounts”. But, how would fines be imposed then?
The practical implications of OVDP for banks
What the IRS #OVDP program for Swiss banks means in practice – Same thing it means for anybody else in #OVDP http://t.co/92k6FhnxvN
— U.S. Citizen Abroad (@USCitizenAbroad) December 7, 2013
Just me posts the following comment at The Isaac Brock Society:
For those like me who haven’t been following the intricate details of the Swiss situation as closely as others, and don’t quite understand what is going on with the Banks decisions about the Swiss OVDP, this explanation sent to me really helped… I am passing it on for those that might be interested.
The big controversy here is that in August the Swiss government announced that they had negotiated an agreement with the US DOJ that allowed Swiss banks to get the whole issue behind them, by handing over info on undeclared accounts and paying a fine of a percentage of the total of those accounts.
The fine is fixed at 20% of the total of undeclared accounts opened before August 2008, 30% of the total of those opened between August 2008 and February 2009, and 50% of accounts opened after that. The fine would be reduced by the amount of the fine already paid by the US person through the OVDP, if the bank could prove that the US person entered the OVDP at the instigation of the bank.
The banks were supposed to be able to identify themselves to the DOJ in one of four categories – number one is those 14 banks which have already been indicted and are working with the DOJ to hand over info, number two is those who have a considerable number of undeclared US clients but who have not yet been indicted, number three was supposed to be those with few US clients, and number 4 was local banks with virtually all Swiss clients.
The problem is that the program as defined in August was so vague and unclear that the Swiss banks wrote to the DOJ and asked for clarification (BAD idea), and in the comments the DOJ sent back in early November, they specified that even ONE undeclared US client meant that a bank had to declare itself as being in category two, not three or four.
When you know how many accidental Americans there are in Switzerland, it seems totally impossible that any bank in Switzerland can guarantee that it didn’t even have ONE account of someone who turns out to be a US person in addition to having a Swiss passport with which they opened the account.
Meaning, there is no possibility to be in 3 or 4. Every bank will have to identify themselves to the DOJ as category two, will have to go through every single account to identify people with a second or third passport which happens to be US, and will have to pay a percentage of the total of those accounts as a fine to the US.
The banks are now accusing the Swiss government of not knowing what they signed, and basically of betraying the banks. Which they did. The government is desperate to get the US off their back, and so are the banks, but this program is so over the top as to be unimplementable (sounds like FATCA in the first place), so the banks are now debating how they can just wash their hands of the whole thing and declare that they won’t participate. Would the US go so far as to indict every single Swiss bank ? Cut off the USD accounts of every single Swiss bank ???
There are still thousands of Swiss bank employees who will not travel to the US for fear of being stopped at the border, at least for questioning if not for arrest, and most banks here actually formally forbid top level employees from travelling to the US, even for vacation, if they had the slightest contact with undeclared Americans, even if it was in a role of getting the American to declare their account.
The image of the United States has been SERIOUSLY damaged in Switzerland by this American overkill. I am in touch practically every day with at least one and sometimes several accidental Americans who are in a panic because they’ve never declared to the US and they are now hearing about horrendous fines and penalties being imposed on people such as themselves.
I still do not in any way understand how the IRS can possibly follow up on each and every account which is coming forward from accidental Americans, not just in Switzerland but worldwide, with the limited man- and woman-power, funds, and time that they have. I can only think that for cases under a certain amount, they will just drop it, otherwise the whole process could last the next twenty years or more.
And for what ? Peanuts !!!
Anyhow, that’s the gist of the Swiss situation. Frustration, anxiety, fear, bitterness, recrimination. What other adjectives could I use ?????
To which a friend replied…
Has the Swiss government gone completely mad? What on earth are they thinking permitting the IRS to punish ALL Swiss banks for acting entirely correctly under SWISS law? I’ve always been under the – obvious illusory – impression that the purpose of governments were to protect their citizens and businesses against external threats, and to especially defend the issue of sovereignty within their own borders against all who would attempt to impose extra-territoriality against its citizens and businesses that are contrary to issues of sovereignty and common sense and common good. How can ANY Swiss official see FATCA in this light at all? Why would ANY country – let alone Switzerland – permit the IRS to impose its own interpretation of issues of legality on Swiss entities, especially when according to Swiss law they have done nothing wrong??
