Canadian Government Seeks Input on FATCA

The Canadian Ministry of Finance is Seeking Input on FATCA Negotiations From Canadians.
Between Brockers, Maple Sandboxers and many others, we have already provided an immense amount of input. But, they are asking for “additional comments.”  Let’s give it to them!  Soon! No deadline is given, but we can’t lose his opportunity.
I have (again!) contacted Canadian Civil Liberties Association and asked them what they will be doing on FATCA.   Eight weeks ago, CCLA told me they would advise me “tomorrow” what they might be able to do. They still have not done that.
If anyone else is interested in contacting CCLA, my contact has been Abby Deshman, Director of Pubic Safety. mail address: adeshman@ccla.org  Perhaps if Abby hears from others, she will realize how important this is.
 
 

69 thoughts on “Canadian Government Seeks Input on FATCA

  1. oooh yes, I will most certainly take this opportunity to provide comments and input! YES, INDEED! I’ll work on it this weekend.
    It doesn’t say by email, but his email is easily found: kevin.shoom@fin.gc.ca
    Maybe we can send hardcopy and & email. Make DARN sure he gets our comments. And, of course, Tim provided his phone number.

  2. @Outraged: Please get your comments to Abby Deshman at CCLA too. We need to light a fire under CCLA to get them going on this.

  3. Also consider contacting Arthur Cockfield at Queen’s Univerisity asking for his advice on this. I have tried contacting him in the past and haven’t heard back but I suspect if a number of people contact you might get some response.

  4. Here are tweets I just sent to Hoang Mai, Justin Trudeau and Bob Rae:
    Blaze @LynneBlaze
    @hoangmai_ndp Cdn gov seeking #FATCA input http://bit.ly/SUhgVc Will NDP say Cdn banks must follow Cdn law & Cdn law must not be changed?
    Blaze @LynneBlaze
    @justintrudeau: Cdn gov seeking #FATCA input http://bit.ly/SUhgVc Will Libs say Cdn banks must follow Cdn law & Cdn law must not b changed?
    Blaze @LynneBlaze
    @bobraeMP Cdn gov seeks #FATCA input http://bit.ly/SUhgVc Will Libs say Cdn banks must follow Cdn law & Cdn law must not be changed 4 USA?

  5. The phone number posted is real and does work got the voice mail this evening. My comments just posted on Brock:
    The phone number given is real and does work. I just tried it a few minutes and recieved the voice mail of Kevin Shoom. I recommend if Ottawa is not in your local calling area to get a Skype Account for $3.00 a month(There is also a certain degree of anonymity with Skype). I would look at this from a Canadian standpoint as not the end but just the begining. As James could probably describe better you couldn’t fight the takeover of several major American ports by Dubai Ports World UNTIL Dubai Ports World had actually publically announced they were going to try to takeover such ports. At this point don’t call up the number given and be real nasty. For now call the number given and simply ask as to what is the best way to comment on the issue(Even if you aren’t going to comment and this is a key point).
    Have your spouses(with different last names) and kids get their own Skype accounts and then have them call Kevin Shoom too. Have neighbors call and simply ask what is the best way to submit a comment on the issue. The goal for now is volume of calls. The goal should be that by early next week that individual is simply getting inandated with calls and their phone keeps ringing off the hook and they are simply unable to any other work other than field calls related to FATCA.

      1. And Elizabeth May of the Greens. And what about Margaret Wente – since she has a personal reason to be interested (even if she won’t/doesn’t/can’t write about it). These people know people even if they don’t respond.
        There is also the CMA – who sent that initial letter to the doctors. And our credit unions. And our pension plans.

  6. Also Blaze I got another attorney for you. This guy was one of the lawyer(although not the lead attorney) for a Vancouver Woman named Judy Chua who once got into a big fight with the IRS over unpaid tax.
    http://www.mackenziefujisawa.com/ourteam_christopherharvey.htm
    The case was called Chua vs MNR
    http://reports.fja.gc.ca/eng/2001/2001fc27325.html
    As you can see from the keywords and description of the case I loved it the moment I laid eyes on its and knew it would someday be useful in bringing down FATCA.
    Income Tax — Foreign tax debts — Taxpayer permanent resident, later citizen, of Canada — Acquiring vacation property in U.S.A. — Disposing of same, remitting withholding taxes to IRS, part of which later refunded — IRS issuing notice of deficiency to taxpayer — Requesting respondent’s assistance in collecting debt under Canada-US Tax Convention, 1980 — Taxpayer seeking judicial review of M.N.R.’s decision to take collection action, challenging retroactive provision of Convention — Convention, Art. XXVI A infringing Charter, s. 15(1) as discriminating against “Convention citizens” — Not saved by Charter, s. 1.
    Constitutional law — Distribution of powers — Taxpayer arguing tax collection falling within provincial jurisdiction as matter directly affecting property and civil rights under Constitution Act, 1867, s. 92(13) — Parliament’s jurisdiction over taxation wide — Legislation at issue dealing with taxation, falling within competence of federal Parliament under Act, s. 91(3) — Canada-US Tax Convention, 1980, legislation implementing treaty protecting sovereignty of Canada, intra vires Parliament under s. 91(3).
    Constitutional law — Charter of Rights — Equality rights — Case involving discrimination between “Convention citizens”, other Canadian citizens — Whether taxpayer, “Convention citizens” group discriminated against on grounds related to personal characteristics — Taxpayer vulnerable to breaches of procedural, substantive justice in respect of escalating IRS claim — Charter, s. 15 infringed in that taxpayer member of disadvantaged group of “Convention citizens” because of previous status as non-citizen — Impugned law having discriminatory purpose, effect.
    Constitutional law — Charter of Rights — Limitation clause — Canada-US Tax Convention, Art. XXVI A vio-lating Charter, s. 15(1) — Whether saved by s. 1 — First part of Oakes test met — Inclusion of Art. XXVI A in Convention pressing, substantial need in context of whole Convention — Procedural fairness not accorded to taxpayer, other “Convention citizens” — Retroactive provisions of Art. XXVI A setting up two classes of citizens, not minimally impairing Charter guarantee — No proportion between effect, objective of measure — Impugned provision not saved by Charter, s. 1.

