What's New?

As you know, Maple Sandbox is a gathering place for us to come together to share, learn, explore and grow together.
To stand up to IRS bullies, we need information as quickly as it becomes http://www.dreamstime.com/-image24675549available.  We need to learn from each other around the world.
I hope What’s New will be a building block for sharing those stories from the media or your own experiences.
What’s New will allow you to post articles under one central thread, rather than spreading them out through many different threads.  It also will give you the opportunity to share any other information you have with others.
Of course, some news and information will have still have threads of their own.
Please share your news, scoops and ideas.
 
 
 

679 thoughts on “What's New?

  1. I’ll start by posting the first What’s News stories.
    Warning, it is not rated PG and may be a bit racy for sandbox play.
    Forbes is asking “Has IRS Gotten A Whole Lot Sexier.”
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/anthonynitti/2013/02/04/has-the-irs-gotten-a-whole-lot-sexier/
    A man under IRS audit found “a proactively dressed female auditor (at his door) offering to abate his penalty if he’ll just show her his assets, if you know what I mean…”
    The author seems somewhat bemused by this. If the situation were reversed and a woman taxpayer had such an experience, it would definitely be sexual harassment–or worse.
    In any case, he says until today, he always thought offers of massage and lingerie photos were common IRS audit practices (They’re not!)
    I wonder what Seven Mopsick would have to say about all those intelligent, highly educated, moral folks at IRS on this one. Maybe I will post at his blog and see if I get a response.
    Or, this may turn out to be just a National Enquirer type of story. If it is, it probably was not the best example for launching the What’s New thread.

    1. NEW is that GEITHNER and Obama were making agreements to treat US corporation taxable ‘persons’ as taxed only on a territorial basis – while tormenting individual US citizens ‘abroad’ as criminals. Geithner ‘privately’ agreed in 2011 to do this – at the same time as he was threatening all of us in public statements and the IRS was trying to force all those who had not been filing, into the one size fits all OVD programs.
      “http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/31/us-usa-tax-territorial-idUSBRE90U15J20130131
      ‘The chief of a group of more than 200 CEOs said on Thursday that President Barack Obama had told the business community last month he might back a territorial tax system, a regime that would exempt offshore corporate profits from U.S. taxation.’
      .
      ..”In 2011, then Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner privately agreed to move to such a regime in failed talks with Republicans to secure a major budget deal, according to aides present.”

  2. Thanks Swiss Pinoy. New doesn’t need to be “hot off the press” new. Anything that is new and adds to our discussions and learning.
    So, Geithner, Secretary of Treasury and Charles Rengel are both “confused” by the IRS tax code.
    As the author says, what hope is there for the rest of us?
    He’s talking about the “rest” in US. Well, what help is there for people living outside US for years or decades, often citizens of other countries?!? How are we meant to figure it out?
    Add FATCA to the mix and it’s taxageddon.

  3. Here’s an article about European Banking Federation.
    http://www.4-traders.com/news/EBF-European-Banking-Federation-Focus-on-FATCA-Rome-1-February-2013–16008689/
    EBF’s Chief Executive says “FATCA has now turned into a catalyst for an entirely new international fiscal landscape, in which financial intermediaries like banks are increasingly required to play the role of tax intermediaries and to report detailed information on investors. This is not our role.”
    Well said. It is also not the role of banks to break the laws of their home countries to meet demands of a foreign government. Yet, that is exactly what Foreign Attack To Control All expects them to do.

  4. Joe Smith at IBS offered an action list “The Task in Canada” http://isaacbrocksociety.ca/2013/02/04/the-task-in-canada/comment-page-1/#comment-174475 to which I have added some items:
    ———————————————————-
    “I would like to again thank Peter et al. for setting up this people’s social movement! I think that after one year, the task before us in Canada is clear:
    1. Continue to lobby all the political parties as to these issues, reminding them that we are 1,000,000 strong in Canada and WE VOTE! AND WE ARE CANADIANS!
    2, Continue to support the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. They are a tremendously influential organization that garners support from a wide swath of Canadian life.
    3. And talk to all others you encounter, directing them to this site.”
    My suggested additions to the list:
    “I would add to this, and the same goes by analogy for USPs in other countries outside Canada:
    1. Write to parties in other countries telling them about the Canadian experience on FATCA. If you know someone that is politically active in another country (whether USP or not), lobby them to make their party and elected officials aware of the situation. Remember, FATCA also potentially raises security and privacy concerns for non-USPs and FATBARDT in general is a drain on other countries’ treasuries and economies.
    2. Especially target Green parties and tell them about the Canadian Green party’s support for our cause.
    3. Join the ACA and donate some money. They tend to stay a little too politically correct for me vis-à-vis congresscritters and International Reaming Service but we need their efforts what with their permenant office in Washington and their consistent participation with the Americans Abroad Caucus and Americans Abroad Week. People in Washington do probably take ACA more seriously because they are coming across as less vehement than some of us at IBS might be, but rest assured, ACA knows about IBS and we are viewed as an important part of the larger movement.
    4. SWAT : Special Writers And Theses– Scour the Internet for articles about FATCA whether they be sensitive to the Minnow and bone fide resident abroad cause or just promulgating the old “look what these rich Americans are trying to get by with” ruse. Put comments on articles, reference back to IBS and other sites as well as other recent press articles online. Give IBS, Maple and other blogs a heads-up so that the rest of us can zoom in on the article and hammer it with comments (they just created a permenant “What’s New” thread at Maple that can be used for this purpose). This helps not only to educate people reading the articles and comments to see our side of the story, but may bring mainstream press writers into sympathy for our cause, while also attracting new IBS participants.
    5. Look for other groups outside of IBS that are natural members or allies of our movement: scour the Internet for other blogs talking about our issues and post comments directing back to IBS and the other sites that you know.
    6. Donate web hosting fees to Petros and/or other organizers such as those at Maple if you can.
    7. Network with USPs in your area. Form a local Friends of IBS or Maple Club, or whatever you want to call it e.g. Swiss Caquelon. Put together contingency plans to help people who get accounts closed. Research the local legislation on 1st Amendment-type rights and see if you can pool money to advertise, contact local press, organize handing-out of handbills, or even small picket demonstrations.
    BROCK ON!!! Let’s tar and feather FATBARDT. (Maple version= cover with maple syrup and pour on sand).”
    ———————————————————-
    Do any of you here at Maple have anything to add to the list?

  5. Here is a Reuter’s article from Chicago Tribune Foreigners’ Accounts In US Eyed In Tax Crackdown (I call it when Reciprocity Is Not Reciprocity)
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/sns-rt-us-usa-tax-fatcabre91312w-20130204,0,2690343.story
    Victoria has a response to this on her blog. In FATCA Comes Home, Victoria writes “The FATCA cat is truly out of the bag now.”
    http://thefranco-americanflophouse.blogspot.ca/
    Allison Christians has also posted it at her blog. She thinks “the mercenary state will prevail in the end–cooperate in principle, defect in practice–but I am very much hoping to be wrong.”
    http://taxpol.blogspot.ca/2013/02/obama-admin-taking-high-road-on-fatca.html

    1. @Victoria: I’ve also become a fan of Allison’s. I was already a fan of yours.
      @Others: In addition to the two links posted above, you will find links to both Victoria’s blog (Franco-American Flophouse) and Allison’s blog(Tax, Society and Culture) under Other Interesting Blogs.

  6. Your friends at the Task Force for Global Financial Integrity such as Ann Hollingshead and co. are coming to Ottawa to testify in front of the Finance Committee. You may wish to send something to Hoang Mai and Peggy Nash and give them a piece of your mind as I did.
    http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=5959833&Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=41&Ses=1
    Additionally H. David Rosenbloom is no friend of us either in fact he sent me a very unfriendly email which won’t be posted here but has been sent to the Finance Committee members by me.

  7. @Tim: Are Hollingsworth, Rosenbloom, et. al testifying about FATCA or about tax evasion generally?
    Your comment on another thread about unlikely partnerships resonated with me today. I am now being followed on Twitter by someone who “wants to connect with other conservative, libertarian-minded Canadians in Ontario.” That does not quite describe me.
    I’m also being followed by NDP_NDP. That appears to be a national NDP Twitter account (or it may just be a strong NDP supporter).
    Who are the other members of the Finance Committee besides Mai and Nash?

    1. They are there to talk about “tax evasion” not specifically FATCA although it is hard for me to see how they will avoid it.

  8. Allison Christians has posted a two paragraph summary of FATCA regulations from Tax Analysts on her blog
    http://taxpol.blogspot.co.nz/2013/02/a-2-paragraph-summary-of-fatca-regs.html
    Thanks also to Just Me (aka FATCA_Fallout for e-mailing me information about this.
    I can do better than two paragraphs. I can do it in two sentences.
    Anyone who lives outside US, but whom US determines is a US person must give IRS information on all of their financial holdings. Once we have reviewed it, those said persons must submit 50% of the highest amount in every account each and every year to IRS for life.
    Before anyone panics, that is not happening. It’s just what IRS and US would like to see happen)

  9. Does anyone know what’s happening with the Isaac Brock Society web site?
    It’s been down most of the afternoon and still isn’t available.

    1. IBS still down. Wondering when it’ll be back, am suffering withdrawal symptoms. Had wanted to post info about how in 2011, Geithner privately agreed to territorial taxation for corporations in deal making with Republicans. At the same time, was threatening and slandering individuals outside the US – and enforcing EXTRA-territorial reporting, taxation and BSA. Obama agreed to at least partial territorial for corporations. Nothing to help individuals.
      http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/31/us-usa-tax-territorial-idUSBRE90U15J20130131
      Obama to ask Congress for more authority to impose some kind of reciprocal reporting on non-resident foreigner accounts in US domestic banks, Texas Banking association considering lawsuit to prevent it.
      http://m.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/international-business/us-business/foreigners-accounts-in-us-banks-eyed-in-tax-crackdown/article8207084/?service=mobile
      FATCA and PFICs:
      an IRS change?
      http://www.accountingweb.co.uk/blog-post/pfics-irs-ignores-facta-law
      Must read –
      New Hale Sheppard article addresses current state of IRS OVD, Streamlined procedure, and unreported Canadian RRSPs, and IRS treatment of same – link posted at Jack Townsend blog:
      http://federaltaxcrimes.blogspot.ca/2013/02/article-for-canadians-with-unreported.html

    2. The Isaac Brock site is back up and running, hopefully without further glitches with the web server.
      Thanks everyone for your patience and thanks, Maple Sandbox, for allowing the news about the IBS site being down.

  10. @Blaze
    Here are Twitter addresses for some of those on the Standing Committee for Finance (FINA)
    @FinanceCanada
    @JamesRajotte
    @scottbrison
    @PeggyNashNDP
    @MarkAdlerMP
    @GuyCaronNPD
    @ShellyGloverMP
    @MPRandyHoback
    @hoangmai_npd
    @Cathy_McLeod
    Chair – James Rajotte
    Vice-Chairs – Scott Brison Peggy Nash
    Members Mark Adler Guy Caron Raymond Côté Shelly Glover Randy Hoback Brian Jean Cathy McLeod Murray Rankin Dave Van Kesteren
    Contact FINA
    Clerk of the Committee:
    Christine Lafranc Tel.: 613-992-9753
    Committee Assistant: Chantal Gilliland Tel.: 613-996-1532
    Facsimile: 613-992-9069
    E-Mail: FINA@parl.gc.ca
    Mailing Address:
    Standing Committee on Finance
    Sixth Floor, 131 Queen Street
    House of Commons
    Ottawa ON K1A 0A6
    Canada
    Guide for the submission of briefs to a
    House of Commons Committee
    Who can submit a brief?
    Any organization or individual may submit a written brief to a committee of the House of Commons, even if they did not have the opportunity to appear as a witness. Witnesses appearing before a committee are also encouraged to submit a brief to support their presentation.
    Format and content of a brief
    Although a committee may develop its own criteria as to the relevance and the acceptance of briefs, the general guidelines for their submission and content are as follows:
    • although individuals or organizations may submit briefs in either official language, briefs are not distributed to members of the committee until they are available in both official languages;
    • therefore briefs presented in only one of the two official languages must be sent to the clerk of the committee well beforehand to allow sufficient time for translation;
    • government departments and agencies must submit briefs in both official languages;
    • the brief should include factual information to substantiate the views expressed and the claims made;
    • recommendations to the committee should be as specific as possible, especially in terms of suggested amendments to bills;
    • the name and address of the association, organization or person submitting the brief should be clearly indicated on the title page;
    • briefs should not exceed 10 pages;
    • recommendations should be summarized at the end of the brief;
    • explanatory notes should be placed at the end of the brief;
    • any reference materials used should be clearly indicated;
    • any logos, line drawings, graphs, tables and charts should be done in black ink as other colours may not readily be photocopied;
    • any photographs submitted with the brief must be in black and white and have a glossy finish;
    • the clerk must be consulted on the number of copies required.
    Upon request, committee rooms can be made ready for presentations (laptops-with or without audio and internet, screens and projectors). If you wish to use this audio-visual equipment, please contact the Clerk of the Committee at least five (5) working days in advance of your appearance.
    Distribution of briefs
    Public distribution of all submissions remains within the discretion of the Committee, unless the author specifically requests that the brief be classified as confidential.
    Committee study process at a glance
    Committee receives/adopts terms of reference.
    Committee advertises study.
    Committee receives briefs.
    Committee conducts public hearings.
    Committee conducts public hearings outside the parliamentary precinct(where appropriate).
    Committee considers evidence and prepares report.
    Committee tables report (which may contain recommendations and a request for government response) in the House of Commons.
    Government considers report and provides response (if there was such request).
    The House may adopt the committee report, adopt a motion to recommit the report to the committee so that it may be re-examined, or simply take no action.
    Submit your brief to the Standing Committee on Finance
    opens directly into an email
    http://www.parl.gc.ca/CommitteeBusiness/CommitteeContact.aspx?Cmte=FINA&Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=41&Ses=1

  11. Nigel Green is continuing to report that FATCA is weakening.
    http://www.nigel-green.com/2013/02/06/more-signs-that-the-fatca-project-is-weakening/
    Now he says “there is further evidence that this highly polemic piece of legislation is faltering.”
    Plus, Mr. Green predicts “the Obama administration will have a battle on its hands if it intends to seek the right to have all US banks, and other financial institutions, sign up to an expensive and burdensome programme of declaring their foreign clients’ accounts.”
    (In fact, Texas Bankers Association is already considering a lawsuit over demands they provide such information. Why don’t Canadian banks and others around the world do the same?!?)
    Mr. Green concludes if other countries can’t get reciprocity, FATCA will ultimately fail.”

  12. Invasion of the Data Snatches from New York Times does not deal specifically with FATCA or IRS. It is, however, frightening in the way US is using the vast amount of information they are accumulating on people.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/14/opinion/keller-invasion-of-the-data-snatchers.html?pagewanted=all&_r=3&
    George Orwell predicted it. He was just off by a few decades.
    In a comment about guns (something to which I am personally vehemently opposed), the author asks: “When you are going to make a sizable population of law-abiding citizens feel violated, you have to ask yourself, what is the offsetting gain?”
    We need to continue to insist our private confidential information should not be transmitted to a foreign government under any circumstances.

  13. First today, Nigel Green was predicting FATCA to falter.
    Now, Center For Freedom and Prosperity is doing the same, calling FATCA Fiscal Imperialism. (Yep, that sound about right to me).
    They say FATCA had no Congressional Committee Review, US is conning foreign governments, US Treasury is acting without authority. Most importantly, they say US financial institutions are now in the crosshairs and this is just the beginning. (Actually I hope it’s the beginning of the end of FATCA!)
    The predict US banks “are in for a rude awakening, however, when they learn that FATCA isn’t really about tax evasion at all, but about expanding the scope and power of government.”
    Be sure to click on a dubious claim in the article.
    That will take you to this letter
    http://www.freedomandprosperity.org/files/blum-crs-ltr.pdf
    This was sent over 10 years ago from Congressional Research Services to the House Majority Leader who asked for a report on how the estimate of $100 billion in lost revenue was reached.
    Reading this, we learn the “estimate was an uncertain one.”The person who did the “uncertain” estimate was “unable to send us a written discussion of his estimating procedure.” Finally, “attempts to reach (the estimator) have been unsuccessful.”
    What?!? Uncertain estimates? Unable to provide details of procedure? Attempts to reach estimator unsuccessful?
    I wonder how much he was paid. Why couldn’t they reach him? Is it possible he left US and has his consulting fees stashed in one of those tax havens?
    United States of Arrogance, you have turned lives of honest, law-abiding people living outside into a nightmare because of “uncertain estimates!” Not to mention costs to responsible financial institutions around the world!

    1. Re: “the “estimate was an uncertain one.”The person who did the “uncertain” estimate was “unable to send us a written discussion of his estimating procedure.” Finally, “attempts to reach (the estimator) have been unsuccessful.””
      So interesting to hear about yet another seriously flawed and flimsy basis for US politicians making oppressive laws that specifically burden those living outside the US – where we have no meaningful input, but are subjected to very real economic harm. Reminds me of one of the GAO or TIGTA reports, estimating the so-called international ‘tax gap’. The source of the very flimsy estimates, turned out to be a private letter – (no further citation details provided). No author, date, credentials, methodology, etc. Yet, the resultant imaginary inflated numbers were used as the basis to prove that those of us ‘abroad’ are the source of some significant unclaimed revenue. It would be laughable if it wasn’t so tragic in result for us. No elementary schoolkid would be allowed to cite made up numbers from a personal letter as the basis for a homework project, yet US Senators and Representatives can direct US tax policy on the basis of one US politician’s personal correspondence with an un-named and un-identified author.
      This underscores that US extraterritorial tax and other laws governing those of us who live outside the US is simply invented based on what is convenient and advantageous for US residents and US politicians. After all we’ve learned here, and after reading primary sources like AARO position papers, and ACA commentary from 30 years ago, and GAO and TIGTA reports, I do not believe that it is viable to live outside the US and keep US citizenship. And I do not believe that this will ever change. All indications are that the US is singularly intent on alienating and exploiting us, using us as scapegoats and cash cows. Any US regime which could add FATCA layered on top of the already insane and persecutory application of the BSA FBAR to the >6-7 million of us living legal ordinary and already fully taxed lives in the rest of the world, is an arrogant and power-mad regime that knows no ethical limits.
      For an example of the use of flimsy non-evidence to justify US government policy see this example from the 2009 TIGTA report” Combination of Legislative Actions and Increased IRS Capability and Capacity Are Required to Reduce the Multi-Billion Dollar U.S. International Tax Gap January 27, 2009
      Reference Number: 2009-IE-R001″:
      “The international tax gap is defined as taxes owed—but not collected on time—from a United States (U.S.) person[1] or foreign person[2] whose cross-border transactions are subject to U.S. taxation. The IRS has not developed an accurate and reliable estimate of the international tax gap and has no plans to comprehensively measure it, but it is making the reduction of the international tax gap a top priority. Some non-IRS estimates place the international tax gap at $100 billion or more annually.[3] The result is that compliant taxpayers have additional tax burden when noncompliant taxpayers do not pay their legal obligations.”…”The IRS estimated that the entire tax gap for Tax Year 2001 was $345 billion. However, the IRS has not developed an estimate for the international tax gap.”….
      Footnote 38 – is the SOLE source cited in support of “TIGTA Analysis of Likely Components of the International Tax Gap with Available Estimates.” Table VI, Offshore Noncompliance of U.S. Taxpayers – low estimate $40.0 billion[38] ”
      See Footnote “[38] Rossotti, Charles O. 2004. Letter to Senators Charles Grassley and Max Baucus. March 22.”
      Does private correspondence seem like a logical, robust statistical basis for the far reaching, punitive policies that are oppressing millions of us abroad?
      I urge you to read the whole flimsy report, http://www.treasury.gov/tigta/iereports/2009reports/2009IER001fr.html#_ftn3 and see for yourself how the IRS has no basis whatsoever for assertions that those of us ordinary individuals born, living, working and paying taxes in the non-US countries of the world are responsible for any US ‘tax-gap’.
      There is another similar (GAO or TIGTA?) report, with similarly gross and unsubstantiated estimates of the international tax gap, and again, the footnote for one portion of the statistics cited in the table is a single piece of private correspondence belonging to a single US politician.
      The average high school student would be given an ‘F’ mark on any essay that used a personal letter from an unidentified correspondent as the sole source of assertions, or to back up a hypothesis. But apparently, US politicians aren’t held to even that standard when making policy decisions that can wipe out entire families – just for being born or living outside US borders.

  14. The Dollar Vigilante (blog): “Citizen-Based Taxation: Thank War for It”
    http://dollarvigilante.com/blog/2013/1/14/citizen-based-taxation-thank-war-for-it.html
    From the article:
    “Eritrea imposes a 2% tax on citizens who live abroad. It has come under intense criticism not only for the “diaspora tax” but also for its aggressive pursuit of collection.”
    “America imposes higher penalties and is more vicious in its collections. Nevertheless, the American Goliath has largely escaped criticism. Without approving any other form of taxation, a particularly bright light should be shone on the citizenship-based version.”
    “Citizenship-based taxation is simply too lucrative for the government to reconsider. As long as the government can paint Americans who live abroad as tax evaders, dodgers or somehow unpatriotic, then there will be little public sympathy. Government will be able to raise more money for the periodic slaughters called war as well as for the other public ‘services’ it performs.”

    1. And who will be the next ambassador sent to Canada to put a smiley face on the enforcement and extortion – and sugarcoat FATCA and FBARs? Well, here’s speculation about the possible replacements for Obama bagman Jacobson:
      http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/02/05/will-jfks-daughter-caroline-kennedy-be-the-next-u-s-ambassador-to-canada/
      Possible replacements for Jacobson-the-disingenuous:
      “* Christine Gregoire, a former Washington state governor with expertise on border issues.
      * Jennifer Granholm, a former Michigan governor who was born in Vancouver.
      * Brian Schweitzer, a former Montana governor and supporter of the Keystone XL pipeline.
      * Olympia Snowe, a former Republican senator from Maine.
      * Dave Bing, the black mayor of Detroit who supports a new cross-border bridge to Canada.
      * Kennedy, the scion of a celebrated American political family who gave Obama a boost when she supported him in 2008 and who has been a major fundraiser.”

    2. @John Brown: “Too lucrative.” That says it all. Especially with FBAR penalties, which aren’t a tax at all!
      @Badger: Interesting list, but this comment is unsettling: “It’s a bit like throwing a dart at a dart board.” I hope we can stay out of the way of the dart!
      I have no idea if the idea of Caroline Kennedy is serious or not. If that ever happened, we might be able to appeal to her passion about privacy (following in her mother’s footsteps on that).
      She wrote a book The Right To Privacy. A synopsis from Random House says:
      “Can the police strip-search a woman who has been arrested for a minor traffic violation? Can a magazine publish an embarrassing photo of you without your permission? Does your boss have the right to read your email? Can a company monitor its employees’ off-the-job lifestyles–and fire those who drink, smoke, or live with a partner of the same sex? Although the word privacy does not appear in the Constitution, most of us believe that we have an inalienable right to be left alone. Yet in arenas that range from the battlefield of abortion to the information highway, privacy is under siege. In this eye-opening and sometimes hair-raising book, Alderman and Kennedy survey hundreds of recent cases in which ordinary citizens have come up against the intrusions of government, businesses, the news media, and their own neighbors.”
      We could add: Does a foreign government have the right to invade the financial privacy of citizens and residents of a home country? Does a foreign government have the right to demand a bank violate the privacy laws of their home government? Does a foreign government have the right to insist another government gather and release private financial information on its own citizens and residents for the benefit of the foreign government? Does a foreign government have the right to demand other governments change their privacy and human rights laws in contravention of their own constitutions?
      And the list goes on. But, wait, I think I know the answer to all of those questions:
      “We are not a foreign government. We are United States of Arrogance. We are supreme rulers of the universe.”

  15. IExpats.com: “Bahamas Trusts Hauled In To FATCA Tax Net”
    http://www.iexpats.com/2013/02/bahamas-trusts-hauled-in-to-fatca-tax-net/
    From the article:
    “’The final details released by the US Treasury have changed the landscape on whether the trusts and PICs are to be defined as an FFI or not. That’s a significant issue when it comes to the burden of complying with FATCA,’ she said.”
    “The Bahamas government is now putting together a task force which will enable the country to work to a timescale and framework on how they will meet the compliance deadline of January 2014.”

  16. To those who are waiting for word on the Isaac Brock site — it is again up and running. Thanks everyone for your patience and for Blaze and Maple Sandbox allowing us to give word on its progress here.

    1. Sorry, I spoke too soon. The Isaac Brock site is still experiencing difficulties. Will post again in the morning to give an update.

  17. @Calgary411: You and other Brockers are welcome to play in the Sandbox anytime.
    I hope Brock is up and running soon. I don’t want to see Badger or anyone else have a meltdown from withdrawal.
    We understand technical glitches. We’ve had some of our own–including being frustratingly slow. Outraged is working on it. I hope it doesn’t chase anyone out of the Sandbox.

    1. Thanks, Blaze.
      It’s good there is cross use of your site and the Isaac Brock site.
      I’m up now — and it seems Isaac Brock is back up too. I hope the glitches have been addressed. So, all who wish, try Isaac Brock again too.

  18. Salon: “DoJ memo: It’s legal to kill Americans with drones”
    http://www.salon.com/2013/02/05/doj_memo_its_legal_to_kill_americans_with_drones/
    From the article:
    “The ACLU’s Jaffer called the limits to U.S. killing authority set out in the memo ‘so vague and elastic that they will be easily manipulated.’ Jaffer goes on to detail the specific reasons why, as he told Isikoff, he finds the content of the document ‘chilling,’ including his belief that its key legal arguments ‘don’t stand up to even cursory review.’”

  19. Wired: “More Than 50 Countries Helped the CIA Outsource Torture”
    http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2013/02/54-countries-rendition/
    From the article:
    “A new report from the Open Society Foundation details the CIA’s effort to outsource torture since 9/11 in excruciating detail. Known as “extraordinary rendition,” the practice concerns taking detainees to and from U.S. custody without a legal process — think of it like an off-the-books extradition — and often entailed handing detainees over to countries that practiced torture. The Open Society Foundation found that 136 people went through the post-9/11 extraordinary rendition, and 54 countries were complicit in it.”
    “The full 54 countries that aided in post-9/11 renditions: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Libya, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malawi, Malaysia, Mauritania, Morocco, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan, Yemen, and Zimbabwe. The Open Society Foundation doesn’t rule out additional ones being involved that it has yet to discover.”

  20. Hi Blaze,
    Thought I would re-post here the reply I left right after yours on Nigel Green’s latest article, “More signs that the FATCA project is weakening”:
    BLAZE says:
    February 6, 2013 at 7:39 pm
    From your lips to Obama’s ears!
    Reply
    DECKARD1138 says:
    February 8, 2013 at 5:29 am
    Mr. Green, you are always a breath of fresh air in the fetid FATCA swamp. While I would so much more prefer to see FATCA fail before it even gets started, I realize that there is not much likelihood of that happening. Individuals, institutions and, indeed, entire countries will likely suffer greatly before this folly can be completely halted.
    However, you remind us that there are many strong dynamics in play that should derail the FATCA train in short order as soon as the really fun stuff begins: the reciprocal reporting requirements faced by domestic U.S. banks (and the massive foreign disinvestment that will swiftly ensue), the withholdings war that now begins in 2017 (no doubt within days after the next election), and the growing potential of a grassroots, worldwide anti-FATCA movement that will continue to gain adherents and traction in public discourse and consciousness (with no thanks to the majority of mainstream media, of course).
    Thank you, sir, for helping to keep up the morale! As Blaze has suggested, may President Obama begin to hear and understand the chorus of outrage and condemnation this ill-conceived law has given rise to. If Mr. Obama is indeed a good, caring and moral man, then he must eventually acknowledge his administration’s terrible misjudgement and ask Congress to repeal this repugnant and self-defeating law.