I simply am baffled! Is everyone in Bern smoking pot?
UBS blew the entire Swiss banking system out of the water because they WERE breaking US law – they were actively marketing their services of tax evasion to US citizens inside the United States, they were seeing people inside the US, they were transporting cash across borders into the US, they were setting up structures to hide the identities of US citizens .
So when our friend Birkenfeld blew the whistle on UBS, the US obviously decided that every bank in Switzerland must be doing the same thing as UBS, which they weren’t.
Bern is desperate to stop the United States’ war of attrition on Swiss banks, but they’re bending over backwards to come to an agreement, and they keep on being surprised by the ongoing never-ending demands of the US.
I don’t entirely blame Bern, they’re trying to deal with a horrible situation, but the agreement is so bad that instead of being an “agreement” allowing banks to get out from under US pressure, it’s turning out to be a system to bring down just about every bank.
There will be a radio program to be aired tomorrow, with a Bank official I know, saying that from a strictly legal point of view, banks who have only a few undeclared US clients can refuse to participate in this “agreement”, and they can defend themselves very well in a US court since the US is accusing banks of CONSPIRACY located inside the United States, as UBS was doing, and most banks weren’t doing that at all.
This goes on and on and on and on …..
Frightening isn’t it!
But, of course innocent Americans abroad must pay the price to help the banks!
Swiss Banks ending year with letters to #Americansabroad clients http://t.co/Mxwznao2d6 – Be #FBAR and #FATCA Compliant or Be Gone!
— U.S. Citizen Abroad (@USCitizenAbroad) December 7, 2013
A recent blog post at Geneva Watch includes:
The onus falls on any US tax person who has had a Swiss bank account since 2008 to show that he or she has paid US taxes. The group, according to Lachowitz, may include people who renounced their citizenship during or after 2008.
The problem is how to show a bank, on short notice, that taxes were indeed filed – how to know which of the myriad IRS forms should be shown to the bank, although many banks are reportedly sending out form letters requiring copies of a dozen papers and tax forms, including attestations about the tax filer by an attorney or registered accountant. And how to know what information from elsewhere you can safely share with your bank.
One of the requested forms is often the FBAR, where Americans’ foreign bank accounts are listed; note that since July 2013 these must be filed with the US electronically.
Lachowitz’s advice, should you receive one of these letters from your bank? “US Taxpayers who have foreign financial accounts basically fall into two categories; those who are tax compliant in the US and those who will soon become tax compliant in the US. If you fall into the second category the advice has been, and remains, please go and see a tax attorney [immediately] who can help you decide how to become tax compliant. There are various ways, it will cost you some money, hopefully not too much, but you need LEGAL assistance, not just a CPA.”
This is what happens to all people and entities who enter into ANY OVDP agreement with the United States!
Yes, the countries of the world are considering into FATCA IGAs.
#FATCA update from Germany from todundsteuer http://t.co/tGePEiO4EC
— U.S. Citizen Abroad (@USCitizenAbroad) December 1, 2013
I guess nobody ever told these government officials that:
A FATCA IGA is an OVDP program for countries!
The @USTreasury announces the #FATCA IGA – A new #OVDP program for countries! Coming soon to a country near you! http://t.co/xL0lgtFi7W
— U.S. Citizen Abroad (@USCitizenAbroad) September 29, 2013
Here is why!
As I wrote in an earlier post:
OVDP as an instrument of confiscation
One of the most effective instruments of the confiscation of assets has been the OVDP program for individuals.
Recognizing the success of the OVDP programs for INDIVIDUALS, the United States created an OVDP program for Swiss banks.
Now the U.S. Treasury announces FATCA – The OVDP program for countries!
What Treasury calls a FATCA IGA is really an OVDP program for countries!
FATCA is a tool to enforce citizenship-based taxation. By allowing U.S. citizens (Trojan Horse soldiers) to reside in a country, that country is agreeing to allow the United States to claim a share of that country’s GNP.
Example: Sell your house in Canada and send a share of the proceeds to the U.S.
To put it simply:
Citizenship-based taxation is a way for the U.S. to plunder the economies of other countries.
