A twitter friend tweeted this article this morning. It is refreshing to hear a non-expat source describe our feelings so well. Kind of like enjoying comfort food on a long, dreary rainy day. Of course the site has a motive for taking this position (investment in precious metals, –Hi Chears! ), but thought you might enjoy anyway.
Excerpts (all emphases mine):
It isn’t for tax reasons that all expats are renouncing their citizenship, for sure, but it is telling that as the July 1 deadline looms for the full implementation of FATCA (the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act), renunciations are sharply on the rise.
The IRS is literally chasing Americans away from their homeland.
Few other countries treat its citizens living abroad as terribly as America does. It is like we have some sort of vendetta against them. Expats are not using our roads. They are not using our schools. They are not being protected by our military. On what possible basis would they owe taxes to the United States if they are living and earning wages abroad? There is no justification, just that the government thinks it can get away with this, so it’s the law. And it’s getting worse.
As of now, banks around the world are scrambling to comply in order to maintain their relationships with U.S. customers, however, it is all coming at a very steep price to them of an estimated $7,000 per person. Meanwhile, U.S. expats themselves are simultaneously shelling out about $4,000 each year to keep the IRS at bay. Is it worth it?
Maybe someday we will even get that impermeable border fence so many citizens here are crying out for. Only question is: Which way will the barb wire be pointed? Will it keep people out? ,Or in?
And here’s where it gets real for all of us, whether you live inside or outside of the borders of the United States: As more Americans cut the cord with their citizenship, FATCA’s onerous rules may soon cause international banks and institutions to cut the cord with the dollar. For years, our government has given foreign nations and companies more and more reasons to escape the dollar. This is just one more reason. And if more businesses outside of our borders decide it makes more sense to cease dealing with the dollar altogether than to jump through all of the hoops the IRS has set up, it can only hasten the number of days the dollar has left as the global reserve currency.
It’s odd to think that it wouldn’t occur to the IRS and the Congress that if they lean on
wealthy(or perhaps even not-so-wealthy) ex-pats hard enough that they won’t run. Because that is exactly the effect that FATCA has had, all in the name of recapturing billions in unpaid taxes “owed” by U.S. expats.
Hello, thank you very much for reposting our article. Certainly many US expats are up in arms over FATCA, with every right to be; this law hits home really hard for you. But too many Americans living at home mistakenly think it won’t affect them as well! We need to bring that to light, because when those 300 million some-odd citizens know what you already do, and they voice their frustration, that’s when we’ll see real change!
Interesting that you think they will change their minds. “Homelanders,” as we refer to them are generally uninterested, argumentative or downright hateful toward us. I have little hope this will change.
I, too , have little hope the American at home will be up in arms unless they realize what Rand Paul and all of us already realize: It will hit Americans and the American economy very hard.
As we understand it, the economy is already hit hard and this won’t help nor will it help the dollar, which is under attack by Russia and China.
They are going to squeeze out the dollar and are going to sell oil and gas using their own gold back currency. Man, oh, man, when that one two punch hits it will hurt.
Trouble is when the US hurts, Canada gets KILLED economically.
FATCA is poised to ruin the Canadian economy in ways our own government does not realize. FATCA is unenforceable without an IGA
Our government has signed one. Yet it is clear that Treasury has NO authority to sign IGAs with sovereign countries.
Most people are reasonable and intelligent and would see things the way we see them if their own lives were threatened in the ways lives are threatened here in Canada and countries around the world.
But, there are many who are not tax payers. They are on stamps or welfare or some sort of assistance. Almost half the country. For the seniors and veterans, they have every right to their assistance , they earned it. But, for so many more they did not. Nor did the illegals who are now taking a lions share of assistance interested. Nor, it seems are the very people who are viciously attacking Americans and their families abroad in countries outside the US. The IRS has employees who right this minute owe billions in taxes with no intention to pay. Yet, they come after ordinary people leading their lives legally in countries of their choosing with NO taxes owing but with the threat of huge life and retirement destroying penalties.
People have the right to expect that their privacy be respected by all, especially by the US and the US Constitution as well as the Charter of Rights in Canada and whatever passes for both in other countries.
And they have the right NOT to be treated like criminals with no indication whatsoever of criminality.
