Posted on July 18, 2017 by Patricia Moon Posted in Issues regarding US persons abroad 37 Comments [View the story “Australian Greens Senator @LarissaWaters resigns because of her CANADIAN place of birth. Too bad she was born in Canada” on Storify] Share this:TwitterFacebookEmailLike this:Like Loading...
This is a really interesting but also very unfortunate news story.
The Australian government along with our own Canadian government both need a lesson in the concept of dominant nationality– an Australian citizen in Australia can only be an “Australian is an Australian is an Australian.” Canadian laws and nationality don’t apply south of the equator.
I nominate our friend and fellow Brocker @George to educate confused governments everywhere on why it is their duty and responsibility to ignore unwanted second citizenships (so called “duals”) on their own soil– with @George paid a large consulting fee for services rendered of course!
Hope your summer is going welll Tricia. We are socked in with smoke from the many forest fires burning here in the BC Interior. Here’s to clearer skies!
Seems a bit odd that they were forced to resign. The general interpretation has been that an exception is made when they take “reasonable steps” to renounce the foreign citizenship and if they don’t know they have another citizenship, which may be the case here. See:
It would have been more sensible to give them a reasonable amount of time to renounce the other citizenships and keep their seats in the Aus Senate. Neither Canada nor (AFAIK) NZ (and unlike the US) makes it especially difficult to give up citizenship. Seems weird that this couldn’t wait until that (fairly brief) process was completed.
Ridiculous but it could have been worse. IF she had been born in the U.S. (or even on board a ship sailing under a U.S. flag in international waters) the IRS would be knocking at her door now to collect back taxes.
Indeed the concept of unwanted citizenship is, with all these cases, taking on a whole new dimension. Indeed it seems that countries are willing, in this matter, to defer to foreign laws. Taken a step further then, can we imagine country X, say North Korea, decide that everyone meeting certain criteria (maybe a name or groups of names or ancestry) is automatically a DPRK citizen. How would that be different from the US considering some people as US citizens and France or Australia agreeing blindly? In the present case in would be nice if Australia would accept a sworn declaration that their citizen considers herself only as an Australian. From then on, eff Canada, the US and others. That Australian should not be forced to pay a fee to the foreign country, or to comply with FATCA or such.
IMO, too much focus on this story, although interesting in similarities to impacts on Accidental Americans.
Just a few days previous another Greens Senator in Australia resigned because they were a dual AU – NZ citizen. That highlighted the issue.
Think about this: The Australian Constitution is not that long (certainly a tiny fraction in length to the 76,000+ page U.S. tax code). There is not even a Bill of Rights as part of the Australian Constitution. This short document becomes a focus in the swearing in process.
It is very clear no dual citizens may be MP or a Senator in Australia. There was a story before the last election of a person going for “pre-selection” in NSW for the Liberals, yet they had to drop as they were a US Person (could not find the weblink).
My view of this, it is kind of like getting a passport – before you go in make sure you have all the documents as required. Word is that Larissa Waters will be back at the next election after confirming ditching of Canadian citizenship. Dropping Canadian citizenship is much easier than shedding U.S. citizenship.
About 12% of Australian Parliamentarians are born abroad.
Commentary is that Larissa Waters gets busted on this law with very tenuous ties to Canada (another nation under The Queen) with a law intended to prevent a conflict of loyalty to Australia, yet what about those Australian Parliamentarians who sell the country out to Chinese interests (approve sale of port of Darwin, approve sale of prime agricultural land, mining, accept payments for personal expenses) as a Minister then go to work for Chinese firms straight after working for Parliament.
I don’t think the point is to focus on the story on its surface.
The real issue seems to be that in spite of common sense and/or weighing factors in a reasonable matter, citizenship once again, is used to rob someone of something. It is used as a weapon.
If it weren’t for citizenship, we wouldn’t even be here. We would argue (and certainly have) with anyone who told us it is our fault that we didn’t check. After all, who would think one would pay tax to a foreign country? Ms. Waters is no different. And this likely would NOT be a story were it not for the fact that Ludlam was exposed by Australian lawyer John Cameron, who had investigated whether the senator and another New Zealand-born lawmaker, Derryn Hinch, were dual nationals. What was the motive of Cameron? Surely it is obscene that he could so easily bring someone down, one who left New Zealand at the age of 3 and has been in Australia before he turned. It is simply hideous.