Let’s consider how the IGA works. Under a FATCA IGA a foreign (Offshore) country agrees to (Voluntarily) locate U.S. citizens in that country and inform the IRS(Disclosure) under a specific set of rules (Program). In other words:
A FATCA IGA is really an:
Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program for countries.
Under an IGA, it is NOT the individual who makes the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure.
Under an IGA, it is NOT the banks who make the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure.
Under an IGA, it IS the country that makes the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure.
Countries “in effect” calculate their own penalty by allowing the U.S. to impose citizenship-based taxation in their countries.
Like the Offshore Voluntary Disclosures by the banks and the individuals, the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure by the country is at the expense of the country. By disclosing the accounts of the individual the country is in effect “calculating its own penalty”.
Does the rest of the world really believe that it should voluntarily, at its own expense, allow the wealth of the nation to be confiscated by the IRS?
This is a good question to ask Mr. Flaherty and Mr. Harper while they are considering whether to enter into a voluntary disclosure agreement – FATCA IGA – with the U.S. government.
Oh and have you heard?
The number of Americans who have renounced their citizenship or residency has increased tenfold since 2008: http://t.co/G9qLyg7xXy
— ICIJ (@ICIJorg) December 6, 2013
But of course nobody understand how this could be happening …
Some even say (if you believe they are being honest that)
The mystery of the fleeing Americans – help ICIJ dig into the skyrocketing number of citizenship renunciations: http://t.co/RGZSmj4lTq
— ICIJ (@ICIJorg) December 6, 2013
Actually U.S. citizens are renouncing to protect themselves from the U.S. government.
The results of this poll (in case you missed it at the top) tell the story:
Thanks for that one. I have watched it.
It is about 3 weeks old now, and got a lot of attention down here in NZ at the time. It should have gotten wide reporting in Canada too, but I wasn’t checking your press.
It was also what Alex Jones was referring to in the infowars video Mark Twain posted… on the Ask your FATCA question thread. Normally I would not pay attention to his program, but setting aside the commercials and some wild claims, the first 15 minutes or so was pretty right on the money about what TPP proposes to do, at least on this 1 chapter out of 29. 28 still secret!
What was really interesting to me, is how a Florida Progressive, Rep Grayson, sees TPP exactly as the right wing Jones does. Interesting alignment.
What’s notable is that it’s now making the rounds among those who you’d think would be Obama supporters in Canada. Someone I know who’s a staunch left winger posted it on Facebook, calling for Edward Snowden to replace Obama as president! I suggested that if she thinks TPP’s bad, she should check out FATCA.
I am trying to make that TPP and FATCA connection all the time to, along with NSA spying of course! 🙂
TPP = FATCA = NSA spying = loss of sovereignty. Although I do question whether the average person knows what sovereignty means.
Why criticize Alex Jones? Do you know of any better journalist in the USA? Even Michael Rivero in Honolulu doesn’t comment on Fatca. Alex is a bit hot but so what? 75% of what he writes is the truth as opposed to CNN “The Least Trusted Name in News” BTW I made a few references to comparing FATCA to an old style Nazi pogrom. Anyone doubt me? Well don’t, you’ll be apologizing for doubting. My father was a Lieutenant Colonel in the 8th AF stationed in the UK. America owes its freedom to my father and countless others. In his case he was head pilot of a squadron that bombed 22 targets in the Ruhr. His son deserves freedom, not that fascist pig Obama and his scumbag piglets. The eternal patriot, my father now thinks the USA is run by madmen.
Lots of tweets tonight at Wikileaks on the TPP
7 hours ago…
WikiLeaks @wikileaks 7h
We will shortly release the negotiation positions for every country, on every issue of the 13 #TPP chapters coming out of the last round.
Read forward from there…
We all have different tastes in journalist. I don’t see him as one, he is an opinionator, which is ok, just generally not my taste, but when it comes to FATCA he is right on point. I will give you that.
CNN is hopeless, and never watch them anymore, nor do I watch any MSM news coverage. I don’t watch American TV.
When it comes to discussions on issues of importance I prefer other non mainstream moderaters, like Warren Olney out of KCRW, as one example. If FATCA ever comes to national attention, he will cover it from all sides, and I appreciate that type of coverage, which is not laced with products for sale, btw.