    1. More from Chua vs MNR
      (4) This case concerns discrimination between one group of Canadian citizens in the position of the applicant (Convention citizens) and all other “Canadian citizens”. Under subsection 15(1) of the Charter, true equality does not necessarily result from identical treatment. The Court must look at the impact of the law upon the individual or group to whom it applies and decide whether the applicant and others in the “Convention citizens” group are being discriminated against on grounds relating to personal characteristics. The impact of the Convention upon the applicant is three-fold. First, her human dignity is affected since Convention citizens have less rights than all other Canadian citizens. Second, Convention citizens are deprived of fundamental justice. For example, applicant had not been given fair notice of the Third Protocol in 1991 at which time she could have resorted to the U.S. courts. Third, her property in Canada was put at risk through seizure by a foreign state. She could lose her property, whereas a long-standing Canadian citizen would not. Accordingly, the applicant is now vulnerable to breaches of procedural and substantive justice in respect of the escalating IRS claim. The effect of the provision on the applicant and Convention citizens is unjust. Section 15 of the Charter was infringed in that the applicant is a member of a disadvantaged group because of her previous status as a non-citizen. The impugned law has a discriminatory purpose or effect. Convention citizens are a small group for whom the consequences of the retroactive portion of the Convention are severe.
      The only way for the Goverment of Canada to get around the above is through the notwithstanding clause. I am trying to get in contact with all of the parties involved in this to see if they perhaps would inform the Department of Finance of its implications.

  7. “Say what Canada?, I have tax obligations to the USA even though I’ve lived in Canada for 49 of my 50 years?”
    I was born a Canadian-American dual citizen, and since the USA is one of two countries in the world that taxes based on citizenship as opposed to residency, the IRS is after me!
    I shouldn’t worry though, because the IRS has devised a new ‘voluntary disclosure’ program for those of us like myself who until recently never knew they had to file US tax returns, and so far had not heard of, or willfully ignored the previous ‘voluntary disclosure’ programs. It’s too bad for me that I collected EI benefits within the last few years, and made some investment income on my children’s RESPs, because that might put me over the $1500 threshold for taxes owing in one of the disclosure years, despite earning zero income, therefore disqualifying me from the latest disclosure program.
    I had better find a qualified cross-border accountant ASAP, and be prepared to pay 1000’s of dollars to do several years of back filing of tax returns and FBAR reporting. I will cross my fingers that I don’t owe more than $1500, and hope that the accountant doesn’t miss any forms, or make any mistakes, because the financial penalties could be severe.
    And while my accountant is getting all this paperwork together, my Canadian spouse and I need to completely rethink our family’s financial plan. All the rules we have been living by have changed for us. RESPs, TFSA’s, Canadian mutual funds, and even RRSPS, all have financial implications that make them liabilities to us now.
    Soon the nice lady at the bank, who I look forward to seeing on a regular basis, more for idle chit chat than for investment advice, is going to ask me where I was born. She has to ask, because the USA says I have been a recalcitrant child, and insists on knowing all the details of the ‘foreign’ accounts I have, most of which are jointly held with my Canadian spouse in the country that we live in..
    ‘Hey Canada! You had me going there for a bit, but then I realized, we’re all grown up now, and we know how to stand up to bullies!’

  8. Welcome Katleen! I, of course, mean welcome to Maple Sandbox, not welcome to this incredible nightmare we are all living. You are among friends here as we try to stand up to the bullies.
    @All: Well, isn’t this interesting? Globe Investor (part of Globe and Mail) is reporting Flaherty “confirmed the two sides are nearing a conclusion to the issue.”
    So, why in the world did Ministry of Finance wait so long to seek input from Canadians?!? What value will our input be if they are “nearing a conclusion” to negotiations?!? We still need to be sure to give our comments to them as soon as we can.
    http://www.globeadvisor.com/servlet/ArticleNews/story/gam/20121109/TICKERAATL_1G

  9. Blaze and Kathleen
    I will note almost a year ago we were supposedly “close” to a “conclusion” according to the Toronto Sun’s interview with Flaherty but a last nothing came of it. So my advice is continue to send letters and correspondence to the consulation. I wouldn’t wait beyond this week but I view that more through the general prism that I don’t see any good reason to wait on this issue.

    1. I have finished my submission and have sent by email to finpub@fin.gc.ca mailto:finpub@fin.gc.ca , with a copy to Kevin.Shoom@fin.gc.ca mailto:Kevin.Shoom@fin.gc.ca . (I will also cc Prime Minister Steven Harper, Finance Minister Flaherty, my MP Michelle Rempel, among others.)
      I will also send a hard copy to:
      Department of Finance
      17th Floor, East Tower
      140 O’Connor Street
      Ottawa, Canada
      K1A 0G5
      Attention: Kevin Shoom, Business Income Tax Division
      I asked how if he had many queries regarding this submission. He indicated “only a handful”.
      Please call and indicate your concerns to Kevin Shoom at: 613-992-2980.

  10. Blaze,
    I would again re-iterate calling Kevin Shoom several people at Brock did so and were happy they did so afterwards. As they put it Shoom is basically unaware of the issues going on right now in terms of how FATCA effects Canadians in real life. I think a call in addition to an email and snail mail will be quite useful. As I understand it we basically have until Christmas to stop a public announcement(which in itself is not the end of this story) of a deal with the US according to Bubblebustin and others that called. I believe Calgary411 is awaiting a call back.

