Acronyms and Definitions

Acronyms and Definitions

AARO:  Association of Americans Resident Overseas
ACA: American Citizens Abroad: “The voice of Americans Overseas”.
CBA: Canadian Bankers Association: business association for banks, providing centralized contact between the government and banks.
CCLA: Canadian Civil Liberties Association: “Since 1964, CCLA has passionately defended the fundamental human rights and civil liberties of all Canadians…”
CIC: Citizenship and Immigration Canada
CLN: Certificate of Loss of Nationality: issued by the United States upon relinquishment or renunciation of American citizenship.

Thanks to Johnnb for these additional acronyms on CLN:

CA – Consular Affairs
OCS – Overseas Citizens Services
ACS – American Citizens Services
WHA – Western Hemisphere Affairs

Thanks to Pacifica for CLN office acronyms for Sandboxers in the eastern hemisphere:

AF = African Affairs
EAP = East Asian and Pacific Affairs
EUR = European and Eurasian Affairs
NESCA = Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs

CAS: Competent Authority Services: Where a person considers that the actions of Canada or a treaty partner result or may result in taxation not in accordance with a particular treaty, the person may request competent authority assistance.
CRA: Canada Revenue Agency
DOS: (United States) Department of State
DOJ: (United States) Department of Justice
DOT: (United States) Department of Treasury
FATCA: Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act – the United States attempt to get all banks to identify and report on their ‘US persons’. Supposedly to combat tax evasion. (Blaze calls FATCA Foreign Attack To Control All)
FBAR: Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts – all US persons must file an FBAR if the aggregate value of all foreign accounts exceeds $10,000 at any time during the calendar year, and on any accounts the person has an interest in or signing authority on. Massive penalties can be applied for failing to file.
Form 1040: U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.
Form 4079: Request for determination of loss of United States citizenship
Form 4080: Oath/Affirmation of Renunciation of Nationality of United States.
Form 4081:  Statement of Understanding Concerning the Consequences and Ramifications of Renunciation or Relinquishment of U.S. Citizenship.
Form 4083:  Certificate of Loss of Nationality of the United States.
Form 8854: Initial and Annual Expatriation Statement, six page form to be filed with IRS by June 15th of year following expatriation (see links for form and instructions).
Form 8938: Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets – required by the IRS, but it difficult to see the difference between this and FBAR.
IBS: Isaac Brock Society: a hard hitting blog dedicated to fighting the United States policy on citizenship based taxation, and a lot more.
IGA: Intergovernmental Agreement – country to country agreement on FATCA implementation.
IRS: Internal Revenue Service: the bully we’re fighting (Blaze calls IRS International Robbery Society)
Minnow: average people, not rich, who were, for the most part, unaware that they should have been filing income tax returns and reporting on their bank accounts to the US.
OVDI/OVDP: Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative/Program: an IRS program that allows the wealthy who have not filed taxes or financial account reports to come into compliance. This comes with a very high price and is not intended for the average person, although many have been caught in it.
Relinquishment: usually done by performing an expatriating act. This was not difficult to do in the past, but is much more difficult now.
Renunciation: a formal declaration to give up citizenship. There are forms to fill out, and must be done at a consulate.
TD F 90-22.1 – Report of Foreign Banks and Financial Accounts – in other words – FBAR.
USA: United States of Arrogance (as we affectionately like to call it)
W8-BEN: Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner for United States Tax Withholding. This is the form a bank will ask for from a NON- US person on their US financial accounts.
W-9: Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certificate. Banks will ask for this if a person is identified as a US person.
Whale: as hunted by the IRS, a whale is very wealthy person who has either not filed their taxes or who has hidden money in offshore accounts.

20 thoughts on “Acronyms and Definitions

  1. These Acronyms and Definitions are a great idea. Should be a big help to all, and particularly those who have just learned about this convoluted mess.
    Here’s a suggestion for another acronym and several forms.
    DOS. Department of State
    IRS 8854. Expatriation Statement, six page form to be filed with IRS by June 15th of year following expatriation.
    Department of State Forms used for Expatriation:
    4079.  Request for determination of loss of citizenship.
    4080.  Oath of renunciation.
    4081.  Statement of understanding of consequences.
    4083.  Certificate of loss of nationality

  2. @Pacifica – thank you! I will add these in. I was hoping people would chime in with definitions, acronyms and links they find useful. These are excellent!

