Maple Sandbox is a gathering place for “US persons” to come together to share, learn and explore. Together, we will stand up to IRS bullies as we work our way through the swamp of U.S. citizenship-based taxation. We won’t allow their quicksand to suck responsible, honest tax-paying people living in other countries into IRS pit.. Continue reading
If you’re in Europe, Victoria says:
Rumors have been floating around about an EU hearing on FATCA. Well, folks, mark your European Hearing calendars and check the train schedules because it’s happening.
The hearing is called The fight against tax evasion – FATCA as a step towards international automatic exchange of information? It will be held on May 28 in Bruxelles from 15:30 to 17:00.
You can find a letter from Sophie in’t Veld to Victoria at Victoria’s Franco-American Flophouse blog.
Here, in Canada, we’re in the middle of a political scandal, where some Conservative party senators appear to have tried to scam the system and claim housing expenses which they shouldn’t. And on top of it, the Prime Minister’s chief of staff gave one of them the money ($90,000Can) to pay it back so that the investigation would stop (hmmm, ulterior motive there?). Of course, the senators are saying that the rules weren’t clear and that they just made a mistake. And yet the one who was given the money actually said he took out a bank loan to pay it back. He appears to be piling lie upon lie.
What concerns me, apart from the basic dishonesty, is how divorced from the rest of us these people are. We’re talking hundreds of thousands of dollars in false claims.
For crying out loud, $90,000 is a LOT of money to most of us. How many of us could come up with that to GIVE to a co-worker to help them out of a debt?
Almost daily I see and hear things that remind me that our society has gone deep diving into an ocean of narcissism. It’s becoming a world of ‘me first’, of ‘I deserve to have whatever I want’, of ‘what I want is more important than what you want’. Continue reading
Knock Out! Manny Pacquiao punches “insatiable” IRS.
I admit I’d never heard of Manny Pacquiao before today. I’ve now learned Pacquiao is a world class boxer and is the second highest paid athlete in the world.
American Spectator says Pac Man now “takes on his toughest opponent in his next fight: the Internal Revenue Service.”
Roy Jones, Evander Holyfield, and Floyd Mayweather all fought the most powerful three-letters in boxing and lost. Manny Pacquiao, a Filipino who doesn’t possess their home field disadvantage, has already defeated the IRS without stepping through the ropes.
By fighting in China instead of in US:
The Pac Man may be the first boxer to defeat the Tax Man. More amazingly, he may be the first tax refugee to flee the “land of the free” for China. Should he earn $20 million for his fall fight against Brandon Rios, the government in Macau will gobble up $2.5 million of it. Had he opted for Las Vegas, Uncle Sam would have seized $8 million.
Forbes explains it this way:
Because Pacquiao is neither a U.S. resident nor a citizen, he will not pay U.S. tax on any money earned from the fight, allowing him to pocket an extra 28 percent of the purse.
I’m a bit confused. Wouldn’t he have a Green Card because of his previous fights in US? Wouldn’t that still require him to pay US taxes?
In any case, I think we need the Pac Man in our ring as a FATCA fighter. Sock it to them, Manny!
This is the first piece of good news we have heard from United States of Arrogance. Rand Paul has introduced a bill to repeal FATCA (or at least the parts of it which affect most of us.)
Rand Paul is a Republican tax-fighting Senator from Kentucky. He seems to be somewhat of a maverick. He is one of the few members of Congress who has been listening, who gets it and who cares. (There I go again praising the virtues of a Republican. The world has definitely gone topsy-turvy!)
In a letter to Senate colleagues, he wrote:
“I intend to offer a bill to repeal certain provisions of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, or FATCA (P.L. 111-147). The intent of this law was to prevent tax evasion by increasing access to overseas bank accounts held by U.S. citizens. However, any law enforcement benefits have been vastly outweighed by the deleterious effects of FATCA on economic growth and the financial privacy of Americans.
“FATCA requires the financial institutions of foreign countries to register directly with the IRS, and to provide financial information on the accounts of U.S. citizens—regardless of whether or not these U.S. citizens are suspected of tax evasion,” he added. “A failure to comply with these requirements subjects that foreign financial institution (FFI) to a 30% withholding of U.S.-derived revenues. This has had the practical effect of forcing FFIs to relinquish any association with American customers, and to avoid direct investment in the United States. It goes without saying that overseas investment in the U.S. is an important engine of our economic growth and prosperity. FATCA endangers an estimated $25 trillion in foreign capital currently invested in the U.S.
“Perhaps even more troubling, the implementation of FATCA has allowed the Treasury Department to make independent decisions with respect to the sovereignty of foreign nations and the privacy of United States citizens. In order to implement this law, Treasury has initiated intergovernmental agreements (IGAs), citing the intent to engage in reciprocal information sharing with other nations,” said Paul. “The Treasury Department, without the consent and authority of Congress, will force U.S. financial institutions to provide the bank account information of private customers to foreign nations. Such a requirement not only diminishes U.S. privacy protections, but also imposes billions of dollars in compliance costs here at home, which will be passed onto customers and the American public.
“My bill is drafted with the intention of removing only FATCA provisions that undermine Americans’ constitutional privacy protections and add burdensome regulations with a negative economic impact on the United States,” Paul’s letter continued. “Other provisions enacted at the same time, such as those pertaining to clarification of foreign trusts and treatment of dividends that do not have those negative impacts, have been left alone. The intent of this bill is not to disrupt legitimate tax enforcement, only to repeal counterproductive and constitutionally suspect mandates.”
RepealFatca.com calls this a major game changer. They also say a companion bill is expected to be introduced in the House of Representatives.
Will it succeed? We can only hope. You Go Rand Paul!
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!
Like most other Canadians, I was outraged to learn that the Royal Bank of Canada has been laying off IT workers and replacing them with temporary foreign workers, with the intention of outsourcing their IT functions overseas. I was ever more outraged to learn in today’s news that RBC is not unique among Canadian chartered banks in doing this; several other members of the Canadian Bankers Association also stand accused in the media of the same practice, by some laid-off and even current IT workers from several banks other than RBC (specifically, CIBC, TD, Scotiabank and BMO).
Am I the only person who is wondering whether there is a connection between the outsourcing of the banks’ IT functions to less-expensive overseas contract workers, and the indications we hear of the banks’ preparations to comply with FATCA (which will entail some extensive and expensive IT systems work in these banks)? Outsourcing all that IT work could help reduce the costs to the banks of rolling over and complying with IRS invasion of our citizens’ financial accounts.
Is it the case that not only are the banks preparing to throw Section 15 of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms under the bus, as well as the account information on thousands upon thousands of Canadian citizens’ financial information to the tax agency of a foreign country, but they also are laying off highly-educated and highly-trained Canadian IT workers to boot in order to achieve this, even requiring those workers to train their under- or un-trained replacements in Canada before those workers go back to where they came from (and where Canadian privacy, banking and Charter rights don’t apply as those workers will be on foreign soil)?
And what will the outsourcing of IT functions overseas do to what remains of privacy, secrecy and security of Canadians’ financial information – of ALL Canadians, not only those of US origin?
I am writing today to my MP to ask these questions. I urge you all to do likewise. I would like some clear and believable answers. (No, I am not writing to CBA. I want an answer I can believe, and I think that Question Period in the House of Commons, followed as appropriate by a federal government investigation to get answers, is the only way that’s going to happen. CBA is not going to have any credibility with me on this one. I believe what fellow Canadian workers are telling CBC, not the insipid denial by that RBC official.)
If anyone was looking for a compelling reason for non-US-origin Canadians to get really upset about FATCA and the banks, this could be a very good one, if it pans out.