  11. Here is my letter as a Word document. I hope you can open this OK. If you can’t, I will need to go back to the drawing board with Outraged’s help on how to post it here.
    I have also posted a permanent link to this.
    http://maplesandbox.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Finance-Ministry-from-Blaze.doc
    I plan on mailing this tomorrow. I will also try to call Mr. Shoom. How is it he does not know the impact of this on Canadians? It was the same with Canada’s Tax Ombudsman when Hazy contacted him.

  12. @Blaze,
    Great submission to Mr. Shoom. Very well written and well thought out. Seems to cover all the points.
    I had been saying for quite some time that ‘The Silence is Deafening’ – I wish they were still silent. Looks like they are about to cave.

  13. @Tiger: Get your letter in. Schubert has advised us not to Wake the Sleeping Bear on the other side of the border.
    But, we need to awaken the snoozing turtle on this side of the border. I don’t know how they have slept through all of this, but let’s set off a very loud alarm clock to wake them up!

  14. I agree totally with Blaze. According to Calgary411 they have only received a handful of correspondence as of yet. In the end that will not be good enough. Now who I am to say I haven’t called yet however, I am hoping to try to wait a little bit for others to call and then depending on what points of interest they might have try to target my submission.

  15. @Blaze. Excellent letter. Well done!
    I sent two letters to Mr. Shoom this afternoon. In one, I appended the ten-page letter from a New Zealander to the Australian department that is collecting comments on a possible IGA between Australian and the US. That letter raises a number of points which have parallels to Canada and I think apply equally here. Communicating that letter makes the point that it isn’t just present and former USC in Canada who are concerned about this outrage; people in other countries, and specifically in other Westminster-style parliamentary democracies like Canada, are also concerned. The letter has been posted on the ACA website, cross-referenced on Brock, and the ACA link is here
    http://americansabroad.org/files/8513/5266/9983/Aus_Treasury_FATCA_submission.pdf
    In my second letter I cross-referenced a letter I sent to Flaherty in June, with the Finance file number which should be accessible to Shroom. In my second letter I added the following specific points which were of concern to my wife (before she got her CLN) and still are of concern to her adult children in Canada:
    All of the following Canadian citizens residing in Canada should be completely exempt, without any limitations, from any information reporting to the US government under FATCA or any Canada-US agreement pertaining to FATCA or related taxation matters:
    – any person who might otherwise be considered a US citizen, who possesses a Certificate of Loss of Nationality of the United States;
    – any person born in Canada of one or both US parents, who since attaining the age of majority has never resided in the US, studied in the US, worked in the US, owned property in the US, obtained or used a US passport, or voted in a US election, and who submits a sworn statement to this effect to the Government of Canada;
    – any person born in the US of Canadian parents, who meets the description in the immediately preceding point.
    All of the persons falling in the above categories have clearly indicated since attaining the age of majority that they do not want US citizenship and are not exercising US citizenship. Persons of the second and third category, who under current US law may be considered US citizens as well as Canadian citizens, never chose US citizenship and have as adults never exercised US citizenship nor indicated any desire to do so. It would be an outrage for any information on them to be provided to the US government.
    I will append to this post, or a separate one if I can’t do it here, the text of the email I sent to Flaherty in June, to which he has replied with his now-stock answer to FATCA concerns.
    My concerns obviously are from the standpoint of relinquished former US persons, rather than the standpoint of dual citizens, since that’s my perspective and that of my wife and our friends. However note at the end my generalization of the concerns to any provision of personal or financial information on any Canadian citizen, no matter what birthplace or national origin, to any foreign government.
    Feel free to borrow or modify any of my wordings as and if you see appropriate in your own submissions to Shroom, but please don’t cut-and-paste as that may dilute the effects if it looks like a boiler-plate mass emailing.

