Following up on comments in early July in which he referred to FATCA as “universal law”, British Virgin Islands Premier D. Orlando Smith made another speech on FATCA late last month. I’m not impressed with most of this speech, but at least Smith acknowledged the fact that there are innocent accidentals in his territory, and even offered them concrete measures to ameliorate their difficulties:
However the BVI Government will, assist persons who consider themselves to need this support in meeting their reporting requirements to the US by providing useful advice and identifying professionals versed in US Tax matters to assist. … There are currently many BVIslanders who purely by birth, who may have been unaware of their obligations as US citizens. Last year we began a public information programme on the impact of FATCA on such persons and what they must do in fulfilment of their obligations to the United States. In the coming days we will reinforce these messages and announce the measures that we are taking to assist BV Islanders who are also ‘accidental’ Americans as we often refer to them in coming up to speed on their commitments to the Internal Revenue Service. These measures Madam Speaker will include a help desk at the Government Administration Building.
On one hand, it’s nice to see at least someone, somewhere is reaching out with some assistance to try to protect people from the IRS’ fines of 129 times the tax owed for the crime of having bank accounts where they live and work.
On the other hand, the funds for this assistance will come from the BVI government’s budget — when it really should be the IRS paying for a help desk at the local U.S. consulate in every country on the planet, while the BVI government uses its tax monies to resist invasions of its autonomy. Instead, the BVI taxpayers are footing the bill for that local “help desk at the Government Administration Building”, while their Premier spouts the same old self-serving, misleading Compliance Complex propaganda we’ve heard from governments all over the world trying to justify their craven surrender:
Madam Speaker I must make it abundantly clear that FATCA does not place any additional obligation whatsoever on the US person or entity with respect to what they were obligated to do by virtue of their status as a US person … Madam Speaker, at the risk of repeating myself, FATCA does not put any new obligations on BVIslanders who in having dual nationality also have to report to the United States Tax Authorities. These obligations have always existed as part of the obligations of being a US person …
Madam Speaker, the Government of the Virgin Islands has not sold out its citizens as some would deliberately mislead you into believing, but instead has, by signing an Intergovernmental Agreement with the United States, improved the ability of financial institutions and relevant US citizens in the BVI to comply with this requirement.
On the “gripping hand”, I doubt that the BVI government’s display of solicitude towards accidentals is motivated solely or even primarily by concern for their welfare, but rather the desire to prevent a repeat of what’s going on in Switzerland: the U.S. Department of Justice trying to use local “U.S. Persons” as the thin end of the wedge to split open all the local banks & investment companies and steal the treasures sealed within.