Living As a U.S. Citizen in a #FATCA and #FBAR World

Here is the video of the meeting that took place this past Monday, December 5, 2016 at the Atwater Library in Montreal. Once again, John Richardson and Andrew Grossman meet up to discuss, analyze and muse over the situation expats find themselves thanks to the complexity to the U.S. tax code. Bizarre!

Super thanks to David Zimmerly for making the trek (through snow), setting up/videoing, and already having the finished product!

ENJOY & please share widely!

A set of posts form a perfect companion set to this video. On John writes:

This series of posts developed from my “Educational Outreach” program for Americans abroad. It is an effort to respond in a practical way to the questions that people have.

“When in Rome, live as a Homelander” does, when elsewhere, live as they live elsewhere.”

Chapter 5: Living Clean – How to live outside the United States in an #FBAR and #FATCA world

Americans abroad are constantly told that they should “come clean”. They should file their U.S. taxes. This assumes that they are somehow “unclean” or perhaps “dirty”. The life of an “American abroad” is about three things:

1. “Thinking Clean” – The importance of “thinking clean” while living abroad.

2. “Coming Clean” – Atoning for the sins of “living abroad” and entering the U.S. tax system; and

3. “Living Clean” – Living as a Homeland American outside the United States

Whether you have yet to decide about coming into compliance or you have filed (but are unsure whether you or your tax compliance firm has actually done all that is required), check out this set of posts to get a taste of what’s involved:

“Coming Into Tax Compliance Book” – How Americans can come into U.S. tax compliance in a FATCA world

You can’t make this stuff up!

“Solving U.S. Citizenship Problems” – Online January 9, 2017 (Australia)

Information Session

Of particular interest is the issue of the Australian “Super.”
While all expatriates worldwide experience country-specific problems, this one is perhaps one of the worst. By law, Australians are required to contribute to their own retirement; this system is unique among government-sponsored retirement planning. Why on earth should the U.S. be able to tax these?

Online Renunciation Information Session with John Richardson – 9 Jan 2017

Presented by: John Richardson is a Toronto citizenship lawyer, the co-chairman of the Alliance for the Defence of Canadian Sovereignty as well as the Alliance for the Defeat of Citizenship Taxation. He is a member of the ACA Professional Taxation Advisory Council. He holds the degrees of B.A., LL.B., and J.D. He is a member of the Massachusetts, New York and Ontario bars. His law practice focuses on “Solving the Problems of U.S. Citizenship” including relinquishing and the “Exit Tax”. He gives programs for expats all across Canada and Europe. He writes extensively at

WHEN: Monday 9 January 2017
10:00 AM AEDT (Sydney, Melbourne);
9:00 AM AEST (Brisbane);
9:30 AM ACDT (Adelaide);
7:00 AM AWST (Perth);
UTC: Sunday 8 January 11pm. Convert to your time zone
Program will last for one hour

What’s this about?

Since Australia agreed to the FATCA IGA in 2014, Australian financial institutions have been asking ALL new account holders and some existing account holders whether they are U.S. citizens. Many have no idea of the consequences of admitting to U.S. citizenship, a U.S. place of birth or being born to U.S. parents. In this one hour session, John Richardson will address the following topics:

Who is a U.S. citizen?

What about those born in Australia who
a) were registered with the consulate and have U.S. passports, but never lived in the U.S.;
b) were NOT registered with the consulate and do NOT have U.S. passports.

Look before you leap!!

  • The pitfalls of entering the U.S. tax system – a brief overview of what it really means to be “U.S. tax compliant” in Australia
  • Can the U.S. really tax my super?
  • The ATO says tax treaties “eliminate double taxation,” so why can the U.S. tax my Australian income?
  • How do I relinquish/renounce U.S. citizenship?
  • Is a CLN necessary? How can I document loss of citizenship without a CLN?
  • How is relinquishment different from renunciation?
  • Didn’t I lose U.S. citizenship when I became an Australian citizen?
  • There’s an EXIT TAX???

Other topics

  • How renouncing U.S. citizenship may put your superannuation (and other savings) at risk
  • How to renounce and exit the U.S. tax system cleanly and avoid being a “covered expatriate”
  • I have just learned about the FATCA problem! The difference between “responding” and “reacting” – things you should NOT do!
  • I thought I lived in Australia! Why do I have to follow U.S. law when I live in Australia?
  • What can the U.S. do if I’m non-compliant?
  • If my bank has identified me as a U.S. Person, can I satisfy the bank without entering the U.S. tax system?
    This session will be held online. Details on how to sign up for the session will be available soon.