    1. Thanks Deckard. It’s good to see you here and elsewhere.
      Unfortunately, so far Obama is turning a deaf ear to our voices. We need to keep turning up the volume and frequency around the world.
      I think our greatest hope is in getting our countries to say no, rather than focusing on US. That seems to be Nigel Green’s take on it too.

  21. As John Brown posted in another thread, China seems to be balking at playing the FATCA game. China says there is little incentive, minimal benefit for China and high compliance costs. Plus, FATCA violates Chinese laws (Is there any country that FATCA does not violate laws?!?)
    http://www.risk.net/asia-risk/news/2241791/little-incentive-for-china-to-implement-fatca
    I tweeted this today. Here is Julian Hudson’s response to me:
    @LynneBlaze China should threaten to play its trump card, which is to threaten to not buy anymore U.S. treasuries unless FATCA is dropped
    That is, of course, the huge question. Why hasn’t China already threatened to do that? They are in a very advantageous negotiating situation.
    Plus, would US really sign a “reciprocity” agreement with China? If banks and Congress are in an uproar over Mexico, how would they respond to an IGA forcing US banks or IRS to give information to the People’s Republic of China?

  22. While China is resisting FATCA, South Africa National Treasury and South Africa Revenue Service has issued a statement about opening negotiations.
    http://www.polity.org.za/article/sa-statement-by-the-national-treasury-and-the-south-african-revenue-service-on-opening-negotiations-with-the-us-department-of-the-treasury-for-inter-governmental-agreement-08022013-2013-02-08
    They say: “The emerging prospect of further co-operation between these jurisdictions for the automatic exchange of information between them is an exciting development, which South Africa will be exploring.”
    “Exciting development?” Signing away your country’s autonomy is an “exciting development?” Have you lost your mind?!?
    We need Nelson Mandela to tell them not to let US FATCA South Africa!
    Again, would Obama and US really be prepared for reciprocity with South Africa? How about Kenya? What about Indonesia?

  23. This has nothing to do with IRS, FATCA, citizenship or drone attacks.
    To give us a break from all of that and to bring some joy to our faces, I wanted to share the out of this world music video of Canadian astronaut (or should that be rocknaut?!?) Chris Hadfield, Barenaked Ladies and Wexford Gleeks.
    CBC pulled together this group of Canadians for an absolutely stellar original production between outer space and earth. It doesn’t get any better than this. This is Canada at its best and one of the many reasons I love being Canadian.
    http://www.space.com/19694-hadfield-song-duet-space.html
    I predict next will be a blast off to Juno and Grammy nominations. Rock On Commander Hadfield!
    Barenaked Ladies frontman Ed Robertson is in awe of Cmdr. Hadfield’s musical talent. He told him “Hey Dude, you’re the astronaut. I’m supposed to be the musician.”
    http://www.calgaryherald.com/entertainment/music/Robertson+astronaut+Chris+Hadfield+collaborate/7938036/story.html
    @Cmdr_Hadfield has tweeted asking for ideas for other songs to record in space. I suggested Fly Me To The Moon, perhaps even in duet with Tony Bennett.
    Do you think US will try to FATCA him? He must have a Green Card to work with NASA. Are Barenaked Ladies also required to have a Green Card to perform in US?
    Seriously, those of you who are on Twitter may want to follow @Cmdr_Hadfield. He tweets the most amazing photos and messages from the International Space Station. For those not on twitter, it’s worth signing up just to see Commander Hadfield’s tweets.

  24. @Calgary411: Here’s a thought. Maybe Cmdr. Hadfield and Barenaked Ladies would perform my revised version of the Guess Who’s American Woman Stay Away From Me (now American Taxman…).
    Now, that would be awesome.
    For those of you who are not familiar with this version, I rewrote the lyrics (changes from original in caps) about a year ago. Still seeking someone with musical ability to sing it. Any volunteers?
    AMERICAN TAXMAN
    American TAXMAN, stay away from me
    American TAXMAN, JUST let me be
    Don’t come a hangin’ around my door
    I don’t wanna see your face no more
    I got more important things to do
    Than spend my time MESSIN’ with you
    Now TAXMAN, I said stay away
    American TAXMAN, listen what I say-ay-ay-ay-ay-ay
    American TAXMAN, get away from me
    American TAXMAN, JUST let me be
    Don’t come a knockin’ around my door
    Don’t wanna see your shadow no more
    YOU MAY THINK YOU can hypnotize
    I SEE RIGHT THROUGH YOUR LIES
    Now TAXMAN, I said get away
    American TAXMAN, listen what I say-ay-ay-ay
    Now TAXMAN, get away from me
    American TAXMAN, JUST let me be
    American TAXMAN, said get away
    American TAXMAN, listen what I say
    Don’t come a hangin’ around my door
    Don’t wanna see your face no more
    I don’t need your war machines
    I don’t need your ghetto scenes
    YOU MAY THINK YOU can hypnotize
    I SEE RIGHT THROUGH YOUR LIES
    Now TAXMAN, get away from me
    American TAXMAN, JUST let me be
    Go, gotta get away, gotta get away now go, go, go
    I LEFT YOU LONG AGO
    WHY ARE YOU NOW MY FOE?
    Bye-bye Bye-bye Bye-bye Bye-bye
    You’re no good for me
    I’m no good for you
    Get Away–ay–ay–ay

    1. Calgary, Others:
      RenounceCitizenship has also rewritten the words to Born Free to be Form Free (free of those endless, convoluted forms of IRS and US) We need a musician!
      Here is his revision)
      Form free, as free as the wind blows
      As free as the grass grows
      Form free to follow your heart
      Live free and beauty surrounds you
      The world still astounds you
      Each time you look at a star
      Stay free, where no walls divide you
      You’re free as the roaring tide
      So there’s no need to hide
      Form free, and life is worth living
      But only worth living
      ‘Cause you’re form free
      (Stay free, where no walls divide you)
      You’re free as the roaring tide
      So there’s no need to hide
      Form free, and life is worth living
      But only worth living
      ‘Cause you’re form free

  25. Here’s another article that shows US for what it is: “world’s biggest tax haven.”
    http://www.publicintegrity.org/2011/05/18/4638/irs-crusades-against-americans-hiding-money-offshore-latin-american-tax-cheats-flock
    The article agrees islands are tax havens.
    “People joke about the Cayman Islands. The biggest haven is an island, all right. It’s either Manhattan or Great Britain.”
    President of American Bankers Association says people from Latin American countries don’t move their money to US to avoid taxes. He claims they do so to protect it from tyrants and kidnapers.
    We keep our money in the countries where we live so we can pay our bills and mortgages, save, invest and pay taxes to our home countries. We are also determined to protect our money and “keep it safe from tyrants (i.e. Congress) and “kidnappers” (IRS who wants to hold kidnap our savings and hold us captive for ransom).

  26. Blaze
    Interesting FYI, The Federal Conservatives just announced that they are dropping their plans for a big “E-Snooping” Bill. More below:
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/harper-government-kills-controversial-internet-surveillance-bill/article8456096/
    We’ve listened to the concerns of Canadians,” Justice Minister Rob Nicholson told reporters outside the House of Commons on Monday.
    He said that “we will not be proceeding with Bill C-30. And any attempts to modernize the criminal code will not contain …warrantless mandatory disclosure of basic subscriber information or the requirement for telecommunications service providers to build intercept capability within their systems.”
    Instead, the government has carved out a sliver of the bill to ensure warrantless wiretaps during emergencies remain legal.
    “We are immensely relieved,” said Chantal Bernier, the federal assistant privacy commissioner. She said the government’s reversal “is the result of the recognition of the fundamental right to privacy of Canadians, and also of their attachment to it.”
    Bill C-30 caused a furor when it was introduced a year ago this week. The legislation would have permitted police and other government officials to compel Internet service providers to disclose identifying information linked to clients’ ISP addresses without a warrant.

  27. In my never-ending daily quest to discover the answer for myself to “Why Isn’t FATCA a huge story relayed to ALL Canadians by the Canadian media?” I gathered some thoughts I fully agree with that were collected from the Isaac Brock site (from badger, AnonAnon and “a”). I sent these on to Kevin Shoom (to add to my other IGA comment submissions) — Collection of thoughts on why Canada government and media is silent on FATCA and Negotiations for Signing an Intergovernmental Agreement with the US…
    “Why are we lulled into complacency?
    You would think that the whole idea of interfering with our money – our legal, post-tax, made-in-Canada savings, would be something significant enough to trigger that strong automatic anti-US gag reflex and have the Canadian media up in arms.
    I think it would catch on and get Canadians riled if it got more coverage and was explained properly, particularly if it was emphasized that the US has arrogantly made its definition of a taxable-by-the-US-person so broad that many non-US individuals here can easily become ensnared. For instance, all those snowbirds, and those buying US retirement properties, etc. – if they stay too long in Florida and Arizona. The anti-US sentiment gets turned against duals here, and anyone deemed American in Canada. And are we to believe that those of US origin, or who inherited US status from a parent live in isolation? There have to be lots and lots of Canadian households with a US member. (Those that are aware are getting their asses and their assets out of the US.)
    And I think that is why there is complete and utter official silence. The feds and others must think that there could be significant public opposition to FATCA, or they wouldn’t bother to keep it so quiet. They know this is potentially explosive if truly understood. And it explains why no official public stand against FATCA from the official opposition parties either. Otherwise, why only the Greens taking a loud and principled party stance? There are individuals from the parties, ex. Liberals, like Ralph Goodale, and lukewarm letters from Bob Rae, but nothing recent, and nothing on the federal party websites. Strong statements from NDP in BC particularly, on their individual websites in the fall of 2011 particularly, but the federal leader – Mulcair, who attended parliamentary committee hearings on Canadian tax evasion issues, heard Scott Michel of Caplin and Drysdale who was invited to speak to the committee – so he has a bit more background about what the US has been doing – but it doesn’t translate into a formal stance. Why not? Are the federal NDP and federal Liberals just too preoccupied with other issues, or do they just not want to take the US on? You really have to wonder what is up. Is it because they are Obama fans? If so, they should remember that naked US self interest is timeless and a constant – just insert syrupy words about ‘close relationships’ and ‘friends and neighbours’ whenever expedient.
    It’s very ironic. I always warned Canadians around me about letting the US eat up Canadian natural resources, and Canadian sovereignty, even though I was born in the US. But strangely, for all the anti-American stuff I heard while growing up here, it seems that there isn’t enough organized mass public opposition every time a Canadian politician like Harper gives away another piece of Canadian autonomy – like the ongoing Border security initiative – with drones patrolling the shared border.
    FATCA may shift Canadian society and immigration/emigration patterns. No longer will there be those Canadian families whose children or other members consider so easily, going to the US to study or work, because they suddenly then have a problem re estates, joint/family banking, Canadian registered accounts, etc. if they decide to stay longer. US status will be recognized for the burden that the IRS Treasury and Congress have made it, instead of an advantage.
    Who can do any normal financial or future planning in any family here with a US member? Whether that US member is a US resident, or a Canadian one – it affects everyone else with RESPs, financial planning, future planning for estates, disability, etc.
    There are so many Canadian families who would be shocked if they really knew what this meant for them. I can easily think of about 20 households with one US spouse here in Canada, or adult children who’ve gone to the US to study or work, or married an American, but I don’t think anyone is aware of the situation, and it is so draconian and so Orwellian, that those I have told can’t quite believe it could really be true.
    The double taxation spectre is bad enough, but it is the FBAR, FATCA jeopardy and all the prohibitions on all our normal savings options that are the most insane. And that Canadian politicians are just letting it happen – that betrayal is the hardest part of all.
    I think that the wave of anti-US sentiment will be huge if a FATCA IGA gets signed here, and the true ramifications become apparent, but that will be too late. And I think that when the true scale of the impact on the > 1,000,000. households in Canada with a US member is revealed, it will change banking and investing here significantly. The banks may think they can just get on with making money, and having all Canadians foot the compliance bill, but that is > 1,000,000. or 1/32 that will NOT be buying or investing in the most popular investments – NO Canadian mutual funds, NO RESPs, NO TFSAs, NO RDSPs, NO PRPPs (which the banks and investment houses desperately want to sell to us). Nothing that could be a ‘foreign trust’ or a PFIC, or anything else. So, how will they sell those products to households where the whole family has to quarantine their accounts so as not to spread the FBAR and FATCA taint and jeopardy? Already, it significantly distorts our banking and personal financial arrangements where even just one of us has the US burden. It leaves spouses unable to legally and sensibly plan for emergencies – unless they want the possibility of having ALL the household accounts potentially subjected to the rigors of the FBAR, and FATCA reporting, and the attendant penalties for even the smallest accidental errors – levied per account. And households are hampered and burdened if they want to operate businesses, or take jobs with signatory duties, so it skews career choices, employment planning and work. It skews finances between spouses. It skews communities – because we can’t handle volunteer accounts for fundraising. We can’t take on financial responsibilities for anyone else – even in contingency planning.
    How are the Canadian banks going to justify to their shareholders that despite an IGA, they will still have to pay for ongoing compliance and reporting – whether it is to the IRS directly, or to the CRA? Those costs will be forever – and have to be passed to all account holders. And all taxpayers will pay for the Canadian government to comply – forever.
    God forbid that you have a situation where you need to sell your Canadian house as a senior and it has gone up in value – inflated over time- and then you’ve got US capital gains tax to pay – and it eats away at your home-as-nest-egg money for retirement or long-term care. Or to pass to your non-US kids. Or someone needs to be named an executor, or co-sign on an account, but won’t/can’t take on the liability.
    What kind of Canadian government would bring all that down on Canadian society – for all time? What are they trading? It’s got to be something like oil and the pipeline, or some other concession that the Harper government really wants. Most likely to be oil in Alberta, or access to the Arctic for drilling, etc. It’s going to be some natural resource for sure.
    We are economic hostages held in bondage by the US.
    … I agree with your assessment that the USP rather than citizen label is part of a slow creep that will eventually ensnare more and more Canadians, whether they have an actual USP in their household or not, but getting Canadians to see this has proved very difficult.
    I know many ppl who have US spouses, obtained SS numbers, green cards or citizenship while working in the US and who own property or winter down there, and they are all, for the most, not willing to believe that they currently are or someday will be debt serfs for Uncle Sam.
    In spite of the latent, and sometimes not so, anti-Americanism that runs through Canadian culture, Canadians just don’t think that the US can come after their wealth b/c Canadian law and govt prevents it. Until it starts happening on a wider spread basis that the media can’t ignore, I don’t know how to remedy this.
    I never thought I would have nostalgia for the Cold War, when all we had to worry about was Mutually Assured Destruction between the US and the Soviets. Even McCarthyism, bad as it was, was fairly focused. Now with the never ending War On Terror, we have supposedly democratic governments seeking potential enemies of all kinds everywhere, especially among their own citizens, and inventing ways to punish them (us) before they (we) even do anything.
    It’s almost exactly the kind of control that George Orwell envisioned. In the process of seeking enemies, governments are creating more enemies, thus keeping the War on Terror going. How great for the National Defense, Homeland Security, weapons and prison industries, which will ultimately bankrupt everyone else!
    Meanwhile the public is kept entertained with professional sports shows, awards shows, “reality” shows, and movies that support the idea that problems can only be solved by violent “good guys”. And our elected representatives “drone” on and on and on …
    … there is a reason the Romans diverted the masses with gladiatorial contests and circuses.
    “”Plays, farces, spectacles, gladiators, strange beasts, medals, pictures, and other such opiates, these were for ancient peoples the bait toward slavery, the price of their liberty, the instruments of tyranny. By these practices and enticements the ancient dictators so successfully lulled their subjects under the yoke, that the stupefied peoples, fascinated by the pastimes and vain pleasures flashed before their eyes, learned subservience…”
    Etienne de La Boétie
    Discourse on Voluntary Servitude

  28. @Calgary: When I spoke with Vice-President of my credit union yesterday about FATCA (see under final FATCA regulations thread), I said “Can you imagine if it was China doing this.?”
    He laughed. I think that says a lot about why we aren’t getting very much support. No one cares how it affects us. Instead, he wanted to talk about the “burden” on the credit union.
    He did say “we are with you 100% in spirit.” Yeah, right.

  29. Does the vice president of your credit union worry at about being sued by you(Blaze) and losing his house and his family’s wealth. Why are these people in Finance so bliterly about all this. Does the Vice President think at the end of the day you won’t sue or don’t have the money.

  30. @Blaze, The VP of your credit union sounds like a jerk.
    Speaking of credit unions, having done some speed reading of the latest FATCA regulations, I am still confused as to how credit unions are affected. The whole ‘deemed compliant’ thing made me wonder if somehow they might be exempt from FATCA.

  31. @Tim, WhiteCat, Others: I was shocked at the conversation with the VP.
    When I read the regs, I thought Libro would be “deemed compliant” or be exempt on the basis that 98% if their members are in the home jurisdiction. He said that is not the case (which was a huge surprise to me).
    As I said in the other thread, I think he was equally taken aback at the strength of my conviction to fight this. I suspect he thought I was blowing smoke until I said some of us had already consulted one of Canada’s most prominent constitutional lawyers and large numbers of people are prepared to come together in class action against either our banks and credit unions or the government.
    He had little response to my saying an IGA does not resolve any of the issues.. He was stunned when I said a tax law professor says an IGA is a tax treaty override.
    He was at a loss to tell me how Libro will be able to ask me or others for our place of birth without violating Canadian law. He tried talking about W9, etc. but I was not prepared to have that conversation.
    I’m not sure I want to speak with Board of Directors. I think I’ve come out of the closet far enough by speaking with the CEO several months ago and now to the VP (the CEO asked him to return my call this time).
    He did say I know more about FATCA than most people. You think?
    It was definitely a tense conversation. It was not a good way for either of us to begin the week at 8:10 a.m. on a Monday morning.

  32. We thought there could not be a worst tax law than FATCA. In fact, Jim Jatras calls it the “worst law no one has ever heard of.”
    Well, Italy is in competition with US now.
    If you don’t want to be pulled over by the tax police in Italy, don’t drive a sporty red Ferrari.
    Redditometro “involves a detailed ‘lifestyle’ audit that tips off tax authorities to noncompliance. If the police observe an Italian resident living the high life (for instance, by zooming around in an expensive sports car) they can stop the individual and demand their taxpayer identification numbers, regardless of whether any criminal offense has taken place. The information is conveyed to the tax authorities, the Agenzia delle Entrate, which subsequently audits the driver. On audit, revenue officials ask probing questions about how the taxpayer was able to afford the fancy wheels given their meager reported income.”
    Yikes!

  33. I have just posted the letter template below at the Isaac Brock Society web site under “Did you relinquish before February 6, 1995 … “.
    http://isaacbrocksociety.ca/2011/12/16/did-you-relinquish-before-february-6-1995-then-you-did-not-have-to-inform-the-state-department/comment-page-6/#comment-184295
    I will appreciate comments, especially from lawyers, as to the wording and advisability of sending such a letter.
    Draft template for letter from a pre-1995 relinquisher to Internal Revenue Service, complying with requirement of form DS-4081:
    I am a former United States citizen, born in [year of birth]. I immigrated to [country] in [year of emigration from U.S.] and became a [country] citizen in [year of new citizenship]. Until I became a [country] citizen, I filed annual income tax returns for both countries, never owing anything to the United States because of credit for taxes paid to [country].
    After I became a [country] citizen, I ceased all behavior as a United States citizen. Since then I have not worked in the United States, lived there, held a U.S. passport, voted in a U.S. election, or filed tax returns there. When I have entered the U.S. for visits, I have always declared my citizenship to be [country]. In my mind I have been just a [country] citizen since [year of new citizenship].
    [Approximate time] ago, it came to my attention through press reports that my status as a U.S. citizen could be ambiguous as far as the United States was concerned. Subsequently I made an appointment at the U.S. consulate in [city] to apply for a Certificate of Loss of Nationality of the United States (CLN), which I have now obtained. A copy of the CLN is enclosed with this letter. It affirms that I relinquished my United States citizenship, with intention, when I became a [country] citizen in [year of new citizenship].
    As part of the process of obtaining the CLN I was required to sign a form, DS-4081, part of which said that “I understand that I must contact the United States Internal Revenue Service.” So with this letter I am hereby contacting you.
    I assume that, because I have not lived in the United States for over [number of] years, and I ceased being a United States citizen over [number of] years ago, I have no further obligation under any applicable law to report to you. I will appreciate your confirmation of that assumption. In the absence of such confirmation, I will conclude that my assumption is correct.
    Sincerely,

    1. @AnonAnon,
      I have replied to you query on the Issac Brock Website, but will re-post my comment here:
      I am not a lawyer, but I have now consulted with three US tax lawyers, one in Calgary, one in Seattle, and one in New York. All have expertise in the issues related to relinquishment and renunciations.
      I fall into the relinquishment category (I was born in the US in 1956, moved to Canada for school in 1975, became a landed immigrant in 1978, and a Canadian citizen in 1985. Since becoming Canadian I have used a Canadian passport, paid Canadian taxes, and never gone back to live in the US).
      First, I can now say that 3 of of 3 US tax lawyers provide the same advice: I have a case for relinquishing. Interestingly, in one of my previous posts, I said the 2 out of 3 lawyers gave the same advice. I had a call today from the 1 lawyer who have different advice to say they had examined things further, and concur that I can file for relinquishment, and have no further obligations with regard to the IRS.
      I specifically asked about the wording on DS-4081 with regard to contacting the IRS. As one lawyer put it, it is a legal theory issue as to the requirements for those of us who relinquished long ago. (I am a university professor, so contacting 3 lawyers from different firms, was a triangulation exercise that helped me to feel comfortable with what I should or should not do – ultimately these are personal decisions, which as each lawyer noted is about our individual levels of risk tolerance). Nonetheless, all lawyers gave me the same advice. I have a good case for relinquishment, and the changes to the US tax laws over time are problematic with respect to past cases. So, I will follow the advice given by the 3 lawyers, and not send a letter to the IRS, with the understanding that the reference to contact the IRS does not apply in my case of having relinquished oh so long ago.
      Hope this is helpful.

    2. @AnonAnon
      I have just posted a reply to you question on the Brock website, but will repost it here:
      I am not a lawyer, but I have now consulted with three US tax lawyers, one in Calgary, one in Seattle, and one in New York. All have expertise in the issues related to relinquishment and renunciations.
      I fall into the relinquishment category (I was born in the US in 1956, moved to Canada for school in 1975, became a landed immigrant in 1978, and a Canadian citizen in 1985. Since becoming Canadian I have used a Canadian passport, paid Canadian taxes, and never gone back to live in the US).
      First, I can now say that 3 of of 3 US tax lawyers provide the same advice: I have a case for relinquishing. Interestingly, in one of my previous posts, I said the 2 out of 3 lawyers gave the same advice. I had a call today from the 1 lawyer who have different advice to say they had examined things further, and concur that I can file for relinquishment, and have no further obligations with regard to the IRS.
      I specifically asked about the wording on DS-4081 with regard to contacting the IRS. As one lawyer put it, it is a legal theory issue as to the requirements for those of us who relinquished long ago. (I am a university professor, so contacting 3 lawyers from different firms, was a triangulation exercise that helped me to feel comfortable with what I should or should not do – ultimately these are personal decisions, which as each lawyer noted is about our individual levels of risk tolerance). Nonetheless, all lawyers gave me the same advice. I have a good case for relinquishment, and the changes to the US tax laws over time are problematic with respect to past cases. So, I will follow the advice given by the 3 lawyers, and not send a letter to the IRS, with the understanding that the reference to contact the IRS does not apply in my case of having relinquished oh so long ago.
      Hope this is helpful.

  34. Jefferson Tomas, Swisspinoy and others in Switzerland are not going to be happy at the news the Swiss Cabinet has reached a FATCA deal with US.
    http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/politics/Cabinet_approves_tax_compliance_deal_with_US.html?cid=34978646
    The article says FATCA is “aimed at cracking down on wealthy American tax dodgers.”
    That may be the aim, but the bullet is going astray and hitting honest, law abiding Swiss citizens and residents who simply want the freedom to bank in the country where they live.
    It does not appear there is any exemption for Swiss citizens living in Switzerland who simply had the misfortune to be born in US.

  35. Data.gov, a US government web site devoted to publication of government datasets, has approved consideration of a suggestion that it publish “a monthly or quarterly report of the numbers of Certificates of Loss of Nationality of the United States issued by the Department of State.” The suggestion is open for comments at
    https://explore.data.gov/nominate/2412
    Positive support for the suggestion would be welcome.

  36. Blaze,
    I don’t have the link in front of me but Reuters is reporting that according to US government sources FATCA IGA negotiations with both China and Canada have “stalled.” An IGA with Italy though is expected to be signed shortly. Keep up the pressure. No word on France or Germany.

  37. Thanks Tim and AnonAnon for posting that. I tried posting it earlier today, but as some of you may know, Maple Sandbox was down for a while.
    That statement was buried in the Reuters article about Switzerland signing.
    As a retired Human Resources Manager, I never before thought “negotiations have not progressed” as positive. But, I’m absolutely rejoicing at that statement.
    Equally significant is the article identifying Canada and China as “key trading partners” of US.
    So, has FATCA really left the station? If it has, I continue to believe it will derail as it tries to speed across the Canadian border oblivious to Canadian rules of the rails.

  38. “I am not a crook” didn’t work so well for Richard Nixon.
    So, the new standard defense is “I’m a moron.” That seems to work better. At least, it seems to be working out for Jack Lew, Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Treasury. Hmm. Isn’t that the same defense that worked for Timothy Geithner?
    http://danieljmitchell.wordpress.com/2013/02/15/grilled-about-cayman-investments-jack-lew-chooses-the-im-a-moron-defense/
    But, how does “I’m a moron” or “I didn’t understand” or Nobody told me” fit with Steven Mopsick’s theory of all those intelligent, highly educated folks in Washington?
    How does it fit with “ignorance is no defense of the law?” I guess that only applies to folks outside of Washington.
    Will IRS accept “I’m a moron” or “I didn’t know” or “Nobody told me” when they demand outrageous penalties from people who have lived outside US for decades and who had no reason to know about Mr. FATBARDT?
    Instead, US will simply plod along with their moronic attacks on honest, law-abiding people living outside US while a “moron” like Jack Lew becomes Secretary of Treasury, following in the footsteps of his predecessor.

  39. According to Victoria no one from the French government spoke despite the meeting being in Paris(although not hosted by the French Government).

  40. Nigel Green predicts China may be the force that kills FATCA.
    http://www.ftfnews.com/could_china_kill_fatca
    Germany is “in no hurry” to sign an IGA. Plus, “jurisdictions that signed their IGAs before the final Fatca regulations came out may now find themselves having to rethink elements of their agreements.”
    http://www.risk.net/operational-risk-and-regulation/news/2249902/germany-in-no-hurry-to-sign-its-fatca-iga-expert-says
    As we learned in an article posted above, negotiations with Canada are not progressing.
    France was not represented at the FATCA briefing held in their own country.
    Didn’t US Treasury expect 50 IGAs to be signed by two months ago?
    Hmmm.

  41. @Blaze, it appears one must login/register to access the content in your link?
    Out of curiosity, I checked the US Treasury dept’s press releases, found one from Nov which said,
    “The U.S. Department of the Treasury today announced that it is engaged with more than 50 countries and jurisdictions around the world…”
    and
    “Jurisdictions with which Treasury is actively engaged in a dialogue towards concluding an intergovernmental agreement include: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, the Cayman Islands, Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Israel, Korea, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Malta, New Zealand, the Slovak Republic, Singapore, and Sweden. Treasury expects to be able to conclude negotiations with several of these jurisdictions by year end.”
    So, I think you’re right, they haven’t met their own expectations.

  42. @Outraged..
    To get around the paywall, just type the name of the article, i.e.
    germany-in-no-hurry-to-sign-its-fatca-iga-expert-says
    into Google. I’m sure someday someone will figure out a way to stop that from working, but for now it is a very useful trick. It is an interesting article.