Newspaper: “Canadian law changed a week after I was born and required me to have actively renounced Canadian citizenship.”
An unfortunate oversight but at least she is not an American citizen because of birthplace. All she has to do to run for office again is renounce her Canadian citizenship (simple and at no cost I believe). If she was a US citizen imagine the impossibility of renouncing that without costing thousands. Here’s an interesting thought. What about any Australian born parliamentarians who happen to have a parent as a US citizen? Would they be deemed a US citizen in the eyes of the IRS and therefor also run afoul of the Australian constitution???
“Canadian laws and nationality don’t apply south of the equator.”
They do if someone goes to a Canadian embassy/consulate/high commission to renew a Canadian passport.
They do if a former Canadian resident has a spouse residing in Canada.
I thought they affected my investments in shares of Canadian companies and a limited partnership. As far as I can tell, either a Canadian resident or a Canadian non-resident alien would not get in trouble for being unable to find out which portion of a Canadian limited partnership’s profit or loss flowed through from Canadian sources vs. what portion flowed through from non-Canadian sources. But as a Canadian non-resident citizen it looked like I had to seprate my shares of the flow-throughs, and the general partner refused to give me the information, so I had to declare that my estimates were estimates. After that, I did not dare to invest in Canadian assets again while living abroad.
For unknown reasons the IRS used to accept my declarations that estimates of Canadian tax reported on US Form 1116 (Foreign Tax Credit) were estimates. Maybe it was OK to be honest in tax years where there was no US Form 1099 for IRS employees to embezzle withholding from. But that didn’t make it legal. Eventually the IRS, US Department of Justice and courts proved that it’s illegal to call an estimate an estimate: even when you know that you don’t believe your estimate to be true and correct, the law requires you to declare under penalty of perjury that to the best of your knowledge and belief it’s true and correct. The law doesn’t penalize perjury that isn’t performed willingly.
“Ridiculous but it could have been worse. IF she had been born in the U.S. (or even on board a ship sailing under a U.S. flag in international waters) the IRS would be knocking at her door now to collect back taxes.”
Not likely. The IRS would be imposing penalties but taxes wouldn’t likely be owing.
“Indeed it seems that countries are willing, in this matter, to defer to foreign laws.”
You’re right. If a woman drives a car in a US and burns gasoline that came from a Saudi oil field, Saudi Arabia shouldn’t jail her, Saudi Arabia should tax and penalize her, and the US will fall all over itself rushing to help them.
“What about any Australian born parliamentarians who happen to have a parent as a US citizen?”
The Australian government would have to track down how long each parent had lived in the US, and at what ages, and which US Supreme Court rulings have duelled with each other.
So my Australian born children, who have never set foot on American soil, will be ineligible to be members of the Australian Parliament because the US Government/IRS considers them to be “US persons” on account that they have a parent who was born in the US.
More on the issue of dual citizenship in Australia;
And as the article raises, what happens if the person is a refugee, or has a citizenship from a country that makes it difficult or impossible to renounce (ex. the US)? The effect would be to disqualify significant numbers of Australians from participation in democratic governance via public office.
This reminds me of an earlier post and discussion on the Isaac Brock Society – comments quite interesting.
Ms. Waters is not happy but she does explicitly accept that she is a Canadian citizen (“…I was unaware that I was a dual citizen.”).
… What if, instead of accepting, as she does apparently with consent, attempted imposition of Canadian citizenship, she said this to her Government and its people:
“I just discovered that there is a Canadian citizenship law that aims to impose citizenship on me even though I have never had any meaningful relationship with this foreign country.
I do acknowledge that I was born in Canada, but I left as a baby never to return and have never participated as a Canadian.
I want to assure you that I have never consented, and do not now consent, to be a Canadian citizen, as is my right — and I will not resign my seat in the Senate or renounce a foreign citizenship that I have never accepted.
