Deng Zhuodi (邓卓棣), the 28-year-old grandson of late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping, has just taken up a new position as Vice-Governor of Pingguo County in Baise City, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in southern China. English-language reports from Bloomberg and the South China Morning Post give a little more detail, but leave out a crucial fact mentioned widely in Chinese-language reports from outside the mainland (such as those from the BBC’s Chinese service and from Taiwan’s NOW News) — Deng Zhuodi was born in the U.S. while his father Deng Zhifang was studying at the University of Rochester.
In May last year, I wrote:
Incidentally, while looking at an earlier Federal Register list I came across a name matching that of another famous tech guy — one who is well known to have started a new venture outside of the U.S. recently after a number of years living abroad … I’m reasonably sure the renunciant listed is him and not another guy by the same name: a name matching his wife’s name is listed in the same quarter, and neither name is very common. I don’t think I’ll mention his name publicly right now; it may be better just to leave him and his kids in peace.
The man in question, Lee Kai-fu, has decided to discuss his renunciation publicly for the first time, and wrote a post about it on Chinese micro-blogging site Sina Weibo over the weekend, which I’ve translated after the jump. His name appeared in the Federal Register “published expatriates” list for Q3 2011, as does someone with the same name as his wife; alongside them are the names of a number of other public figures who gave up U.S. citizenship around the same time, such as Tsinghua University School of Life Sciences dean Shi Yigong and Jamaican politicians Shahine Fakhourie Robinson and Everald Warmington. Indeed, the whole reason I noticed Lee’s name was because I was browsing the list when doing research to write Robinson’s Wikipedia article.
Ever since Risk.net published its initial raft of wild speculation back in 2011, financial commentators around the world have been trying to predict how China will respond to FATCA. Never are these predictions based on any inside information from within the Chinese government; instead they’re careful Kremlinology at best, ridiculous guesses and self-aggrandising propaganda at worst. Today Reuters publishes an article falling firmly into the latter category, in which people closely involved with the development of FATCA get a public platform to proclaim that FATCA would be a great idea for China and that China is very keen on the idea of reciprocity — in the hopes that their comments will put pressure on all the smaller countries to fall into line on FATCA too:
One obstacle in the Chinese talks is likely that China wants, in return, more tax information than U.S. officials are willing to share about Chinese citizens who have assets in the United States, accountants and tax lawyers said … Treasury negotiators “will have to look at whether they can go further than they have” to meet Chinese demands, said Philip West, who served as Treasury’s international tax counsel and is now a partner at law firm Steptoe & Johnson LLP. Like the United States, China taxes citizens on worldwide income. So China should be interested in getting tax information about its citizens’ U.S. investments, tax experts said.
Our good old friend J. Richard Harvey is quoted elsewhere in the article as well; he is identified merely as a tax professor, not as the architect of FATCA whose is staking quite a bit of his professional reputation on its success. This is not the first time that Reuters has omitted this crucial little bit of information about a potential conflict of interest when quoting Harvey as an “expert source” about FATCA.
Aside from the blatantly incorrect statement about how China’s tax system works — like every other country in the world besides the US and Eritrea, China taxes based on residence and not on citizenship — it’s worth asking: where exactly did the idea originate that the Chinese government wants information about wealthy Chinese people’s asset holdings outside of China, and that the best place from which to get that information is the U.S. government? The answer: a marginal exile television station run by a racist cult, reporting on rumours spread by Chinese internet users.
James George Jatras for RepealFATCA.com
February 22, 2013
FATCA: the “Fear And Total Confusion Act”
As noted earlier, FATCA (the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) is unenforceable and unviable unless virtually all countries in the world – or at least all the major financial centers – sign on. That is looking less and less likely, spelling big trouble for a law that one of America’s top tax lawyers has correctly described as “sheer idiocy.”
Q: Why would FATCA unravel if China doesn’t sign an IGA with the U.S.?
FATCA could, ultimately, unravel if China rejects the IGA because FATCA’s primary strength would come from all governments around the world forcing their financial institutions to become compliant with it.
Should the country which looks set to be the world’s dominant economic super power in a matter of decades rebuff FATCA, the project would be compromised and could, in the end, fail as such a stance would, many experts agree, prompt other countries to do the same.
Q: Why is China playing hardball with the U.S. over FATCA?
Read more here.