  43. Here’s an intriguing article: What Does Spandex, A Swiss Banker’s Tushie and IRS Have In Common?
    http://www.bankersumbrella.com/1/post/2013/02/what-does-spandex-a-swiss-bankers-tushie-and-the-irs-have-in-common.html
    The author writes:
    “Now the thing with the IRS is that the first rule of the IRS is you don’t mess with the IRS. The Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines? Sure, mess with them plenty. But the IRS? Nope, no way. If they had audited Afghanistan instead of invading it, that shit would be over by now. That’s how badass these guys are.”
    The article is light-hearted, but pretty accurate on a serious subject.
    Tim is having none of it. In Comments, he says “You Europeans are such wimps.” Tim then tells them of our FATCA Fight in Canada.
    You Go Tim! I nominate you for Finance Minister.

  44. Just Me has tweeted links to two great articles.
    The author of the first writes about the “blowback” of FATCA and says “Blowback is a bitch.”
    http://www.nestmann.com/fatca-foreign-account-tax-compliance-act/
    The second is about US Secretary of State’s proudly defending the right of Americans to be stupid. In Europe, John Kerry promoted the right for freedom from brains. “Now I think that’s a virtue. I think that’s something worth fighting for…”
    Remember, John Kerry is a former Senator and a former candidate for President who now represents US on the world stage.
    Does anyone still have any question about how we got FATCA?
    http://www.theatlanticwire.com/politics/2013/02/john-kerry-proudly-defends-americans-right-be-stupid/62530/?.tsrc=samsungwn
    The author of the first would love to see FATCA repealed, but he is not optimistic. The right of Americans to be stupid is probably the reason why.

  45. Here’s more on John Kerry and the right to be stupid.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/compost/wp/2013/02/26/john-kerry-and-the-right-to-be-stupid/
    According to the author, it’s one of those American inalienable rights.
    It’s exactly what the founding fathers set out to do:
    “We want to create a country where stupid people can feel safe.” That’s what the Founders said, when they got together to come up with the Constitution. Then Ben Franklin dashed out to fly a kite in a lightning storm.
    Now, if only people born in US could have the inalienable right to live their lives outside the US free of financial harassment and stalking by their country of birth that so greatly cherishes stupidity.

  46. Like us, Nigel Green is asking if Germany may be another stumbling block to FATCA
    http://www.nigel-green.com/2013/02/27/germany-another-stumbling-block-for-americas-dangerous-new-fatca-law/
    Yet, Google News points to a headline that Germany has initialed an IGA, but clicking on the story does not say anything about FATCA or Germany. Weird.
    http://tax-news.com/
    I wonder if John Kerry is discussing FATCA on his European tour or if he is too busy talking about American “right to be stupid.”

  47. Here is a link to several comments made on support or opposition to a Commission on Americans Living Abroad.
    https://www.popvox.com/bills/us/113/hr597/report#nation
    There are some disturbing but all too familiar stories there. I won’t be commenting as my position is I am not an American. However, if I was commenting, I would be divided on whether to support or oppose.
    My reasons to support would be something needs to be done now. My reasons to oppose would be the same. A commission could merely be a waste of time and money.
    The issues are known or should be known. It should not take a lengthy and expensive Commission to take action. A Commission could merely stall, delay or even stop change.
    Just do it. Now.
    US, follow advice of your new Secretary of Defense. Don’t “dictate to the world.
    Just do it. Now.

  48. We shouldn’t be too optimistic about Nigel Green’s question if Germany will be the “latest stumbling block” to FATCA.
    Reuters is reporting Germany is the “latest domino to fall” to FATCA.
    It also says “more than 50 countries are working with Treasury to sign an IGA by the end of the year.”
    Wait!. Didn’t we hear that in November about the “end of the year.” Silly us. We thought they were talking about the end of 2012, Now it seems to be end of 2013.
    It’s not over until the fat lady sings. The FATCA fat lady hasn’t sung yet, but a lot US politicians and banks are singing about “reciprocity.”

  49. Blaze,
    I still don’t know where exactly Germany sits in all of this. I would say the best window politically Flaherty ever had(not to say it was ever that good of one) to sign a deal just closed. Even if he signs something tomorrow there is no way he can bring it into force until after the Easter break(two weeks). Two months is a long time in politics.

  50. @Tim: Yep, two months is a long time in politics. Just ask Mike Duffy.
    Poor guy. It took him over two months for Duffy to try to decide where he lives.
    Duffy was confused because of those pesky forms. Actually, he still does not seem to know exactly where it is he lives. It’s a good thing he wasn’t born in US. How would Duffy possibly understand FATCA, FBAR and all the other Fs the US is throwing at us?
    Good to see you here again. As you know, I would prefer you as Canada’s Finance Minister, but I continue to be encouraged that Canada has not signed an IGA. Yet.

  51. Blaze,
    I am actually thinking more about the next Federal budget coming down in a little over a month. That will be a now or never moment. Either Flaherty will give the CRA authority under the Income Tax Act (Canada) to enforce an IGA(whether or not it has been signed by that point) or not. I believe IF Flaherty doesn’t give CRA power in the next budget I am not sure there will be another opportunity before Jan 1 2014 that does not come with EXTREME political costs. I believe at this point even among Conservative MPs from what I am told Flaherty will have to use most if not all his political capital within the Conservative Party to get it through.
    Remember the timeline.
    1. Flaherty introduces a budget some time in late March(IGA or no IGA). At this point realistically he has to say what he is doing on FATCA IGA implementation.
    2. In early April Flaherty will introduce a budget implementation bill at First Reading.
    3. In the closing days of the parliamentary session in June the budget should after second and third readings in both the House of Commons and the Senate receives Royal Assent. If Flaherty tries to go for implementing FATCA IGA Authority in the next budget our goal between now and then is to “bloody” the government up. This means:
    A. Filibusters
    B. Walkouts
    C. Tons of extraneous amendments introduced by the opposition parties and Liz May to slow the whole thing down.
    D. Bad press in the media
    I do believe with Elizabeth May’s help we CAN force and up or down vote on FATCA among all MPs. This will be poison for Flaherty if its gets to that point.

  52. @Tim: Do you think Flaherty will do it (try to give CRA authority for an IGA)? I suspect, in addition to strong political opposition, CRA itself does not want to deal with FATCA for up to 1 million Canadian taxpayers.
    In addition, I have yet to see anything that convinces me Flaherty himself sees anything good about FATCA. I may still be in full ostrich mode, but I just can’t see it happening under Canada’s laws and Charter.
    Have you heard anything more about Peter Hogg’s submission to Finance Canada?

  53. No, but Hogg is someone they fear. Remember Hogg normally represents the Government unlike Joe Arvay who is normally suing the government or one of the provinces. Hogg in fact just last year represented the Department of Finance as lead counsel before the SCofC over the National Securities Reference. Hogg was also the crown attorney during all the gay marriage cases at SCofC during the Chretien era.
    My hunch is because Shoom and Brian Ernewein aren’t lawyers they were forced to bring in Justice Canada to start looking at this whole thing. Just given the way “things work” in Ottawa once Justice Canada got involved the whole thing slowed way down. They are Justice Canada lawyers seconded to Finance that work in the same building as Shoom and Ernewein but even they don’t have the legal expertise for Constitutional law issues.

  54. @Tim: We don’t seem to be able to get Harper’s attention on FATCA. Do you think the fact gas and oil trading is considered trading in financial assets will?
    “Any foreign investment entity that trades in, or holds itself out as trading in, oil and gas, whether physical or cash settled contracts, is required to register as an FFI and agree to report certain information about its investors and activities to the IRS because it is trading in “financial assets.”
    I don’t imagine Alberta oil companies or Alberta MPs will be too happy when they realize this FATCA fact!
    http://www.natlawreview.com/article/final-foreign-account-tax-compliance-act-fatca-regulations-impact-foreign-oil-and-ga

  55. It would be interesting to know just how many of the 1 million ‘US persons’ in Canada (or for that matter how many of the 7 million ‘US persons’ worldwide), are actually aware of FATCA. I would suppose that number is a minority given the lack of media reporting on this issue.
    Imagine the backlash yet to come, if Canada enables any sort of capitulation to USA demands concerning FATCA – IGA or not.

  56. There is a new post on Jack Townsend’s blog about the “criminalization of everything”.
    http://federaltaxcrimes.blogspot.ca/2013/02/prosecutor-charging-discretion-22813.html
    It is mostly a review/excerpts from another article. I can’t do it justice by copying bits from it, so I suggest reading the originals. He doesn’t mention FATCA or taxes, but that was the first thing I thought of as I read it and it just confirmed my desire to get out of the system ASAP.

  57. @Blaze, isn’t that interesting. Don’t know how we all missed that. Well, maybe that the oil companies are affected is the reason Harper et al aren’t just laying down for the US. Maybe there’s hope for us yet. See – zero point energy might work!

  58. After the appointment of Jack Lew as Secretary of Treasury, Center for Prosperity and Freedom has concluded “rules and laws are for the peasants, not the cronyist 1 percent.”
    It certainly seems that shysters like Lew and Timothy Geithner are constantly rewarded with senior positions, while honest people paying taxes where they live and work (and are often citizens!) get FATCA. The “I’m a moron” defense works for Lew, Geithner, et. al, but not for peasants.
    Where is Steven Mopsick? I would love to hear what he has to say on how this reflects on all those moral, intelligent, highly-educated folks he has told us about in Washington.
    http://freedomandprosperity.org/2013/blog/uncategorized/jack-lew-and-citigroup-how-the-corrupt-rich-get-unjustly-richer-with-crony-capitalism/

  59. Here’s some honest advice from an American accountant to parents in Canada.
    A Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) “can really help” with your child’s post-secondary education. To encourage savings for higher education, Canadian and provincial governments offer both grants and tax incentives.
    But, forget it if you are a “US person.” (Well, he doesn’t actually say those word, but it’s clear the costs of doing so would be huge.)
    This is despite the fact that the child may be a Canadian-born citizen!
    Although the author does not mention it, one way to address the problem may be if one parent is not a “US person” to put the RESP in the name of that parent.
    This is the same disaster Calgary411 is having relating to her son’s RDSP.
    Why isn’t the Canadian government jumping up and down about this and telling the Americans “Hands Off Our Children’s Education Savings?”
    Shouldn’t all Canadian children have the same rights to higher education savings–regardless of where their parents were born?!?
    Thanks to Renuncecitizenship for tweeting this. Why can’t the US see why renouncing is the only option for many?!?
    http://ingenuitycounsel.com/2013/03/u-s-person-investing-in-canadian-resp/

  60. There are a couple of interesting articles out from our friends Nigel Green and Allison Christians.
    In Investment Europe, Nigel Green continues to insist FATCA “Is beginning to unravel” because China won’t sign.
    Let’s keep pulling those threads!
    http://www.investmenteurope.net/investment-europe/feature/2252325/us-fatca-project-beginning-to-unravel-says-deveres-nigel-green
    FATCA may be beginning to unravel, but Allison Christians says US is brushing aside the constitution to make way for FATCA.
    Allison makes legal arguments in her article, but she concludes in easy-to-understand language: “It is getting progressively more difficult to keep up with the sheer volume of violations of laws and norms being undertaken by the IRS in order to get FATCA to work.”
    http://taxpol.blogspot.ca/2013/03/irs-brushes-aside-constitution-to-make.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

  61. Might makes right. Isn’t that the attitude? Constitutions, rules, laws, ethics and morals are fluid when a certain type of people feel they have the right to determine what those are, no matter the cost to others.
    Traits of a sociopath:
    Contemptuous of those who seek to understand them
    Does not perceive that anything is wrong with them
    Authoritarian
    Secretive
    Paranoid
    Only rarely in difficulty with the law, but seeks out situations where their tyrannical behavior will be tolerated, condoned, or admired
    Conventional appearance
    Goal of enslavement of their victim(s)
    Exercises despotic control over every aspect of the victim’s life
    Has an emotional need to justify their crimes and therefore needs their victim’s affirmation (respect, gratitude and love)
    Ultimate goal is the creation of a willing victim
    Incapable of real human attachment to another
    Unable to feel remorse or guilt
    Extreme narcissism and grandiose
    May state readily that their goal is to rule the world
    (The above traits are based on the psychopathy checklists of H. Cleckley and R. Hare.)
    from: http://www.mcafee.cc/Bin/sb.html

  62. There are serious questions about whether IRS “Keystone Kops buffoonery” can handle ObamaCare.
    http://dailycaller.com/2013/03/07/can-the-irs-handle-obamacare/
    In fact, IRS seems to be having problems handling tax returns, technology, e-filing and telephone calls.
    How in the world will they ever handle FATCA? Steven Mopsick once said all the FATCA data would blow a fuse on IRS computers. Unfortunately, it will be the rest of the world that will experience a power outage when that happens!

  63. A Bahamian lawyer has blasted FATCA as “another example of economic imperialism” that is “somewhat offensive.”
    Brian Moree also says FATCA will require a “whole basket of legislation” for the Bahamas to comply.
    Plus, “It’s a somewhat unprecedented concept in international law, particularly with regard to the collection of taxes. It is basically deputizing foreign governments to collect their taxes.”
    Despite all that, Mr. Moree concedes “it seems the Bahamas has to accept the reality and do what is necessary to accommodate it.”
    So, another country is about to fall to the FATCA Attack.
    Yet, the new US Secretary of Defense recently said America “can’t dictate to the world.” That’s exactly what you are doing with FATCA, Mr. Hagel!
    http://www.tribune242.com/news/2013/mar/04/attach-law-writers-to-financial-services-ministry/

  64. Blaze,
    We are going to have some good news in Canada in few days. Unfortunately it will not be as good as Canada completely withdrawing from the IGA negotiations but a pretty noted legal authority now agrees with much of what we have been saying for months regarding FATCA and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Be sure to check the Vancouver Sun frequently.
    Perhaps a new byline Pierre Trudeau(creator of the Charter) vs the IRS

    1. I look forward to some very good information. Is the legal authority the one who made a submission to Finance Canada?
      Sounds like Arrow has some information.
      I would certainly rather have Pierre leading the Liberals right now rather than his heir apparent son Justin.
      I have no question what Pierre would say to the Americans. First, “You won’t FATCA Canada.” When the media asks how far he is prepared to go, Pierre would assert “Just watch me.”
      Justin has been totally silent on FATCA. Of course, he is quiet on everything. He insists this is no time to be discussing his policies. “Fuddle Duddle!”
      I’d far rather see Marc Garneau blast off as the new Liberal leader. However, I don’t know where he stands on FATCA either.

  65. Tim says we should expect some good news in Canada in a few days. Unfortunately, things are not going well for our friends in Switzerland.
    Jefferson Thomas has been trying to post information here about the latest there. He has not been able to log in, so he asked me to post this information which he posted at Brock.
    I hope Outraged is able to help Jefferson to rejoin us soon. I also hope no one else is having problems. Outraged has done a lot of work to move Maple Sandbox to another host. I hope others have noticed it is much faster now than it was.
    Here is a link to what Jefferson posted at Brock:
    http://isaacbrocksociety.ca/2013/03/12/response-from-swiss-state-secretariat-for-international-financial-matters-swiss-parliamentary-vote-on-fatca-iga-to-take-place-next-summer-proposed-swiss-federal-law-to-apply-fatca/

    1. Yes, I’ve really noticed the site’s much speedier! For a while before the changeover I wasn’t reading every comment because it took so long for a comment to come up when I clicked on the sidebar (I like to check the blogs quickly when I really should be working 🙂 ). But now everything’s coming up right away, so I check out the site more often and read everything. Thanks, Outraged!

  66. Here it is already:
    http://www.vancouversun.com/Compliance+with+violate+Charter+Rights/8086718/story.html
    Excerpts:
    While the Harper government conducts clandestine negotiations with the United States over a new tax information exchange agreement, Canada’s leading constitutional legal expert is telling the federal government such an agreement risks major violations of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and possibly a host of other federal and provincial privacy rules.
    But a major obstacle to all this is Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which prohibits (Section 15.1) discrimination based on several criteria, including “national or ethnic origin.” Constitutional expert Peter Hogg has pointed this out in a five-page letter to the Finance Department, which is co-ordinating the IGA negotiations with the US.
    “In my opinion, the procedures mandate by the Model IGA are discriminatory in a way that would not withstand Charter scrutiny,” Hogg says in his letter. “These procedures effectively treat individuals differently, and adversely, based on an immutable personal characteristic, specifically citizenship. If Parliament were to enact legislation authorizing and permitting this type of differential and adverse treatment, the legislation would contravene the equality protections in section 15 of the Charter.”
    Hogg’s letter goes on to point out that Section 1 of the Charter allows governments to impose reasonable limits to Charter provisions, but then argues “… any argument attempting to use Sec. 1 to justify limitations on the equality rights would be extremely weak. The objective of ensuring compliance with U.S. tax laws is probably not important enough to justify breaches of the Canadian Charter, and even if it was … the measures contemplated (by the U.S.) are grossly disproportionate to the objective.”
    Hogg, former Dean of Osgoode Hall Law School, has practised constitutional law for 40 years and wrote the only comprehensive treatise on constitutional law. He says his interest in this issue is personal.
    While Hogg’s letter focuses on what he believes is a clear violation of Sec. 15 of the Charter, he alludes to potential conflicts with several other federal and provincial right to privacy laws. These include Sec. 7 (protects “liberty”) and Sec. 8 (“unreasonable search and seizure”). He also suggests that financial institutions that are provincially regulated (e.g. credit unions) might not be subject to a federally imposed IGA.
    Because the U.S.-Canada negotiations over an IGA are ongoing, Hogg would not consent to an interview on the issue. But his strong advice to Ottawa is, don’t sign an IGA based on the American Model I template.
    Sources close to the negotiations say the Americans are very reluctant to move off this template because they have already signed IGAs with other governments and would be forced to re-negotiate.
    Looming over all of their heads, if Hogg’s analysis is correct, will be a potential for a Charter challenge. With more than a million Canadians adversely affected by this, the odds of a class-action suit coming together look pretty good.
    @Blaze- just for you:
    “..the odds of a class-action suit coming together look pretty good>”

  67. Here’s more about issues with China being “elusive” on FATCA
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/sns-rt-us-usa-tax-fatcabre92c13b-20130313,0,7722842.story
    This says the concern is information China is seeking on its citizens. However, there is also misinformation–sort of.
    It says: Like the United States, China taxes citizens on worldwide income. So China should be interested in getting tax information about its citizens’ U.S. investments, tax experts said.
    Most countries tax based on worldwide income. However, China–unlike US and Eritrea–only taxes it’s resident citizens on worldwide income.
    This point is accurate though: FATCA “effects their sovereignty … It’s much more than just a tax issue there.”
    That’s exactly how all countries should view it.

  68. Thanks Tim. It’s good to know someone will be “vigilant” for Canadians in the “sorry mess” of FATCA. You go Elizabeth May? (even if you do have the only Green Party seat in Parliament!)
    Where is Stephen Harper, Thomas Mulcair, Bob Rae and Justin Trudeau on FATCA? Silent. Or worse. Harper crew could be negotiating away our rights.
    “It is already unthinkable that the Harper Conservatives would consider putting the interests of the United States before those of the Canadian citizens whose lives have been turned upside-down as a result of the FATCA”, said MP Elizabeth May, “but it is worse still that they would do so in violation of the Canadian Constitution.”

  69. Here is information FATCA in Russia. It violates laws there too. Is there any country where it doesn’t? Of course, Steven Mopsick has said other countries will simply change their laws and constitutions to accommodate United States of Arrogance
    http://www.iexpats.com/2013/03/fatca-hits-the-buffers-in-russia/
    We may now have even more reasons to fear FATCA. Reuters is reporting US plans to allow spy agencies like CIA “full access to a massive database that contains financial data on American citizens and others.”
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/13/us-usa-banks-spying-idUSBRE92C12720130313

  70. Yikes! This article in Vancouver Sun doesn’t have anything to do with FATCA, IRS or US.
    I’m posting it here because it may show what our current Canadian government thinks about legislated rights.
    Federal librarians and archivists who set foot in classrooms, attend conferences or speak up at public meetings on their own time are engaging in “high risk” activities, according to the new code of conduct at Library and Archives Canada.
    Given the dangers, the code says the department’s staff must clear such “personal” activities with their managers in advance to ensure there are no conflicts or “other risks to LAC.”
    Read more: http://www.canada.com/Canada+federal+librarians+fear+being+muzzled/8105500/story.html#ixzz2NhmSEM9I
    I will be interested to see what Schubert has to say about this.

  71. I can’t read the article in my browser; when I drill down that far into the Sun website I get a blank page. Maybe it does that unless you’re a subscriber, which I’m not. At least I hope that’s it, and that the Sun story isn’t somehow being muzzled too …
    I’m a bit reluctant to get into partisan politics in my replies on this website, but I will say this sort of thing doesn’t surprise me at all under what I consider to be the most fundamentally un- and anti-democratic government Canada has ever had, at least since I’ve been here. Just one more of a very long litany of reasons not to vote for them in the next election, IMO. I’ll stay sort-of-non-partisan by declining to say who I will vote for or who I think others should vote for … but ABC is a good acronym to keep in mind.
    What public servants do and say on their own time, within the law and as long as they don’t proclaim themselves to be public servants or representatives of their department or government while engaging in such extra-curricular activities, and as long as they make it clear they are doing so as private citizens, is their own business and no one else’s. If I were a member of the librarians’ union, I’d be lobbying strongly for the union to take the government to court over this, especially if and when anyone is disciplined in any way because of this.

  72. @Schubert: That’s weird. I didn’t have any difficulty opening it. Did anyone else.
    Here is the content:
    Federal librarians and archivists who set foot in classrooms, attend conferences or speak up at public meetings on their own time are engaging in “high risk” activities, according to the new code of conduct at Library and Archives Canada.
    Given the dangers, the code says the department’s staff must clear such “personal” activities with their managers in advance to ensure there are no conflicts or “other risks to LAC.”
    The code, which stresses federal employees’ “duty of loyalty” to the “duly elected government,” also spells out how offenders can be reported.
    “It includes both a muzzle and a snitch line,” says James Turk, executive director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers, which represents more than 68,000 teachers, librarians, researchers and academics across the country.
    He and others say the code is evidence the Harper government is silencing and undermining its professional staff.
    “Once you start picking on librarians and archivists, it’s pretty sad,” says Toni Samek, a professor of library and information studies at the University of Alberta. She specializes in intellectual freedom and describes several clauses in the code as “severe” and “outrageous.”
    The code is already having a “chilling” effect on federal archivists and librarians, who used to be encouraged to actively engage and interact with groups interested in everything from genealogy to preserving historical documents, says archivist Loryl MacDonald at the University of Toronto.
    “It is very disturbing and disconcerting to have included speaking at conferences and teaching as so-called ‘high risk’ activities,” says MacDonald, who is president of the Association of Canadian Archivists, a non-profit group representing some 600 archivists across the country.
    She says the association’s board will ask Daniel Caron, deputy head of Library and Archives Canada, for clarification about the code and its “harsh” wording.
    MacDonald says federal archivists are leaders in the field both nationally and internationally and have traditionally spent a lot of personal time on professional activities.
    They have served as editors for publications such as Archivaria, a widely cited journal, written about developments and issues in the archival world and led workshops for historical and genealogy groups.
    “Could someone from the LAC be on the editorial board of a journal that contains an article critical of LAC?” MacDonald asks. “The code appears to now rule out such activities, unless they are sanctioned by managers at the LAC.”
    Given the wording of the code, she says it appears the government no longer trusts its professional staff. “It’s really tragic,” she says.
    The code — “Library and Archives Canada’s Code of Conduct: Values and Ethics” — came into effect in January, says Richard Provencher, LAC’s senior communications adviser.
    He says the code was written by LAC in response to the April 2012 Values and Ethics Code for the public sector, which called for federal departments to establish their own codes of conduct.
    Provencher said by email that information sessions for employees are being held to ensure the new code “is known and understood by all.”
    “LAC has invited all of its employees to provide feedback and suggestions during the ongoing information sessions,” Provencher said. The feedback will “ inform any future iterations of our code,” he said.
    The 23-page document is to be followed by everyone at LAC from full-time staff to students, volunteers and contractors. It spells out values, potential conflicts of interest and expected behaviours, both on the job and off.
    “As public servants, our duty of loyalty to the Government of Canada and its elected officials extends beyond our workplace to our personal activities,” the code says, adding that public servants “must maintain awareness of their surroundings, their audience and how their words or actions could be interpreted (or misinterpreted).”
    It points to the dangers of social media. ”For example, in a blog with access limited to certain friends, personal opinions about a new departmental or Government of Canada program intended to be expressed to a limited audience can, through no fault of the public servant, become public and the author identified.”
    “The public servant could be subject to disciplinary measures, as the simple act of limiting access to the blog does not negate a public servant’s duty of loyalty to the elected government,” says the code. “Only authorized spokespersons can issue statements or make comments about LAC’s position on a given subject.”
    One of the most contentious sections of the code deals with “teaching, speaking at conferences, and other personal engagements.”
    “On occasion, LAC employees may be asked by third parties to teach or to speak at or be a guest at conferences as a personal activity or part-time employment,” it says. “Such activities have been identified as high risk to LAC and to the employee with regard to conflict of interest, conflict of duties and duty of loyalty.”
    The code says employees may accept such invitations “as personal activities” if six conditions are met: The subject of the activity is not related to the LAC’s mandate or activities; the employee is not presented as speaking for or being an expert of LAC or the Government of Canada; the third party that made the invitation is not a potential or current supplier or collaborator with LAC; the third party does not lobby or advocate with LAC and does not receive grants, funding or payments from LAC; and the employee has discussed the invitation with his or her manager “who has documented confirmation that the activity does not conflict with the employee’s duties at LAC or present other risks to LAC.”
    MacDonald, Turk and Samek say the six conditions appear to rule out federal librarians or archivists interacting on their own time with academics or heritage or genealogy groups and associations, as they may lobby, collaborate and receive funding from the LAC.
    “If I worked there and my kid’s school invited me to talk about my work as an archivist in Canada, I’m not sure I’d even feel comfortable doing that,” says Samek.
    She says it is ironic, and disturbing, that the code is being applied at an institution meant to be dedicated to the preservation and sharing of information.
    “This is a cultural icon we are talking about,” says Samek, who expects the code to have a “demoralizing, self-censuring” effect on the LAC staff.
    Provencher had no comment when asked to explain why teaching and attending conferences are identified as “high risk” or why interacting with individuals or groups that interact with the LAC has been ruled out.
    John Smart, who recently retired from archival teaching at Algonquin College and worked for almost 20 years at LAC, says it used to be considered an “honour” for LAC staff to be invited to talk at conferences. “It wasn’t seen as high risk but as high benefit,” says Smart.
    Like MacDonald, he notes that staff from the LAC have worked on their own time over the years to help foster Canada’s national and provincial archivist associations and groups.
    Smart suspects the new code reflects a “generalized suspicion of public servants” by the Harper government. And he says LAC managers are likely not keen to have staff fielding questions about funding cuts and changes at LAC, which are eliminating several specialist archive positions; moving to digitalize materials; and reducing public access to archival collections.
    “My perception of Library and Archives Canada is that it’s an institution in great trouble generally,” says Smart. “It is making decisions and changing policies that are making both its employees and its clientele upset.”
    mmunro@postmedia.com

  73. Here is information on how Swiss expats living in France and US are affected by FATCA.
    The Congress of Swiss Abroad says that a large number of Swiss who live in France, more than 186,000 persons, or who live in the US, 76,000 Swiss, are now being told they cannot keep Swiss bank accounts, or they are being charged far higher fees than fellow citizens, largely as a result of Fatca, which has had a similar impact on US citizens or green card holders who live in Switzerland. Banks in Switzerland have argued that clients subject to Fatca are more costly to manage and the fees should be passed on to them.
    http://genevalunch.com/2013/03/18/fatca-french-deals-with-us-overlooks-needs-of-swiss-expats/
    Jefferson, Swisspinoy: Is there any possibility for you to link up with these folks to fight a mutual battle?

