A new organisation, Stop Extraterritorial American Taxation (SEAT), which is singularly focused on ending CBT, has been formed by John Richardson, Keith Redmond, Karen Alpert, Laura Snyder, David Johnstone and Suzanne Herman.
“While there are several organizations for American expatriates that address the tax issues, none is solely focused on extraterritorial taxation. SEAT is a non-partisan international organization created under the laws of France (Law of 1901). Furthermore, SEAT does not accept sponsorship from anyone in the tax compliance industry, so you can be sure that information on this site is independent. You can learn more about SEAT and its founders on our website.”
I encourage current and former US citizens to take SEAT’s Survey. Deadline is November 30th. Your participation in the Survey will enable SEAT to better educate policymakers, the media and the public.
We have strength in numbers. Please take the associated survey.
I took the survey. Glad to know the fight to end FATCA and CBT is still ongoing. What a mess south of the border these days! Happy to be in Canada with one citizenship.
Survey completed is there anyway to see how many have completed it?
Thank you and PatCanadian. I’ll ask the survey’s creator, Laura Snyder.
I started but did not complete it. I found the questions too intrusive.
My husband did the survey on both our behalves. I agree that some of the questions cross the boundary into self-incrimination. We had to discuss with each other before continuing. We only did so because we’re acquainted with who SEAT’s founders are and trust in their integrity, and we know that brutally honest testimony is necessary for their goals. Not so sure that a newcomer to these issues or the people involved would be quite as trusting.
If you are concerned about privacy, use a VPN and don’t leave an e-mail address.
I’m familiar with SEAT’s founders and have met a couple of them. I believe anonymity will be kept. My US personhood is over and done with and I have not heard from the IRS since renouncing. Others may be in a more precarious position however and may be more hesitant. If so, maybe don’t leave an email.
The survey instructions mention you can skip questions: “A participant can choose not to participate in part or all of the survey, and can withdraw freely at any stage.”
That’s one reason I took it, knowing I had the option to skip a question (I’m leery of wasting my time, as I’ve run into surveys where it shuts you out from continuing if you don’t answer a question).
Also it says it takes about 15-20 minutes. BUT It could take as little as about 5 minutes, I’d say. Because it has “multiple choice” questions and “write your thoughts/experiences” questions. If you just do multiple choice, for example, it would go pretty quick. I skipped some “write your thoughts/experiences” questions because I didn’t really have anything to say and it went very smoothly.
When I contemplated complying with the US demands for reporting, I started counting the costs and benefits. The costs would be my time (which would be considerable) and paying for help. The benefit would be that the threat of bigger costs caused by taxation and fines would be reduced. I would get no other benefit from the US. I felt like, if I reported, I should include an invoice to the US for my costs and time. Then, at least, I would get something for my effort. Otherwise I was wasting effort and money.
But, I thought when I heard what the US was asking financial institutions to do, these institutions surely would not agree. It would be a big cost to them. Not only in their efforts to set up and operate systems but the cost of poorer customer relations. Who would want to do business with a bank that was deliberately breaching confidentiality? The only benefit to the bank would be avoiding the possibility of sanction costs. To my surprise, banks all over the world agreed to act as IRS agents free of charge to the US! Bank customers would be paying for this. Fear of potential costs won the day.
Next, governments around the world were asked to by the US to work around their sovereignty and human rights legislation and become IRS agents. Surely, I thought, it would be obvious that this would weaken the country and cost it a lot of money. They would not agree, so I thought. But, to my surprise, countries all over the world did. In Canada, the tax collection agency became a US IRS agent, reporting to the US. At no charge, just a cost to the taxpayers. And when challenged in court, Canada is vigourously defending its work-arounds at great cost to taxpayers. Not to mention the cost to the people trying to point it out to the Canadian government in the lawsuit.
So financial institutions and national governments have agreed to undertake real, immediate and ongoing costs because of the fear of possible larger costs if they don’t comply. Real versus potential.
The targets of this scheme, (individuals who have left the US to live in other countries and their offspring) have been crying foul for some time. The main bases of their complaint has been the unfairness and illegality of the scheme. These, in my opinion, are legitimate and efforts to have the scheme changed through all available channels should be continued.