BTW, I think your father could be right! 🙂
#Atticusin Canada. I’m not going to overly defend AJ but I have switched of the MSM. I’m sick of brainwashing, social engineering, corporate manipulation of consumers, you name it but I’ve been at this for many many years. I know what AJ does but the main thing for me is he hates the way things are done in America, doesn’t whitewash stories. His audience is about 5 times what CNN is by the way.
I also watch Russia Today for real news about America. I like Max Keiser and if you haven’t listed to Gerald Celente you are missing a very enlightening individual. Keep an open mind and listen to the alternative media. Listening to the mainstream has gotten you, I and everyone else here nowhere at all. We can no longer be patriots as we are now pushed away from our roots so what shall we become? Well that’s a work in progress but it my old government hates me then I now hate them. My country wrong or wrong. Screw it
CELENTE: The U.S. is ‘a Criminal Operation!
@ChearsBigEars, Clenete has his eyes wide open.
Those have been my sources for years. I don’t watch MSM … because I want the TRUTH. I sent an e-mail to Max and Stacey to see if they would cover FATCA … nothing yet. I might dust that one off and sent it to Gerald Celente too. AJ isn’t easy to listen to but he is right about a lot of things. The MSM is losing viewership rapidly because they pranged the needle on the BS meter and a lot of people are finally realizing that.
This TPP makes strange bedfellows. Here is a Democracy Now report on TPP Maybe Alex and Amy could join up with a common broadcast.
“A Corporate Trojan Horse”: Obama Pushes Secretive TPP Trade Pact, Would Rewrite Swath of U.S. Laws
Thanks for that link. In the interview, Lori Wallach refers to the following site, which we should pay close attention to, if for no other reason than it provides a very interesting template for online grassroots organization. Take a look at their home page, which is reminiscent of our We Are Not A Myth site.
For alternative news, I like blacklisted news.com.
More Canadian connection to US NSA: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-set-up-spy-posts-for-u-s-new-snowden-document-shows-1.2457299.
Disheartening to think of how all of this being in bed with the US would then relate to FATCA in Canada and gathering information on US Persons here.
“I sent an e-mail to Max and Stacey to see if they would cover FATCA … nothing yet.”
I have spoken with Max many times. He’s a tough nut to crack but I encourage everyone to ask him once a week, hound him a bit. Don’t give up on him. Send Puplavas video to him too. It takes a lot of effort to get him to respond.
Here is his personal email: firstname.lastname@example.org
older one email@example.com
Thanks, I will try again. I’d love to see Max and Stacey tackle FATCA. They are so good at getting to the core of complex matters and making them easy to understand. I have at least some understanding now of how Wall Sreet. dys-functions, thanks to them.
I sent another e-mail to Max and Stacy (spelled correctly) using that newer address you provided. Have you tried too? Max and Stacy, both Americans living outside the homeland, would be affected by FATCA so I’m surprised they haven’t done a show about it yet (a search of their site comes up empty). Have you any other suggestions as to what angle might get a response? I went with the extortion angle this time. Max is big on exposing things like extortion so I hoped that would tweak his interest.
Doesn’t surprise me they haven’t touched the story. As Americans living abroad even if they have done their best to be compliant we all know that the rules are so twisted and conflicted that no one can truly be sure.
They could well be fearful of vengeful retaliation by the US government and IRS if they tell the truth about FATCA and CBT. And if they are not compliant they are even more vulnerable. We have seen that the IRS is quite willing to target groups that represent views in opposition to the current administration. What better way to punish a couple of Americans who have the audacity to work for a Russian news organization?
The fear campaign has worked; only instead of encouraging compliance it has encouraged renunciation of US citizenship.
@BigCheeseEars, just because I am leery of Alex Jones doesn’t mean I watch CNN. I refer to RT a lot too as well as other sources and watch ZERO television so called news.
Love the video! That is one of a few guys that actually seems to ‘get it’.
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Trans-Pacific Partnership: Canada Caving On Controversial Issues?
This about TPP was on Morning Edition today at NPR (It is not in the title, but the entire story is about impacts that certain Americans don’t like.)
Thanks for the link, Just Me. Listening to it — many aspects of why not.