  74. IRS Monster and Mr. FATBARDT could be giving Cyprus and the EU idea.
    In a bailout plan, bank customers would be required to pay between 6 and 9.9% of the total amount in the account. The more money in the account, the higher the rate one pays. Now there’s a great reward for having been responsible and saving for your retirement or for your children’s education instead of blowing your money.
    New York Times is reporting resistance is growing. You think?
    There are considerable foreign holdings in Cyprus, especially among Russians. The stock market is now taking a hit over this.
    Has the world gone crazy? Oh wait, I think I know the answer.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/19/business/global/19iht-cyprus19.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

  75. Steven Mopsick has a new somewhat infuriating post on his blog about FATCA.
    http://mopsicktaxlaw.blogspot.ca/2013_03_01_archive.html
    His blog no longer accepts comments, so I sent him my comments in an e-mail. Here they are:
    Thank you Steven for confirming what many of us have believed for a long time. FATCA is really about making money for lawyers, accountants, and the IRS. I’m not sure that’s the case for banks, but it should create lots of employment for bank employees and, of course, more jobs for IRS. US has to stimulate their economy somehow.
    It’s simply unfortunate all this has to be done at the expense of those who simply had the misfortune to be born in US, but who choose to live their lives and become citizens elsewhere. How else should “traitors” expect to be treated?
    Did all those “hard-working, serious, responsible business men and women on their way up” give any consideration to the fact they will be violating their country’s banking, privacy and human rights laws? Or, is that simply too trivial for them to consider as they move “up?”
    Or, maybe they think an IGA is the answer to this pesky little detail. Not so fast.
    Peter Hogg has written to Finance Canada and has advised them how FATCA and an IGA would violate Canadian laws and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. (This is just a simple piece of paper that is Canada’s constitution)..
    http://www.greenparty.ca/sites/greenparty.ca/files/attachments/peter_hogg_fatca.pdf
    Peter is a leading constitutional lawyer and the former Dean of Osgoode Law School at the University of Toronto. (I know you will be quite stunned to learn we have highly-intelligent, well-educated, moral people in Canada, too).
    I’m very aware you think other countries will simply change their laws and constitutions to accommodate United States of Arrogance. It’s not such a simple matter.
    Peter has often advised and represented the government before the Supreme Court. His opponent has frequently been another prominent Canadian constitutional lawyer, Joe Arvay. Yet, Peter shared his letter with Joe. They are of like mind on FATCA and an IGA.
    Joe is the lawyer Tiger, Somerfugl and I consulted over a year ago. Joe has advised us if banks violate our rights under Canadian privacy, banking and human rights laws, we have grounds for a lawsuit against the banks. If the government changes the law or demands information for an IGA, we have grounds for a Charter Challenge against the government.
    As this article says, the odds of a class action lawsuit are looking pretty good. I hope that will not be necessary. If it is required, I have no doubt we will win.
    http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Compliance+with+violate+Charter+Rights/8086718/story
    The FATCA train is in for a bumpy ride and eventual derailment if it tries to speed across the Canadian border ignoring all of our signal lights and warning signs.

  76. Again to my other post there are more militant/hardline members of the financial industry and others such as those at the Miami conference who are basically purely dollars and sense about all of this. There is a certain lack of public bravery though among even the hardliners although there is a certain degree of covert support being given to “us” that we sometimes don’t know about (wink wink).

  77. Blaze,
    I would ease off of Stephen a little bit. The real issue is the banks and how we deal with them. I can confirm from others Stephen is simply reporting what others from the banks are telling him. I do think though there are hawks and doves on this issues and Stephen probably hasn’t met any of the hawks which tend to be local Canadian only institutions(mostly credit unions). Even in that context the hawks are not very public instead giving more “covert” assistance to the anti FATCA cause.

  78. The were at least several FATCA compliance lawyers in Canada who were quite critically of Mr. Hogg on Twitter(and knew very much who he was). Saying things like he(Hogg) has his millions and they don’t. That Hogg is trying to pull the ladder of legal success up after him so other younger FATCA lawyer won’t make as much money. Stuff like that.
    Lookup the address on the letter. Pretty snazzy part of Toronto just a few blocks away from where Conrad Black lives.

  79. @Tim: I don’t care if Peter Hogg, Joe Arvay, Steven Mopsick, Paul Daly or anyone else is rich, poor, young, old (so am I!), blue, red, orange, green, right wing, left wing or turkey wing.
    I care that they understand FATCA is a violation of fundamental Canadian rights and of the rights of Canada itself.
    I also care that they are prepared to do something about it like Peter and Joe, who are not only “old” (by youth’s standards!), but they are also experienced and knowledgeable.
    So far, the poor young lawyers and the blue, red and orange politicians are doing nothing. That makes them all chicken wings in my book. Only Green seems prepared to do anything to help.

  80. @Tim: Justin Trudeau has uttered (actually written) his father’s famous words. “Just watch me.”
    http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2013/03/20/justin_trudeau_declares_he_can_beat_stephen_harper_in_a_federal_election_just_watch_me_he_writes_in_note_on_airplane.html
    Unfortunately, we haven’t seen much of Justin worth watching on FATCA or much of anything else.
    I was in Montreal in October, 1970 so I remember Pierre’s words well. I wish he was here to stand up to IRS and FATCA.
    Whether you loved Pierre or hated him (There never seemed to be an in-between), I think we all know exactly what Pierre would do on FATCA. He would wave the Charter at the Americans and proclaim: US is not going to FATCA Canadians or Canada.
    At least we have Pierre’s legacy, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, in our court now.

  81. @Tim: Pierre’s other famous words are back in action. This time from Stephen Harper’s communications director.
    He was asked on twitter what he thought of Justin saying “Just Watch Me” about beating Harper, There could only be one response: “Fuddle Duddle.”

  82. I now have a copy of Peter Hogg’s letter which I received through an Access to Information request. It took just over a week from the time I sent the letter until I received it. Of course, by the time I received it, I already knew the content from Elizabeth May’s post.
    It is the same letter she provided the link for, but somehow it seems more “real” to have an actual print copy forwarded to me from Finance Canada.
    http://www.greenparty.ca/sites/greenparty.ca/files/attachments/peter_hogg_fatca.pdf
    I had no idea I could do this until Elizabeth May did it. Clearly, neither did anyone else. I thought that would have been treated as private information.
    I am stunned they would release the letter with his home address, telephone number and e-mail address. (I think the latter is his law firm address). Isn’t that private information? Yet, it is now on the Internet with Elizabeth May’s post (and my link to her post).
    I’m sure Mr. Hogg does not appreciate having that personal information released. I certainly wouldn’t.
    I am impressed at the quick and respectful response from Access to Info at Finance Canada. They even returned my $5 cheque.
    @Tim: Do you have any idea what other information we might be able to obtain through a similar request?
    I still waiting for information from US Department of State for a request I made about six months ago through Access to Info there. I have received an acknowledgement, but nothing more.
    I hope if DOS does reply it doesn’t get lost in the mail. I have sold my house and am moving to a condo (although not as swanky as Mr. Hogg’s!) in three weeks.

  83. Experts Doubt Tax Snitches Can Bring In New Revenue in Canada
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2013/03/22/f-tax-offshore-evasion-whistleblower.html
    Canadian tax lawyers don’t think the government has thought through the Stop International Tax Evasion Program.
    One has no idea where CRA will find the resources to deal with this. (Likewise, how is IRS going to deal with FATCA when they can’t manage Obama Care, identity theft and have even told people to stop frequently checking IRS
    website for information on returns!)
    Mr. Flaherty has made it clear he is not looking for information from crooks. “We’re not looking for rogues to turn in other rogues.”
    Whew! That’s a relief! IRS sends millions (or maybe it’s billions!) to prisons for ID theft claims each year.
    Seriously, I do support government efforts to stop offshore tax evasion from people living in a country who stash their money to earn income somewhere else to avoid taxes. I think most honest, responsible taxpayers think exactly the same. Unfortunately, FATCA and IRS confuse the two.

  84. Canada ranks best among G8 in ease of paying corporate taxes. Canada ranks eighth in the world.
    “There’s a correlation between growth in the economy and easing the tax payment process,” said one accountant.
    He also says the strongest correlation between higher GDP and ease of tax compliance was with less complexity–not with a lower tax rate.
    A CEO of another accounting firm doubts Canada’s tax system is simple. She also said recent CRA changes for auditing “seem to be working well for the CRA, but it doesn’t work well for the business owner.”
    That may be, but Canada is still far ahead of US, which ranked 69th for business tax complexity.
    IRS, FATCA, are you willing to learn from this? Silly question. We already know they think their way is the only way.
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/taxes/story/2013/01/30/f-tax-season-2013-easier-business-taxes.html

  85. The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled police need a wiretap order to seize text messages from a wireless provider.
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2013/03/27/technology-telus-text-messages-scc-decision.html
    This makes perfect sense to me. I trust the Supreme Court will show the same type of logic and reasoning to demands of a foreign government to seize the financial records of Canadian citizens and residents.
    More importantly, I hope the Canadian government wakes up before it ever reaches that stage.

  86. @Tim: Will Congress repeal FATCA? I wish.
    The article takes the credit union view of the impact on U.S. and other credit unions.
    It says although “FATCA does not have a lot of supporters in Congress,” large scale opposition has not yet materialized. That does not give me a lot of cause for hope.

  87. Canadians of American origin need to know we are not alone in getting the silent treatment from our government.
    Canada has “quietly” pulled out of the UN anti-drought convention.
    National Post says:
    “Quietly”, in fact, may not begin to describe the furtive means the federal Tories employed in decamping from the convention. It would be completely un-Conservative-like to actually announce such a decision, and offer an explanation. That might suggest the government felt a duty to make public information readily available to the public, which, of course, it doesn’t. Usually, though, if you’re going to pull out of a UN agreement (and CP says Canada will now be the only country in the world outside the convention) you would at least be polite enough to notify the UN itself. Not this government: officials at the UN were unaware of the fact until contacted by the CP reporter, and thus unable to suggest a reason for the departure. They may still be trying to figure it out for themselves.
    http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2013/03/28/kelly-mcparland-ottawa-gives-un-the-silent-treatment-just-like-it-treats-canadians/
    Being the only country in the world to do this is not something for Canada to be proud of. Based on this, why are we surprised at the government’s ongoing silence and stonewalling us on FATCA?
    I wish they were also “quietly” rejecting US demands to compromise rights of Canadian citizens and residents for the unjustified snooping of a foreign government.
    I thought I recalled Harper was determined to have a government of transparency and accountability. Hmmm. Something seems to have gone terribly wrong.

  88. Globe and Mail is now also criticizing Canada’s decision to step away from the anti-drought convention. They see this as part of a pattern of “marked disdain for international law and multilateral co-operation” under the Harper government.
    The article says Canada is now a “pariah” on international law. What a sad situation for a country which was once a well-respected leader internationally.
    I’m not sure what this may mean about our government upholding rights of Canadians in Canada to be free of the financial terrorism of a foreign government. But, this government’s record does not give me cause for encouragement.
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/commentary/its-not-just-the-drought-treaty-in-international-law-canada-has-withered/article10549743/

  89. Here’s Victoria’s latest post on her blog written in her usual eloquent but practical language.
    If only Congress would read this and truly try to understand. As I commented on Victoria’s blog, it is so strange that a country built from immigrants cannot see the travesty of this. Sweden, Germany and Ireland did not stalk my grandparents and great-grandparents for money. They would be appalled if they knew what US is doing.
    http://thefranco-americanflophouse.blogspot.fr/2013/04/settlers-sojourners-and-tax-evaders.html

    1. @Victoria: I saw that post by Alison yesterday. It was a well deserved reaction.
      Enjoy your garden. The weather must be much nicer in France than it is in Canada. We had snow this morning in my area of Ontario. Now, my lawn guys are out there doing a spring clean up. April in Canada can be very unpredictable.
      So others can enjoy Victoria’s gardening spirit, here is a link to her post about Operation Jardin. I hope this gives everyone a brief reprieve from FATCA, FBAR and IRS. We all need more gardening (or whatever nurtures our souls) in our lives.
      http://thefranco-americanflophouse.blogspot.ca/2013/03/operation-jardin.html

  90. What business is it of the U.S. government to demand Swiss banks act as IRS deputies for US Tax Law?
    I think I know the answer! It isn’t any of their business. Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop them.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5bvwU2-fCDo
    Dan Mitchell from the CATO Institute says “fixing or mitigating FATCA is an uphill battle.” Yet, he says there are some professionals at U.S. Treasury who see the damage FATCA is doing. He does not anticipate a repeal of FATCA, but he thinks “it is possible” to see some amendments to FATCA. However, he is clear he doesn’t want to delude anyone into thinking it will actually happen.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kcXTMs5Vkbw
    Thanks Just Me for tweeting these.

  91. @ Blaze,
    Who could one speak to if interested in joining a class action lawsuit(s)?
    Calgary411 from IBS suggested you might know.
    Thanks.

    1. @WhiteKat: TIger, Somuerfugl and I consulted Joe Arvay, a prominent Canadian constitutional lawyer, about FATCA about a year ago.
      Joe advised us if our banks violate Canadian banking, privacy and human rights laws, we may have cause for a lawsuit against the banks. If the government changes those laws to accommodate FATCA, we will have grounds for a lawsuit against the government in the form of a Charter of Rights and Freedoms challenge.
      At that time, Joe said “Don’t lawyer up now” because until we have some firm indication of what the banks or government will do, there are no grounds for a lawsuit.
      Shortly after that, I was also in contact with Canadian Civil Liberties Association (I am the person Abby Deshman said at the FATCA Forum called her and demanded to know: “What is CCLA doing about FATCA?”)
      As you know, CCLA has now written to the government, but they have also advised it is “premature” for legal action. In addition, the Privacy Commissioner has advised in writing that Canadian banks are expected to meet Canadian privacy laws.
      I have remained in touch with both Joe and Abby. .Just a couple of weeks ago, Joe said in an e-mail to me: “FATCA has been on my mind, but I remain of the view that unless and until the Canadian government enacts legislation giving effect to it there is still nothing to challenge in the courts.”
      Another individual has also been in touch with Joe about FATCA. Joe, of course, is not able to give me any information about that person, but said he might also be willing to support a Charter challenge. If the person is who I think it might be, he is not a Brocker or a Sandboxer.
      I have advised Joe if a lawsuit or a Charter challenge becomes necessary, I am certain I could pull together a large group of people to join together in legal action.
      Joe has also had contact with Peter Hogg on the issue of FATCA. That is particularly interesting because they have been on opposite sides in constitutional cases, but they are of like mind on FATCA. I have pointed that out to Finance Canada, the Finance Minister, other politicians and the Canadian Bankers Association.
      So, to answer your question, I probably am a contact person for joining in a lawsuit if one becomes necessary. I still hope it won’t be necessary. However, if anyone is forced to give a bank a foreign birth certificate or identify a foreign place of birth, it may be time to “lawyer up.”
      It’s frustrating not being able to proceed with any legal action until we know something more definite, but I do understand why both Joe and CCLA think it is premature for us to proceed at this time.
      I am reassured by knowing we have the best and the brightest in constitutional law (Joe Arvay, Peter Hogg and CCLA) on our side regarding FATCA. Joe has been involved in some of Canada’s most significant Charter challenges.
      Here’s some information about Joe.
      http://www.arvayfinlay.com/lawyers/j-arvay.htm
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Arvayf
      Joe was voted one of Canada’s Top 25 Most Influential lawyers in 2010, 2011 & 2012 by Canadian Lawyer Magazine.
      As you can see, Joe has handled some really significant Charter challenges. Tim was the one who referred me to Joe. Of particular note for our purposes is Joe’s involvement in the first equality rights challenge before the Supreme Court:
      Andrews v. Law Society of British Columbia, [1989] 1 SCR 143 was the first Supreme Court of Canada case to deal with equality rights of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Section 15). Arvay was the appellant for the Attorney General of British Columbia. The Court held that the Law Society’s rule violated section 15 and it could not be saved under section 1
      Note: This case was based on citizenship! It is also one which Peter Hogg referenced in his letter to Finance Canada.
      Peter Gzowski said Joe” has had a remarkable role in shaping how our Constitution is interpreted”. (I don’t want to hear “Who was Peter Gzowski?” from young people!)
      In October, Walrus Magazine declared Joe a “Civl Warrior”
      http://thewalrus.ca/civil-warrior/
      This article shows Joe has even been successful in showing the Supreme Court they were wrong for 20 years in their interpretation of the Charter.
      Peter W. Hogg, the country’s leading scholar in constitutional law, said: “I was astonished when that case came out. I doubt that anyone but Joe could have persuaded the court that they had been getting it consistently wrong for twenty years.”
      Peter also said “If Joe loses a case, which must happen from time to time, I think everyone will assume that there was just no way to win it.”
      The Walrus article says what the Queen really gave us on that rainy April day when she signed the Charter 31 years ago was “an invitation to battle.
      “Arvay has thrived in this combat zone.”
      As Walrus also says, ‘No one, perhaps, has had more influence on contemporary Canadian life and values.”
      I don’t mean to sound like a Joe Arvay Fan Club, but I’ve been sleeping a lot better since our consultation with him.
      I am confident we won’t lose this one. Joe’s colleagues call him a “laser.” He’s our FATCA Laser.
      Joe was on sabbatical for six months, but he’s back. The “Laser” is on on standby for us!

  92. I would definitely try to keep calm. My personal opinion is we won’t see any actual legislative changes until the fall. I know this is frustrating as hell. Remember this is tough for the banks too as long as FATCA isn’t repealed and Canadian law does not change they are essentially stuck between a very big rock and a hard place. Flaherty can promise things to banks behind closed doors but I personally wouldn’t if I was the banks rely on anything until legislation is introduced in the House of Commons.

  93. @Tim: I think keeping calm was part of Joe’s advice to us when he suggested “Don’t lawyer up now” and Abby’s advice when she said it is “premature” for court action.
    I know others think I am very naive, but I remain convinced that FATCA is going to derail in Canada just as it tries to surge across the border.
    I just wish our government would simply reassure us that Canadian banks must follow Canadian law and that Canadian laws will not be changed for a foreign government. Until they do that, I fear what huge changes could be in store, not just for FATCA, but anything else the government simply does not like or want.

    1. Blaze and all,
      Here is an interesting Canadian connection to the ACLU, a Canadian-born citizen and lawyer who works for the ACLU mounting legal challenges against the US government:
      http://www.cbc.ca/m/touch/news/story/2013/04/04/us-cia-drone-strikes-legal-challenge-jameel-jaffer.html
      http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2013/01/15/how_a_lawyer_from_canada_became_a_leading_critic_of_us_national_security_policies.html
      ‘How a lawyer from Canada became a leading critic of U.S. national security policies; The sharpest thorn in the U.S. administration’s side, when it comes to civil rights in a post-9/11 world, is a Canadian lawyer named Jameel Jaffer.’
      By: Michelle Shephard National Security Reporter, Published on Tue Jan 15 2013
      “NEW YORK—The sharpest thorn in the U.S. administration’s side, when it comes to civil rights in a post-9/11 world, is a mild-mannered 41-year-old Canadian who gave up Wall Street a decade ago to slip down a legal rabbit hole.
      Jameel Jaffer, a Kingston, Ont., native and Upper Canada College graduate, is the head of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Center for Democracy, and in the past 10 years, he has emerged as one of the most prominent critics of secretive national security policies in the United States. “…..

    2. I saw that article this morning and tweeted it to CCLA and ACLU asking if he will help with FATCA too.
      No response yet. When I have time, I may e-mail or write ACLU. Right now I am in the midst of renos in a condo I’m moving to next Thursday and packing up and purging 24 years of my life in my house.
      If someone else has a bit more time, they may want to try contacting ACLU directly.

  94. Blaze,
    Thanks for the detailed reply. I think I will sleep better tonight.
    Count me in as one of the large group of people interested in being involved in a class action lawsuit.

  95. @WhiteKat: I am keeping Joe and Abby up to date as information becomes available.
    We’re all in this together. I really and truly do believe we are going to win this fight. I hope we win it before we need to “lawyer up,” but if we need to do that we will.
    I told Joe I can quickly pull together a large number of people. I also said once news of any lawsuit hit the media, I was sure our large number would quickly grow into hundreds or even thousands.
    Someone (was it Bubblebustin’ or Nobledreamer?) said if 500 people came together with $1,000 each, that would give us a good war chest of $500,000 to fight this. Some might not be able to afford that much, but others may be able to afford more.
    Sweet dreams tonight–and many more in the future.

    1. Blaze,
      Thanks.
      I was also playing with the dollar numbers recently and used your same $1000 amount only with 1000 people. That would be a cool 1 million.
      Of course, I am hoping it won’t go that far either, but its good to know that we have that option, and that with 1 million Us persons in Canada, getting together 500 people should be a piece of cake.

  96. Got a bit giddy this morning and wrote a LONG post about the French bac and the university selection process as seen from the point of view of our little Franco-American family. Nothing in here to do with taxes or FATCA but I do have a lot to say about Canadian universities and how happy we are that it looks like we will have two children going to school over there this fall. 🙂
    http://thefranco-americanflophouse.blogspot.fr/2013/04/baccalaureat-2013-and-o-canada.html

  97. @Blaze
    I also approached Joe Arvay regarding a Charter challenge to FATCA. I’d written to him in the past about it. We met for lunch in Vancouver a few months ago. It was not the only thing we spoke about – I consider him a Canadian hero and our conversation was wide ranging – but I did express interest in participating a plaintiffs’ group if it came to that. Our discussion included:
    – the problem of acting without an actual damage (or tort)
    – the possibility of a group of plaintiffs
    – the cost of possibly “sponsoring” an expert opinion letter
    We met before the Peter Hogg letter was made public and Joe since mentioned it forms a good foundation for action.
    I was reluctant to be a lead plaintiff because I don’t think my families’ situation is as blatantly bad as others – the ideal plaintiff is retired Canadian citizen who’s only relationship to the US is being a “border baby” to Canadian parents and Canadian from birth, who has never lived in the US, held a passport, voted or worked there.
    I pulled back on my involvement with this issue due to a pressing family situation needing time and attention.

  98. @Victoria: I hope your Frenchlings love Canada as much as I do. I also hope they don’t experience another student strike like the prolonged one in Quebec last year.
    @Womdering: Thanks for that information. We did not get into that level of detail with Joe, but it’s great to learn that and to know you had the opportunity to meet him in person.
    You should definitely be focusing your attention where it is most needed on your family. You may have been the other person Joe mentioned to me, but I am also aware of yet another (not a Brocker or Sandboxer) who was certainly considering contacting Joe.

  99. Blaze — I posted this comment on the IBS post http://isaacbrocksociety.ca/2012/03/04/class-action-suits/ and just want to again say thank you for all of your hard work on contacting the right people. Abby Deshman from the CCLA also has my son’s (and others like him) situation in mind as an example of the outrageousness of all the US over-reach into Canada.
    @WhiteKat, USCitizenAbroad,
    Thanks, WhiteKat, for contacting Blaze. I think her detailed response on the subject (http://maplesandbox.ca/2013/whats-new/#comment-5916) is something we should all be aware of and stand up to support when / if the time comes.
    Thanks, Blaze, for all of your work on this aspect (as well as tiger and somerfugal).

  100. @all
    Because Joe Arvay, is a high-minded and publicly-spirited advocate for controversial causes, we may tend to consider Mr Arvay and firm as a kind of public resource. His pro bono work is very generous. And his contribution to the overall public good is vast.
    But its also important for to recognize that to engage his firm’s attention on this matter: he has to be hired, there needs be plaintiff(s) with standing in the matter, and a objective goal needs to be defined. He is not a lobbyist or advocacy group like CCLU or Canadian Constitutional Foundation.

  101. Yikes! Read what Finacial Post columnist Diane Francis is demanding:
    “Frankly, Canadians and others should adopt American tax laws where citizens are taxable irrespective of their residency. That’s how Washington stopped its crooks and gangsters from setting up shop in the Bahamas decades ago and how it catches most of them now.”
    http://opinion.financialpost.com/2013/04/05/tax-avoidance-becoming-bigger-than-the-u-s-economy/
    Right. So, does she think Canada should pursue, Celine Dion, Justin Bieber, William Shatner, Wayne Gretzky and others living and earning their income in U.S.? Queens University professor Art Cockfield suggested Canada should do that to help fight FATCA. I think Canada has too much respect for its citizens to do that.
    Interestingly, Wikipedia says Diane Francis was born in Chicago. That makes her a :”US person.”: Does she know how she and family could be affected by FATCA?
    Plus, governments around the world are “Rattled By Tax Data Leak.
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2013/04/07/offshore-data-leak-reaction.html
    Wait until FATCA. What private financial information about honest, law-abiding taxpayers will be made public?
    Get the real cheats. Leave us alone. Oh wait, the real cheats have the money and resources to hire lawyers and accountants to help them to help them hide their funds.

  102. @blaze If other countries were to start implementing laws similar to the US extraterritorial ones, the result would be a royal mess. The lines of reporting and taxation would become so complicated that the entire world economy would stagnate.

  103. If we have any question about what Canadian banks think about Canadians, we just have to look at what RBC is doing to it’s own employees.
    CBC is reporting RBC is outsourcing jobs tan India-based organziations which is bringing in workers from India on work visas. The employees will lose their jobs the end of this month.
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2013/04/05/bc-rbc-foreign-workers.html?cmp=rss
    This is, of course, in addition to the jobs which are already being performed in India for RBC and other Candian banks. It drives me crazy when I call Canada Trust and end up speaking with someone in India on my finances. I usually ask to be transferred to someone in Canada.
    I don’t have anything against India or anyone in India. It’s just when I call Canada Trust, I am still silly enough to think I should be speaking with someone in Canada, especially on private financial matters.
    If I banked at RBC, I would pull my money out and transfer it to a local credit union. As far as I know, they still support the employment of Canadians in Canada.
    Toronto Sun says United Steelworkers has slammed RBC for this. Perhaps they could suggest their members transfer their accounts to credit unions. If other unions did the same, that would get attention of RBC and other banks before this spreads further.
    http://www.torontosun.com/2013/04/07/union-criticizes-rbc-for-replacing-canadian-staff-with-foreign-workers
    Even Bloomberg has picked up the story.
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-07/canada-examines-rbc-s-use-of-foreign-workers-contracted-by-igate.html

  104. Re Diane Francis’ column: As I see it, most of off-shore tax evasion is enabled by laws regarding corporations, trusts, etc. Allowing actual (wealthy) people to transfer their assets to companies that they directly control, and then having those companies “reside” in countries with low tax rates, is at the root of the problem.
    Also: Ideally, people and companies should be taxed by a country proportionally to the services they receive from the country and wealth they extract from the country’s economy, regardless of where the people actually reside and the companies are actually registered. That suggests to me that value-added taxes, withholding-taxes on income, and taxes on real-estate — in the countries where goods and services are purchased, income is actually earned, and real-estate is held — would be fairer tax mechanisms and more difficult to evade than taxes on world-wide income.