‘“Homelanders,” as we refer to them are generally uninterested, argumentative or downright hateful toward us.’
Has the Isaac Brock Society tried to reach out to potential allies stateside? I would have thought it would be possible to find some allies in a country of 300+ million people. Yes, there might be some ignorant people who would respond with hate. But I’m genuinely surprised that IBS and Maple Sandbox haven’t been able to find any allies stateside. Living in the USA myself, I can assure you that there are many Americans stateside who agree with the basic premise of this thread: that the American gov’t is a huge pain in the rump.
So, again, it seems a bit weird you haven’t been able to find allies in the US. That’s especially true given that you are taking on an opponent which is none too popular stateside: the IRS. Is it really true that, out of 300+ million people living in the US, you haven’t been able to find any who share your hate for the IRS?
I think you would have to have had our experience commenting on various articles and online sites over the 2+ years I have been around at least, to appreciate what I meant. It is simply not as easy as finding “any who share your hate for the IRS?”.
What we are up against are a number of clichés which no amount of reasoned explaning seems able to penetrate. These are:
“All Americans who live abroad are wealthy.”
“They live abroad in order to cheat on their taxes.”
“That is the only reason Americans would have a foreign bank account.”
The most common responses we all hear and are quite sick of are:
“Don’t let the door hit your a** on the way out.”
“You should pay your fair share.”
“It doesn’t matter if you renounce, millions more emigrate anyway (IOW, “who cares?”).
I think you have to recognize that these attitudes are what we are up against. And forgive me, but you live in the U.S. I fail to see how you could possibly be experiencing this. If I am wrong, please fill me in. However, there is nothing “weird” about not finding allies in the US.
I am not the least bit interested in promoting hate for the IRS.
As for the Isaac Brock Society or Maple Sandbox reaching out stateside for allies, I am not sure what you mean. Both are websites. Some people who met here have joined together to do things like the Charter Challenge Fund, the Alliance for the Defence of Canadian Sovereignty, help out with Information Sessions, the recent American Citizens Abroad Global Foundation meeting on May 2 and so on, These are individuals.
Some expats are in contact with Republicans Abroad Overseas. Victoria speaks eloquently of expat groups working together on the video at this post: http://isaacbrocksociety.ca/2014/05/22/victoria-is-first-up-aaro-recap-video-of-overseas-americans-week/comment-page-2/#comment I believe ACA and AARO have made many trips to D.C. and have met with various governmental contacts as well as the Americans Abroad Caucus. Some are connected to FAWCO. Many have spent countless hours writing submissions to the Ways and Means Committee and so on.
My point is it would be fair to say that many expats are working through organizations that do reach out to various people stateside. My comments were directed to the individuals we commonly experience online. That’s another situation entirely.
“All Americans who live abroad are wealthy.”
Well you think I’m wealthy simply by virtue of the fact that I grew up in Canada and emigrated to the USA.
Evidence to the contrary–such as the fact that I was homeless and living on the street between 2008 and 2010–down and out in California–doesn’t seem to faze you.
No worries. It’s better to be homeless as a Canadian expat in the USA than to be homeless as a USA expat in Canada. It’s warmer, for one thing, especially since they don’t seem to be doing global warming in Canada anymore.
I did not say “All Americans who live abroad are wealthy.” I indicated this is a misnomer commonly applied to someone like me, an American (well, formerly) who lives outside the country.
I don’t assume anything about you and am completely unaware of your history so your comments make no sense to me whatsoever.
Although this is a board for people abroad, people here know that the U.S.does a really poor job of informing its greencard holders and other immigrants of its rules on foreign accounts and that the U.S. is quite unforgiving towards them. If that is what has brought you here, people will probably empathize, especially since you seem to have had some tough times.
There has been some outreach, particular from ACA and AARO, which represent self-identifying Americans. Many Brockers wouldn’t fit into those organizations because nobody but the U.S. government considers them a U.S. person. The Isaac Brock Society is very grassroots and members are much more focused on challenging media stories (below line comments) and influencing their representatives in their country, since many members don’t really have many or any ties to the U.S.