To be clear, I am not a Canadian citizen and do not accept the right of a foreign government to impose citizenship on me without my consent. I am an Australian, period, and I expect my Government, including its judiciary, to protect me from this extra-territorial threat. If not, I will see them in court.”
I guess it just doesn’t occur to people that they really can exercise their right to disagree.While I no longer accept the idea that people born abroad are automatically US citizens, I guess I did in the beginning when first learning the ins and outs of all this stuff.
“They do if someone goes to a Canadian embassy/consulate/high commission to renew a Canadian passport.
They do if a former Canadian resident has a spouse residing in Canada.”
1. If you make an active decision to renew your Canadian passport, then you claim all rights and privileges to a being a Canadian.
2. If you have a spouse living in Canada while you are working abroad, does that mean that you escape from taxation? You still have to pay your Canadian taxes on your property because you have a spouse living there and partaking of those services.
For this Australian MP,Canada did nothing to her. Since her family broke all ties, with Canada; she was NOT taxed extra-territorialiy It was essentially a citizenship lying dormant until it was picked up by her again.
Two things happened.
She was born in a North American country (ALL of which use Jus Soli). Canada, United States, Mexico; ALL OF THEM). yet people are ignorant of this. Maybe this should be made aware to people who are transiting North America.
HER COUNTRY: Australia chose to discriminate against her secondary citizenship based on Australia’s pure-blood laws for government officials.
So just where do you see the problem that Canada is presenting in THIS situation? We don’t tax the shit out of people like the United States imposing punitary fines that financially destroy others. We only ask that you pay income taxes if you work abroad if you decide that you leave family members in country using resources and obtaining benefits that your family IS currently deriving benefit from even though YOU may physically be out of the country.
Make no mistake: she should divest her Canadian citizenship as quickly as possibly and thank her lucky stars that it wasn’t the United States citizenship that demanded her pay for everyone else regardless of whether she had NO family in the United States.
But even more so, I think it’s a call for Canada to rethink its attitude of conferring jus soli citizenship.to those who are born on Canadian soil NOT of Canadian parents. At least ONE parent should be Canadian (resident in Canada for at least five years prior to birth) in order for citizenship to be conveyed upon the child. Sorry, but I feel that Canada is the innocent actor in this drama.
“If you have a spouse living in Canada while you are working abroad, does that mean that you escape from taxation? You still have to pay your Canadian taxes on your property because you have a spouse living there and partaking of those services.”
If you have a spouse in Canada while you are working abroad, you DON’T escape from taxation, and sometimes you don’t escape from DOUBLE taxation. Just as a resident of Bermuda paying huge sales taxes doesn’t get to credit them against US income tax, they don’t get to credit them against Canadian taxes either.
Except… If you DIDN’T formerly reside in Canada and your spouse moves to Canada, then your spouse pays his own Canadian taxes and you don’t have to pay Canadian income tax. But if you DID formerly reside in Canada and your spouse moves to Canada, then your spouse pays his own Canadian taxes and you DO get subjected to double taxation.
Last I saw, Canada doesn’t even have joint returns. What would be wrong with just letting the resident pay his own taxes?
“Since her family broke all ties, with Canada; she was NOT taxed extra-territorialiy It was essentially a citizenship lying dormant until it was picked up by her again.”
Hypothetically, suppose a resident of Canada visited Australia and they got married. Suddenly she’d get socked.
Anyway, I was only disputing the assertion ‘Canadian laws and nationality don’t apply south of the equator.’
It’s unfortunate for her that Canada doesn’t consider taking office in a foreign country a potentially relinquishing act.
a) it all boils down to what ties you keep to Canada. If you have property in Canada; if your spouse and you keep a joint title on your property, then expect to pay taxes,. If you don’t want to keep paying taxes to Canada, then cut your ties and remove yourself from the property title.
Significant residential ties to Canada include:
a home in Canada;
a spouse or common-law partner in Canada; and
dependants in Canada;
Secondary residential ties that may be relevant include:
personal property in Canada, such as a car or furniture;
social ties in Canada, such as memberships in Canadian recreational or religious organizations;
economic ties in Canada, such as Canadian bank accounts or credit cards;
a Canadian driver’s licence;
a Canadian passport; and
health insurance with a Canadian province or territory.