  105. It is reported that Norway has signed an IGA with the FATACnatics at Treasury, however, this one comes with a new twist in Article four..
    http://bit.ly/117SstF
    Provisions Unique to the United States-Norway IGA
    Unlike the IGAs the United States has entered into individually with the United Kingdom, Denmark, Ireland, Mexico (all of which are based on the Model I template) and Switzerland (based on the Model II template), the Model I IGA with Norway is the first to contain the new “Coordination of Timing” rule in Article 4. This rule, found in Paragraph 6 of Art. 4, provides that Norway isn’t obligated to get and exchange information until the United States is able to obtain and exchange similar information. Similarly, the United States isn’t obligated to get and exchange information until the date that Norway is so obligated.
    Article 4 also contains a new “Coordination of Definitions with U.S. Treasury Regulations”—a rule not included in any of the other IGAs to which the United States is a signatory. This rule permits Norway and its financial institutions to use definitions in relevant U.S. Treasury regulations, rather than use corresponding definitions in the IGA—so long as using such definitions won’t frustrate the purposes of the IGA.
    This means that effectively, there is no FATCA until there is a reciprocial DATCA back in the US.
    The Florida and Texas Banking Association is suing to stop the first regulatory step (DATCA Lite) and have posted about it over at Isaac Brock.
    This is BIG, I think. It is the opening salvo in the public battle to stop DATCA, and if you can kill DATCA, FATCA becomes more problematic for Treasury to implement. Countries are starting to realize (evidence) that they don’t get anything unless the US provides reciprocity. And, maybe, the Most Favored nation provisions of the IGA, mean that the recent unique provision in Norway now also applies to all other IGA signers. Watch for a post by Allison Christians on that issue, as I think it interests her.
    http://isaacbrocksociety.ca/2013/04/19/banker-groups-sue-treasury-irs-over-account-reporting-rule-or-datca/

  106. Thanks Just Me. Good to have you commenting here. Thanks also for tweeting Alison’s post.
    http://taxpol.blogspot.ca/2013/04/thoughts-on-you-first-no-you-first.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter
    The language in the Norway IGA confuses even a lawyer!
    Alison asks if the confusion is intentional. Can it be anything else from all those highly educated, intelligent folks in Washington Steven Mopsick has told us about?
    In any case after Alison makes her way through the legalese, she concludes: “In my view the “you first, no you first” provision adds nothing in terms of greater reciprocity in the Norway IGA, while the same procedural and substantive defects we have already seen continue unabated.”
    Why am not surprised?
    But, let the lawsuits begin. This one is not ours. It’s from Florida and Texas Bankers Associations over reciprocity.
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-18/banker-groups-sue-treasury-irs-over-account-reporting-rule-1-.html
    Hmm. Does this sound familiar? “Security concerns over the potential leakage and abuse of personal asset information from this sweeping international exchange with many countries…
    Sounds like some of their customers have “concerns” about their financial information being submitted to their home countries.
    Plus, it seems reciprocity has “led many non-resident aliens to withdraw money or transfer money held in interest bearing bank accounts in the United States.”
    Yet, in our situation, United States of Arrogance is demanding our home country where we live, earn an income, bank, save and invest (and where many of us are citizens) release our personal financial information to a foreign government.
    The tax haven hypocrisy continues.

  107. I find the fact that there are lawsuits to be very encouraging. It tends to catch people’s attention in the U.S. when the lawyers and courts get involved. Would love to know on what basis they are suing.
    I’m inclined that the reciprocity thing may be the FATCA-killer or at least it might be something that would force the US government to make changes.
    For a complete change of pace, I’ve been following this blog for the last couple of months. It’s called Considering the Lilies and Lessons from the Field. Yvonne is a great writer. She’s a legal resident of the US and hails from Northern Ireland. This is her take on the Boston bombings:
    http://timetoconsiderthelilies.com/2013/04/16/boston-without-warning/

  108. My guess is that the US Congress would never authorize anything close to true reciprocity.
    So our job would be to pressure our governments to not sign onto a blatantly one-sided agreement. Any IGA must include a provision that the “partner” country in question is not obliged to send the US a shred of additional information until the US is ready, willing, and able to reciprocate in a 100% manner. Anything less (e.g., vague, useless statements re “commitments”) would be cowering in the face of US bully tactics.
    What I don’t understand is why the EU does not negotiate as a block. The divide and conquer technique the US is using would fall apart in the face of that.

  109. I have exactly the same question. Perhaps they are letting the individual countries work it out with the US and then whatever arrangement is finally made, the EU will finally step in and appropriate the work and divert it to its own purposes. Why should they do the heavy lifting when others are already sweating, spending money and managing negotiations?

  110. My wife and I just returned from a meeting with our financial planner where we switched our investments into a new direction which necessitated opening a new account. One of the questions asked was “Is there any reason why you might be considered a US person?” We said no and used our CLNs as evidence. They were accepted and the account was opened.
    First time we’ve had to use the CLNs since we got them last July.

  111. Johnnb Curious as to which financial institution this was. When we most recently opened an account there was merely a series of checkboxes as to citizenship.

  112. KalC: It was Scotia McLeod. Not a bank but our investment adviser and the account was an investment account so not sure what the deal is with a regular savings/chequeing account.

    1. This was actually preprinted on the form used to open the account and I had to answer it and sign and have my signature witnessed. Not sure how any amount of don’t ask don’t tell on the part of the adviser could get around that unless I was willing to lie on the form – which I didn’t even feel tempted to do as I had the CLN.

  113. @Blaze… A new blog for you…
    A Kiwi with dual US/NZ citizenship, just emailed me a link to this blog which is owned by a Mark Hubbard. Along with the link was a note that some might be interested in reading and commenting.
    http://lifebehindtheirondrape.blogspot.com.au/2013/01/united-police-states-of-america-fatca.html
    This is one of the few found in NZ that have FATCA awareness, and the post above was back in January, where he was commenting on FATCA and Obama inauguration double speak.
    For the fun of it, I quickly made a comment and invited him over to IBS to look around. If anyone is interested at Maple Sandbox, they might post a comment there too, just to stimulate some across country communication about FATCA resistance efforts.

  114. Thanks Just Me. I left a comment.
    It appears Bermuda is ready to sign a Model 2 IGA.
    http://www.bermudasun.bm/Content/BUSINESS/Business/Article/Bermuda-to-sign-Model-IGA-2-for-USA-and-UK-FATCA/72/205/65971
    Plus, a draft IGA may be underway with India.
    http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2013-04-28/news/38878467_1_fatca-pact-us-tax-department-account-tax-compliance-act
    Meanwhile key players like China and Russia (and hopefully Canada!) are standing up to FATCA–or at least not rolling over and playing nice.
    http://www.nigel-green.com/2013/04/25/us-bankers-join-call-to-arms-to-repeal-fatca/

  115. Haven’t posted here in a while. I can now with a high degree of certainty there will not be an IGA with the US approved by Parliament until the fall at the EARLIEST and perhaps not until even later. For this reason I have backed off of commenting and posting in the past few weeks ready to swing back into action at a moment’s notice if necessary.

    1. How do you know all of this? I’m just glad you do.
      Any insight into what an IGA may look like if there is one?
      Don’t FFIs have to register by July 15? I’m sure they are not very happy about this.
      We’ve missed you. Keep in touch.

  116. FFI’s have to register by October 15th not July 15th. Canadian Bankers Association very unhappy with Flaherty right according to Arrow. Can’t go public though.

  117. Given that CBA hasn’t exactly been supporting privacy rights of Canadians under the Charter in all of this, and given that most if not all CBA members have cravenly and treacherously “off-shored” their IT work to underqualified but cheap foreign labour, laying off long-time and very qualified Canadian workers and even requiring those people to train their off-shore replacements, I have no sympathy for CBA’s concerns or their upset with Flaherty. Until further notice or information to the contrary, the CBA is my enemy, and the enemy of my enemy is my friend, so at the moment Flaherty is in my good books. I hope he stays the course and doesn’t resign or get shuffled out of his job during the next two years.
    I’m a life-long NDP voter and I’d never thought I’d be sympathetic to Mike Harris’ finance minister, but FATCA has made all sorts of strange political bedfellows hasn’t it?

    1. One of the things that amazed me is almost immediately once the whole temporary foreign workers thing blew up the Conservatives immediately threw the big banks and business community under the bus even though I suspect privately some in the government knew this was going for quite some time.

  118. If the Canadian Bankers Association had spent half the effort and money lobbying against FATCA as they have trying to comply, and pressuring the government to sign an IGA, then I might feel some sympathy for their predicament.
    As it is, as I methodically transfer my family’s life savings out of one of the big banks and into local credit unions, I look forward to the day when FATCA is history, and I can write the bank I deal with and tell them exactly WHY I am no longer dealing with them.

    1. WK- Unfortunately for the banks they are f****ed. Right now the “US” unit of TD Bank based in Cherry Hill, NJ(Across from Philadelphia right off the NJ Turnpike, you can see the building right from the NJ TPK) has NEGATIVE capital. It is totally dependent on TD HQ in Toronto for its reserves. The US could quite easily and quite legitimately say TD has to pump tens billions of dollars over capital from Toronto to Cherry Hill, NJ.(Canadian regulators would and have for many years insisted the same thing for US banks in Canada) .
      Many Canadians unless you travel to NYC, Philadelphia, DC, or Boston don’t realize for example how big TD Bank is in the US. I think they are the largest bank in Eastern Pennsylvania(Philadelphia) and in the top ten largest US banks. Look myself and others beat up the US a lot but I whole heatedly would respect the right of the US to make sure Canadian owned banks in the US actually have financial reserves located in the US backing up their local US depositors.
      FYI, I wasn’t sure if Blaze was originally from Philadelphia so perhaps she might have a better explanation of how big TD Bank is in Philly.

    2. FYI, TD Bank, RBC, and the Canadian Bankers Association are all fighting this proposal below(instead of FATCA).
      http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2013/05/03/feds-tarullo-bemused-by-foreign-criticism-of-bank-rules/
      It appears they are losing.
      http://www.federalreserve.gov/SECRS/2013/April/20130430/R-1438/R-1438_043013_111109_539701859080_1.pdf
      In the above CRA Pres Terry Campbell appears to be more interested in keeping the US operations of Canadian banks exempt from rules that apply to US domestic banks than fighting the extraterritorial application of US law to Canadian operations of Canadian banks.

  119. Hi Blaze and all, found this, and posted on IBS, but thought you’d want to see it too:
    found this on the Privacy Commissioner’s site:
    http://www.priv.gc.ca/resource/cp/2013-2014/cp_bg_e.asp
    Project Backgrounders
    Contributions Program 2013-2014
    Organization: Queen’s University, Faculty of Law
    Location: Ontario
    Funding Amount: $10,000
    Project Title: The Privacy Implications of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)
    Project Leader: Arthur Cockfield
    Project Description: The project will review the privacy implications of the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) in light of Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act. Specifically, the project will review implications on Canadian privacy rights and interests of any new agreement negotiated between Canada and the United States to implement FATCA. The project will also examine the interplay of FATCA with other Canadian laws that protect taxpayer privacy such as the Income Tax Act, the Canada-United States Tax Convention Act and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Finally, the project will review how Canadian banks are trying to comply with all relevant laws, and whether these banks are adopting new information technology systems to help them identify, sort, and transfer financial information to U.S. tax authorities.”

  120. The following is a part of a recent transcript of Senate Committee hearing:
    Mr. Castonguay: There is some of that; if we had to do a bill for each, it would be more cumbersome and we would be here more often. There is a trade-off between doing a bill for each and waiting until we have critical mass and being ready. We must be mindful that we do not want to delay too much the entering into force of the bill when we are aware that the other side is also progressing toward ratification. It is a bit of a compromise. I think it has always been done that way.
    Senator Ringuette: Our entire tax system for individuals in Canada is based on residency, whereas it is based on citizenship with our neighbour. Does that particular fact increase our need to have these bilateral agreements?
    Mr. Castonguay: You are correct that our taxation is based on taxation of the worldwide income of a resident, whether individuals or companies. Individuals can earn income in a foreign state and a company can also and thus be subject to the tax laws of the other state.
    Tax treaties are about coordinating the exercise of the respective taxation rights of each country to ensure that taxation is not burdensome or that multiple taxations arise.
    Notwithstanding citizenship, there is a good reason to have tax treaties with countries that base their taxation on residence. All countries do that, as far as I know, except one.

    1. ……”to ensure that taxation is not burdensome or that multiple taxations arise.”….
      Well that rules out the US system of extraterritorial taxation of those living outside the US with no economic and few or only tenuous ties to the US.
      In fact, ‘burdensome’ is a polite word as applied to what the US is doing to us. Extortionate and Confiscatory are more apt.

  121. @Tim: Good memory. I’m originally from Pennsylvania, but not Philadelphia. Same state, but Philly is in southwestern Pennsylvania. I’m from rural northwestern Pennsylvania. (It’s sort of like saying someone from a small village in northwestern Ontario is from Toronto–and you know the reaction that would get!)
    So, I’m not aware of how big TD is in Philadelphia. I do, however, remember reading an article several months ago (I can’t locate it now) that TD would soon be the third largest bank in Manhattan. That’s HUGE!
    In addition, the article said TD had more branches in US (over 1300) than in Canada (about 1100) and is growing faster in US than in Canada. As a long-time Canada Trust customer (they were taken over by TD several years ago), I was totally shocked at that. So has every Canadian I have mentioned that to. It tells us why TD wants to play nice with IRS.
    And, of course, TD leads the way is outsourcing jobs to India. It drives me nuts when I call about private financial information and speak with someone in India. I usually ask to speak to someone in Canada, but it does not exactly instill confidence in me that my financial information can be viewed by someone a world away.
    In terms of the Senate proceedings, “all countries do that (residency based taxation) except one.” Hmm. Which “one” would that be? Oh wait, I know! United States of Arrogance!
    @Badger: Great find. Thanks! It’s reassuring Art Cockfield is taking on that project. As you know, he has been very outspoken on FATCA.
    Here is another article (Thanks Just Me for tweeting this) on FATCA from a lawyer who deals with privacy issues.
    http://michaelpower.ca/2013/04/fatca-revisited/comment-page-1/#comment-80925
    I always find it intriguing we figured out the equality and Charter issues as soon as we heard about FATCA almost two years ago, but many lawyers, politicians and bankers are just now waking up to it–even though we warned the bankers and politicians. Unfortunately, Canadian media is still ignoring this key point–with the exception of Arrow.
    In any case, I’m glad Michael Powers has “revisited” FATCA.
    Here’s someone in Bermuda calling FATCA the “elephant in the room. This elephant is large, unfriendly, and will brook no dissent.”
    http://www.royalgazette.com/article/20130504/COLUMN07/705049997
    Think again. There’s plenty of dissent. We may not be as big as the elephant, but there is strength in numbers.
    This reminds me of a quote Victoria posted either here on on her own blog:
    “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.” (Dalai Lama)
    One mosquito can keep you awake all night with it’s constant buzzing. It can sting. It can draw blood. It can infect with deadly disease. Think what we can all do as a swarm of mosquitos working together.

    1. TD has a huge presence in the US, but I bet if asked, less than half of them down there would know it stands for Toronto Dominion. Others might think it’s a subsidiary of Old Dominion.

    2. Blaze, did it seem though that $10,000. was a pretty low amount considering the scope of the areas under study and the complexity? If you look at the other grants given under that program, they all were more, either double or quadruple what Cockfield received. Does that indicate that it was of low priority for the Privacy Commissioner – or of low priority for Harper?

    3. I was not able to locate the thread where Tim posted the earlier court decisions. I’m pretty sure it was early in Maple Sandbox history under Show and Tell, but I wasn’t even able to find that thread.
      However, I did find it through Google. Here it is:
      http://uniset.ca/other/cs6/68OR2d379.html
      In it’s 1989 decision involving IRS, TD and a Canadian citizen, the High Court of Justice said:
      “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.”
      Tim also posted two other court decisions, which essentially sent the IRS packing when they tried to exert control over Canadians in Canada. Again, I could not locate them here, but I found them when I Googled them. Here they are:
      http://uniset.ca/other/cs5/1963SCR366.html
      http://reports.fja.gc.ca/eng/2001/2001fc27325.html
      In USA v Harden, the Supreme Court of Canada stated:
      “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, which is one of public policy, by taking a judgment in its own courts and bringing suit here on that judgment.”
      The Chua case is somewhat more complicated, but again the Canadian court found in favour of the Canadian citizen and resident and against IRS. Most relevant to our situation on this case is the fact Chua’s case was heard under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
      Unfortunately, we know IRS too well. They don’t accept three strikes and you’re out. (Isn’t baseball their national sport?)

    4. @Tim: What do I think about John Baird as Prime Minister. All I can say is he can’t be any worse than Stephen Harper.
      http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2013/05/03/stephen_harper_has_reshaped_canada_in_two_years_tim_harper.html
      http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2013/05/03/stephen_harpers_legacy_in_government_may_be_nastiness_
      With that said, Justin Trudeau and Thomas Mulcair don’t exactly instill confidence in me either–or FATCA or any other issue Neither Trudeau nor Mulcair have even bothered to respond or acknowledge my many e-mails and letters on FATCA.

    5. A nice little reminder from the Mike Harris days:
      http://news.ontario.ca/archive/en/2002/01/15/Thousands-caught-through-Harris-government39s-tough-welfare-fraud-measures.html
      QUEEN’S PARK, TORONTO, Jan. 15 /CNW/ – The Harris government’s crackdown on welfare fraud continues to uncover thousands of people who are not eligible to receive benefits in Ontario. The details are included in the annual Welfare Fraud Control Report released today by Community and Social Services Minister John Baird.
      “Our government will not tolerate welfare fraud of any kind,” said Baird. “We must continue to take steps to ensure that welfare is there for those honest folks who are upgrading their education, improving their job skills, or making the transition from welfare to work.”
      Between April 1, 2000 and March 31, 2001, assistance was reduced or terminated in over 17,700 cases, including thousands of people in jail, those who did not declare a spouse, and people who did not declare another source of income.
      During the last fiscal year, investigations uncovered $58.2 million in social assistance that people were not entitled to receive, and $16.6 million in avoided future costs.
      The government’s welfare fraud initiatives include:
      – A welfare fraud hotline (1-800-394-STOP) that the general public can
      call to report suspected cases of welfare fraud.
      – A zero tolerance policy making those convicted of welfare fraud
      committed on or after April 1, 2000 permanently ineligible for welfare
      in Ontario.
      – Information-sharing agreements with other Ontario ministries and other
      jurisdictions, including the Ministry of Correctional Services and the
      federal government.
      – Specialized staff to conduct eligibility investigations (Eligibility
      Review Officers).

  122. Here’s another reason why the CBA might be less than thrilled with Flaherty:
    He thinks it’s time for banks to become a bit more American, apparently.
    “One assumes the leaders of Canada’s banks still are driven by greed. Mr. Flaherty is forcing them to seek more innovative ways to make a profit than dolling out government-backed mortgages.”
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/economy-lab/its-time-for-canadas-banks-to-become-a-bit-more-american/article10181072/

  123. TD proudly declares itself “America’s Most Convenient Bank.” Their press release makes brief mention that “is a member of TD Bank Financial Group of Toronto, Canada.”
    TD seems to be trying to give the impression they are American with participation in Canada rather than that they are Canadian expanding into US.
    http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases-test/td-bank-americas-most-convenient-bank-announces-expansion-into-rhode-island-82251497.html
    Here, they don’t even bother to mention they are connected to TD in Canada. Only mention of anything Canadian is when they say TD trades on the New York and Toronto Stock Exchanges.
    http://www.harvardsquare.com/home/services/td-bank.aspx
    Irregardless, TD is governed by Canadian laws in Canada. That includes Canadian privacy, banking and human rights laws.
    As a long-ago Canadian court said, just because a Canadian bank chooses to do business in a foreign country, that does not affect the application of Canadian law in Canada. The bank in that case was TD and the foreign government trying to demand money from a Canadian citizen through TD was IRS. I am trying to find the decision itself which Tim which Tim posted in another thread and give the exact wording.

  124. Here’s a little more from my banking source on the IGA talks — and it reinforces Tim’s take on all this:
    Canada-US are still negotiating. There won’t be any more updates (for the bank types) for at least a couple of weeks.
    Once officials reach an agreement (assuming they do),the IGA then has to work its way through a number of government channels, including the PMO.
    It’s entirely possible that the bank folks won’t get another look until after that has happened. There is no sense among the bankers that anything is going to happen before summer recess.
    Which raises the question — has Harper/Flaherty figured out a way to implement this w/o going through Parliament? Because if not, it will be late fall before anything could be introduced, read, debated, etc. and passed. For the banks, that will cause a lot of stress — which doesn’t bother me much I have to admit. They have to register with the IRS by Oct. 15 — and my guess is there won’t be an IGA in place by then.
    Unless they have come up with a work-around.
    I’ll post this on IBS too.

    1. John Ivison of the National Post is reporting that it is almost certain Harper will prorogue Parliament over this summer. Ivison is also saying that sources in Ottawa are whispering that Flaherty is not going to run in the next election and will step down from cabinet over the summer once prorogation occurs(Harper wants any cabinet minister not running for reelection to step down. Supposedly according to Ivison, John Baird(another figure from the Mike Harris days) will become the next minister of Finance.
      So Parliament could be delayed in coming back in the fall and John Baird could be the next Finance Minister.
      “Best of” Videos of John Baird
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SIpXNCBSKZA
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzM68Y2dZnc

    2. The rumblings about John Baird are tied to the fact that some think Harper wants Baird to be his successor and Baird needs a stint as Minister of Finance before becoming Prime Minister. John Baird as Prime Minister of Canada. What do you think?

  125. Thanks Arrow. Great to have you posting here.
    Any sense of what an IGA might contain? I’m optimistic it will be a very watered down version of what the Americans are demanding. I don’t see how anything else would survive a lawsuit or a Charter challenge–which many of us are prepared to do if we have to.
    The Civil Warrior, one of Canada’s other leading constitutional lawyers, is on standby for us. I don’t know if he would be willing to be interviewed for a potential article.
    http://thewalrus.ca/civil-warrior/

  126. Blaze —
    The fact that they are still negotiating indicates that there are big stumbling blocks — they’ve been talking since last fall. The Americans don’t negotiate, they lay out their conditions and wait for you to cave in. What will make it difficult to produce a specific Canadian IGA is the fact that other IGAs already signed (e.g. Britain) have a make-whole clause in them. US can’t give anything to Canada w/o having to give it to the UK.
    Hard to know where this all goes — but the bank folks are getting very very frustrated. We can take that as good news. Still very unclear exactly what Flaherty is trying to get out of the Americans — we can hope for the best.

    1. Arrow and Blaze
      I am quite confident there is no way to enter into an IGA without the approval of Parliament. Yes it is possible for other types of treaties but the IGA requires specific changes to Canadian law that are simply impossible for the government to do without Parliamentary approval.

    2. I think the only thing it would take to make and IGA acceptable to Canada is to restrict the data exchange to non-residents only. i.e. Americans (and even dual Canadian – American citizens) living in the US.
      That probably would not change the cost of implementation, but it would remove the charter issues that seem to be the biggest stumbling block.
      Automatic bank data exchange of non residents would still be a step forward in the fight against tax evasion, and should be acceptable to all parties.
      Why does it take the US so long to agree to that? Why do they care so much about taxing their non resident citizens, when so many reports have shown its negative impact.
      I don’t understand why the “negotiations” are taking so long. This should be the line in the sand for Canada and all other countries.
      Also, I don’t really understand the nervousness of the banks. They might want an IGA to keep access to the US market without the risk of the 30% withholding tax, but at this point the issue is political. It seems the banks will do whatever the government tells them to do on this subject regarding the signing or not to the portal or Mordor, as Mopsick calls it. The Canadian government can’t just leave them hanging. Knowing the charter issues, they just can’t sign in without government approval, right?

  127. @Arrow: If we don’t get “the best,” that’s when the lawsuits begin. I am confident we would win–but I hope it does not come to that.
    It would be nice if the Finance Minister would brief those of us directly affected by FATCA and not just the banks.
    Canada clearly is holding out. I believe if Canada was going to sign a routine Model 1 IGA, they would have done it by now. I think the fact they haven’t is cause for optimism. Others, however, think if they were not going to sign an IGA, they would have said that by now.

  128. @Arrow, Blaze, Tim, etc
    I believe that FATCA’s requirement for banks to identify and discriminate based upon account holders’ place of birth makes implementation in Canada essentially impossible. That was my position even before Peter Hogg weighed in with his superb opinion letter.
    The beauty of the Charter case against FATCA is that all it takes is ONE high court victory by ONE plaintiff. And that plaintiff could be the most egregious example, such as a Canadian citizen born in a US hospital due to a high-risk pregnancy referral, who then returned to Canada as an infant and has never worked, lived or had any other US economic connection since.
    All it took was ONE case – specifically Vriend v Alberta in 1998 – to widely establish sexual orientation as a prohibited ground of discrimination in Canada.
    http://www.law.ualberta.ca/centres/ccs/rulings/vriendvalberta.php
    The situation of US-born Canadians under FATCA is in some ways similar to the situation of gays in Canada prior to Vriend v Alberta. In their financial service relationships, US-born Canadians would be forced to “closet” or conceal an intrinsic personal characteristic: nationality or place of birth.
    I also believe that delay in a Canadian IGA is related to the inescapable Charter implications multiplied by the large number of US-born Canadians affected. Also, the Canadian government may be playing a waiting game: wagering on FATCA collapsing under the weight of its infeasibility combined with the many other far more pressing issues confronting the American nation. See cover story article “What if America Fails” by Chris Hedges from the November 2012 Walrus magazine.
    http://thewalrus.ca/a-metaphor-for-america/

    1. Wondering-
      The biggest danger for any country is not that everyone will hide the money in Switzerland it is that a large percentage of the population will essentially refuse to pay due to inability or unwillingness. This has happened in the past in the US at the local and state level and seems to be on the verge of occurring again. The fact the US is trying to make expats “pay” with little or no success is only going to dangerously reduce taxpayer morale in the US itself.

  129. @Wondering: I have shared your opinion since I first heard about FATCA in August 2011. Everything I have learned since then here, at Brock and elsewhere has confirmed it.
    I just wish Canadian media would report on the legal and Charter issues and stand up for Canadian rights in Canada. So far, except for Arrow, all they seem to want to do is regurgitate IRS press releases reclaiming us, calling us “tax cheats” and “tax evaders” and telling us to “come clean.”
    Why isn’t the Canadian media making it clear we are not dirty. We don’t have anything to “come clean” about.
    We have basic rights as Canadian citizens and residents. The media needs to report on that. Even lawyers like Michael Power were caught off guard by Peter Hogg’s letter. I suspect Finance Canada was too.
    Yet, to us, Peter Hogg was simply stating the obvious which many of us had been telling the government, banks and politicians for over a year.
    How did we get here? More importantly, when is it going to end?

  130. @ Blaze,
    Yeah I share your frustration.
    However – as Joe Arvay noted – until someone is “harmed” by FATCA or the Harper government tries to table legislation regarding it, there is no case.
    Delwin Virend did not go to the Supreme Court armed only with an opinion or supposition that he could be discriminated against because of his sexual orientation. He was fired from his full time job at an Alberta christian school because he was gay, and the Alberta Human Right Board refused to assist him.
    So far, this has been a campaign of fear. It does not appear that any Canadian citizen has yet been refused a bank account or had their bank account closed or compromised because of a US birthplace. And the US is apparently not pursuing US-born Canadian citizens in our courts – or seeking assistance in collection from CRA – because it’s pointless. There is no mechanism for enforcing US tax claims upon Canadian citizens resident in Canada and it appears there has been no proactive effort to do so – much of the angst on this issue has been stirred up by journalists parroting press releases from cross-border tax accountants.
    One of my pals is a justice and courts reporter at a national Canadian newspaper. I have brought these issues to his attention. However, because their is no high profile case or complaint, there is not much of story “hook” at present.
    However, citizens of Switzerland and England are being refused bank accounts RIGHT NOW if they have a US birthplace. So a Canadian citizen with a US birthplace would have a difficult time if seeking a job or starting a business in other countries. Maybe an international angle is the story hook?

    1. If you look at the Memorandum of Understanding signed between Norway and the US regarding FATCA there are some clear indications that the Norwegian Parliament may not pass the legislation to implement the IGA until September 2015 or even as late as September 2016.
      If this was to be the case in the Canadian context too then no legal action could be taken until in theory as late as October 2016. Of course as a matter of Canadian law FATCA would conceivably not be in effect until Sep/Oct 2016. When I first saw this one theory of mine is the IRS/Treasury is hoping people like Blaze, Peter Hogg, and J Arvay retire and “go away” by that time. If the originally strategy of IRS/Treasury was to rush through the IGA’s the new strategy is now to slow walk them. I will also add October 2016 is literally the final months of Obama Administration. The next US presidential election will of course be November 3rd 2016 and of course there will be a Canadian election in 2015.