But there is something that I have not seem emphasized. COST. There are real and measurable monetary costs at all stages of this scheme. The data might not be easily available but the costs are there. It costs the US to receive and process forms and data, with hardly any revenue as a result. It costs the financial institutions, with no revenue return. The same for governments. All cost and no revenue. Or to put it another way, a monumental waste of effort and money. There is only one beneficiary, as far as I know, and that is those who assist individuals targeted by the scheme to navigate the legal and financial ramifications. The compliance industry. They make a profit on it. Everybody else loses.
I’m thinking spotlighting costs would be a strong addition to the current efforts to inform. Costs are real, current and ongoing, and I think financial institution customers, taxpayers in all countries (including the US), and politicians would be aghast if they knew what they are paying.
I completed the survey yesterday. I answered honestly that it was going to be extremely difficult to deal with two incompatible tax regimes.
If compliance had been simple, I would have even been willing to pay a degree of double taxation to the US. I see it as a sort of membership fee.
I thus didn’t renounce to avoid U.S. taxation. But I was going to face burdensome compliance headaches, intrusive reporting to FINCEN and the IRS, and complicated tax returns.
I would have faced ongoing expensive annual accounting fees probably north of $2000!!
I’ve recently been made redundant and do food delivery on a bicycle. I just couldn’t afford those sorts of fees and stress.
My banks and retirement fund wouldn’t have wanted to deal with a U.S. person either. Sad but so relieved to be finally out. My statutes of limitations just recently closed so feel freer to speak. 🙂
@ Wasus Nowcan
This is how I see it but others may not. Data is the mother lode these days. Corporations, governments and covert agencies will overturn any stone; spend any amount of money; obliterate any human or sovereign right which stands in their way; take advantage of any crisis; and use any trick, tactic, technology or threat they can conjure up to obtain mountains of data which will be used to increase their control over humanity and transfer wealth to the pinnacle of the pyramid.
FATCA is one facet among many in this agenda. Chipping away at FATCA is a noble and necessary effort and I applaud SEAT and all the previous and current campaigns to liberate everyone adversely affected by this injustice.
@ Mona Lisa,
Good to hear from you and especially nice to read that the statute of limitations has closed. That must give a nice sense of finality. That’s great that you’re feeling freer, and I guess (I hope!) it helps make the really bad years back around ’11 feel further in the past. I’m sorry to hear that you were made redundant. I hope things pick up for you on that front. Keep well!
I hope you have expressed this in the survey.
You are right – the costs are outrageous. When I sent my accounting bill to my contact, a Senior Policy Advisor at my congressman’s office, it got an immediate response.
With his advice, SEAT will be embarking upon an initiative to educate key policy makers in the new Congress. The survey is vital in any educational outreach. Please participate and join our mailing list for updates.
@Pacifica777, how kind of you to still remember how much I went through back then! Time has softened it somewhat though…with hindsight, I suspect I panicked and that they were never that interested in me.
It all seemed so perilous at the time though, especially under Douglas Schulman. He was really rattling!!
Renouncing when I did was no doubt a wise decision though COVID has made it impossible to cross borders to see family.
Done – yes some of the questions get personal but I answered them in the principle of continuing to fight FATCA & US CBT.
I’ve been “off-line” for a while so imagine my delight when I returned and found this important new development! Many thanks to the “familiar faces” who undertook this initiative.
I’ve just taken the survey. It’s very detailed but only as intrusive as you’re willing to make it. You can skip any portions you don’t want to participate in.
Hi all, long time no see. Trump, love him or hate him, the IRS beast has not been fed the last few years and though I have been laying low it’s been peaceful. Just having bad feelings about the new Congress so I popped on in.
Anyways did not nor will try for the $1,200 they can keep it….I just want to be in peace.
Thanks to you all for still fighting.
Indeed, it’s all been very peaceful in Canada. Banks are doing the bare minimum with FATCA, very easy to avoid. I don’t expect that to change, nor do I expect the IRS to become more active. There’s very little money to be made chasing after US citizens who earn their income and pay their taxes abroad. They know this.
Renunciations will take forever thanks to the pandemic. I joined the queue on the day the election was called for Biden, less out of concern that the the US would become more aggressive in pursuit of the non-compliant, but rather not wanting to wait if years if demand increased; my reasons for finally doing this have nothing to do with fear of being taxed at some point in the future.
The stimulus benefit will soon be $3200 if they boost the second payment to $2000, as promised. While it’s a dumb idea to become lifetime tax compliant for that amount of money, it’s not a bad way to finance renunciation. I rather like the idea of paying the outrageous fee with the US government’s own money.