  16. I can’t seem to find a way to append the following as a link, so I’m pasting in the full text as a comment. My abject apologies for the resulting length.
    I must acknowledge Blaze for the inspiration and some of the wording of this; I sent the following to Flaherty in June. He replied on November 8, and his reply has a file number which I assume includes this text. I’ve referenced that file number to both of my letters to Shoom, so that he can access it and include it as an “additional comment” in case he didn’t already have access to it via the ministerial correspondence office.
    Feel free to use part or all of this, preferably with modification so it doesn’t become a boiler plate, if any of you reading this want to borrow it or use it as a launch pad for further comments to Shoom.
    On July 1, we celebrate our country and the sacrifices by our ancestors that resulted in Canadian freedoms, values and independence which are the envy of the world.
    Two hundred years ago, Canadians fought against the attempted takeover of Canada by the Americans. Many lost their lives in battle, defending what was to become our great country.
    On the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, Canada is again being threatened with American invasion. This time the United States is trying to accomplish through financial bullying what they could not achieve two centuries ago through aggressive war efforts.
    The United States is attacking the lives of law-abiding, honest tax-paying Canadian citizens who were born in the US or were born in Canada of US parentage. Through its monetary threats under the so-called Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), the US is attempting to force Canadian financial institutions or even our government to become an agent of the United States Internal Revenue Service and to force our financial institutions to contravene Canadian privacy, banking, human rights and charter laws. This is quite simply an American attack on Canadian sovereignty.
    An estimated one million Canadians of American origin or heritage are affected by this attempted intrusion into their finances, privacy and rights. These Canadian citizens are not “tax cheats;” these are honest, law-abiding Canadians who faithfully pay taxes to Canadian governments on their Canadian income and property.
    The overwhelming majority of these Canadians have no US income or assets and have no real connection to the United States beyond having relatives who live there. They are Canadian citizens, many of whom have never considered themselves to be dual citizens of the US and who have never exercised or claimed any rights of US citizenship since becoming Canadian. Some have grown up and lived only in Canada, never in the US.
    Yet the United States claims that the Canadian financial information of all these Canadian citizens should be reported to the IRS. The US claims that these Canadian citizens have an obligation to file tax returns to a government which is not theirs, to which they have no loyalty or allegiance, and from which they receive no benefits, protections or services.
    The United States is the only country, other than Eritrea, that attempts to impose citizenship-based taxation on anyone it deems its citizens, no matter where they live nor where they earn their income and own their property. Ironically and hypocritically, at the United Nations the United States Government has condemned Eritrea for such practices that the US itself implements.
    Many of these Canadian citizens have learned recently that now, in order to extricate themselves from this situation, the US expects them formally to apply for a Certificate of Loss of US Nationality from the US State Department, based on their having relinquished US citizenship on becoming Canadian citizens decades ago. At that time, they believed their Canadian naturalization automatically resulted in their loss of US citizenship, and public statements by US State Department officials reinforced that belief. At the time, they had no idea there was any need for them to make a formal application to the State Department; if they had known this, they would immediately have done so.
    But under an ex-post-facto law passed by the US Congress in the 1990s and amended in 2008, by applying for a certificate now, the IRS may deem “for tax purposes” that their loss of nationality occurred, not when they committed their expatriating act of foreign naturalization, but when they formally notified the State Department of that fact upon applying for a Certificate of Loss of Nationality. Thereby under that legislation, they may be exposing themselves to a draconian and potentially bankrupting “exit tax” that could utterly destroy their Canadian retirement savings and homes. Fortunately that tax is not enforceable against them on Canadian soil under the Canada-US Tax Treaty. But, these Canadian citizens may be at risk if they ever cross the US border again to visit their family members.
    Moreover, Canadian citizens who were born of US parents on Canadian soil, or of Canadian parents on US soil, and who have never lived in the US, worked in the US, or ever exercised any rights of US citizenship in their lives, do not qualify for having “relinquished” their US citizenship. They acquired US citizenship under US law at birth (as well as Canadian citizenship under Canadian law) and cannot be deemed to have “relinquished” US citizenship in the past by virtue of their Canadian citizenship. Their only recourse under US law is formally to renounce their US citizenship today, thereby triggering tax-filing and possible exit-tax burdens under the same legislation I’ve just mentioned.
    Canada Day, and the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, is an appropriate time to remind the US that Canada doesn’t submit to extraterritorial application of foreign law nor to foreign extortion of its citizens. Please tell the US that Canada is an independent democratic country which establishes and enforces laws to protect its citizens and residents. Please tell the US that no foreign government dictates what those laws will be. Please tell Canadian financial institutions they must comply with Canadian laws, and that they cannot violate those laws to meet the extortionate and ex-post-facto demands of a foreign government’s tax-collection agency.
    Most importantly, tell all Canadians, of whatever origin, that they, their Canadian finances, and their Canadian financial privacy are safe. Assure Canadians that Canadian laws will not be changed to meet these outrageous and unjust demands of the United States or any similar demands from any other foreign government.

  17. I had also tried to append some further comments I sent to Shoom concerning any IGA with the US, in another post to this thread, but it seems to have got lost somewhere in the ether. So I’m re-posting it now, for information and possible borrowing or modification by anyone else who wants to write “additional comments” to Mr. Shoom. Moderators: if somehow the earlier post on this thread re-surfaces, please delete it or this one, to avoid duplication.
    Text of my second letter to Shoom follows:
    Further to my earlier letter today, and my previous comments to Minister Flaherty (ref: 2012FINXXXXXX), I have the following additional comments.
    All of the following Canadian citizens residing in Canada should be completely exempt, without any limitations, from any information reporting to the US government under FATCA or any Canada-US agreement pertaining to FATCA or related taxation matters:
    – any person who might otherwise be considered a US citizen, who possesses a Certificate of Loss of Nationality of the United States;
    – any person born in Canada of one or both US parents, who since attaining the age of majority has never resided in the US, studied in the US, worked in the US, owned property in the US, obtained or used a US passport, or voted in a US election, and who submits a sworn statement to this effect to the Government of Canada;
    – any person born in the US of Canadian parents, who meets the description in the immediately preceding point.
    All of the persons falling in the above categories have clearly indicated since attaining the age of majority that they do not want US citizenship and are not exercising US citizenship. Persons of the second and third category, who under current US law may be considered US citizens as well as Canadian citizens, never chose US citizenship and have as adults never exercised US citizenship nor indicated any desire to do so. It would be an outrage for any information on them to be provided to the US government.

  18. Schubert and others
    If you and I know Schubert did worked in the public service of Canada or any of the provinces I would also emphasize that to in your letters.

  19. @All
    Have been working on my letter to Mr. Shoom tonight. It will go out in the morning.
    I would like to know where is the opposition in all of this. To that end, I am contacting a friend of my son’s who is an NDP MP in Ontario. I had contact with him last spring and was assured that the NDP finance critic was ‘on it’. Well, I want some proof of that. I know the conservatives have a majority but the NDP should be making more noise about all of this.

  20. @Tiger I sent an email to Paul Dewar, my MP, as soon as I heard about this new “consultation” call, and I asked him point blank where the NDP is on this IGA negotiation and what they’re going to do about it. I haven’t had a reply yet, but that isn’t surprising as it’s only been two business days since I sent the email. I’ll report back here if I get an interesting reply.

  21. @Tim: I e-mailed my letter to Maura Drew Lyttle at CBA today. I also will e-mail it to Flaherty, Hoang Mai, Bob Rae, Justin Trudeau and Elizabeth May.
    In addition to sending the letter via e-mail and snail mail to Mr. Shoom, I left a voice mail for him
    @Tiger: Indeed, where are they all. In addition to being deserted by the politicians, CCLA has now gone completely silent on this issue. I sent an e-mail to Council of Canadians, but no response yet. Please everyone contact Abby Deshman at CCLA and try to light a fire under her.
    We may end up with legal action being our only recourse. I hope not.