  131. @ Tim,
    If you look at tax morale in the US, the first filter is the fact that 50% of Americans pay any federal tax, because of low earnings and tax credits. I think most Americans are oblivious to the expat tax situation because its so far off their radar and detached from the struggles of daily life in a crumbling economy. The folks profiled the the Hedges article on Scranton, Penn are struggling with entire sectors of their economy vanishing offshore forever, and their municipal tax base dying along with it.
    It’s funny that the US would consider an IGA with Norway to be any kind of achievement. Norway has a population of 5 million. A person making $550,000 has a tax rate of 44% in Norway vs 28% in Florida (Inc. Magazine Jan 2011). So it’s no kind of tax haven!
    And why would Americans hide offshore money in Canada’s banks? In Canada, FATCA is clearly aimed at the legitimate and legal Canadian accounts where Canadian citizens and residents invest their fully taxed Canadian earnings.

  132. As usual, Victoria has nailed it with a post on her blog about Americans choosing to live their lives away from US.
    http://thefranco-americanflophouse.blogspot.ca/2013/05/more-data-about-americans-abroad.html
    Two sentences say it all: As for the Americans abroad themselves, most simply want to be left alone. Having removed themselves from the national territory, they want nothing more than to go about their lives.
    That is even truer for those of us who became citizens of other countries years or decades ago, believing we were “permanently and irrevocably” relinquishing US citizenship.

  133. My world seems a little weirder each day thanks to International Robbery Society of United States of Arrogance. A couple days ago, I did a post praising a Republican libertarian, This morning, I was writing about a Filipino boxer whom I had never heard of, but who is the second highest paid athlete in the world.
    Now, I’m finding I seem to have something in common with the right wing Tea Party in US.
    According to numerous reports, IRS has been targeting groups using Tea Party or Patriots in applications for tax exempt status.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/10/us-usa-politics-irs-idUSBRE9490S720130510
    I personally don’t think this is anywhere near as significant as targeting the financial records of anyone who happens to have been born in US, but chooses to live elsewhere, but it is being reported by many news outlet.
    There are a couple of great quotes in The Hill. (What is happening?!? I’m again quoting Republicans!)
    “Today, I call on the White House to conduct a transparent, government-wide review aimed at assuring the American people that these thuggish practices are not underway at the IRS or elsewhere in the administration against anyone, regardless of their political views.” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell)
    Senator McConell, what about the thuggish practice of FATCA on people and countries outside US?!?
    “We need to have ironclad guarantees from the IRS that it will adopt significant protocols to ensure this kind of harassment of groups that have a constitutional right to express their own views never happens again.” (Senator Orrin Hatch)
    Senator Hatch, everyone born in US who chooses to live elsewhere needs an “ironclad guarantee” from IRS that it will stop harassing us and our chosen countries of residence and citizenship.
    http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/299005-irs-apologizes-for-targeting-tea-party-groups
    I’ve saved the best for last. In apologizing, an IRS official said in a media interview: “I’m not very good at math…I’m a lawyer.”
    “Well, that certainly explains everything!
    http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2013/05/irs-official-im-not-good-at-math/

    1. Excellent article, excellent find, thanks for this!
      Now, is anyone in Washington actually listening to this? (other than Rand Paul, who for other reasons isn’t exactly my favourite ally, but politics do make strange bedfellows I guess, I was no fan of Jim Flaherty when he was Mike Harris’ finance minister, either).
      Interesting constitutional-challenge angle for anyone who can afford to pay the lawyers for that. Unfortunately those who could afford it are the same people who own these corporations who are getting away with daylight robbery, and I don’t think they’re likely to fund a constitutional challenge on this. Just one more example of the old saying, one law for the rich and powerful, and a very different law for the rest of us. “Liberty and justice for all” in the USA has probably always been a crock, but even more so now.

    2. @schubert, I don’t really want to understand this mess, yet nevertheless it is somewhat interesting. In the following argument, one argued that the FEIE only applies to corporations. In my effort to understand this, I responded with the following:
      “According to wiki, only individuals are eligible for the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion, not corporations. With corporations, don’t you mean 26 USC § 884 for branch profits tax, which means that corporate branches outside of US jurisdiction are only taxed when the earnings are repatriated into the United States? Isn’t this tax difference between individuals and corporations a clear violation of the Equal Protection clause of the United States Constitution? Why are human persons not entitled to the same tax benefits as Congress gives corporation persons?”
      http://www.alternet.org/comments/economy/ayn-rand-usa-20-years-corporate-profits-are-4x-and-their-taxes-have-fallen-50-meanwhile

  134. Blaze, The card came today. It’s sitting on my dining room table and I keep looking at it and grinning. It’s PERFECT. Thank you so much.
    Bises (kisses) from Versailles.
    Victoria

  135. Well, well, the President of United States of Arrogance is calling the targeting of conservative political groups by IRS “outrageous.”
    http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/13/politics/irs-conservative-targeting/index.html
    Mr. President, the targeting of honest people around the world, their spouses, banks and chosen countries is far worse than “outrageous.”
    When are you going to do something about that?
    Fox News insists the media cannot ignore IRS and Bengazi scandals.
    http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2013/05/13/media-cant-ignore-obama-irs-benghazi-scandals/
    Fox News, why are you and other media ignoring ignoring the consequences of FATCA on people who simply choose to live their lives outside of US?
    iExpats is reporting FATCA Is A Family Affair.
    http://www.iexpats.com/fatca-is-a-family-financial-affair/
    Yep. Just like other affairs, FATCA means betrayal of a non-US spouse as “US persons” are forced to reveal private, intimate details of their shared finances with the IRS, who is a constant interloper in the marriage.
    Again, like any affair, that causes marital strife, anger, confusion or even divorce.

  136. Thanks Calgary and Victoria.
    Victoria, I have posed your announcement in a thread of it’s own hoping it will be seen by anyone in Europe who may be playing in or checking out the Sandbox.
    The latest IRS fiasco seems to have caused even Steven Mopsick to feel betrayed. Those of you who have participated at Brock may recall Steven, a tax lawyer with 30 years IRS experience, telling us about the highly intelligent, well-educated moral folks at IRS in Washington.
    Steven e-mailed me his latest blog post. In his concluding statement, he says:
    “Unfortunately, this scandal is just another example of bad government. It is the result of leadership asleep at the switch, a failure to pay attention to facts which should have been clearly visible to everyone.”
    We could say the same about FATCA. Someone is asleep at the switch while the FATCA train is racing full speed ahead, crashing into the lives of people, banks, and governments around the world.
    All the while, the switchmaster is ignoring all signal lights and warning signs. Even worse, the switchmaster is refusing to insist the engineer apply the brakes before a major disaster happens.
    Unfortunately, Steven no longer accepts comments on his blog.
    http://mopsicktaxlaw.blogspot.ca/2013/05/the-irs-tea-party-scandal.html

    1. That was good of Mr. Mopsick to email you his latest blog entry.
      Yes, seems he and other tax lawyers have been blindsided.

    1. Safe and good journey, Victoria. Thanks for all you’re doing! Hope you meet and talk with lots of like-minded.

  137. Washington Times says Obama is creating a “thug state” with the IRS. I say this is just like the “thug state” Congress, IRS are creating for people, banks and countries around the world.
    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/may/24/an-enormous-abuse-of-irs-power/
    Plus, France and Germany want “true reciprocity.” We know that’s not going to happen, so it could be one more broken tie to derail the FATCA train.
    http://www.risk.net/operational-risk-and-regulation/news/2270347/france-and-germany-seeking-greater-fatca-reciprocity-before-signing-igas-expert-says

  138. If we have any question that FATCA is really about creating jobs for bureaucrats, accountants, lawyers, bank officials and others, here is more confirmation.
    The Economist is reporting IRS Tax Code is 4 million words. It has been changed 4,680 times since 2001, 3 million man years are spent complying each year, 89% of filers pay for help. Yet, IRS has 400 billion in taxes owed but uncollected each year. They should focus on those folks and leave those of us who have honest, responsible lives outside of US alone.
    But, think what FATCA will do to add to those numbers!
    http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2013/05/daily-chart-15
    The Economist is also asking Who will tame the taxman? I want to know who will kill the FATCA beast?
    http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21578387-irs-has-behaved-badly-real-villain-congress-who-will-tame-taxman

  139. @Blaze…
    Re Mopsick…
    If you join Linkedin, where he posts stuff, you can still comment
    He posts on two locked Groups…
    FATCA Knowledge and Networking
    http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=3980909&trk=myg_ugrp_ovr
    Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)
    http://www.linkedin.com/groups?home=&gid=4118437&trk=anet_ug_hm&goback=%2Egmr_4118437
    I posted this comment to him, to see if he would respond…
    Good post Steve… Your insights as a past IRS insider are valuable. This struck me the most….
    “The Cincinnati check lists and fact probes were not dreamed up by the local staff. They would have to have been approved, if not drafted, by IRS Counsel in Washington. The aging reports of the caseloads of the Cincinnati determination group were duly reported on up the line. If it is true that the Commissioner knew about this disaster a year ago, what took so long do the right thing?
    Finally, the “tea pot” scandal is a punch below the belt to all the tax practitioners who have been doing the IRS’s bidding by telling their clients to trust the IRS and not be fearful of honestly disclosing their tax matters. People today are going to find it easy to simply ask, “Why should I?”
    In your conclusions, you say that this will not advance any tax reform! You maybe right, but I pray you are wrong. What we have now, is an absolute mess 🙂
    A question for you, if you can answer here.
    What do you think about how the regulatory rule making processes that seems to have changed pretty clear Statue language of “Exclusively” social welfare activity to a regulatory language definition of “Primarily” which seems at stark contrast to original Congressional Intent? How does that happen, and what does that mean about how our policy laundering is done by “The Regulators”, the 4th Arm of Government.
    My contention is they are doing it again with FATCA and the IGA process that was NEVER part of the original Statue. They sure do take onto themselves wide latitude to do what they want, or lobbied to do out of sight of the democratic legislative process. “Regulatory Capture” is the current term for it.
    Another question…
    As you know these laws better than me, why does Trevor Potter former FCC Chairman and lawyer of the well known Caplin and Drysdale Law firm say, “there is no Legal requirement that you file with the IRS an application for 501(c)(4) exemption”?
    He is no light weight, even when he is on Stephen Colbert to make a point about all these PAC organizations which have sprung up since Citizens United.
    http://bit.ly/ZivS5E
    That was also asserted by Shulman and other participants in the House IRS grilling the other day. So, if no legal requirement, then why do they apply? It appears that they can function as 501(c)(4)s without it? So why bother? What does that get you other than scrutiny and grief? Has it just become SOP and only the very expensive Lawyers understand that it is NOT necessary?
    Just wondering, and any light or opinion you can shed would be interesting to me and maybe others.

  140. I got a response from Steven which I would like to share…
    Steven wrote
    Fair questions. Mr Potter is correct. There is no requirement to obtain a determination letter from the IRS which says a group is a (c)(4). The fact that the IRS offers the opportunity to apply for, and receive a letter declaring that an organization is in fact a social welfare organization says, ” if you conduct your affairs according to what you represented in your application for exemption we are telling you up front you won’t have to pay any income taxes on all that cash you’re bringing in. ”
    The “determination letter”process and the publication of revenue rulings is also the way the government informs the public what legal position the IRS would take in court if it had to ask its law firm, the department of justice, to come after some group which was holding itself out as a social welfare organization but was really a “for profit” venture. So getting the letter is a kind of insurance policy for the group which is trying to accomplish something as an organization. The government is essentially saying here “if you want to take a chance and go ahead without a letter go ahead, but heaven help you if we take a look at what you are up to and decide you are something other than what you are holding yourself out to be. ”
    If they are not required why do people get them? No one wants to hold themselves out as something because their lawyer told them it was OK . They want to be able to say the government said it was OK. True, donations to (c)(4)’s are not deductible as they are for (c)(3)’s, but there would be a whole host of other problems for an organization which was acting like it was tax exempt but couldn’t show anyone who asked, if the IRS said it was ok. Also, it would likely be malpractice for an attorney to advise an organization to not apply for clearance from the IRS just because it wasn’t required.
    As for Regulatory Capture, as a former tax law professor, I used to spend hours talking to my poor students who had to learn it, all about the nuances and relative weight of the myriad different TYPES of IRS and Treasury regulations which exist — interpretive, procedural, legislative –even other kinds.
    The general rule is, as long as a regulation does not draw a tighter circle than the statute does, it is usually not unconstitutional, hence the “exclusively” vs ” primarily” issue you raise above.
    Regarding FATCA being an illegal over-reaching on the part of the government, the chance of a legislative fix is very slim in both the long and short term given Washington’s deadlock and the way the culture wars have effected so many aspects of our lives.
    Any push back against FATCA through litigation is going to be a long, expensive and bloody fight. Big government is working its way into every conceivable space in our lives like a mindless blob in a science fiction story. FATCA might be whittled done here and there and tweaked because of the privacy concerns but the future is unfortunately heading toward more government intrusion not less, and the very nature of the digital process and digital age is driving the modern commercial world toward a virtual international banking data base.
    To which I replied
    Thanks Steven… GREAT comments. I do appreciate them…
    I was coming to my own conclusion that is was like a “pre-audit” or “blessing” which might shield you from audit later. I do really wonder if the BIG 501(c)(4) organizations like Rove’s ‘Crossroads GPS’ or Obama’s ‘Organizing for Action’ went through the process or just started operating. Thus, so to speak, played the lottery audit by saying, we are Too BIG politically to confront or audit.
    BTW, I doubt Trevor Potter would think he was guilty of malpractice by advising Colbert 501(c)(4) not to apply for exemption, as they did not.
    Thanks for the explanation for “exclusively” vs ” primarily” So, in their mind, primarily is less restrictive, therefore ok? Humm. I will have to mull that one over. I should have been in your tax law class! 🙂
    Regarding FATCA changes, if even on the margins, hope springs eternal, but Hope is not a strategy of course. I do appreciate what Rand Paul is trying to do, but that is a lonely battle in the Senate.
    I do see that the Texas and Florida Banking association are talking up the legal fight to IRS Bulletin 2012-20 or DATCA lite. It will be interesting to watch what Congress does, when either in a bill, or buried in the Obama budget as it currently is, full blown FATCA reciprocity stares them in the face, and they have to vote on it. That might be a tipping point. We shall see.
    and BOY are you right here.. ” Big government is working its way into every conceivable space in our lives like a “mindless blob” in a science fiction story.” Like your FATCA ‘Portal of Mordor’, you do have a descriptive way with words! 🙂
    Even though I fight the intrusions, I recognize I am living on the beach. The tidal rises will eventually come in and get me! Fatalism does begin to set in!

  141. @Just Me. re: “Even though I fight the intrusions, I recognize I am living on the beach. The tidal rises will eventually come in and get me! Fatalism does begin to set in!”, Don’t let Steven’s words make you think for a second you are not on the winning side. Keep fighting the good fight; you have so much to offer.

  142. @JustMe: Thanks for posting that. I’m confused. Isn’t there a requirement for American charities to be registered with IRS as such to qualify for income tax receipt and credit?
    In Canada, charities must be registered with Canada Revenue Agency to be able to qualify for issuing income tax receipts. Each charity has a registration number, which must be shown on the receipt. If there is no valid number, the receipt cannot be used towards a tax credit.
    This just seem to be common sense to me. Was that overlooked in the 72,000 page tax code written those highly intelligent, well-educated, moral folks in Washington Steven told us about?
    There are also restrictions in Canada on the political activities which a charity can participate in.
    The more I learn about IRS, the more respect I have for CRA.
    I certainly agree with Steven’s statement: “Big government is working its way into every conceivable space in our lives like a mindless blob in a science fiction story.” Yet, he predicts more regulation.
    I guess that’s why IRS needs a bill to ensure federal employees pay their tax debts. As I asked in another thread, what happened to garnishment of wages to pay debts–especially tax debts?!? Another law should not be needed.
    Hang in there. We can’t let the tidal wave become a world-wide tsunami.

  143. Blaze,
    Thought you might like to know the Eritrean Ambassador to Canada was just expelled by John Baird.
    http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/05/29/canada-expelling-eritrean-diplomat-for-using-consulate-to-shake-down-citizens-for-national-defence/
    “I think it had to happen. The consulate was warned and ignored the warning,” said David Matas, the Eritrean-Canadian Human Rights Group’s senior legal counsel.
    “The people who were being victimized were Canadian dual nationals and permanent residents. It was essential that the government of Canada stand up for Canadians being victimized on Canadian soil by a foreign government.

  144. Thanks Tim. I actually tweeted that article earlier today.
    Do you know anything about David Matas the Eritrean-Canadian Human Rights Group’s senior legal counsel who made the statement? It sounds like they have good counsel, but perhaps not as strong as Joe Arvay or Peter Hogg.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Matas
    The fact that Hoang Mai is behind in his taxes is a huge disappointment. He was so strong against FATCA at one time, but this does not do a lot for his credibility. As you may know, he has been moved from Revenue Critic to Deputy Justice Critic.
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2013/05/24/pol-tyrone-benskin-taxes.html

  145. Matas is pretty well connected with the Conservatives and pro Israeli groups in Canada. Don’t know as much about his legal background.

  146. Here’s an excellent letter/submission from a Kiwi to Australian Treasury. He is a former Green Card holder now living in New Zealand with his American wife. They are expecting their first child who, of course, will inherit US citizenship.
    At the end, he makes excellent points and recommendations (Why can’t lawmakers, accountants, lawyers and tax collectors be so logical and sensible?)
    https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B9jApOZcF0AQR0g1YTc5eHk5WEU/edit?pli=1

  147. Saddened sent me this article which says Germany will sign an IGA today. I really thought Germany was holding out.
    This includes information about banking problems for a woman who has lived in Germany for decades with her German husband. Her 16 year-old daughter’s college savings account was closed (I think the daughter is German.)
    “It feels like we’re being persecuted,” she said.
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2013/05/30/germany-to-share-bank-data-with-us/2373913/

  148. Thanks Hazy. It looks like a Model 1 agreement. Germany will US everything they want. US will give Germany information on income from accounts in US of German residents.
    The next issue, of course, is whether the US will actually do that. As we know, there are many in Congress objecting to reciprocity and banking associations in Texas and Florida have already launched lawsuits.

  149. I’m not sure how I missed this great article by Arrow from earlier this week on whether Canada’s hard line stance on Eritrea will also apply to US.
    I will e-mail this to Kevin Shoom at Finance Canada and ask him about the different treatments of the two countries. I will raise the point about Jim Flaherty’s “ominous silence.”
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/commentary/will-canadas-hard-line-on-eritreas-diaspora-tax-apply-to-the-us/article12224084/

  150. Thanks Jim. I don’t remember seeing you here before. Welcome.
    Just Me is featured in the NPR story as the man in New Zealand who was stunned to find he was required to report bank accounts and retirement savings in the country where he lives to IRS. You are correct, the story was far too short and provided far too little information.
    We know him here and at Brock as Just Me, but he is known as Fatca Fallout on Twitter, where he is a constant presence. I don’t think he ever sleeps!
    Today, he tweeted this article from US Tax: Wake Up America. This article makes the point clearly that US is one of the largest tax havens in the world. The author asks:
    “When will a foreign authority step up to the plate and take to court US banks, for assisting foreign nationals evade taxes in their own home country?
    “Mexico, Argentina, Greece, time to wake up and smell the roses. What about the 6 million Delaware LLC’s, which are largely owned and operated by foreign nationals with foreign bank accounts?”
    http://www.ustaxfs.com/wake-up-america-chchchanges/

  151. There is not much new in this article to us. It’s good that FATCA is garnering some attention from a US publication like The Atlantic.
    http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/06/the-unintended-consequences-of-cracking-down-on-tax-dodgers-abroad/276560/
    As they say, “some are finding loopholes in the law aimed at closing loopholes.” Of course, the ones finding the loopholes are the real tax cheats hiding wealth off shore, while honest, responsible people trying to lead normal lives away from US are having bank accounts closed and are being refused employment.
    FATCA may have begun with “unintended consequences” Yet, Congress and IRS have known about them for almost two years, but they are unwilling to correct that. We can only now assume that the consequences are indeed intended.

  152. Swiss media have dubbed FATCA IGA an “American dictate.”
    An article in the Swiss edition of The Local says: The deal, dismissed as an “American dictate” by the Swiss press, has sparked a national outcry.
    I hope one of our Swiss friends will let us know there is finally a national outcry.
    “This is a surrender,” the populist Swiss People’s Party thundered while the Socialist Party was behind the initiative calling for parliament to refuse urgent debate on the deal
    http://www.thelocal.ch/20130605/mps-delay-debate-on-us-tax-evasion-deal

  153. For a hint at what Canadian FI’s may be expected to do in case a Canada-U.S IGA is signed, a person can look at the guidance proved to UK FI’s by HMRC recently.
    http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/fatca/130531-guidance.pdf
    Of note is paragraph 3.13 which lists exempt accounts that are not reportable.
    They appear to be similiar to Canadian Registered accounts such as RRSPs. TFSAs, RESPs etc.
    Those types of accounts are excluded from the aggregate total for threshold purposes.
    Section 4 details US indicia and makes reference several times to self certification by the account holder ( or maybe we should call it self incrimination).
    My own feeling is that, if asked if one is a U.S. citizen, and you have obtained Canadian (or other citizenship) long ago and would qualify to get a CLN, you can honestly answer that you’re not a U.S.citizen.

  154. Thanks Hazy. Much of what is in there is in the FATCA regulations, but it’s good to see it spelled out that retirement accounts, etc. are excluded from aggregate amount.
    I still don’t see how banks can ask if one is a US citizen. However, when I recently got a five week bridge loan between the sale of my home and moving to my condo, my credit union asked for my birth certificate. I refused to provide it. I gave them my citizenship certificate instead. I don’t think the credit union was trying to trick me up. I think they expected my birth certificate would be Canadian. There were no questions asked about where I was born once I provided my citizenship.
    My Oath of Citizenship (1973) included an oath renouncing any other citizenship. Thanks to excellent advice from Schubert, I obtained a copy of that signed oath, which was witnessed by a Canada Citizenship official. I don’t see how any Canadian bank could refuse to accept that as evidence I am not a US citizen or even a US person. Both the certificate and the renunciation oath are safely stored in my safety deposit box.
    If banks demand birth certificates, that’s a game changer for me and for others.

    1. Think there’s a Canadian border between you and the U.S. government when it comes to online surveillance?
      Think again, Canada. All your digital fingerprints are every bit as exposed to the watchful eyes of Big American Brother as those of our stateside neighbours — and even more vulnerable
      http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2013/06/07/canadians_not_safe_from_us_online_surveillance_expert_says.html
      I’ve started a new thread on how Canadians are “fair game” because we are “foreign citizens.”

  155. There seems to be friction between Canada and the UK over FATCA quite possibly.
    British Prime Minister David Cameron wants the G8 to focus on fighting tax evasion by multinational corporations and wealthy individuals.
    Some have suggested Canada is not fully in favour of Cameron’s call for more transparency about tax information and the ownership of companies. But a Canadian government official who spoke to journalists at a pre-G8 briefing on the condition his name not be published insisted Canada and the United Kingdom are not that far apart on the tax issue.
    “I think at this point in time it’s safe to say that we’re very well aligned with the U.K. in broad terms on actions to combat tax avoidance, tax evasion and promote corporate transparency,” the official said.
    “We won’t comment on summit negotiations around language, but I think in broad terms we’re very well aligned in supporting the U.K. in their leadership on this issue and taking actions in Canada.”
    Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/business/Prime+Ministers+Office+downplays+expectations+trade+deal/8494070/story.html#ixzz2VdmeErAi
    Broad terms sounds like we support the sharing of tax information in certain circumstances but we don’t support FATCA.

  156. It sounds like Harper and Canada could get some flak at G8 this week on the issue of fighting tax evasion. I have no idea what that could mean to a possible FATCA IGA.
    Although I personally don’t like him, I am reassured by the fact Stephen Harper is not someone who is easily pushed around and even seems to push back harder when someone tries to back him into a corner.
    http://www.vancouversun.com/news/national/Canada+slammed+lagging+behind+fighting+evasion+summit+looms/8500752/story.html

  157. “Do your clients have ties to US? If you don’t know, find out–quickly”
    So reads the lead advice at advisor.ca
    http://www.advisor.ca/tax/tax-news/fatca-adds-to-kyc-burden-for-advisors-120035#comments
    The article talks about the “burden” being placed on financial advisors.
    New Flash Number 1: Your burden is nothing compared to the burden placed on honest, law-abiding Canadians who simply had the misfortune to be born in US.
    News Flash Number 2: Demanding information about place of birth and other citizenship breaks Canadian banking, privacy, human rights laws and Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
    New Flash Number 3: Lawsuits await. Add that “burden” to the list of issues for your “advisors.”
    A statement at the end is concerning.
    With only six months until FATCA comes into effect, Canada’s agreement has not been finalized. Nicolson says the Canadian government is unable to disclose the contents until Cabinet ratifies it, so it’s likely to be the end of the year before we get FATCA guidance from CRA.
    This makes it sound like Cabinet will be ratifying it. We don’t actually know that or what it will contain. TIm, others, any predictions?

    1. I was particularly struck by the paragraph:
      To facilitate that information gathering, Mark Damelin, president of CommonWealth Fund Services, says his firm has added a FATCA section to its client intake forms. The classification portion now asks for the client’s country of birth, U.S. tax number, and W9 and W8BEN form dates.
      “Country of Birth:”–isn’t that illegal? Perhaps someone should tell CommonWealth.
      I’m also not sure what the legal process for ratification will be in Canada and much much anyone outside of Finance knows about what’s going on right now. Perhaps there will be more movement after the G8 meeting. At any rate, if an IGA is signed, it likely won’t take effect until 2015, if one can extrapolate from the German IGA. German FIs are deemed compliant with FATCA until ratification takes place in Germany and the IGA is in effect.

  158. Steven Mopsick e-mailed me his latest blog
    http://mopsicktaxlaw.blogspot.ca/2013/06/the-irs-fatca-nsa-and-international.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed:+MopsickTaxLaw+%28Mopsick+Tax+Law%29
    At first, I wasn’t sure if Steven was finally getting it or if this was satire or mockery. So, I asked:
    BLAZE: Thanks Steven. Does this mean you have finally seen the light? Or, is this satire or mockery? Not sure which. but I hope it means you’ve at last accepted the truth and are even blogging about it.!
    STEVEN: (Blaze!) It was all tongue in cheek.
    BLAZE: Oh Darn, I was hoping you had come over to the bright side.
    Steven promised he won’t turn me in to NSA. I hope he’s a man of his word.
    Are you Steven? Or are you really carrying out covert operations for NSA IRS (which Just Me has now dubbed NSAIRS (naysayers)

    1. WhiteKat: Thanks. I don’t think it was posted here before.
      This statement is interesting: It appears that Canada is trying to extract more concessions than the U.S. intends to give.
      The first part of this statement is encouraging, but the second part is not: We have been assured by Finance Canada that no Canadian financial institution will be required to ask their customers to complete a U.S. IRS tax form declaring their status – but other means may be required.
      It would be nice if Finance Canada would communicate with those of us affected, and especially with those of us who made significant submissions to them.
      I will post a permanent link to this.

  159. Something that is much more important than all of this IRS and FATCA stuff is hoping that our friends in Alberta are safe and dry in the Alberta floods.
    I heard from Outraged Canadian a little while ago. She has been stranded at work and is not able to return home, but she is OK.
    Has anyone heard from Calgary411 or others in Alberta?
    Stay safe our friends!

  160. Calgary 411 posted on IBS last night that she and her family were OK so far but were on evacuation alert and were sleeping in their clothes, packed and ready to drive north if necessary.
    Best of luck to all our southern Alberta and eastern BC friends. Look after yourselves.

  161. Thanks so very, very much for all of your good wishes for those in the southern Alberta / BC flooding.
    My family did have to evacuate, but we now have word that our area can go back. We have so little, but it worked, between our home and the still raging Bow River. I am so grateful that our house and our family has been spared what so many others have not. The devastation is immense but the operations by Calgary and Alberta appears outstanding. Communication is so good, which is very important. Makes me proud, again, to be part of the society that has welcomed me and my family and I look forward to lending a hand when we are more settled.
    Again, thanks everyone for your caring support.
    Now, I’d like to hear how ‘outraged’ is doing. I hope many in communities downstream learn from what has happened upstream and they too evacuate for their families’ safety.

