We like stories, we like to summarize, and we like to simplify, i.e., to reduce the dimensions of matters. The first of the problems of human nature that we examine in this section … is what I call the narrative fallacy. (It is actually a fraud, but, to be more polite, I will call it a fallacy.) The fallacy is associated with our vulnerability to overinterpretation and our predilection for compact stories over raw truths. It severely distorts our mental representation of the world; it is particularly acute when it comes to a rare event.
The narrative fallacy addresses our limited ability to look at sequences of facts without weaving an explanation into them, or, equivalently, forcing a logical link, an arrow of relationship, upon them. Explanations bind facts together. They make them all the more easily remembered; they help them make more sense. Where this propensity can go wrong is when it increases our impression of understanding.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb (emphasis his), The Black Swan
The news media always tells stories. When it comes to the IRS problem that so-called USA citizens abroad have, there is a majority narrative fallacy, which has come out ever so clearly in the recent stories about the Duchess of Sussex and now her baby, who not yet born is already owing the IRS his loyalty and taxes. CNN has spread a particularly egregious narrative fraud based upon the testimony of David Treitel, who has a conflict of interest since his livelihood and his wealth derives from helping overseas taxpayers come into IRS compliance:
That’s because as US citizens, both Meghan and her baby — who will be seventh in line to the British throne — will be liable to pay US taxes, which could potentially open up the notoriously private royal accounts to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
“The United States has — unique among nations — a citizenship-based taxation (system), so as long as Meghan is a citizen of the United States she is taxed,” explained David Treitel, the founder of American Tax Returns Ltd., which provides taxation advice to US expats.
The law means US tax inspectors could scrutinize Harry and Meghan’s royal wealth, and the income of their newborn child.
The article goes from bad to ridiculous, claiming that Merkle and her baby will have to pony up taxes on such things as their home in the UK and the Crown jewelry. To summarize some of the main points of this narrative fraud:
- The Duchess of Sussex must pay USA taxes because this is what the IRS requires.
- There is no escape except to renounce.
- The only law that matters is USA law.
- UK law is by implication irrelevant.
- The Royal family will be exposed to the IRS tax man.
- There is by implication nothing wrong with this obligation.
- By implication also, if the Royal Family can’t escape the IRS, you can’t either.
One reason for the existence of the Isaac Brock Society is to provide a counter narrative to this fraud. I would respond with the following Brock narrative:
- The unborn baby will have a say regarding what citizenship he (or she) will have. He will be born in UK to the Royal family and that means he is completely out of reach of foreign governments, not least of all the USA, just because the Crown will protect him.
- USA law applied not just to the Royal family but also to most other so-called USA citizens abroad is a gross overreach and done only in violation of international laws and conventions.
- The IRS and the compliance industry are bad players, two branches of a well-organized crime syndicate, and they are acting in a manner which is immoral.
- CNN receives advertising dollars from the compliance and the banking industries and therefore has a conflict of interest that skews their fraudulent reporting.
Of course the new child must obey US law. That will make him a danger on the UK roads, when he tries to drive on the right rather than the left, but hey, US law must prevail no matter where you live!
The static about the American Swedish prince died out…but then they moved back to Florida
There was a section called . Ask your questions about…
It had 3 threads at least 2 of which were very useful. That section has disappeared. In the announcement thread, there were a number of requests to bring that section back. The announcements are now closed so I’m posting here. Pacifica777 was in favour of bringing them back. I thought she was an administrator with the power to do so.
The renunciation threads haven’t disappeared. Here are Part One and Part Two:
I think if pacifica777 puts a new Part Three in the sidebar she’ll put links for these threads in the post.
@ Portland and EmBee,
Done. It’s in the Sidebar box titled “Important Information.” We’ll keep it very tight focused, and if the conversation rambles, move the rambly comments. That should make it more efficient for looking back to find a particular discussion and for future readers looking to learn more as quickly as possible.
That,s a start Thank you. How about calling it Ask your questions about... . At the moment it says Oops that page can’t be found.