  22. This may seem like a strange suggestion, but has anyone thought of contacting Kevin O’Leary of Lang-O’Leary Exchange and Dragon’s Den on CBC? He has also done Shark Tank in US, so he may have a Green Card.
    O’Leary has made it clear his major priority in life is making and keeping money–lots of money. He has his own mutual fund company.
    As Dragon’s Den website says, O’Leary is opinionated, he’s ruthless, he hungers for big deals and loves to take control.”
    If O’Leary in any way is affected by this, I’m sure he could become a phenomenal spokesperson for us. Even if he isn’t personally affected, his mutual fund company surely must be considered an FFI by IRS.

  23. @Tim: First I had to look up opprobrium. I think I have a pretty good command and knowledge of the English language, but that was a new one for me.
    For others who may not know the meaning, here is the definition from Dictionary.com: 1.the disgrace or the reproach incurred by conduct considered outrageously shameful; infamy. 2. a cause or object of such disgrace or reproach.
    Yep, that’s a pretty accurate description of how we feel. Now, I have a fabulous new word in my vocabulary (may take a while to remember how to spell it).
    The fact someone so casually uses this word leads me to think she has spent far too much time reading IRS 76,000 (or is it only 72,000) page Tax Code.
    I will try to post some reasonable comments on her site. I will try to stay away from directing too much opprobrium at Foreign Attack To Control All.
    .

  24. Here’s the response I posted without resorting to opprobrium (Wow, I remembered the correct spelling the first time!).
    Ann: I will try not to use too much opprobrium. I hope you will answer the following questions for me to help me understand why FATCA is such a great idea.
    1. Why should US and IRS be able to access any financial information about me? When I became a Canadian citizen in 1973. US Consulate was very clear, firm and direct that I was “permanently and irrevocably” relinquishing my US citizenship by swearing an Oath of Allegiance to another nation. At that time, the Canadian citizenship oath contained another oath renouncing any other citizenship. US Consulate knew that. US and IRS did not care about me then. I was young. I didn’t have any money. Now that I am 61 and semi-retired, they suddenly want to reclaim me and my money? Why do they think they have the right to do that?
    2. Why should US laws override the laws and constitution of the country where I have been a citizen for four decades? Canadian law prohibits credit unions, insurance companies from asking about place of birth or citizenship. Treating people differently based on national origin violates Canadian Human Rights laws. Canadian Supreme Court in a case involving IRS said in no circumstances, either directly or indirectly, will the revenue laws of another country be enforced in Canada. Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms also prohibits discrimination based on national origin, which Canadian courts have determined includes citizenship.
    3. Why should IRS and US have the right to any information of children born outside to US to a parent born in US when that adult child has never done anything to access US citizenship?
    4. Why should my bank (where I have been a customer for 32 years) and my credit union (where I have been a customer for 14 years) be expected to close my account when I refuse to give them information about my place of birth or give them consent to release information to a foreign government? Why should they lose me as a customer? More importantly, why should they be expected to break the laws of Canada, which prohibit them from releasing such information without consent?
    5. Why should CRA be expected to collect information about me to transmit to IRS? No other Canadian citizen must submit information about their total assets and investments to CRA. Only income from those assets must be submitted–on which we pay taxes to Canada
    6. Why doesn’t the 70 year effective tax treaty between Canada and US suffice? This tax treaty provides for the exchange of information on each other’s residents who received income from the other country.
    7. How would US respond if other countries demanded such information on their former citizens living in US? Remember, IGAs are only asking for information on residents of those countries who have money invested in US. Except for Eritrea and US, other countries tax on world-wide income of their residents, not on their citizens
    8. How would your ancestors have responded if their home country demanded such information about them and their children and demanded that their banks treat them in such a manner? In fact, if I remember my US history lessons corrrectly, I think a Revolutionary War was fought and won on issues such as taxation without representation and the right to choose one’s citizenship. And, something called the Declaration of Independence incorporated those very principles.
    9. How would you feel if the countries of your ancestors declared you were a citizen of those nations, demanded you file income tax returns (for which you would have to hire expensive professionals), demanded you provide information about all of your assets (not just the income from those assets), demanded your bank release that information to that foreign government and demanded that your bank close your accounts if you did not consent. I certainly don’t have the right to reply for you, but I suspect you reaction might involve some opprobrium.
    I do hope you will respond to these questions to help me understand why FATCA has such a strong, sustainable future.

  25. Read Ann Holingshead’s article. Either she did not do much, if any research, or she is ‘smoking something’. Blaze, your comment is great. I would love it if she takes the trouble to answer your questions. She might have to do some research.

  26. I added another question. Might as well make it an even 10! Here it is.
    10. What right does US and IRS have to call honest, responsible people who pay taxes to the countries where they live “tax evaders,” tax cheats” cheats” and “traitors” because they have chosen live outside US borders. In our countries of choice we work, earn a living, raise families, own homes, save for our children’s education and our retirement, vote and volunteer. In many cases, we are long-term citizens of those countries, often for decades. Now, that’s opprobrium! How dare we?!?

  27. Thought I’d pass on for your consideration in your own submissions to Mr. Schoom, the following point that I sent to the PM, Flaherty, and my MP. I think there’s a chance my MP (Paul Dewar, NDP) will sympathize with this; I’m under no delusions about Harper and Flaherty agreeing with me, because as we all know the current Tory party is all about socialism for the 1% and free enterprise for everyone else. My point is, by entering into an IGA to protect Canadian banks from the 30% extortion by IRS of those banks’ US assets, the government is basically intervening in a business decision gone very wrong to bail out bankers who arguably had no business expanding into another country anyway. I don’t recall any banks asking their depositors if it was OK to start parking some of their money into establishing US branches; maybe they asked their stockholders that, maybe they didn’t. Anyway, silly me, I always thought that free enterprise meant government not bailing out businesses. The bank bailouts and repeated Harperite interventions in labour disputes, always on behalf of management, banning strikes before they even started and thereby interfering in the operation of what is supposed to be a free labour market, has disabused me of any notion that our current government even begins to understand the meanings of “free market” and “conservative.”
    Here’s what I said, maybe the wording could be improved upon, but I think the point needs to be made.
    “I understand there may be penalties against Canadian banks operating in the US if such an agreement isn’t reached. Frankly, that’s the banks’ problem, not Canada’s. They chose to risk investment in the US economy. While US actions against them would be outrageous, it would be even more outrageous if Canadian citizens’ privacy rights and Canada’s sovereignty over its own banking and privacy legislation, and up to a million Canadian citizens, were thrown under the bus in order to protect the banks.”