  3. Should we also say IRS aka International Robbery Society
    You may also want to add SOL (statute of limitations). Several of us at Brock thought SOL meant something completely different!

    1. Blaze, that’s because the IRS has designed it in the hopes that the SOL (statute of limitations) means that the ‘taxable person’ abroad is SOL (……out of luck).
      : )

  4. We may also want to add; RDSP (Registered Disability Savings Plan), RESP (Registered Education Savings Plan) RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan) and TFSA (Tax Free Savings Account).
    I think most Canadians know what these mean, but people from other countries who join our discussions may not know.

    1. And also, the very latest Canadian federal savings incentive the soon to be made available – PRPP Pooled Registered Pension Plan.
      See for example
      As an aside,
      The US will no doubt also consider PRPPs a taxable ‘foreign’ ‘trust’ (joining TFSAs, RESPs, and RDSPs and mutual funds in IRS created hell for those they deem ‘US taxable persons’). And as per usual, the US will punish us for participating in them and deny us the tax privileged benefits offered us by our country of residence and dominant citizenship (Canada) – via the usual complex, incomprehensible and labyrinthine reporting requirements the IRS demands; calling for obscure information incompatible with the details provided by the Canadian plan, plus the usual costly cross-border accounting fees to buy specialist help interpreting and completing the IRS forms, in order not to fall prey to the draconian and confiscatory IRS penalties that dwarf the amounts being reported, and exceed the balance by orders of magnitude….
      It will also be a blow to us (those with US taxable status) if the provinces make employee enrollment in PRPPs automatic and mandatory for certain workplaces and employers, because that automatic enrollment will trigger the IRS reporting and concomitant accounting burden – even if we are allowed to subsequently de-enroll. We have been advised to avoid ALL registered savings plans – except RRSPs – because of the punitive way the IRS insists on treating them, the complex and costly reporting and their US taxable status as ‘foreign trusts’.

  5. Another acronym. INA: Immigration and Nationalities Act. Section 349(a) sets out the seven methods of relinquishing one’s US citizenship, including renunciation.
    Re the definition of relinquishment, I’d like to suggest deleting the word usually, as one must always perform an expatriating act in order to relinquish US citizenship.
    This also got me thinking about related information which might be useful. Not sure this is the appropriate thread to post all this … feel free to move, edit, whatever.
    There are 7 ways to do relinquish one’s citizenship, as set out in Immigration and Nationalities Act, s. 349(a). The terminology can sometimes be a bit awkward because we often use separate terms for “renunciation” and “relinquishment” since there are some notable differences between renunciation and the other methods of relinquishment. However, renunciation is actually one of the 7 methods of relinquishing one’s US citizenship.
    RENUNCIATION – Immigration and Nationalities Act, s. 349(a)(5)
    The most common means of relinquishment, renunciation, s 349(a)(5), is the only form of relinquishment where the relinquishment itself takes place at a US consulate. It is performed by taking the oath of renunciation (form 4080). Form 4081 (statement of understanding of consequences) is also required. DOS form 4079 (request for determination of loss of citizenship) is not strictly required, according to the DOS procedure manual. However, it seems that most consulates do require it.
    In the case of renunciation, the loss of citizenship is effective, for all purposes, as of the date you sign the forms at the consulate.
    RELINQUISHMENT BY OTHER MEANS – Immigration and Nationalities Act,
    s. 349(a)(1)(2)(3)(4)(6)(7)
    Of the remaining 6 methods of relinquishment, the most common means is by naturalisation in a foreign country s. 349(a)(1) with the intent of relinquishing one’s US citizenship.
    [This is of particular interest in Canada because while over 100,000 US-born Canadian citizens believe themselves to be “Canadian Citizen Only,” according to the 2006 census, it’s believed that almost none have a CLN because we were told we terminated our US citizenship automatically upon taking Canadian citizenship, particularly prior to 1990 when the administrative presumption changed, and almost no one seems to have even heard of a CLN before 2011.]
    In the case of relinquishment not done by renunciation (eg naturalisation), although the loss of citizenship occurs at the moment the relinquishing act is performed, the relinquishment is not effective in the eyes of the US government until the US government is notified by signing forms at a US consulate. Required forms are DOS form 4079 and 4081. It’s a very good idea to supplement your 4079 with a statement to show that your relinquishment was intentional and that your post-relinquishment conduct has been consistent with relinquishment.
    Once this is done, the US government will consider the loss of citizenship effective as of the date of the actual relinquishment, except IRS will consider the loss to have occurred on the date you signed the forms at the consulate.