There’s a little glitch in the URL I think. Pacifica will fix it I’m sure. Meanwhile try this:
Fixed. Thank you.
If the baby comes to own assets in the USA, they could theoretically be seized. (In reality the State Department would intervene on the grounds that this would harm American diplomatic interests.)
While the royal prince story is fun in some ways, and educative in others, it’s also true that the US is not omnipotent and that its laws should not be assumed to be applicable elsewhere. Notably it doesn’t hurt to repeat, as you do, that the baby will not have “automatic” citizenship. In fact, if his/her mother doesn’t apply for it, he/she won’t get it. And that will be the end of that aspect of this mess. Just another UK royal baby with no ties to the US. Unless I’m missing something…
Not sure where to pos this. Please move if appropriate.
I had my “What!!???” moment a few years ago. I was sitting on the verandah of a golf course with a couple of people I had just finished playing with. I mentioned that I originated in the US. They then said “Have you heard?…..” and I was astounded. A few hours later, I called these people and asked them not to mention where I came from or what we had discussed. I was afraid and didn’t want others to know my situation until I had time to study and process it.
At the time, I was a senior man who had been living in Canada for many years and had always been scrupulous about obeying the laws of the land in which I lived, including income tax laws. It was a terrific shock to be told that, according to the US government, I was a potential criminal because I had not been reporting to them! It was upsetting and terrifying to me and my Canadian family. Family members are still afraid but I have informed myself and can look at the situation more rationally now. The family basically refuses to listen, saying that my informed rationality is wishful thinking.
My informing process started by attending a John Richardson seminar in my city. Then I found the Isaac Brock site shortly after it had been started by Peter Dunn and my deeper education began. Brock has been a steady companion and help over the long journey. I had a few very helpful private consultations with John as I developed my strategy for action. I made a substantial contribution to the Canadian court case. But I have not posted in Brock until now, out of respect for my still-afraid family. I’m doing so now because I think it might be helpful to those who have been so hardworking and faithful to the benefit of people like me, and may be feeling a little discouraged because of the criticism of the Isaac Brock website. Make no mistake, Brock is still the unsurpassed location for excellent information, experiences and advice. I am very grateful for it. I hope Brock continues at least until the mess is cleaned up one way or another for all of us innocent victims.
One thing I have wondered all along. Why is our plight mostly ignored? Many other oppressed minorities are recognized, their situation publicized, and ultimately something is done about it. In our case, media pretty well ignores it and people around us do not want to talk about it. That includes those closest to us. Their attitude is “You live in our society and have all the benefits we do. Why be upset over a few forms and maybe a little tax?” Or to say it another way “You shouldn’t feel the way you do” (meaning you shouldn’t have negative emotions about this). It’s similar to saying to a person with cancer “You shouldn’t be concerned about it. You live in the most advanced medical society ever. You shouldn’t feel the way you do.” In both instances, the commenters are saying that the victim is wrong and is less a person for being so weak as to be upset by such trivialities.
There is another important difference from most other minorities. We’re scattered throughout the societies in which we live, carrying on lives indistinguishable from our neighbours. In Canada, we have no distinguishing personal characteristics, like modes of dress or skin colour. Even our accent can be indistinguishable. I have never been identified as originating in the US in all the years I have lived in Canada.
So we’re very easy to ignore. And we do live in a fine society with lots of benefits, for which I am thankful. So I feel a little guilty to be concerned about such a minor annoyance as US taxes and reporting. So I seldom mention it. Invisibility helps perpetuate the situation.
All of this makes the importance of Brock stand out. And the lawsuit, of course. In Brock, our invisible minority has a place to learn about others in similar situations, find empathy for their feelings, and gain unique useful information. The lawsuit will help substantiate that we are being discriminated against harmfully on the basis of birthplace or parentage.
Thank you for your praise of Brock and its role in helping US persons find a way through this mire.
I think that the reason our plight has been ignored is because of the financial dependence of other countries on the almighty dollar after the fall of the gold standard. Most banks, investment companies, retirement funds and hence governments are hugely invested in the US stock market. Eritrea can be criticized without retribution, US criticism and non cooperation brings negative consequences.