  162. Thanks Calgary. It’s good to know you, your family and your home are OK.
    I just had an e-mail from Outraged. She is back in her community now and their home is dry. She says people, especially those working around the clock, have been AMAZING.
    She hopes to post soon..

  163. There is a scary post on Isaac Brock by ‘Marie’, that everyone might want to check out, under ‘Fatca Discussion Thread’.

  164. I want to post the comments from earlier today on IBS.
    This afternoon I put a call into the CRA to request some info on Canada’s existing treaty with the US. They forwarded me to Competent Authority, the division of the CRA that deals with tax treaties. They are in Ottawa and can be reached at 613-957-2071. I spoke to a representative that had a great deal of info on the matter. I called with some general questions, she gave me info on the “Agreement”. Here is what she confirmed for me.
    First off, the Ministry of Finance had some concerns about s.15 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. They concluded that Fatca reporting does not contradict or conflict with the charter.
    1. FATCA is a reality. The agreement will be signed this summer. Info will be available on the CRA website beginning in September 2013.
    2. All US persons in Canada are considered US residents for tax purposes according to the US, based on that, Canada considers us US residents as well.
    3. Beginning in 2014, Canadian financial institutions will begin identifying US persons to report to the CRA. CRA will report individuals with bank account #’s balances, etc. to the IRS.
    4. All bank accounts over $50K will be reported.
    5. Registered account such as RRSP’s, RIF’s, TFSA’s and RESP’s are exempt (she did not mention RDSP’s)
    6. If your bank account is held jointly with a non-US person, it gets reported as well.
    7.CRA’s first wave of reporting to the IRS will take place in April 2015 and will cover 2013 and 2014. After that, balances will be reported once per year in September.
    8. CLN/renounciation/relinquishment does not get you off the hook for taxation for 10 years. Your balances will continue to get reported for 10 years after issue of CLN.
    She recommended that I get my hands on a copy of “A Tax Guide for Citizens in Canada” by Carswell.
    There are many more questions that I would like to ask her. I encourage everyone seeking answers to call the CRA for information.
    Me again:
    First off I would call this number and register your strong opposition to FATCA. I would be real mean and nasty. Second CRA as right now has no legal authority to do anything until Parliament votes on it. Third I believe some of the information given was inaccurate such as 10 year period after CLN thing nonetheless I would assume for our purposes in communicating with CRA/Finance to be correct. Fourth after calling this number and getting into a nice little argument I would request to speak to a supervisor and go all the way up the chain of command.
    Fifth be prepared to travel to Ottawa in the fall if necessary.

  165. Further to Maria’s shocking conversation with CRA Competent Authority…
    It’s remarkable that a mid-level functionary has provided more specific – and alarming – information on this issue than our elected MPs. Maybe she finds it distasteful…
    Suggest calling the CRA Competent Authority directly (613-957-2071), taking careful notes, express outrage as per Tim’s suggestion, and tell them you are contacting your MP and possibly legal counsel immediately.
    Then write your fresh concerns about these facts to your MP, the Minister of Finance, and the Opposition parties. Focus on the facts, that such an Agreement would be unlawful discrimination, and the harm to your family.
    Consider sending a brief note about your conversation noting the facts, how this may harm you or your family, and expressing interest in a FATCA class action or plaintiffs suit to Joe Arvay at Arvay Finlay:
    http://www.arvayfinlay.com/lawyers/j-arvay.htm
    This is on Mr Arvays’s radar, and knowing there are people with standing in the matter ready to support a class or group action will help. A brief formal letter via post may carry more weight than an email, but include an email to make it easy for him to contact you.
    Suggest also cc Peter Hogg at Blakes:
    http://www.blakes.com/English/WhoWeAre/FindPerson/Pages/Profile.aspx?EmpID=101698

  166. I would also remember the time I believe Blaze got a hold of a low level person at the Privacy Commissioner’s office who gave completely incorrect information and which after a much high level person called Blaze to apologize. Not that I think in principle what was said here was incorrect I just don’t think it is current Department of Finance policy to comment on this that directly.

  167. I’m glad I had already logged out when all of this was posted last night.
    I will be on the phone in a few minutes to Ottawa.

  168. I’ve made a couple of calls this morning, but have not been able to talk to a real person. I have not even been able to speak to a machine at the number provided by Marie (613-941-2768).
    When I called that number, I received a recording “The voice mail of Chantelle Belanger (it sounded like that was the name) is full and cannot accept messages at this time.”
    So, then I called a number given on Competent Authority’s website (613-957-2071) for Legislative Policy Directorate, Tax Treaties.
    I spoke with Jessica. She confirmed Competent Authority is the correct area to speak with. She said she would give my name and number to Competent Authority. I asked how long before someone would return my call. She said if they were in the office, I should probably receive a call this morning.
    I suspect Chantelle’s voice mail is full because several others have already left messages for her. I think she’s going to be very busy today!
    I am not going to contact Joe Arvay or CCLA about this until I have something more concrete or until I have spoken with Competent Authority myself.

  169. What I am curious about is whether they intend to have parliament vote on this agreement or do they think they found a way to ram it through by administrative fiat. Myself and Allison Christians think they might have a way to ram it by fiat but it would be a very dangerous act on their part.

  170. I had a return call from Competent Authority about 30 minutes after I spoke with Jessica.
    Blair, the officer I spoke with, said the “Government of Canada is negotiating with the US federal government relating to FATCA, but those negotiations are ongoing.”
    I explained to him what another individual was told. Blair said “We at CRA are administrators. If Canada enacts a law, we’re going to administer it , but right now there is no law, so we’re not administering anything.”
    Blair was not able to explain the information which Marie said she received from another employee. He said he would follow up with his colleagues.
    He stressed CRA does not set tax policy. He acknowledged my concerns about FATCA, but said Department of Finance and Parliament is responsible for any law there may or may not be relating to FATCA.
    Blair said he had “no knowledge” of any constitutional decisions relating to this. He said that is “Something the Parliament of Canada will have to consider.”
    Again, he stressed CRA “has no role” in setting policy. He also said if there is an IGA, CRA “will have to react at that time. Whether or not it is legal or constitutional is not in our court…We just administer the laws the Parliament of Canada wants us to administer.”
    Blair said he and CRA are “very aware of FATCA” and are “obviously monitoring FATCA”, as well as “global developments relating to FATCA and other changes between governments.”
    Blair concluded by stressing “Finance Canada are the negotiators. Canada Revenue Agency is not negotiating. We can only respond to marching orders when or if we get them.”
    It sounds like Marie may have received inaccurate information from a source at CRA similar to that which Tiger and I received from someone in the Privacy Commissioner’s office last year. The information we received from a junior level employee was completely contrary to that which we received when we followed up with the Privacy Commissioner in a further letter.
    As Tim mentioned, a Director at the Commissioner’s office called me to provide accurate information and also issued a strong apology for the incorrect information which was provided.
    I think we all need to take a deep breath. We don’t yet know what will be in an IGA.
    The information provided this morning confirms what Tim has said. Nothing can happen until there is a change in Canadian law. Both Joe Arvay and Abby Deshman say we don’t have grounds for legal action until (or if!) that happens.
    In the meantime, Joe remains “on standby” if we decide to take legal action in the courts.
    It is clear, however, we also need to remain vigilant in fighting this. Remember the quote Victoria posted some time ago:
    “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.” (Dali Lama)
    A mosquito’s buzz can keep you awake all night. It can draw blood. It carries deadly disease.
    If one small mosquito can do all that, think what a huge swarm of us can do. They may try to kill us off with pesticide, but mosquitoes grow resistant to pesticide.
    Keep swarming!

  171. Had a similar conversation with Blair. Very pleasant gentlemen and receptive to comments – has legal background so is aware of the human rights arguments and the Peter Hogg opinion letter specifically. As he put it: CRA has the job of administrating laws, and the laws and policy come from Finance Department. Right now there is a FATCA file being actively discussed. He promised to pass along comments and concerns to higher-ups and others working on the file, and suggested continued political outreach to law and policy makers.

  172. Thanks Wondering. Blair was very pleasant, but also professional and discreet. He didn’t seem to want to discuss the constitutional issues. In fact, he said he had “no knowledge” of that. He, of course, said “That is something Parliament of Canada will have to consider.”
    I suspect Blair may have more information than he is able to share. I also suspect the person Marie spoke to does not have as much inside information as she revealed. I can’t imagine why any professional would risk giving out that information to a member of the public at what is likely a crucial stage in negotiations.
    I appreciated Blair’s approach, but I’m a bit disappointed I was not able to speak to the person Marie spoke with to see if I received the same information. I’m sure they will all be more cautious now (as they should be), but that doesn’t help us.

  173. Changing countries, here is an article that says: “Switzerland, Bermuda and some nine other so-called offshore financial centers have rejected being subservient to the U.S. foreign account tax compliance regime.”
    It reports on Swiss National Council rejecting FATCA, despite attempts by the government to fast track it.
    Really interesting are comments by the Prime Minister of Bermuda:
    “Those in glass houses should not throw stones. One of the biggest tax havens in the world is the state of Delaware. Everybody knows that.”
    He also says Bermuda will not sign on to a G8 multi-lateral agreement:
    “The issue here is the tax laws of the G5, G8 (groups of big economies). It’s not the tax laws of Bermuda. … It’s easy to blame dots on the map.”
    This statement by the author is what we all now to be true relating to this:
    Information is far more valuable for political power than taxes.
    http://www.moneynews.com/Kleinfeld/FATCA-offshore-US-tax/2013/06/24/id/511453

  174. Does anyone know what Gary Doer, Canadian Ambassador to US is doing on FATCA?
    Today, after months of bad blood between US and Canada, a deal was finally reached on the Peace Bridge. I hope this was done without giving up anything for Canada.
    “It’s called the Peace Bridge, it’s not called the Conflict Bridge,” said Doer.
    New York Governor says “This is a win-win situation. It’s a win for New York, it’s a win for Canada,” Cuomo said. “A bridge only works when it works on both ends.”
    Could we get some negotiators to get working on building a bridge between Canada and US on FATCA? Has anyone been in touch with Gary Doer? I’m sure he is very aware of FATCA.
    The Peace Bridge is the one I always take on my trips to Pennsylvania.
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2013/06/26/pol-peace-bridge-deal.html

  175. Here’s another source I wonder if anyone has contacted: CRA Taxpayer Ombudsman Paul Dube. I think this is the first I have heard of this position.
    There is a Bill of Rights for Canadian Taxpayers. They have just added a right to be free from backlash: Entitled to lodge service complaints and request formal reviews without fear of reprisal from the Canadian Revenue Agency.
    Mr. Dube says he has never heard of reprisal in his five years in the position, but felt it was important to have it included.
    The story says one of items in Taxpayer Bill of Rights is the right to privacy.
    I’m sure Mr. Dube knows about FATCA, but it might be worth some of us following up with him.
    Here is the story from CBC:
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2013/06/26/pol-taxpayer-complaint-revenue-protection-audit.html
    Here is information from the Office of the Taxpayer Ombudsman, including links to information on Taxpayer Bill of Rights (Bill of Rights Item 3: You have the right to privacy and
    confidentiality.”
    http://www.oto-boc.gc.ca/menu-eng.html
    Here’s how to contact Taxpayer Ombudsman, but I don’t see an e-mail contact.
    http://www.oto-boc.gc.ca/cntct-eng.html
    .

    1. Paul Dube’s email is JPaul.Dube@oto.boc.gc.ca (there a dot between the l and the d)
      I had contacted him last fall, prior to a conference in NYC where he was going to be on a panel with Nina Olsen. I asked him to bring up some of the issues that are frequently discussed here and at Brock. About a week later he contacted me from his own Blackberry and promised to look into those issues before the conference.

  176. Hazy: Did you hear anything further from Paul Dube?
    A report today says a Swiss Parliamentary Committee has backed the idea of a Model 2 IGA.
    The IGA did “arouse the enthusiasm” Now there’s a diplomatic understatement for the record books!
    Opponents warned an IGA impinges Swiss sovereignty.
    I thought Swiss Parliament had already dealt with this and rejected it. Can anyone clarify?
    http://www.tax-news.com/news/Swiss_Parliamentary_Committee_Backs_FATCA_IGA____61224.html

  177. Blaze:
    I didn’t hear anything more from Paul Dube and I never contacted him again except to thank him for responding to my email.

  178. @Hazy: I tried that e-mail (with the dot), but it rejected. Could you double check that it is correct.
    Thanks.

  179. This isn’t new. It’s old.
    Prime Minister Steven Harper “was active in apathy movement” in high school.
    His accomplishment: Voting no on Student Council resolution.
    His Pet Peeve: Reality
    If Harper doesn’t say No to FATCA, let’s treat him to his pet peeve with a dose of reality.
    Like we have rights under Canada’s Charter. Plus, no one is invincible, no matter how apathetic he may be. Let’s work to toss “Steve” and his Con comrades from office if they don’t respect the rights of Canadian citizens, residents, taxpayers and voters!
    http://media.thestar.topscms.com/images/ff/ec/7396ebce4ec1ac2394fd95f5d666.jpeg
    Happy Canada Day!

  180. Thanks AnonAnon I enjoyed that as a Canada Day treat. Good to be reminded about the many good things about Canada.
    If you want to read something that will really make you shake your head (especially if you have filed FBARs, read this interview with Bill Yates, a IRS attorney focusing on International Compliance. Thanks to Just Me for tweeting this.
    http://blogs.angloinfo.com/us-tax/2013/07/01/fatca-interview-with-bill-yates-former-attorney-office-of-associate-chief-counsel-international-irs/
    The interviewer asked “Where are all those FBARS kept, anyway?”
    Yates reply: “Let’s come back to that, OK?”
    The interviewer did come back to it.
    First Yates said a practitioner compared FBARs to the final scene of Raiders of the Lost Arc: The scene where two men in a big warehouse were carrying a box marked “Top Secret” down an aisle stacked high with boxes of all kinds. Other practitioners I talked to made the identical analogy.”
    After further probing by the interviewer, Yates said: “The truth is that it was never clear to me what happened to the FBARs.”
    I can’t help but wonder if they went to NSA.
    At one point, the interviewer said to Yates, “It sounds like this was an exhausting process.”
    Yates: “That’s putting it mildly. People have no idea.”
    Actually, Mr. Yates people do have an idea of how exhausting, invasive and destructive dealing with IRS is for honest people living elsewhere. It is IRS who “have no idea” of what they are doing to people. Or perhaps they do and just don’t care.

  181. Blaze, I’m fairly sure that manually filed FBARs haven’t gone to the NSA, because no one would devote the time to scan them or key in all the data. That’s why they are going to require them to be submitted in electronic form from now on. 🙂
    I’m just happy that I’m no longer a “US person” required to do form-filling chores for them. Filing tax forms for my own country, Canada, is quite enough for me.

  182. @TIm: I was in the process of posting Globe and Mail article as an independent thread just as you were posting it here.
    Thanks Tim for sending me these three articles from Daily Caller. Two separate ones published on Canada Day with the same title: Canada: Land of The Free deal with many issues, but include IRS, etc.
    I hope others find them as interesting as I did
    In the first, the author quotes another columnist about the state of US government: “Every tinpot makework paper-shuffling bureaucracy now runs around pretending to be Seal Team Six.”
    He goes on to point out: “IRS sends militarized thugs to make collections, and that’s before even contemplating the enormity of the Department of Homeland Security, the NSA, and so on.”
    http://dailycaller.com/2013/07/01/canada-land-of-the-free/2/
    In the second article, IRS is again on his radar, but he’s a bit milder in his comments.
    “Moreover, Canadians and their families who reside abroad are not subject to the worldwide taxation and reporting requirements imposed on Americans by the IRS.”
    http://dailycaller.com/2013/07/01/canada-land-of-the-free/
    In Is America Free in the same publication by same author last month, he sends a message to: “Mr. Ugly American — yes, you with the giant foam cowboy hat and air horn, and you, Mr. Harvard Yard Fancypants with your pince-nez and Rousseauean predilections”
    Among other issues, he points out “Six million of your fellow citizens living abroad — plus millions more of their families, business associates and people with U.S. ties — are required to file with the IRS and send taxes to America, even if they never set foot on your soil. The content of every email you send is intercepted and saved by your government. Not judging you for all this, but figured you should know.”
    Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2013/06/09/is-america-free/#ixzz2XuJie9Yt

  183. A late but very sincere Happy Canada Day from Versailles.
    I’ve got a story for you all that I thought you would appreciate.
    Today a friend came over for lunch (I served cheese souffle and salad) and we had a fine time. She’s a 90 year old Frenchwoman and she is sharp as a tack.
    Somehow we started discussing citizenship and I explained citizenship-based taxation and I gave her some idea of how much this system is costing my little Franco-American family. I told her flat out how much I have had to send off to the US Treasury on money and assets earned and invested here in France. Her immediate reaction was: “Mais c’est du VOL! C’est pas possible….” A sentiment I completely agreed with. She found the idea that money was being taken out of France by the U.S. government just because it was earned by a US citizen in France beyond shocking. France needs the money, too, she said and since you don’t use their services, this is free money for them. (Did I not say that this woman is sharp as a tack – she saw the implications instantly).
    And then she said. Well, if that’s the case then France needs to start taxing French citizens in the U.S. That way we will get at least some of our money back. Can’t argue with that and I didn’t. But if her reaction is typical and shared by, let’s say the people in the other 190+ countries around the world who have sent migrants to the U.S., then the U.S. is going to be in a heap of trouble, n’est-ce pas?

  184. @Victoria: C’est ca! (I hope that’s an appropriate use of the little I remember from high school French 45 years ago).
    If all countries decide to do this, there will lots of drained bank accounts to pay lawyers, accountants and tax collectors, but not much left over for anything else.
    I read a couple of days ago it costs IRS $40 for each $100 they collect. What in the world will FATCA cost them for no money collected?
    Remember all that money you spent for accountants and lawyers to dutifully file your FBARs? Well, the long-time international attorney who designed the form told an interviewer:
    “The truth is that it was never clear to me what happened to the FBARs.”
    http://blogs.angloinfo.com/us-tax/2013/07/01/fatca-interview-with-bill-yates-former-attorney-office-of-associate-chief-counsel-international-irs/

  185. Thanks Hazy for the correct e-mail address from the Canadian Taxpayer Ombudsman.
    I had a reply from Mr. Dube today. It is not exactly reassuring. Here it is:
    “Dear Ms. (Blaze)
    My Office deals with unresolved service complaints from taxpayers who feel they have been treated unfairly by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) or believe that their taxpayer service rights have not been respected. As such, we have no direct role to play with respect to the impact of US legislation on Canadian citizens. (For more information about my role and mandate or taxpayer service rights, please consult our Web site at http://www.oto-boc.gc.ca/menu-eng.html. )
    Nonetheless, I have been receiving enquiries from Canadians about the reporting obligations under FBAR and FATCA and as Taxpayers’ Ombudsman I am committed to doing what I can to help taxpayers find the information and assistance they require with respect to this complex issue. To that end, we will very soon have a message on our web site with links to resources and additional information about FBAR and FATCA.
    Regards,”
    We don’t need resources and additional information on FBAR and FATCA! We need someone to stand up for Canadian citizens against the outrageous demands of a foreign government to intrude on our responsible, honest lives as Canadian citizens, residents and taxpayers.

    1. Blaze have you seen this story from the Star? It demonstrates what we can expect if there are errors under FATCA – the onus will be on the taxpayer to resolve them:
      http://www.thestar.com/business/personal_finance/2013/07/02/man_gets_relief_from_tax_debt_he_didnt_owe_roseman.html
      ‘Man gets relief from tax debt he didn’t owe: Roseman
      Told he owed thousands because of a U.S. mistake, he gets help after contacting the Star.’
      By: Ellen Roseman On Your Side, Published on Tue Jul 02 2013
      “David Gauci worked in the United States from 1999 to 2003. An error made by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service — and compounded by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) — threw his life into disarray…………..”

    2. @Badger: Yikes!
      “Our government sent me off to wage war against another government without any assistance whatsoever,” he told me. “They seemed perfectly at peace with the prospect of a Canadian citizen being dragged kicking and screaming from his country of birth because of a typo by a representative of a foreign country.”
      He is a Canadian citizen. What happened to “CRA does not and will not collect tax liability of a Canadian citizen if the individual was a Canadian citizen at the time the liability arose (whether or not the individual was also a US citizen at that time”(Jim Flaherty)
      What a nightmare.
      Perhaps most concerning of all is the fact

    3. Might CRA have been collecting for CRA? Eg, Was he resident in Canada at the time the dead lady’s income was reported (as his) to CRA? In which case he’d owe CRA tax on his worldwide income, unless he paid the tax on his US income to the US? CRA believed the dead lady’s income was his income; and CRA says, “prove you’ve paid US tax on it or get IRS to inform us it was not your income?”
      Another thing struck me, what’s this IRS saying if he reapplies for US citizenship, it would solve the problem. Was he once a US citizen? When? Or had he applied for US citizenship (the application being withdrawn or not approved)? What I really want to know is -why would his becoming a US citizen solve the problem?
      This story needed a much longer article because his case is a complicated and bizarre situation. There’s a lot of steps missing but we don’t know what they are.
      Reading it, I got the feeling that CRA was collecting for CRA. Though it’s not clear – but the whole article is foggy to me. Whatever the missing details are, it’s clearly a Kafkaesque nightmare. And as JustMe posted on Brock, “Could there ever be a better poster child for the problems coming from FATCA?”

    4. Thanks Pacifica.That clarifies it. I reread it after your post and it does seem CRA was charging him tax on the dead woman’s income–not that the IRS was.
      I’m glad the Ombudsman was able to help him. But, to have submitted Grade 5 report cards to confirm his medical condition!
      The statement about IRS telling him to reapply for US citizenship was truly bizarre. I’m not sure he ever was a US citizen. He only lived in US four years and citizenship requires five there.
      I agree there are some pieces of the puzzle missing, but it truly sounds like a horror story. When I try to tell my friends on both sides of the border about FATCA, IRS, etc., they think I’ve gone mad (which I have, but not in the way they mean!)

  186. AtticusInCanada sent me this reply she received from her MP.
    This is a reply from Finance Canada to a petition. The reply addresses FBAR and US citizenship based taxation, but says nothing about FATCA or an IGA.
    There is not anything new in it to us, but I thought others might like to see it. It confirms much of what Jim Flaherty has already told many of us in letters.
    Thanks AtticusInCanada for sharing this.
    http://maplesandbox.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Response-IRS.pdf

  187. That last sentence towards the bottom? “Finally for options regarding U.S. citizenship see” then the link to the State Dept. One almost has to laugh. The government of Canada knows we are put in the position where renouncing is the best option.

  188. I also posted this over at Isaac Brock…
    Good article up on Opinio Juris by Peter Spiro called This July 4th, Exploring Paths Away From Citizenship: http://opiniojuris.org/2013/07/03/this-july-4th-exploring-paths-away-from-citizenship/
    Peter is the author of Beyond Citizenship (an excellent read that can be found here http://www.amazon.com/books/dp/0195152182) He also writes for Opinio Juris and the New York Times. He asked me for the scoop on relinquishment and I, of course, sent him to Isaac Brock. I think he did a very good job of describing the situation in the limited space he had. Might be worth going over and dropping off a comment if you are considering renouncing/relinquishing (or already have).

  189. Registration for FFIs is scheduled to begin July 15. That’s one week from today! A deal with Canada has been stalled for months. A Canadian government official declined to comment on the progress of its talks with the United States.
    Thanks to Just Me for tweeting a Reuters article, reporting: The Internal Revenue Service still has not finalized sign-up instructions for the new online portal.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/08/us-usa-tax-fatca-idUSBRE96705B20130708
    A representative of KPMG says “At this point people have thrown up their hands.” She suggests there will need to be delays to penalties if guidelines are not available by the end of the month.
    US Department of Treasury “declined to comment on the status of the portal, saying only that work was going ahead on implementing FATCA.”
    We will really like these two statements from the article:
    1. Chinese government officials have so far been publicly dismissive of FATCA, throwing into question whether financial firms in Hong Kong will be able to comply with the FATCA law.
    2. A deal with Canada has been stalled for months. A Canadian government official declined to comment on the progress of its talks with the United States.
    Keep on stalling Canada! Better yet, just say no. Reassure your citizens and residents of their rights in Canada.
    Actually, we can now hope Congressman Posey’s letter will give Canada and other countries the nerve they seem to need to refuse to sign an IGA and to stand up to the bullies.

  190. Thanks WhiteKat.
    Here is another article about the delay. However, there are some really scary statements towards the end.
    http://www.advisor.ca/tax/tax-news/irs-offers-six-month-relief-from-fatca-122891
    Here’s the scary quote:
    And since Canada’s easy for the IRS to reach, “it wouldn’t surprise me if Americans who live in Canada are the first victims. Some of those people are going to be made examples of. It will take until 2016 or 2017 for real penalties to show up, but it will happen.”
    I don’t know if this is simply speculative fear mongering or if he has inside information.
    However, he did not mention CRA will not collect penalties for IRS on Canadian citizens of residents. I don’t know if this was not mentioned because Mr. Nightingale does not know (which makes me question his professional knowledge) or if it is because he does not want to (which makes me question his professional integrity).

  191. Tax Cheats or vctims?
    Did you notice he titled the scary part: ‘Tax Cheats Beware’, but then went on to refer to them as ‘victims’.

  192. Despite rumours and speculation, Jim Flaherty is remaining as Canada’ Finance Minister.
    Toronto Star has an article: Why Jim Flaherty Had To Stay
    http://www.thestar.com/business/2013/07/15/harper_cabinet_shuffle_why_jim_flaherty_had_to_stay.html
    I will add to The Star’s list. We need someone who understands FATCA at this stage of negotiations. I think it would be disastrous if we had to have a new Finance Minister who had to learn about FATCA from Sqare One, or, worse, who might buy into US rhetoric about “tax cheats,” “tax evaders” and “traitors.”
    I still want Mr. Flaherty to take a stand and say Canadian banks must adhere to Canadian law and Canadian law will not be changed to accommodate a foreign government. The fact he is not willing to do so is alarming.
    However, I also know from professional experience that sometimes one of the best negotiating strategies is silence. I hope that is what it is in the case–as frustrating as that silence is for most of us.
    At least many of us have signed letters from him outlining his position on IRS, CRA and FATCA. Until we hear differently, I am going to assume Mr. Flaherty still holds the same position. If that position changes and he plans to change Canadian laws for FATCA, it may be time “lawyer up.”

  193. @ Blaze
    I certainly hope Flaherty will hold the same position as indicated in his prior statements.
    However, politicians have been known to say one thing and do another ( I know, ,this is breaking news!), so we should do our best to keep reminding the Finance Minister of our concerns.

  194. @Hazy: I agree we need to remain vigilant. At least, we have very strongly worded letters, including the unpublished one he wrote to American newspapers, but which was published in Financial Post. It will be very difficult for them to back down from that (even with your Breaking News that politicians often do!)
    One of the first things I did was tweet the Star article to Flaherty:
    Blaze ?@LynneBlaze
    Why Jim Flaherty had 2 stay as Finance Minister http://bit.ly/1bCVjlm @JimFlaherty @FinanceCanada Now, don’t let US #FATCA Canada!
    Then, I sent him an e-mail with a cc to Kevin Shoom and others:
    Congratulations on continuing as Canada’s Finance Minister.
    I hope Canadian citizens and residents who were born in the United States can continue to count on you to ensure our rights under Canada’s banking, privacy and human rights laws are protected. I hope we can continue to count on you to ensure we have the same rights as all other Canadian citizens and residents to manage our finances with confidence and in privacy with our financial institutions without interference from a foreign government. I hope we can count on you to ensure we are not second class citizens in our country of choice. I hope we can continue to count on you to ensure Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms applies to all Canadians, regardless of their national origin or place of birth.
    Please tell US they can’t FATCA Canada or Canadian citizens and residents. Please do it now.