I concede that I can probably only begin to fully wrap my head around your frustration. Yes, I “get” it, but I’m sure that until I’ve actually *lived* it I won’t fully be able to appreciate it.
No doubt this law will hit you more directly and likely much more quickly than we’ll feel it here. And maybe I’m giving us “homelanders” too much credit (I have no doubt many of the prejudices you say that some of us have against expats exist), but I DO think that a large number of us will eventually come around. To quote FuriousAC, when FATCA does “hit Americans and the American economy very hard”… that’s when I believe we’ll see the real outcry. I don’t know if it’s a good thing for that to happen sooner or later… but I do believe that it WILL happen.
Until then, know that you do indeed have *some* allies in the US.
It is very much appreciated that you post and offer encouragement for this is a life changing situation.
For all the Tea Party groups who have been targeted by the IRS, I am sure we have kindred spirits within those groups. Something like misery loves company.
We are aware of the movement to both abolish the IRS and to rein in the runaway current admin wherein there appears little respect for the US Constitution and little push back in Congress with the lawlessness.
And we are aware of the horrendous problems faced by Americans within the borders. The VA scandal. Benghazi scandal. IRS scandals. There seems not a day goes by without another ‘scandal’.
Geez, in the 70s it only took ONE. These days, it matters not how many scandals they are totally ignored.
So, we know attention is diverted. The minute someone at a US bank tells a customer they cannot bank there or there is a 30% ‘sanction’ on their money or their account is being closed there will most certainly be a hue and cry. From what we hear, congress will absolutely not allow such reciprocity. Hence, I would think IGAs would be dead. As a doornail!
But we have governments signing the damn things, ours here in Canada included when they KNOW there will be NO reciprocity and that negotiating them with the IRS is not legal but the did it anyway.
I can only surmise they have no spine or they are in on it. Either way victims in Canada are in the millions ( not the ONE million most like to report and quote.
I look at this way: For every American in Canada right now, most of them have wives or husbands and/or children.
For every American who has a spouse, you can add two to that total because the Canadian who is married to an American is NOW subject to fines and penalties just as though that Canadian was all along an American simply by association.
So, by my reckoning, we are looking at not one million but more like four or five million. And even more because companies are caught in the net if they have American employees who are resident in Canada, again by association.
The FATCA law is insidious and deliberate in its viciousness and harsh in intent.
Bottom line: They want it all and intend to get it.
In the USA the current admin has stated they intend to take the retirement savings and are setting up the MYRA system to do just that.
FATCA is encompasses EVERYTHING a person owns and those who may inherit ( Insurance companies are caught up in the net as well with demands to know beneficiaries, etc and amounts of insurance policies)
While all this insanity goes on, the IMF , FED Reserve and other global banking entities, insist on Bail ins should they see the need to fund further outrageous spending. Canada implemented bail ins in last year’s budget. They also changed the law and now banks OWN the money once you deposit it. YOU don’t!
And before we all get comfortable with this skinning alive, let us not forget the US Taxpayer paid for OECD plans to implement their own version of FATCA in September of 2014.
So, Peter , it is not just Americans and Canadians associated with them who are in the cross hairs , it is the entire world.
And then there is MERS , which we hear is set to explode and make the 2008 mortgage crisis look like a walk in the park.
As the teenagers around here often say “have a banana!”
Thank you for your realistic observations and support. I don’t think, deep down, anyone enjoys viewing “homelanders” in a negative light and of course, it isn’t accurate to generalize. Until we see the rise of anger in more south of the border, we may forget that it is possible. The overwhelming anxiety, fear and eventual rage we live with everyday, is exceedingly difficult to manage. I thought by channeling it int action it would diffuse but find that not to be the case. I hope I have not offended you personally as I do truly appreciate your article.
Completely understand your POV, and certainly no offense taken. Your frustration is warranted.
I think Americans still know what liberty is – they’re just too busy relinquishing it as evidence that the other camp is taking it away.
Jack Townsend is an arrogant and ignorant jackass !
You ask why….
please read this :
Man- how quick that outrage would be if somebody tried to tax homelanders 27:5% of EVERYTHING they own. Not a stash- not a hidden fraction of their worth – but EVERYTHING they have ever worked for and saved.
But we already know that is unconstitutional…..