  6. Thanks Pacifica! Most excellent suggestions. Perhaps a separate post on exactly what is relinquishment and the process involved would be good to have. It’s okay if I use what you’ve given me above?

  7. Re the final sentence of my post at 7.37 today regarding relinquishment, “ … except IRS will consider the loss to have occurred on the date you signed the forms at the consulate.”
    I should have also mentioned that if you performed your relinquishing act prior to 2004, it may be that this might not be relevant and, therefore, you don’t have to “log out” of IRS at all.
    Section 877A, which states that IRS considers your loss of citizenship to occur the day you sign the forms at the consulate, came into effect through the HEART Act (2008). It replaced s. 7701(n), which came into effect through the AJCA Act (2004). The notion of IRS and DOS using different criteria for the date of loss of citizenship first occurred with the HIPPA Act (1996, retroactive to 6 Feb 1995).
    Common sense, as well as general legal principle, indicates that a law enacted after your loss of citizenship occurred would not be applied ex post facto. Common sense would also suggest “let sleeping dogs lie.” But, as always, it’s best that you read up on this in order to decide what you feel you should do, or not do, as even the experts aren’t completely in agreement on the application of this particular law.
    There is discussion of this issue in several threads at the Isaac Brock Society (one thread is “Please read this post if your actual expatriation date is before 2004,” posted 19 June 2012) and on Phil Hodgen’s blog.

    1. I seem to recall a post on IBS (I think) which said there had been some court case on retro-activity in law and SCOTUS ruled that it was ok to make laws retroactive but, in either the decision or a separate statement, Justice Scalia stated that while it is ok to make laws retroactive it was only ok if the time period was not excessive.
      I can’t seem to find that post now but that’s what I’m relying on. DOS says I expatriated in 1973 but I only got the CLN in 2012. I think 39 years is excessive retro-activity.

  8. @johnnb, yes, I remember that. I remember reading about it, I think I might have a link to it. I will check my notes and see what I can come up with, unless someone has it at hand. 39 years. Yes, I’d call that excessive! I had to laugh, when this mess first came to my attention, and I said I’d been in Canada for 46 years, and Canadian for 36 years, my staff kind of looked at me funny. I realized that many of them haven’t been ALIVE that long!

  9. @Pacifica
    Blaze and I are wondering if you’d like to be able to create your own posts on here. You’re coming up with such good ideas and good information that you should take credit for them. If you don’t want to, that’s fine, I will turn the info into a post, but if it’s something you’d like to try, just let me know and I’lll set you up.

  10. This is just a post to clear up one last set of initials for me.
    When I received my CLN it had a box “Department Use Only” in the top right hand corner. A rubber stamp saying my CLN had been approved was placed in this box with a line at the bottom “By______________”
    Handwritten on this line were initials: ca/ocs/acs/wha
    I had originally thought these might have been the initials of the persons who had checked that I hadn’t actually voted, held a US passport or done any of the other things on DS-4079 but after thinking about it I realized (and I suspect all of you were here long before me) that they stand for the sections of the Department of State involved in those activities:
    CA – Consular Affairs
    OCS – Overseas Citizens Services
    ACS – American Citizens Services
    WHA – Western Hemisphere Affairs
    Just thought I’d post this to complete the list of initials that I have personally been involved with in this nonsense.

  11. Thanks Johnnb. I added those to the main post under CLN.
    It’s good to see you posting here again even though you have your own freedom through your CLN

  12. Here’s the CLN office acronyms for Sandboxers in the eastern hemisphere:
    AF = African Affairs
    EAP = East Asian and Pacific Affairs
    EUR = European and Eurasian Affairs
    NESCA = Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs

  13. SSN= Social Security Number.
    The identifying number which is necessary for filling W9 form by those who the banks identified (Or, in some cases, registered mistakenly) as U.S. PERSONS (=USPs). USPs who don’t fill W9 even only because inability to get SSN are likely to have frozen or closed bank accounts.
    Very frequently, it’s very difficult for those who are considered to be USPs to get SSN. It’s especially likely to be difficult for the next categories of people:
    Those who were mistakenly registered in the bank as USPs OR those who were born in usa and left it by a rather young age OR those who have never been to usa, but were born to american citizen parents and therefore (IF some more data exist) are also considered by usa as USPs .
    USPs who have a GreenCard or an american passport or an american driving license have higher chances to get SSN.

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