  28. Great input Schubert. In fact, in 1989, High Court of Justice completely agreed with you. You may have already read the court case which Tim posted (Van DenMark vs TD). IRS was demanding TD take funds from the account of a Canadian citizen and submit them to IRS. High Court of Justice stated:
    “One must sympathize with the position of the bank but that position is the result of its election to carry on business in more than one country and that cannot influence the application of Canadian law.”
    In another case United States of America (IRS) v Harden, the Supreme Court of Canada said “A foreign State cannot escape the application of the rule that in no circumstances will the courts directly or indirectly enforce the revenue laws of another country…”
    Sounds like both of those decisions could be applied to our situation.
    Have you contacted Abby Deshman at Canadian Civil Liberties Association? If not, please do so soon. I contacted CCLA months ago. It took them a couple of months to get back to me and to put me in touch with Abby, their Director of Public Safety; I submitted an immense amount of information to Abby in the summer and was quite optimistic she would do something proactively. (She said it was “premature” for court action, which is essentially what the constitutional lawyer told Tiger, Somerfugl and me.)
    Over nine weeks ago, Abby said she would tell me “tomorrow” what CCLA might be able to do. Nothing further. So, perhaps she thinks I am the only one concerned about this.
    If you are also concerned, please let Abby know: adeshman@ccla.org. I also posted her e-mail at Brock a couple of weeks ago, but I don’t know if anyone contacted her.
    Let me know if you hear back from Abby. I tweeted CCLA twice yesterday, but I don’t know if that will help. .
    Has anyone else contacted Abby?

  29. For Blaze and admin (this is a test for a moderation problem they’ve been having with some of my posts for some reason)
    Moderation in all things. Good advice when posting comments to Mr. Schoom …
    This message was posted using the Leave a Reply box but without going through the password login process.

  30. This is my second moderation test, posted after password login. My first post isn’t appearing on this thread yet … let’s see if this one goes through.
    This message for Blaze and admin, we are testing for a moderation problem. Other viewers please excuse this and my other message of a couple of minutes ago …

    1. Hmm this second message appeared almost immediately, my first message is still not showing and probably awaiting moderation.
      Moral of the story seems to be, if you post a “leave a reply” without going through password log-in first, your reply gets moderated. If you log in with password first, it doesn’t get moderated as far as I can see. Guess I should stop being lazy and log in with my password from now on before posting messages …

  31. Ann Hollingshead did not respond to my questions. However, E.J. Fagan New Media/Advocacy Co-ordinator for the Task Force on Financial Integrity and Economic Development did.
    He is not “getting it.” I suspect this is because he, like others, are choosing not to get it.
    Others may want to post there. Here is our exchange.
    E.J. Fagan Mod Blaze • 3 hours ago
    If this were simply a problem of U.S. citizens living abroad not paying the gap between their foreign tax credit and their income tax, FATCA wouldn’t have been necessary. This is the case of U.S. citizens hiding money in far away places for no purpose other than evading taxes. That’s illegal, and it makes perfect sense for the IRS to go after that money. FATCA creates big time incentives for banks to get along with the IRS, and those discussions have created (the subject of Ann’s post), a productive country-to-country dialogue about useful information exchange. Hopefully the next step is expanding that discussion to a true worldwide system, so tax evaders around the world aren’t able to shift the burden of paying for civilization to the rest of us.
    \
    Blaze E.J. Fagan • 3 minutes ago
    I have no problem with IRS going after real “tax evaders” and “tax cheats.” I and others resent being targeted and labelled as such just because we choose to live elsewhere and become citizens of other countries.
    I am NOT a US citizen living abroad. I have been a citizen of another country for 40 years. US told me clearly and firmly I was relinquishing US citizenship by becoming a citizen of Canada. Yet, now they somehow think they have the right to force my bank to reveal all of my financial information to them and to force my bank to close my account if I will not agree.
    Please go back and read my questions and tell me how any of this makes any sense in my situation or in the situation of millions like me around the world–including joint accounts held with spouses who were born outside US and in some cases have never even set foot on US soil.
    IRS can easily rectify the problem. Ensure guidelines and enforcement does not include those living elsewhere. IRS and Congress are very aware of the problems. They are choosing to proceed full speed ahead in stalking them.
    Instead of Land of the Free, US is quickly becoming Land of the Flee. You may want to read this. http://ind.pn/SJVEX

    1. @Blaze, thanks for sharing that exchange. They stay on message no matter what contradictory evidence, ex. “This is the case of U.S. citizens hiding money in far away places for no purpose other than evading taxes.”. and,
      “so tax evaders around the world aren’t able to shift the burden of paying for civilization to the rest of us.”
      Just priceless. As if we’re not already paying in full where we live? As if there is no civilization in Canada – where we’re all registered with the CRA? Like just about every other country in the world – who just about all have some form of tax agency and enforcement that those born or naturalized or permanent residents are already subject to.
      And the ridiculous comments about us hiding money in faraway places. Sorry but that’s just either a deliberate slander, or abject ignorance. My accounts are all transparent and held where I live.
      These people deliberately refuse to listen and see. I think they know that we are right. I think it is a deliberate ploy – to stay on message no matter what – in order to keep doing what they’re about – and not to acknowledge the damage they’re doing to us.
      It’s like a police car choosing to engage in a dangerous high speed chase of a suspected stolen car, who in the process, pursues the stolen car through a crowded residential street and kills several innocent people while tracking down the car thief. They choose to endanger the lives of many ordinary innocents in order to justify what they have decided to do. And would rather that no-one point out the glaring collateral damage.

