As this last day of covid calendar year two crawls through its final hour, this new article outlines collateral damage on the renunciation front. Sauve qui peut!
This brand-new book by Rita Shelton Deverell will be of interest to Brockers because it frames (in Introduction and Epilogue) the collection of personal stories with the author’s own account of formally terminating U.S. personhood in the 2015-2016 period.
Deverell was detained while transiting through the Miami airport early in 2015 (p. 5). On the basis of 1975 Canadian citizenship, she relinquished in August 2016 after a nine-month wait (p. 239). Far too politely, she makes no mention of the US $2350 fee. Likely this was not a big item in her budget.
The chapters gather mini-biographies under the standard headings of Canada’s treadworn exceptionalist narrative: Loyalists, Underground Railroad, McCarthyism, Vietnam War, same-sex marriage.
As a black originating from Houston Texas, and as a person familiar with Indigenous circumstances, Deverell shows some awareness of the deep cracks in the Canadian façade. Unfortunately, this manifestation of consciousness is more than offset by expressions of considerable privilege, both her own and that of most of her selected “subjects.” In the end, her attachments to Canadian statist sentiments cloud her vision, truncate her “research,” and facilitate repeated promo of how “welcoming” the essence of Canada really is.
Well-paid by Canada in many respects, Deverell pipes her tune on an unusually fancy stage. The publisher, University of Regina Press, proposes that it here provides “a voice for many peoples” in a “beautifully packaged” volume. After all, genuine criticism rarely sells well.
Here’s a fun story about a former U.S. citizen who early on ditched the U.S. millstone around his neck and then went on a shopping spree to acquire an extensive set of trophy citizenships.
Insider insights from Canadian immigration lawyer David Lesperance also include some account of a few other interesting cases, notably that of
Xiao Jianhua, the Chinese-Canadian-Antiguan billionaire who on January 27 was whisked away from the luxury Four Seasons apartments in Hong Kong and over the border.
A pair of Brit-based wonks have copped aether space on LSE USCentre for their views on — put on your seatbelt — how expatriate Americans are the most important voting bloc you’ve never heard of.
Go no further than this end-of-article paragraph lead-in:
Democrats Abroad and Republicans Overseas remain vibrant and ambitious organisations …
The whole piece is a hype front-end for a “report” (not read) titled America’s Overseas Voters: How They Could Decide The US Presidency In 2016.
The main use of this emission for Brock may be to serve as a piece of triangulation fuzz on recent ruminations about the appearance in the Republican party platform of language relating to extraterritorials.
It’s all about trying to scrape up every possible vote in what could become a weird and very tight contest? And once those votes are counted … well, that platform guff did whatever it was supposed to. Or not. Not to mention those rapporteurs.
Today’s taxation torah from Phil Hodgen goes over the top for scrupulous nitpicking. I could care less about green card from a personal standpoint. But it is so much fun to watch a monster truck roil around in the bureaucratic muck.
These concluding words deserve quotation. Not from a crass compliancer. (Hodgen shared these thousands of words for free.) From a “cleaner” — think Harvey Keitel as Winston Wolfe in Pulp Fiction — who don’t want no blowback.
I like to do stuff today that prevents future messes tomorrow.
I am an enthusiast for excessive overkill when it comes to solving problems. (See my point about preventing future messes).
To my mind, this has the highest possibility of solving the problem permanently, at the cost of an extra few hours of work right now.
Reasonable minds may differ. Your good judgment, fortunately, is not encumbered by my opinions.
There is something quintessentially American about chasing the whale. While FATCA harpooners rove the globe, their keen steel promises to take out countless ordinary fool “U.S. persons” as collateral damage. Grotesque governmental pursuit flounders through more dimensions than a bad science fiction novel.
Concepts of “residence” and “taxation” will never be the same again. Impacted individuals may amount to little more than froth on the tsunami. Even if their own wrecked lives inevitably stand front and center in their own perspectives.
The so-called sharing economy could be on the verge of dwarfing clunky old corporate inversions as a threat that zeroes in on plodding and entitled behemoths like the U.S.A. If nothing else, watching techno-payback inflicted on a failing state may offer at least the respite of schadenfreude.
In the five years since these businesses [Airbnb, Uber, etc.] began their spiraling growth, some cities and states around the globe have fought hard to make them play by the same rules as traditional hotels or taxis and collect various local taxes — often as not, they’ve lost. As the new breed of companies moves toward profitability, transforming larger chunks of the economy, policy experts say the battle is likely to shift to the national level, where billions of dollars a year in corporate taxes could be at risk. … “These companies are the future,” says Stephen Shay, a former top international tax lawyer at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, now teaching at Harvard. “The nature of their business and the structure of the companies can allow them to essentially keep all of their profits out of the U.S.”
You can read the online version of the rest of Bloomberg Businessweek’s article:
Sharing Everything But the Wealth (April 11-24,2016) 29-30.