The tax-industrial complex continues its efforts to promote lifetime employment and ever-rising salaries for tax consultants. Today they’ve turned their efforts towards Taiwan, whose governing officials have recently shown an alarming outbreak of insufficient zeal for kowtowing to Washington’s divide-and-conquer FATCA strategy. Two Deloitte accountants take time out of their busy schedules of helping large companies “optimise” their tax burdens in order to encourage these wayward souls back on to the straight and narrow.
|FATCA negotiations progress: our country losing to Japan, Singapore, South Korea|
|29 November 2012, 01:21
Commercial Times reporter Chang Kuo-jen
|美國總統歐巴馬連任成功，美國打擊美國人海外逃稅動作加快，預計今年底前將與約50個國家完成簽訂政府間協定或協商，遵守外國帳戶稅收遵從法（FATCA） 規定，而我國應對性不足，迄無任何具體行動，金融業界擔心受罰憂心忡忡。||With U.S. president Obama’s re-election, the U.S.’ attack on overseas tax evasion by Americans is picking up speed, and it is forecast that by the end of the year it will conclude the signing of intergovernmental agreements or negotiations with more than fifty countries regarding compliance with Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act regulations. However, our country is not being responsive enough, and up to now has not taken any concrete action, leaving the finance industry worried that it will be penalised.|
Hong Kong-based financial news group Finet reports on remarks by Liu Xiangmin of the People’s Bank of China on FATCA; I’ve translated their article below. Risk.net and Reuters have similar reports in English: “US should show more respect over Fatca” and “China central bank official slams U.S. tax dodging law”.
|人行：美國FATCA法案違反中國法律，並增不必要開支||People’s Bank: U.S. FATCA legislation violates Chinese law, unnecessarily increases expenses|
|人行條法司副司長劉向民表示，美國即將實施的「海外帳戶稅收遵循法案」(FATCA)法案對於中國的銀行會產生不必要的開支，亦令相關銀行因為向美國政府泄露客戶資料，而違反中國法律，他指出，兩國法律之間的相抵觸並非新事物，但因中國的公司近年才於海外設立辦事處或分行，有關的問題才浮現。||People’s Bank of China Department of Treaty and Law Deputy Director-General Liu Xiangmin stated, the United States’ soon-to-be-implemented Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) will result in unnecessary expenditures for China’s banks, and those banks which disclose customer data to the United States government will be in violation of Chinese law. He pointed out, conflict between the two countries’ laws is not a new phenomenon, but as Chinese companies have only recently begun to establish overseas representative offices and branches, the problem did not manifest itself until now.|
Curtis Poe, a fellow U.S. Person abroad and occasional Isaac Brock Society commenter, has an interesting post over at his blog Overseas Exile comparing renunciation rates in New Zealand and the United States. He wrote to New Zealand’s Department of Internal Affairs to get their data, and he’s looking for renunciation-of-citizenship data from other countries as well. This was as good a kick-in-the-pants as I’m ever going to get to compile and summarise the data that I’ve been bookmarking over the past few months from various Asian countries, so I’ve written it all up below. I’ve also done a bit of my own back-of-the-envelope analysis: the U.S. renunciation rate may look small, but it’s actually rather high compared to other countries which allow dual citizenship. Since we have commenters from all over the world here, hopefully some of you can help Curtis out with data from your own countries as well.
The latest FATCA news from Taiwan and mainland China: Taiwan banks are busy worrying about the mainland’s attitude, but Beijing is still not releasing any details besides confirming the fact that FATCA discussions with Washington are underway. On the bright side, the lack of confirmation about the mainland’s final disposition towards FATCA seems to be spooking banks in Taiwan. They certainly seem less confident in their original “bright idea” of solving all their problems by shredding Taiwan’s consumer data privacy laws in order to reduce their costs of complying with FATCA — because they realised they might also face issues in other major markets where they have far less lobbying power to encourage similar “solutions”. Translations below.
Thanks to Congress and the IRS, ordinary taxpayers who migrate from one country to another face incomprehensible tax reporting and payment obligations, involving a burden of time and accountants’ fees all out of proportion to the actual monetary amounts involved. Immigrant and emigrant taxpayers who have failed to comply with these requirements despite their best efforts face huge fines. In response, voluntary groups are picking up the slack and holding seminars at their own expense to warn immigrant taxpayers about the burdens they face. The World Journal, a Chinese-language newspaper based in New York, reports on one such seminar held in Florida this past week. I’ve translated their article below.