The paper by Andrew Bonham, cited elsewhere, gives much food for thought. Among the many things that caught my attention was his comment on page 344 regarding the $ 50,000 cap on FATCA penalties.
As he stated, ‘This amount, it is asserted, is just low enough to potentially deter individual challenges, owing to the legal costs that would be incurred in mounting a judicial review application’
He does later state that class actions may be possible.
This made me think of cases where people have gone to Court, putting themselves through a lot of trouble and possibly a great deal of expense over relatively minor amounts of money.
One case that comes to mind is Mullin v. the Queen 99 DTC 748 (T.C.C.) the results of which have had a great benefit for many rural Canadians. Reasonable transportation expenses for medical travel to obtain services not available locally have long been allowed as legitimate medical expenses. In the Mullin case http://decision.tcc-cci.gc.ca/en/1999/1999tcc972815/1999tcc972815.html the issue was what reasonable expenses were if one had to travel using their own vehicle. The actual tax at issue was likely less than $ 300.
The result of this decision effectively increased the amount that could be claimed to the mileage rate allowed to Federal government employees (like tax auditors for example). This mileage rate includes not only gas and oil, but the full cost of car ownership including repairs and maintenance, insurance, loan interest and depreciation.
The overall effect is that much larger medical claims could be made than in the past if one’s health problems forced them to travel larger distances to see specialists or obtain the recommended treatment.
So, I think it is possible that someone, somewhere, on principles alone, might challenge a FATCA penalty even if it costs them more than the penalty. However, I would hope that others with an interest in the case would assist whomever it is with the costs of the case.