A gripping eight-page feature story appeared in the 29 Feb-6 Mar 2016 issue of Bloomberg Businessweek (50-57). The main theme is the wranglings to save the near-extinct South China tiger. The account includes an interesting sidelight paragraph on how protagonist Stuart Bray has abandoned his U.S. citizenship.
Born and raised in America, he lives in London and maintains Belgian citizenship. A former executive at Deutsche Bank, his natural habitat is Wall Street or the Square Mile of London, where he spent a career in structured finance.
From the following passage, it appears that Bray has put his tax motivation on public record — and himself square in the crosshairs of the Reed amendment?
Just when the project needed it most, there was an unexpected windfall. While Bray was fighting with Deutsche Bank over his options, the bank put out a news release. Bray claimed that it implied his old division was caught up in a U.S. tax probe, which wasn’t the case, and he sued for libel. The suit, along with the stock dispute, was settled out of court. In 2009 he arranged for Deutsche Bank to pay £20 million to a Save China’s Tigers charitable trust as a tax-free donation. The same year, Bray gave up his American citizenship and became a Belgian national, saying he didn’t want the organization to face onerous U.S. taxes.
This posting is dedicated to Meunier.
Caveat: only a lawyer can or should attempt to read written law. (You can pay lawyers, and pay them exorbitantly — with no guarantees that they can read the stuff either.)
Even so, an extraterritorial U.S. person who holds only a U.S. passport may want to take a glance at the recent passport-related legislation glommed into the FAST Act.
The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act can be found at
On pages 418-422 is found
Subtitle A–Tax Provisions
which adds to Internal Revenue Code “the following new section:”
SEC. 7345. REVOCATION OR DENIAL OF PASSPORT IN CASE OF
CERTAIN TAX DELINQUENCIES.
The not-comforting language in these five pages includes this zinger:
The taxpayer may bring a civil action against the United States in a district court of the United States or the Tax Court to determine whether the certification was erroneous or whether the Commissioner has failed to reverse the certification.
This seems to translate as — “You think the U.S. has made a mistake? O.K. Up to you and your lawyer to sue the United States. And good luck to you.”
The tired cliché “Timing is everything” may liven up with entirely new meanings for a person who finds themselves assessed and then either has notice of lien filed against them with “administrative rights” OR faces levy “pursuant to section 6331.”
So what is that bit after the little word “or”? It seems to be this:
26 U.S. Code § 6331 – Levy and distraint
This section starts off with some viciously tight timelining:
If any person liable to pay any tax neglects or refuses to pay the same within 10 days after notice and demand, it shall be lawful for the Secretary to collect such tax (and such further sum as shall be sufficient to cover the expenses of the levy) by levy upon all property and rights to property …
Apart from the clear presence of time windows whose business is inexorable closure (whatever the specified periods may amount to in the only-for-lawyers details), some more accessible news (p. 421-422) falls under the heading
WITHOUT SOCIAL SECURITY ACCOUNT NUMBER
and provides for the denial of passport to anyone (i) not providing a number, or (ii) providing “an incorrect or invalid social security number willfully, intentionally, negligently, or recklessly.”
That memorable string of adverbs should cover just about anything?
When all is said and done, though, only a lawyer can or should attempt to read written law.
But sometimes curiosity leads into doing scary things. Especially scary for the extraterritorial U.S. person without alternative passport.
Yours truly, a fearless explorer, a survivor of many shipwrecks — never through airlift because neither a bird (condor, ostrich, whatever) nor a U.S. person who can count on that famous benefit of worldwide extraction from dire situations.
Oops, forgot, ostriches can’t fly anyway. Still, they are feathered bipeds. Feathered without tar, by the way.
“Logline” from the extensive press kit for this new documentary film:
The investigative documentary Faliciani‘s Tax Bomb follows the tracks of the obscure whistleblower Hervé Falciani who — being responsible for the so-called Swiss Leaks — caused the biggest bank data theft in the history of HSBC Bank. His delicate information hit the international finance sector like a bomb and uncovered massive tax fraud strategies exceeding billions of Euros, finally triggering off a heated debate between financial experts and political leaders about the legitimacy of tax havens. Hervé Falciani is said to be the Edward Snowden of the banking system. He is currently on the run from being arrested by the Swiss authorities.
U.S. Dept. of Justice (DoJ) loves plea deals, hates juries:
Since September 2011, federal prosecutors have taken only four FCPA [Foreign Corrupt Practices Act] cases to trial. All of them ended in “debacles for the government.”
But since DoJ knows that bully swagger almost always gets the desired results, it remains committed to cloaking its thuggery in due process:
FCPA cases, by their very nature, often require proof of criminal acts carried out in foreign countries. While obtaining foreign evidence—documents and witnesses—poses particular challenges in FCPA cases, the department remains committed to working with its domestic and foreign law enforcement partners to continue to bring successful prosecutions against the individuals who bribe foreign officials and the companies they work for.
Four in-court fails in four years means keep on with “successful prosecutions”? Shouldn’t the phrase be “successful intimidations”?