Are we talking to ourselves? Who’s listening?

I was struck by comments made by Allan Gregg in early September at Carleton University. His comments were shared via email with many Canadians mainly because of his attack on the governing Conservative Party of Canada. Mr. Gregg was a Conservative pollster and is a frequent political commentator.  I ‘m not sure if his remarks will resonate much with non-Canadians, but it you want to read them in full they can be found at www.allangregg.com.

Among the many things I noticed was his comments about the internet. The remarks below are somewhat taken out of context:

If I believe the world is flat, the internet now puts me in touch with legions of fellow flat earthers and reams of pseudo science to support that belief. As importantly, if I am so inclined, I never have to be exposed to any contrary views and can find total refuge in my community of flat earthers. The Internet therefore, offers me the opportunity to have a completely closed mind and at one in the same time, fill it full of nonsense disguised as fact. In a brand new way therefore, the internet democratizes not just individual opinion but legitimizes collective ignorance and spreads a bizzaro world of alternative reason. When this occurs, prejudice and bias is reinforced and the authority of real science and evidence is undermined or even more likely, never presented.

Although both the Isaac Brock Society and Maple Sandbox provide useful and practical advice on relinquishment and renounciation and a forum for discussion of the problems of U.S. citizenship based taxation and FATCA, I do sometimes wonder if we are all just talking to ourselves.  There has been only a scattering of media reports in Canada and the rest of the world on these subjects in the past year. Most of the articles linked to have a small audience.

I don’t mean to imply that the posters to both sites have a bizzaro world of alternative reason or are ignorant.. On the contrary, almost all posts have been intelligent and thoughtful. It’s just that the issues have not been getting much traction.

From the Canadian point of view there has been an almost complete lack of comment by all political leaders and the MSM for a very long time.  We have seen excellent papers written by the likes of Andrew Bonham and Allison Christians, but these papers have a limited circulation.

So I have a few questions—are we just talking to ourselves and to what extent do policy makers in Canada (or any other country) rely on papers in academic or professional journals for guidance in deciding public policy?

Spreading the Fear

Maybe we’ll get a lot more people joining our cause. If this article I ran across is any indication, some of these consultants must be scaring the pants off of the US mainlanders. “Failing to file the right documents could have dire consequences.” I’m not sure if it’s the writer of the article or if it’s the tax attorney who set out to scare them, but I bet it’s working. Continue reading

FATCA Refocusing On Country Partnerships (Reuters)

Reuters is reporting Overseas Tax Dragnet (FATCA) Is Refocusing On Country Partnerships.

According to this,US Department of Treasury is now negotiating with 40 countries.  It sounds like each could have it’s own specific agreement. What a bureaucratic nightmare for IRS, which can’t even deal with its own bureaucracy now.

Bilateral agreements to implement FATCA are “a workaround,” said Mark Matthews, a lawyer at Caplin & Drysdale and former head of the criminal investigation division at the Internal Revenue Service.

“It is clearly less airtight and bulletproof. But the (FATCA) statute as written was wholly unachievable,” he said.

I would say “unachievable” is a bit of an understatement.

I personally don’t care whether it’s direct reporting to IRS or an IGA.  My private financial information is not going to be reported to a foreign government by either my bank or my government.  They are not even going to be given information on my place of birth.

 

IJ’s Opt Out Resolution

Some of you will remember IJ from Brock.   IJ has had a good “Opt Out” resolution with IRS.

IJ is a Canadian who moved to US and was not aware of his requirement to file FBAR for his Canadian RRSP and other Canadian assets.  IJ’s Great Opt Out Result is posted at Jack Townsend’s blog.

Could it be there really are some “good willed” folks at IRS, as Steven Mopsick likes claims?