Dual Citizens of Sweden, France, Netherlands, Denmark & Canada take note! Your Country WILL NOT Collect for the U.S.

cross-posted from

Last week in my email was a link to an article by Michael J DeBlis (unable to determine whether it was the father or the son). It runs in my memory that prior to the launch of the Tax Connections website, the younger Michael had started a blog that was specifically about expatriate issues and many of us joined and took part. He seemed particularly sympathetic and supportive of our plight and one who I would never have labelled a “condor.” And this post is in no way meant to be demeaning.

Imagine my surprise to read this:

Consider the following example. Pierre is a dual citizen of the U.S. and Canada who presently resides in Montreal. He has fastidiously filed U.S. and Canadian tax returns for the last ten years. Following an audit of his 2012 U.S. tax return, the IRS determined that there was a $ 20,000 deficiency and mailed him a notice of deficiency. Pierre timely filed a protest but Appeals found in favor of the IRS. Having failed to file a petition with the tax court, that deficiency soon became a $ 20,000 assessment.

The IRS now seeks to collect on its claim by imposing a tax lien on real estate owned by Pierre in Canada. Essentially, what the U.S. government is attempting to do is cajole collection officials from the Canadian Revenue Agency (Agence du revenue du Canada) to do its dirty work for it: namely, to collect Pierre’s unpaid U.S. taxes by enforcing an IRS tax lien on property located within Canada.

As incredible as this might sound, reliance upon a foreign taxing authority for assistance in collecting a tax judgment against a citizen of the requesting country is entirely permissible under the terms of the U.S.-Canadian Treaty. Of course, such a request must be accompanied by documents firmly establishing that the taxes have been finally determined.[ix]

Therefore, the Canadian Revenue Agency would have no choice but to enforce the lien and to collect the unpaid taxes. But what if Pierre filed a motion in a Canadian court to have the tax lien imposed by the Canadian Revenue Agency, at the behest of the IRS, set aside? Not surprisingly, the court would refuse Pierre’s request on the grounds that the imposition of the tax lien was proper under the terms of the treaty.

Continue reading

Israel Dismisses FATCA Case


The Israeli Supreme Court dismissed the case against FATCA.

It seems the Supreme Court of Israel thinks privacy is dead in today’s world:

“What can be done? In the modern world the right to privacy is very limited,” Supreme Court Justice Mazuz said. “The alternative to privacy is criminal acts of every kind. This is nothing new, except for the fact that it is regulated now under law and other mechanisms. It’s like the infringement on the right to freedom of occupation. There is always a need for licensing, regulation, and supervision. There are many infringements on freedom of occupation, right to property and privacy, because without it modern society cannot function.”

Scary stuff. Sounds like Justice Mazuz is an ally of the likes of Carl Levin and Gerald Keddy.

By Israel Court approving law targeting “Americans living in Israel,” the Israeli Supreme Court also seems to think U.S. law dictates constitutions of the world:

Justice Hanan Meltzer in part justified the law by noting its acceptance by the United States, saying this created a presumption of constitutionality.

“As long as the US law is in force, there is a presumption of constitutionality in regards to its purposes.”

In other words, U.S, “Congress has spoken” for Israel.

Proposal to Repeal FATCA in U.S. Congress

Republican U.S. Congressman Mark Meadows is proposing to repeal “the heart of FATCA” according to Bloomberg.

In the article FATCA Reporting Under Assault in U.S. House Legislation, Bloomberg says:

The law “goes well beyond what is appropriate” and violates U.S. citizens’ constitutional right to privacy under the Fourth Amendment, Meadows said in a news release Sept. 7. FATCA also creates “unnecessary burdens,” he said.

The actual bill begins:

“To repeal the violation of sovereign nations’ laws and privacy matters”

The rest is legalese. Any legal minds out there who can decipher this for us?

I’m not certain from reading this article if the bill has actually be introduced in Congress or if it is just proposed. I suspect this will never be passed.

But someone is listening. I would love to have a new version of “Congress has spoken.”