  32. It took me longer than I’d wanted, but I finally sent off my FATCA comment letter today. I sent it snailmail, and I also emailed it to Kevin Shoom. I received an email back saying, in part, “Please be assured that your comments and suggestions will be taken into consideration.” It was sent only 20 minutes after I’d emailed it, so I doubt he’d read it yet, but I thought the reply was interesting, since in my letter I said that I felt that despite my many letters to the gov’t, I didn’t feel as if my concerns had been heard or valued.
    At any rate, it’s done, and I’m glad I had an opportunity to express my views. If anyone does read this, you’ll might notice that I said that if FATCA goes through, then the gov’t should at the very least mandate that a Cdn citizenship certificate dated prior to Feb 1994 should be accepted as proof of non-US citizenship. I know this is a lukewarm half-measure, however I threw that in there in the hopes that it would alleviate the stress of least some people like my mother who cannot make a trip to a US embassy to get a CLN.
    http://maplesandbox.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/FATCA-Finance-Ministry-for-publication.pdf

    1. Good work, outraged. How is your mother doing? I hope you keep her convinced to do nothing right now.
      badger posted the comment below today on Isaac Brock, which led me to wonder if you’ve heard anything back regarding a meeting with the University of Alberta “constitutional” people? Offer still applies if you want me to join you in a meeting — if it does happen.
      “This is a very interesting resource re Canada, the Charter and Constitution, and the rights of Citizens and non-citizens (ex. permanent residents) http://www.law.ualberta.ca/centres/ccs/issues/Citizenship.php
      Could be useful to cite in correspondence against FATCA and its essential conflict with Canadian laws, values, etc.
      Also applicable to the enabling of US extraterritorial taxation on duals and permanent residents here I think. At what point could the Canada US tax treaty be raised above the Charter – would the objectives of that treaty ever be deemed to have a compelling enough objective to override the Charter provisions – which do not discriminate between classes of Canadian citizen like duals vs. singles, and between citizens and permanent residents?”

      1. @Calgary411, yes, I believe my mothers head is firmly back in the sand. She’s ignoring it all under the belief it doesn’t apply to her anymore. Her stress level is way down, thankfully.
        I gave up on the UofA. I sent several emails and got no response – which was a marked difference from my original email which got such a quick and encouraging response. So, I’m thinking she couldn’t get things going and was ignoring me. I’m sure if they had taken it on as a project she would have been in touch so that they could get some of our stories.It seems that Ms. Paradis is still the executive director, so it’s not that she left. She’s just not responding. Ah well, I’m still glad I tried. At least someone there is aware of the issue.

        1. Re University of Calgary — it is a puzzlement and feeds my “paranoid” skepticism that there is word out to some not to speak of this subject, especially with the likes of us.
          This, of course, contributes to the deafening silence.

  33. Blaze: I saw your FATCA comment letter, and it was so very clear and well written – a model of reason, and touching on so many of the salient points without getting bogged down in the interminable details.
    pleasure to read it. I found it on the web by accident. Is it also posted on IBS for inspiration to others?

  34. If this article in McLean’s is correct, our input to Finance Canada may be an exercise in futility.
    http://www2.macleans.ca/2012/11/28/banks-bracing-for-u-s-law-requiring-they-inform-on-dual-citizen-accounts/
    Again, this quotes Flaherty as saying negotiations “are nearing a conclusion.” He would love to know what he means by “within prescribed limits” for government to government exchange.
    Terry Campbell of CBA calls FATCA “an extraterritorial application of U.S. law which conflicts in many regards, including privacy, with Canadian law. Secondly, it is an intrusion of U.S. authority into the Canadian space.
    I wish Canadian Civil Liberties Association (which claims to “passionately defend the human rights and civil liberties of all Canadian citizens”) would at least make a similar statement to Terry Campbell.
    There is a comment from Privacy Commissioner.

  35. I’ve been following all of this with some trepidation, anxiety – and acceptance, because it seems to me that some sort of IGA is the inevitable outcome. Our financial institutions are too intricately intertwined with those of the US to risk really upsetting them by not going along and by ‘poking the eagle in the eye’. And unfortunately the government seems to be unwilling to stand up to the bully. Perhaps I’m too pessimistic. Perhaps I’ve read too many John le Carre novels, but it seems to me that’s what will likely happen.
    ————————-
    Apologies for going OT for a moment but some of you may remember me from IBS. I’ve been lurking here for a while, and will continue to lurk there. Think I will be much more comfortable posting here, find the atmosphere and the tone more positive and supportive. I’m not at all a shrinking violet, I’ve engaged in some pretty spirited political discussions on another (dog related!) chat board. That’s not what I’m looking for or need in dealing with this FATCA, FBAR, tax return filing, and so on.
    I’ve made an appointment at the Toronto consulate in early January to renounce. I have several questions about that, don’t know where to put them, and will appreciate guidance.
    —————
    Back on topic.
    @ outraged, I hope that you aren’t offended that I used your letter to Mr. Shoom as a starting point for a letter of my own. While I retained some phrases and sentences, much of it is adapted to my personal circumstances and outlook. I have no desire or need to plagiarize so if you want to see it, will be happy to share before sending.

    1. Hi Extex,
      There’s a thread here called “Renunciation and Relinquishment: What are the differences? Is there a difference?” that would be a good place to ask any questions regarding renunciation.
      I see you’re going to Toronto. That’s where I went and it was a very good experience.