As Thomas Jefferson once said, you don’t need an army if you control the finances.
@ Nowcan Exus (great choice of nom de plume)
Thank you for dropping your cloak of invisibility to give us your message. I can empathize with that fear of being revealed and then misunderstood or possibly even reviled. I told a few people about my plight back when it first began but eventually started hoping they would forget what I’d said to them. I speak of it no more and if I must mention the USA I often just call it “that other country”. Brock has been a blessing for me because If I’d had to keep a cork in my bottle of anxiety the inevitable explosion would have been devastating. Actually I did blow up 5 years ago. Took it out on my husband and will forever be ashamed of myself for that.
It’s more than controlling the finances. It’s about controlling the narrative too. The powers that should NOT be could convince the vast majority of people that the sky is red, if they chose to do so.
” I think that the reason our plight has been ignored is because of the financial dependence of other countries on the almighty dollar after the fall of the gold standard ”
Not the complete picture. There is also the matter of perception. In ancient times , holding roman citzenship was perceived as golden and nonromsns would most likely look at someone wishing to divest oneself of such privelege as mad.
Why, you even have regular Brock contributors suggesting that some renunciants be weary of recommending that their children renounce since US citzenship might serve as a free pass into the land of golden opportunity. Land of milk and honey.
@EmBee @ RobertRoss
I agree Its multifaceted. The arrogance of exceptionalism eventually leads to the fall of empires.
But the push to convince our resident countries to abandon us , which was the question asked by Exus, came through a need to protect their banks and financial institutions from the FATCA dictate.
I am also surprised by those renunciants who cling to the idea that the US could have something to offer their offspring, but I guess that is all part of the residual brain washing.
The financial dependency will gradually fade ,hopefully,as EU,Russia,China,India form more trade agreements in the future.Some credit to Trump,of course. As Canadians ,we are royally screwed.
The UK will be screwed too if they leave the strength of the EU and put their faith in dealing with the US, but that’s a whole other story…..
This site is a great meeting place full of information, we should learn to become informed, evaluate our own situation and make the best choices for ourselves. We are being manipulated in many ways with sensory overload, people are less able to focus, often making a choice out of haste for comfort.
The compliance industry, media, and entertainment industry perpetuate perceptions in many ways, as pointed out about the ancient Roman Empire and having citizenship in it.
We are all on our own journey along our paths in life and only we should give appropriate weight to our decisions in terms of ethics, patriotism, fulfillment, choice of where to live and how to do it.
The whole FATCA issue is violates the boundary of individual’s choices with the identifier of “us person(ship) or citizen” and was forced through “Foreign” Countries under the threat of 30% sanction of an entire economic sector, banks, as opposed to generally withholding 30% as a pre-tax to the individual, partnerships, estates & trusts as it is applied in the USA.
Compliance requires consent which violates sovereignty and international law in principle. It has become such a labyrinth to navigate through and the “Foreign Taxpayer” is placed in such a precarious position with reporting requirements, procedures that are beyond complex which can easily result in subjective assessments in the form of penalties / interest / recalcitrant taxpayer status / passport issues, to which the us person has no representation in Congress, living overseas.
Have formed a conclusion that this entire situation has become utter madness for many involved, even stressful for those that remain silent, in the shadows. The quickest and most direct resolution is the Charter Challenge against the Canadian Government. If the US can insist on renegotiating NAFTA or scrap it, then Canada can insist on Renegotiating Fatca. And soon, the Canadian Government may not be able to comply with it,…. hopefully the Decision will render change!
I think the comments to threads are being closed too quickly. What is it, two weeks and then the thread is closed? It should be at least a month. Some of us only visit the site infrequently, not every day or every week.
I think the US should change the designation “recalcitrant account holder” to “uppity account holder” to more accurately reflect expats’ status in the eyes of the govt.
An interesting article which touches extra territorial enforcement of domestic law.