2. Secondly if your wife is working. She pays income taxes; If she isn’t working, then YOU end up paying for HER support in income taxes. You still end up partaking of services to SUPPORT YOUR FAMILY.
Unlike the United States who wants taxation for nothing given in return. Canada demands that you pay for services rendered. It seems that YOU have a problem with paying taxes to any government that you claim to be a citizen of because to you, you think that “IT’S MY MONEY.”
Secondly…notice where it says “Dependents” If those were the “RUGRATS” that YOU created…then you have an obligation to pay for government services those rugrats use living in Canada.
You maintain a Canadian passport – you expect services from Canada, then you have to pay for it.
You maintain a Canadian driver’s license meaning that you want to have the right to drive on Canadian roads when you visit the country you call home: you need to maintain it otherwise, get rid of it and have your spouse drive you or take advantage of the six month visitor’s permit.
If you maintain your health insurance in Canada because you want to run back and partake of “free healthcare”…then you need to pay for that privilege too.
All of your objections speak to a rising sense of entitlement that “I earn my money abroad, why should I have to pay even if I maintain what seems like “tenuous ties” to Canada. If you have an objection to that…then free yourself from those ties. Take yoru kids and wife with you to where-ever you choose to make your living and you won’t get double-taxed, but as long as your wife and rugrats decide that Canada is their home and YOU maintain items requiring services from Canada then you are subject to Canadian taxes because of YOUR OWN CHOICE.
And ONCE AGAIN I quote. Canada renders tangible services to Canadians abroad even though that service does not extend to the right to vote. Voting is residents only as it should be, Canada also only taxes those who keep ties to Canada resulting in government expenditure of maintenance. In that regards, taxation is justified. If you choose to keep ties…to Canada (with your spouse in Canada and your dependents in Canada who use Canadian services and expect Canadian benefits – then expect to pay for it).
The United States does NOT render tangible services to American expatriates, gives them the illusion of a vote and expects you to pay taxes to support its indigents even if you do not have ANY ties to the United States. It’s a club that you have to pay to be a member.
There are some here that I see now object to ANY form of taxation justified or not.
“If you have property in Canada; if your spouse and you keep a joint title on your property, then expect to pay taxes,. If you don’t want to keep paying taxes to Canada, then cut your ties and remove yourself from the property title.”
Property taxes properly are property taxes.
If you inherit a house in Japan and (hypothetically) could afford the inheritance taxes, that should bind you to Japanese property taxes not Japanese income taxes.
My wife has dependants in her country of citizenship and former residence … and she owns the house that her dependants live in. She pays property taxes on the house.
Health insurance of Canada’s provinces sure is tied to residence and that should be a primary indicator not a secondary indicator. But making a passport an indicator, even at a secondary level, looks a lot like CBT.
Hey wait, if a former landed immigrant who never had Canadian citizenship finds herself with a spouse residing in Canada, suddenly she gets deemed a deemed resident of Canada.
Canada’s extraterritorial laws have problems too.
‘Secondly…notice where it says “Dependents” If those were the “RUGRATS” that YOU created’
Hmm. Suppose your parents stayed in Japan and you were a first-generation immigrant to Canada. You think your parents should pay Canadian income tax?
‘You maintain a Canadian driver’s license meaning that you want to have the right to drive on Canadian roads when you visit the country you call home’
I drove on Canadian roads with a Japanese driver’s licence and international driving permit when I visited the country that I expected to return to after a shorter absence than what it turned into, but my residence was an apartment in Japan and my former residence in Canada had a different tenant already. Or even if the landlord hadn’t got a new tenant yet, I still wouldn’t have any right to enter that apartment again.
So in summary:
– Countries such as the US are free to foist their citizenship upon people who have never set foot in the country (e.g. children of USCs living abroad).
– Anyone in this position can’t be an Australian MP.
In principal, could China declare that all Australian MPs are citizens with no possibility of renouncing, thereby causing the Australian government to collapse?
I realise that this is unlikely, but I am also struggling to see how it is inconsistent with current international practice.
‘I would like to announce my candidacy for US president in 2032’