    2. @Extex – on the contrary, I’m flattered that you found it useful enough to use some of it. I’m so glad that you did this. Although I don’t hold out much hope we’ll make a difference in the end, I think it’s therapeutic to tell our stories and at least try to make a difference.
      And welcome to our site. I find this whole thing so troubling and anxiety-making that I need a place like this that doesn’t drive my anxiety levels even higher, which is what was happening to me when I participated in IBS. There are some really great post-ers over there, and great information, but I needed something calmer and more positive. Thankfully, Blaze felt the same and we came together to make this site.
      As Blaze says, please do have a look at the relinquishment and renunciation thread, I think you’ll find a lot of useful information there. And if you have questions I know, collectively, we’d be happy to try and help with them. There are a number of people who’ve successfully had their relinquishments acknowledged and have received their CLNs, and have been through the consulate process. I haven’t done so, as yet – I’m still debating on whether I should or not.

  36. @extex: Welcome to Maple Sandbox. I certainly remember your name from Brock, but I’m a bit foggy on your details.
    If you have questions on renouncing or relinquishing, it is probably best to post them, as Pacifica suggested, on the Relinquish or Renounce thread. That will allow the answers on that topic to remain in one thread, making it most efficient and effective for regular Sandboxers as well as newcomers.
    I’m glad you decided to stop lurking and join with us in standing up to IRS bullies. I hope others will be encouraged to do the same.

  37. @Pacifica, Outraged and Blaze, thank you for welcoming me here. Excuse my tardy response – fighting a cold and putting in long hours at work this week, then coming home and crashing before 8PM. Thank you also for suggesting where to post my renunciation questions etc.

  38. The more I read about FATCA, the more anxious I feel about it. There are so many conséquences. Some say that it will be very expensive, perhaps ruinously so, to comply. Others say that it is difficult to find accountant to take on the task. It is difficult to know what to do. Renouncing U.S. citizenship is another track. However, that does not mean that one will lnot owe U.S. tax if found to be liable.
    My wife and I and our children have lived in Canada since 1967. It never occured to us that we had to fil a U.S. tax report. Yes, we filed for the part of 1967 that we were living and working in the U.S.
    We have never worked again in the U.S. since 1967. We have never lived in the U.S. and have only made short visits to see relatives. Our entire perspective is Canadian. We feel very Canadian and have always paid both profincial and federal taxes in Canada. We have voted in every election since we became citizens; municipal, provincial and federal élections. Now, it seems our children will be suffering the same anxiety as we. They have no U.S. points of reference because they grew up as Canadians.
    The U.S. is bullying the entire world with FATCA. Is it just? It is possibly illegal.
    What is the Canadian government doing to protect us. After 46 years as a resident of Canada and almost that long as a Citizen, I expect something.

  39. You say you have been a Canadian citizen almost as long as you have been a resident. That is your most important protection from IRS.
    When did you become a Canadian citizen? Was it prior to 1986? That is important from an American perspective, but not from a Canadian one?
    Have you done anything to reclaim US citizenship since then–i.e. had an American passport, voted in US election, file U.S> income tax returns.
    If not, you are eligible to apply for a backdated Certificate of Loss of Nationality (CLN) at a US Consulate.
    If you have not done any of those things that would claim US citizenship, there is no reason why you should not be approved for a CLN.
    In terms of protection from IRS, Canada’s Finance Minister has been very clear. CRA does not and will not collect any FBAR penalties for IRS for any Canadian resident. CRA will also not collect any tax liability for IRS for any Canadian citizen if the tax liablity arose at the time the person was a Canadian citizen.
    I personally will not go anywhere near a US Consulate to apply for a CLN. The US Consulate told me clearly, firmly and directly in 1973 that I was “permanently and irrevocably” relinqushing US citizenship when I became a Canadian.
    Little did I know that in 1986, US Supreme Court ruled that automatic loss of US citizenship was unconstitutional and reinstated my American citizenship without my knowledge or consent.
    That is why the 1986 date is important. However, if you became a Canadian citizen at any time up until 20004, you should be able to get a backdated CLN without reporting anything to IRS.
    My personal reasons for not going anywhere near a US Consulate is I simply don’t trust them. I would be required to give them my name and address, which they would then pass on to IRS. I am not prepared to do that.
    However, many Canadians have done that and received their CLNs with no problem. It’s a matter of what gives you the most peace of mind.
    Also, did you become a Canadian citizen before April, 1973? If you did, your citizenship oath required an oath renouncing any other citizenship.
    You can get a copy of your citizenship oath from CIC. If you are interested, I can give you a link to how do do that.
    You can learn more about relinquish and renounce by reading that thread.
    In terms of FATCA, the Canadian government has been negotiating with the US for a possible Intergovernmental Agreemment (IGA) on FATCA. We do not yet know what that agreement will contain.
    However, FATCA violates Candian banking, privacy and human rights laws and the Charter of Right and Freedoms.
    If the government and the banks violate those rights, many of us are ready to join together to take legal action. I’m still hoping it won’t come to that, but we are prepared if it does.
    Or, as Kal C says, “Relax. Do nothing differently. Sleep well.”
    That’s probably good advice. Yet, we all are very anxious about this.
    For now, I’m going to take Kal’s advice. Log off, relax and sleep well tonight.
    Let us know if you have more questions. Sleep well!

  40. Paul Duncan, I have to echo KalC and Blaze. My gut feel is you don’t have to worry, having been a Canadian for so long. However, I have to admit I have not applied for my CLN as yet, as I’m not ready to test those waters, as I have a bit of complication. But, as Blaze says, many have applied and received their CLN’s successfully.
    I highly recommend that you read and research, and then take the time to let it all settle in, before making any decisions. The research may cause some anxiety in the beginning, but I suspect that in the end you’ll feel better for having a clear picture, and it might even be that you determine that you’re confident that you can obtain your CLN.

  41. Paul Duncan. Fortunately for you, after 46 years, you do NOT have to change a thing. Before you act precipitously, think long and hard, —above all, ask yourself ‘what are they going to do, do they even know I exist, do they care?’

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