“We are here; we are not going away; as Canadians we expect the protection of the Canadian government.” This is what the new government in Ottawa needs to hear from us in less than a week’s time. If (God help us) we still have the old prime minister, he needs to hear from us … again.
Let’s muster together our letter-writing forces and fill the incoming prime minister’s inbox on his first day in office. Our issue needs to be front and centre in his mind, not on the back-burner. We have languished there long enough.
The new prime minister needs to be reminded that under the terms of the FATCA IGA (p. 18) signed by the Canadian and US governments the Agreement is to undergo further consultation between the parties before the end of 2016. He needs to know that we expect him to request certain changes to the Agreement to bring it into line with what the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms demands. Reference to birthplace as an acceptable indicium of US citizenship needs to be removed as well as reference to the reporting of account balances. Only an account’s earnings are relevant to income taxation and therefore it is only earnings that should be reported. These are but a couple of examples from the long list of grievances that we hold against the FATCA IGA.
It would have been easier if these things had been hammered out during the negotiations with the United States before the IGA was signed in the first place but this would have required the exercise of statesmanship of an order sorely lacking in the Conservative government. Instead of achieving a workable compromise we got complete and total acquiescence. We need to respectfully call on the new prime minister to now be that expert statesman who is needed to reverse the damage done by such a wholesale capitulation to unreasonable foreign demands.
Let’s make each and every one of our voices heard once again before our new PM is barely seated at his desk.
May be worthwhile for us Aussies to follow suit
Hmmm–are you saying that you feel it would be possible to tweak–as oppose to simply throw out–the IGA and have it then come into compliance with the Charter?
My own hope would be that the new PM’s first steps will be to warn Mr. Obama–as well as all of Mr. Obama’s potential successors–of the existence of the lawsuit and that the IGA, etc, may eventually be thrown out by Canada’s Supreme Court. Not just tweaked but completely thrown out. And then he or she should warn Mr. Obama and his successors that should they continue on the reckless course they are on regarding the 30% tax, that Canada will be forced to take steps to defend herself.
The new PM should do this using increasingly strong diplomatic language during the coming months.
What about reciprocity? What did Canada receive exactly in exchange for revealing 155K accounts in Canada to the IRS? Did Canada receive only what was readily available to the IRS through existing declarations within their grasp?
Another oddity of the US tax system.
Someone from France, Germany, Ireland, or the UK can go to a US casino win big and pay no US income tax (lottery winnings are tax free in the UK) or even have a withholding tax deducted.
However, a poor ‘US person’ walks into a US casino, wins, and is taxed to the hilt. At the same time, the French, the Germans, and the Irish laugh all the way to the Tax Free Bank.
Sorry it seems a previous Canadian Government botched up that treaty negotiation as well. Canada (where lottery winnings are tax free I believe as well) wasn’t listed listed as a country free of US income tax withholding.
Since most countries of the world have Source Based Taxation together with Residence Based Taxation, it would make more sense if every winning in a US casino were taxed at the source.
To avoid double taxation, treaties would reduce taxation by the winner’s country of residence. That would be irrelevant to France, Germany, Ireland, US, and Canada.
I’d guess US casino operators paid for the US to exempt French, German, Irish, and British residents. Casino operators give bigger campaign contributions than we do. I guess US casino operators don’t need to attract Canadian customers the same way.
“And then he or she [new PM] should warn Mr. Obama and his successors that should they continue on the reckless course they are on regarding the 30% tax, that Canada will be forced to take steps to defend herself.”
How will that differ from steps Canada is already taking to defend itself? (As a programmer, I’m getting infinite recursion of null pointer exceptions from this.)
It is not yet clear that there will be a new PM, but if Trudeau wins and presides over a new minority government, I seriously doubt that any changes will happen on the FATCA/IGA front. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même merde.
However, a letter writing campaign is a good idea–to once again show that democracy in the Western world is broken and that money rules, not voters.
Dash: I’m not sure what’s possible. All I know is that on p. 18 of the IGA there appears to be an “opening” for amendment of the document prior to Dec. 31, 2016. In fact “amend” is the word used. The reference is specifically regarding Article 6 which, Bubblebustin, addresses reciprocity amongst other issues.
I think we will likely all want to mention different aspects of this mess to whoever the PM is on Tuesday morning, October 20. That is the beauty of a letter-writing campaign. The PM will have the opportunity of seeing the matter through a myriad of affected eyes. Whatever each one of us asks him to do he will know that he must act in some way on our behalf. *We* are who he answers to, not the United States.
If Trudeau wins a minority government our new Finance Minister is Scott Brison, who is very veru likely to win his Nova Scotia riding. Trudeau will remain completely ignorant and unresponsive on FATCA, but I don’t think we can say the same about Mr. Brison. He was very vocal and outspoken on the issue. If the Libs win a minority government a letter writing campaign will be in order, not only to Brison/Trudeau, but Cullen/Mulcair as well.
Write to the new Prime Minister by all means. But the usual route for citizens is their local MP.
I am not optimistic any new government, whatever its stripe, will see our issue to be the highest priority. Our concern will be fighting with scores of others for attention. Read the newspapers to see all of the things that a new government will have to address.
Personally, I would like to see the Charter Challenge program restored with full funding. This does not require negotiations with a foreign government, it means allocating a few million dollars, which for the Government of Canada is not very much.
Thanks, MuzzledNoMore. I’ve got communication lines already established with all of the potential MP’s in my riding – ready to go!
“But the usual route for citizens is their local MP.”
Yes, I was just about to say that.
That’s how Canada’s dinerocracy differs from the US’s dinerocracy.
“Plus ça change, plus c’est la même merde.”
Justin speaks Pierre’s language?
Non, il ne parle que la merde de Stephen Harper. Regarding FATCA, I do not expect a minority (or even a majority) Liberal government to change the current attitude of the government.
NorthernShrike: The MPs are powerless. They all just vote the party line. Even though a democracy is “supposed” to be government from the bottom up, in Canada it seems to be decidedly from the top down. An MP is “supposed” to represent his constituents’ views in Ottawa. In reality, MPs just inform their constituents that their government’s actions are good for them. That’s why I’m writing to the head honcho.
“That’s why I’m writing to the head honcho.”
You mean you’re writing to the banks? You think you’re going to persuade them to put their puppets in a different play instead? It’s already been tried.
For Australia I have this letter. A key focus is on tax treaty gaps where double taxation is guaranteed.
Do we just call it Financial Bullying? That might be more comprehensible. There is a lot of focus in Australia about stopping bullying. So that term may have some resonance. So then is the Canadian government an Observer/By Stander, Target, or Bully? Case may be made that the Canadian Government is a participant/bully by not calling it out, not shutting it down and, worse, pretending it does not exist.