    1. @ Blaze…………..
      Good letter to the Finance Minister.
      However, I think we will probably have to proceed on the assumption that the Canadian government will buckle under.
      Many other countries already have:
      http://www.ipolitics.ca/2013/07/04/canada-expected-to-accept-tax-reporting-deal-with-u-s-in-fall/
      The question is….do we act reactively or pro-actively? Do we surface before Canada buckles under or after?
      As long as we are comfortable in the knowledge that Canadians courts and the CRA will not allow the IRS to enforce FBAR fines, one could argue that our only deadline to proceed with filing is before the end of 2013. However, I am still not convinced that Canada has the power to resist even that.

  195. @ArticGreyling: As I understand from the lawyers, we have no grounds to pursue legal action right now.
    That’s why it’s important we keep the pressure on the government. That is how we are being proactive.
    I and others have advised Jim Flaherty, Finance Canada and Canadian Bankers Association that a lawsuit or Charter Challenge will follow any attempt to violate our rights.
    Peter Hogg and CCLA both sent proactive letteres to Finance Canada. Canada’s Privacy Commissioner has an anti-FATCA position. I also submitted videos of the FATCA Fourm presentations of CCLA and Allison Christians (tax law professor at McGill) to Finance Canada.
    I encourage others to keep the pressure on Jim Flaherty and others. If they think we’re just going to go away quietly, they are wrong.

    1. @ Blaze….
      Upon reflection, I hope you are right. Maybe we have some clout because we are their largest trading partner.
      But I doubt it. I think it’s all about power, and the Obama administration is willing to see a negative impact on their economy to get that power. In fact, if the economy suffers, that makes people even more dependant on government, thereby giving the government more power.
      Obama is enough of a power whore to do that. As evidenced by Obama’s statement that effectively politicized the Zimmerman trial, I don’t think Obama has any more sense of what is right or wrong than any other ghetto burglar, which in my mind, is exactly what we are being subjected to, and therefore makes him exactly that.

  196. CF&P ran a story on this WSJ story…
    Headline: Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Blasts FATCA
    Few know better than Americans living overseas the punitive and capricious nature of U.S. tax policy. Writing in today’s Wall Street Journal, law professor and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Colleen Graffy provided a clear and concise accounting of FATCA‘s destructive flaws from the point of view of an American overseas.
    http://freedomandprosperity.org/2013/blog/former-deputy-assistant-secretary-of-state-blasts-fatca/

  197. @ Blaze…..
    I hope you are right, but don’t hold your breath.
    Who knows? Obama might turn the IRS loose on her.

  198. @Arctic, Yep, that could happen. But, it’s great to have someone who was previously so high at DOS speaking out. Obama could also turn NSA on her–if he and Keith Alexander haven’t already done so.
    In any case, the WSJ article is gaining traction. It has been published under two titles. The first was the above one–How To Lose Friends, Citizens and Influence. The second was also in WSJ–under title A Special Tax Misery For Americans Living Abroad. I believe one was in European edition, the other in US edition.
    Then, Freedom and Prosperity picked it up, as Just Me posted above.
    http://freedomandprosperity.org/2013/blog/former-deputy-assistant-secretary-of-state-blasts-fatca/
    Outraged posted in another thread that CatholicOnline did a synopsis of the article, which they titled: Hows US Can Lose Friends and Influence People To Drop Citizenship
    http://www.catholic.org/national/national_story.php?id=51770
    I just found another one relating to this from Voices for a Free America. The author, Roger Kimble refers to this article, but goes further.
    His article is called Weaponizing the Acronyms That Rule Us.
    He suggests renaming IRS URS (Universal Revenue Service). I personally like my acronym better–International Robbery Society. He doesn’t have another name for FATCA, so I’d like to try to get mine to him: Foreign Attack To Control All.
    He does, however, have some fine things to say about both FATCA and IRS
    IRS is a “weaponized bureaucracy, deployed to intimidate, silence, and punish individuals and enterprises deemed to be at odds with the ruling nomenklatura in Washington.” (or in our case punishing us for daring to live outside of United States of Arrogance).
    FATCA is a stupid, counter-productive, and ultimately an un-American law…It should be undone.”
    http://pjmedia.com/rogerkimball/2013/07/17/weaponizing-the-acronyms-that-rule-us/?singlepage=true
    These are very diverse sources. They’re all saying the same thing and getting the message out there.

  199. @Blaze…………..
    It looks like the translation was done by something like google translator, but one can put the pieces together and make sense of the article.
    The concern I have is that, relatively speaking, opponents to FATCA are still voices in the wilderness. Americans passing through Canada, almost to a person, have no bloody idea what’s going on. They are not properly labelled as “sheeple” for nothing. Neither, would I, for that matter, refrain from applying that term to their compliant media, who are nothing more than cheerleaders for their statist politicians.
    The other concern I have is that Canadian banks seemed to have resigned themselves to the reality that FATCA is coming, and will, like compliant poodles, bend over for a foreign power, thereby trampling and riding roughshod over our constitution.
    Sorry Blaze…..I am not as optimistic as you are, and I think I have good reason not to be.

  200. ArcticGrayling: We can agree to disagree, but remain vigilant in fighting FATCA together. I think the only way we can defeat it is to continue to stand up to it in the way that works best for each of us.

  201. @ Blaze…
    I spoke with a relative of mine who works in the banking sector. He told me that Canadian banks are already refusing business from anybody connected with Myanmar an Cuba.
    So Canadian banks are already discriminating against customers based on their their nationality or any connection thereto.
    This is not encouraging. I am beginning to think that using our constitution to protect us might be akin to using a water pistol to fight a house fire.
    I am putting this out there so that people can act according to their best judgement.
    In my case, I am requesting, through Access to Information, any oath or other relevant documents pertaining my my employment with the Government of Canada and my Certificate of Retention of Canadian Citizenship.
    It looks like it is entirely possible that I may have to go all the way to the renunciation stage. I am ready to do it, and I have all the necessary tax and relevant returns ready to do it.
    2014 is not that far away. I suggest everybody get their ducks if a row for the worst case scenario.
    The renunciation stage is not very appealing. By going there, they have you on their RADAR anyway. They will know all about you anyway. It’s all about information. It’s not about tax evasion. People who don’t owe taxes are not evading them.

  202. Blaze, you and others will want to read this interview with a former IRS Chief Counsel in its entirety:
    http://blogs.angloinfo.com/us-tax/2013/07/22/residence-based-taxation-interview-with-bill-yates-former-attorney-office-of-associate-chief-counsel-international-irs-2/
    Excerpts:
    …”…Let’s talk about US tax: The RBT Proposal also talks about FATCA’s onerous compliance requirement resulting in foreign banks either refusing US customers, dropping current account holder and even causing many Americans and green cardholders to expatriate. Did you know about that?
    Yates: Oh, yes. We knew. We even received a letter from a U.S. taxpayer who’s foreign bank account had been closed without an explanation from the bank. The taxpayer wanted to know why. Eventually, a response went out to the effect that we simply didn’t know why the bank closed the individual’s account. Politically, that’s all we could say.
    As for expatriations, I received lots of calls from practitioner friends of mine all over the world telling me that Americans are getting out. We even heard that the wait list to make an appointment to expatriate at some U.S. consulates was over one-year long.
    Let’s talk about US tax: This may be a little premature, but what did you think about FATCA from a policy standpoint at that time?
    Yates: I thought it was bad policy. We shouldn’t be pushing U.S. citizens towards expatriation….”…
    …”…What Congress has to realize is that the current citizenship-based taxation creates a serious competitive disadvantage for the United States and that if FATCA remains, CBT for Americans living and working abroad has to go. Otherwise, having a US passport overseas is simply too much of a liability to keep. Over 80% of Americans abroad are long-term overseas residents, married to foreigners, working abroad. Many have dual nationality – some even born with it. Why should they have to continue to double file, double pay when all of their governmental services come from the country where they reside? CBT does great harm to the US because it prevents US corporations from sending Americans abroad to represent US interests. More freedom of movement of US citizens would enhance US competitiveness around the World….”

  203. @ badger…
    I hope you are not holding your breath.
    I just don’t think Americans are that bright. They are not smart enough to see the stupidity of their ways.
    I think Winston Churchill said something like “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing, after they have tried everything else”. Citizenship taxation has an almost geological age in the United States now. If they haven’t cleaned up their act by now, I don’t think any American living outside the United States should plan their lives on the hope that they will.
    And anyway, as has been pointed out many times, this is not about stopping tax avoidance and/or evasion.
    This is all about information and control.

  204. @ Blaze….
    But Yates says that FATCA is inevitable.
    You also say stay away from OVDI.
    It’s a vicious circle circle. If you have to file to renounce, the information on your 1040 will disclose everything that would be on the FBAR anyway, so there is no real harm in filing the FBAR.
    There is something called “quiet disclosure”, which my tax lawyer says that Canadian American duals are able to disclose now without any problem. He says his is aware of hundreds of them, and there have been no adverse consequences…………………………………………YET.
    So…..are you suggesting that the FBAR be filed or not?
    By the way….Canadian banks are already denying service to people tied to Myanmar and Cuba. At least that is what a relative of mine who works for a Canadian Bank has told me. So we have already past the point where people are being discriminated against based on nationality.
    I think Yates is right. FATCA is a done deal. Canadian Banks are in bed already.
    I think the figures show that most American nationals in Canada who voted in 2008 and 2012 voted for Obama. Like voters almost everywhere, they seldom think about who and what they are voting for. I wonder if it has occurred to them who signs everything into US law.

  205. OVDI is different from FBARs. (Alpahabet soup anyone?)
    If someone is filing with IRS, I am not qualified to advise anyone about filing FBARs or not. I know some Canadians have done the quiet disclosure route, but there have been some issues raised about that recently.
    Forbes reports: “The GAO Report asserts that a failure by the IRS to identify and pursue “quiet disclosures” will undermine the integrity of the OVDP and the incentive of others to participate in the IRS offshore programs.
    It should be anticipated that the IRS will review and/or pursue examinations of the amended returns of taxpayers residing in the United States to some degree. It remains uncertain whether the IRS would or could effectively pursue those residing outside the United States in any realistic manner.”
    Does all this confusion serve the purpose of trying to trap people into penalties? I’ll let you decide for yourself.
    The Government Accountability Office (GAO)
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/irswatch/2013/07/04/irs-fbar-voluntary-disclosure-program-and-opt-out-considerations-2/
    In terms of Myanmar and Cuba, it would be interesting to know the details. There were reports TD was closing accounts of people transferring funds to Iraq. TD, however, said they were doing this because those individuals were transferring funds in violation of Canadian economic sanctions.
    Some individuals filed complaints about this, but I don’t recall the outcome. Does anyone else know? I have not been able to locate the articles on line. If anyone else has, could you post them?
    How would a Canadian bank know someone is “tied to Myanmar or Cuba?” What is the reason for closing the accounts–because they were born there or for another reason?
    Unlike US, Canada has long-standing relations with Cuba. As you probably know, this royally ticks off US.
    http://www.canadainternational.gc.ca/cuba/bilateral_relations_bilaterales/canada_cuba.aspx
    Canada has sanctions against Myanmar (aka Burma), but eased them last year. Some remain in place, including: “An arms embargo, covering the export of arms and related material to Burma as well as the providing of associated technical and financial assistance, and an assets freeze and dealings prohibition on designated persons remain in force.”
    http://www.international.gc.ca/sanctions/burma-birmanie.aspx
    It is important to determine if the closure of the accounts is accurate. If it is, it is important to know the reason why. Does anyone else have any information about this?

    1. @ Blaze…………Alphabet soup had crappy food value when it was introduced, and this version of it is even worse.
      The quiet disclosure referred to in that article talks about amendments to previously filed forms. It doesn’t refer to those who had no reason to know about it.
      Of course, that is no guarantee. Apparently Uncle Sam expects to know about changes to their laws even if we left there 60 plus years ago. I don’t expect an unreasonable country to be reasonable or honest about anything.

  206. Some Canadian credit cards prohibit use in several countries, including Cuba, which is the most likely place Canadians would use the card.
    TD recently acquired MBNA’s assets including it’s credit card division. Use of the card in Cuba was prohibited by MBNA and is still prohibited now that MBNA is owned by TD. I’m not sure about use in other countries, but those countries are not popular destinations for Canadians.
    For a while I had a Credit Union Mastercard that had country limitations. The explanation I was given was that the transactions were processed in the U.S. and thus subject to U.S. law.
    So, Canadians have been affected by U.S. banking laws for some time.
    What’s TD’s excuse for continuing MBNA’s policies?

    1. @ hazy………..
      “So, Canadians have been affected by U.S. banking laws for some time.”
      No kidding!!
      And it isn’t getting any better. I think the weight of argument here favours relinquishment if possible and renunciation if necessary.
      Otherwise it will be impossible to live a normal life without a cocked and ready firearm pointed at your head.

  207. @Hazy: Good points. I had no idea some Canadian credit cards could not be used in Cuba. I too would be interested in TD’s reasons for the credit card company cards they purchased.
    @Others: I now know why I couldn’t find the article about accounts being closed for people transferring funds to Iraq. It’s because it was Iran. That was a huge blunder from me. Many apologies.
    Here are the articles from Toronto Star.
    http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2012/07/12/iraniancanadians_furious_over_closure_of_td_bank_accounts.html
    http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2012/08/25/iraniancanadians_protest_in_front_of_td_bank.html
    Here’s what Jian Ghomeshi had to say on Q on CBC. Jian is a Canadian of Iranian heritage.
    He reported the Iranian-Canadian Congress which supported the sanctions said TD was being “overzealous” in their interpretation and pointed out that other Canadian banks had not taken similar action.
    He also said all Canadians should be concerned about this.
    Plus, he said “we’ve never had more ways to communicate. Communications really shouldn’t be an issue.”
    Jian insisted: “Alienation and demonization of our own citizens is just about the last thing we need.”
    Listen to Jian’s essay:
    http://www.cbc.ca/player/Radio/Q/ID/2256066297/?page=26
    I have been unable to find a resolution. Iranian-Canadian website has links to several stories, but I could not find anything about if or how it was resolved.
    http://iccongress.ca/search/node/bank
    Does anyone else know?

    1. @ Blaze
      I can’t add anything new about the situation re Iran, but that episode points out that Canadian FIs may be “overzealous” about U.S. persons and FATCA. We’ve already seen what has happened in Switzerland and elsewhere. It could happen here also.
      I do know some people are hesitating to obtain a CLN, even though they could easily obtain one due to a long ago relinquishment. They’re waiting to see what happens with the Canada FATCA IGA. before approaching a Consulate.
      At that point, there may be very long waits for an appointment.

  208. @Hazy: Good points as usual. I will continue to stay away from Consulate and IRS. However, as I have said, I do have what I consider to be my restraining order in the form of a signed copy of my renunciation oath which I can present to my bank if I have to.
    John Boehner, UN Congressional House Speaker thinks Congress “ought to be judged by how many laws we repeal”
    Read this story and watch the video of John Boehner on Face The Nation yesterday.
    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2013/07/21/boehner_we_ought_to_be_judged_on_how_many_laws_we_repealed.html
    I sent this to Jim Jatras suggesting we ight use it to try to get FATCA repealed.

    1. @ Hazy & Blaze….
      I looked at the appointment schedule of both of the Halifax and Calgary Consuls. They have lots of room for appointments.
      You can always make one. If you don’t have your ducks in a row when the time comes, you can reschedule. I have already cancelled one and have rescheduled for mid-August. Maybe I will reschedule that one too.
      I am using Access to Information to look for whatever documents I can find.

  209. Here is an article from Montreal Gazette in response to a question from an 80 year old American citizen who has been a resident of Canada for 50 years.
    http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/Talk+Money+What+Americans+living+Canada+need+know+about/8692506/story.html
    The person had been told they were not required to file with IRS in the past because of low income. Instead of determining what the income was and looking at whether the person would need to file (perhaps Tiger or someone else could advise on what that threshold actually is), the columnist told the writer he or she must file.
    In addition, she points out the obligation to file FBAR. No mention was made of the fact CRA will not collect penalties for IRS on any Canadian resident and will not collect tax liability for any Canadian citizen.
    Here’s what the author has to say about FATCA: “Fair or not fair, the U.S. is using whatever tools it can to get tough on large scale tax evasion and international money laundering.”
    Why is a low income senior in Montreal being compared to large scale tax evasion and international money laundering?
    Then, of course, there’s the wonderful image of Americans who dare to live outside US: “The good news is the IRS is not out to unduly penalize globetrotting Americans.”
    How is a senior citizen on a low income in Montreal who has lived in Canada for 50 years a “globe trotting American?!?”
    Finally, the columnist suggested the senior use “any well-known American tax preparation company with Canadian offices…”
    Does that sound like H and R Block to anyone? We know of people who have had nightmares with them.
    I wish we could somehow get in touch with the person who asked the question.

    1. @ Blaze…..and others….
      So that lady is guilty like the rest of us?
      Our crime has been to not pay attention to changes in US law since we left years the United States years ago (in her case 50 years, and in my case more than 60 years).
      I really don’t think Americans get it. I really don’t think they are too bright.
      The right of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness does not include the right to pursue happiness outside the United States. It does not include the right to leave the United States and live an unmolested and unfettered life somewhere else.
      Canada grants us that right, and Canada welcomes us back when we return. As a young man, I did exactly that. I lived and worked overseas myself, and Canada did not bother me when I was gone. And when I returned, Canada did welcome me back.
      That alone makes Canada a better country.
      I am proud to be Canadian where at least I know I am free. Americans have those words in a song, but they are empty words. They are not even free to leave.

    2. @Arcticgrayling: Americans “have the right to be stupid…right to be disconnected. I think that’s a virtue, something worth fighting for” (John Kerry in his first overseas trip as US Secretary of State)
      http://www.reuters.com/video/2013/02/26/americans-have-the-right-to-be-stupid-jo?videoId=241331384
      Unfortunately, the “right to be stupid and the right to be disconnected” only seems to apply to those living in United States.
      For anyone living outside US, we are expected to be so highly intelligent that we understand their citizenship and tax laws in a way many American lawyers and accountants don’t–including probably Kerry himself.
      And we do not have the “right to be disconnected” from that country.

  210. I just wrote a letter to Montreal Gazette. There was not space to get into all the issues, but I tried to cover the two main statements which caused me the greatest angst. I don’t know if it will be published.
    I really wish we could somehow contact the person who contacted her. This is going to cause that person and others a great deal of fear and anxiety–and possibly huge costs!

  211. Thanks Hazy. I don’t know why my link didn’t work. It’s not working for me now either.
    I will try the bitly link I used to tweet this. That was working a few minutes ago on Twitter. Here it is:
    http://bit.ly/15fEPfI

  212. With attitudes like this on US tax reform, I don’t know what hope there is to repeal FATCA
    “I’m not going to be involved in this. I’m not on the committee. I’m not going to do it. I’m not even going to consider it,”
    That statement was from US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who is, of course, also famous for Expatriot Act.
    http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/domestic-taxes/313557-reid-schumer-senate-budget-should-be-framework-for-tax-reform

  213. @ Blaze…………..
    That’s why I am not as optimistic as you are. The more I read about and monitor this whole situation, the more I am convinced, with each passing day, is that American Arrogance is only matched by their stubborn stupidity.
    See my comments on being a “covered expatriate”. I am not convinced that, in my situation especially, being a “covered expatriate” such a bad idea.
    If I read the rules correctly, I think I am off the hook anyway. See my comments in the other thread.
    I have been a Canadian Citizen from birth. The more I think about it, the more I don’t want US citizenship anyway. If they want to impose restrictions upon me for that, then so be it.

  214. Check out The Hill’s Congress blog on Sunday, July 28 for an article written by Lynne Swanson (aka Blaze) and Victoria Ferauge (aka Victoria).
    I understand this will appear on the Congress blog at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday. I have been advised “this means it will top the blog all day and be high up through Monday morning.”
    http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog

  215. Here is an article from Center for Freedom and Prosperity: Latest Delay Exposes FATCA’s Fatal Flaws.
    http://freedomandprosperity.org/2013/blog/latest-delay-exposes-fatcas-fatal-flaws/
    Andrew Quinn, the author, says: “This newest delay is further proof that FATCA is poorly conceived and unworkable, and should be repealed.”
    He points out any of the issues which many others have.
    Mr. Quinlan then says “The latest delays provide yet more time for opposition to FATCA to solidify. As awareness of the law grows..so too does the backlash against the government’s radical overreach.”
    Let’s keep solidifying and backlashing!”

  216. I wait in great anticipation for The Hill article that will be published on Sunday. Thanks for teaming up with Victoria to do this. GREAT development. Put the subject front and center in the face of Congress. At least we know Congressman and staffers read “The Hill”.

  217. Here are a few more articles relating to FATCA–all with different perspectives.
    We can all identify with the headline of the first one: Taking Your Money and Your Life.
    https://now.mmedia.me/lb/en/commentaryanalysis/taking-your-money-and-your-life
    This was written by an American in Lebanon. We have posted other articles by Michael Young in the past.
    He says: “Beyond the fiscal implications of FATCA lies a more disturbing reality. The IRS has authorized itself to enter one of the most private domains of Americans, their bank accounts, and it has the legal framework necessary to use this information in matters unrelated to taxation.
    Like us, Mr. Young sees the clear link between NSA and FATCA:
    “As the NSA’s surveillance has shown, the US government will usually interpret its mandate in the widest possible terms when it can justify this on the grounds of national security. FATCA gives it a new lever with which to work. The law rides roughshod over individual privacy, and if it passes, it will create another window, and a frightening one, that the intelligence agencies can open on American citizens.”
    Then, there is a bit of a different take on FATCA. In The Dollar Racket, Valentin Katasonov of Global Research suggests FATCA is one of the conditions for US “dollar racket”
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-dollar-racket/5343989
    The next headline says it all: FATCA: A Great Example of US Power Play. Henry Campbell-Smith seems to think this truly is a “great example.” No mention of the impact on honest people living responsible lives outside of US.
    http://www.worldfinance.com/wealth-management/tax/fatca-a-great-example-of-us-power-play
    Steven Mopsick’s most recent blog is about OVDI, but it also deals with FATCA.
    http://mopsicktaxlaw.blogspot.ca/2013/07/update-on-current-offshore-voluntary.html?spref=tw
    Steven says FATCA “is not going to happen on schedule, but it is coming.”
    We don’t always like what Steven has to say, but he has shifted from his “It’s the law” stance of over a year ago to saying:
    While FATCA creeps toward the starting gate, there appears to be scant progress on two fronts sorely in need of attention: (1) the plight of Americans abroad whose local bank is no more a “foreign financial institution” to them than the corner McDonalds is an English fish and chips joint to us, and (2) the hapless recent immigrant who was never told in citizenship class that as American taxpayers, they now had to register their worldwide assets with Uncle Sam in addition to report the income. The collateral damage of these two unintended FATCA consequences, particularly the former, account for the bulk of the internet chatter on this example of the gross tax injustice FATCA on Americans abroad.”
    However, Steven is also realistic: “Congress..is frozen in place with no effective direction and leadership and the result is a broad based sense of frustration and disdain. Unfortunately there appears to be little hope any time soon of any attention to this problem.”

    1. @ Blaze…..
      There is a bigger burden of documentary proof on American citizens living beyond its borders than there was upon Obama to take the office of President.
      Nobody has seen an original birth certificate yet. All anybody has ever seen is a PDF document that any proficient computer person can photoshop.
      Did you mention that in your “the Hill” article?
      Do think the DOS would accept PDF documents in a person’s effort to establish relinquishment of citizenship?

  218. @ Blaze and Victoria
    Let me be the first to congratulate you on your piece in The Hill. I especially liked the sentence “This intrusion goes way beyond a 1099 and would not be accepted or tolerated by Americans living in United States”
    One of my very first thoughts when first learning of FATCA several years ago, was that U.S. residents would be furious at the intrusion into their private finances that FATCA demands.
    Bravo!!

  219. Thanks Hazy. I’m going to post the article in it’s own thread.
    When I tell my American friends and family about FATCA, I first get a moment of stunned silent incredulity. Then, the most frequent comment is “Why do we wonder why everyone hates us so much?”

  220. From:
    http://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2013/Senate/Maps/Jun26.html#item-3
    IS TED CRUZ ELIGIBLE TO BE PRESIDENT?
    With Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) actively working on an immigration bill that is anathema to many conservatives, the air is full of trial balloons for a possible presidential run by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). Cruz is an in-your-face, no-apologies, full-throated conservative who is scaring senators with 20 or 30 years of seniority. Such a race would be quite interesting from a legal point of view. Many people questioned President Obama’s right to be President, even after he presented his long-form birth certificate showing that he was born in Hawaii after it had become a state. That was easy.
    Cruz is in a more difficult situation. He was born in Alberta, Canada, to a Cuban father and an American mother. Under American law, a person born in a foreign country to one citizen parent and one noncitizen parent, is a citizen provided that certain other conditions are met. In particular, the citizen parent must have lived in the United States for 10 years prior to the birth, of which 5 years must have been after the citizen parent’s 14th birthday. No one is disputing that Cruz’ mother, Eleanor Darragh, was an American at the time of his birth, but for Cruz to be considered a “natural-born citizen,” as required by the Constitution, he may have to prove that his mother met the residency requirements imposed by the law.
    How could he do this? Would he have to produce school records attesting she was in school? Would utility bills be legal proof? Did his mother save her utility bills and does Cruz have access to them? What if all the utility bills where she lived were either in her father’s name or in her husband’s name? If push came to shove, could Cruz actually prove that his mother met the additional requirements required for him to be a natural-born citizen? This is why voter-ID laws are so problematical. Even a rich and powerful man like Cruz might have trouble actually proving he is a citizen (if he is not a natural-born citizen, he is not a citizen at all since he was never naturalized).

  221. @ Hazy….
    Probably a moot point.
    Obama’s compliant media will go into high gear to destroy Cruz too. And Obama’s voter fraud apparatus will ramp up even more. In the last election, there were cases of inner city Obama voters voting in 5 or 6 precincts, and probably more. In one Ohio county, Obama won it with 40% more votes cast than there were registered voters.
    And the media is silent. They have an ongoing love affair with their own creation that they managed to install in the White House, and who now wants to violate our sovereignty.
    But the media won’t be silent on Cruz. They will whip up their propaganda machine into a frenzy to destroy him.
    Just watch.

  222. @ the forum…..
    and especially to those who are appealing to the President.
    Look at this link. 74 wars to which the administration will admit?
    http://beforeitsnews.com/economy/2013/05/u-s-currently-fighting-74-different-wars-that-it-will-publicly-admit-2519182.html?utm_medium=verticalresponse&utm_campaign=&utm_source=direct-b4in.info&utm_content=beforeit39snews-verticalresponse&utm_term=http%3A%2F%2Fb4in.info%2Fr4bV
    And you think Obama might care what we think? Give your head a shake!!
    Think about it for a minute. Even if only half of what’s in that link is true, did that warlord in the oval office deserve a Nobel Peace Prize?
    http://beforeitsnews.com/opinion-conservative/2013/07/danger-muslim-brotherhood-operatives-now-taking-charge-inside-obama-administration-2688798.html
    No country is off limits to US military or economic power.

  223. For anyone in Vancouver, Victoria (who lives in France) will be there on Monday, August 5 and a “Brockstock” (credit for name to bubblebustin’) gathering of Brockers and Sandboxers who are in the area will be held.
    Victoria says anyone who is interested in Brockstock can get details by e-mailing her for venue and time.
    (Note from Blaze: Because Brockstock has now been held, I have removed Victoria’s e-mail address to protect her privacy.)
    Victoria says: “This is going to be a blast.” So, blast off anyone who can make it. I would love to get on a plane and head west for some Brocking. I will be there in spirit–as I’m sure many others will be.
    Who would ever have thought this nightmare could turn into long-distance friendships?!?

  224. I am so jealous, and SO totally happy that you guys are getting together. FATCA is so FUCKED! THEY know it too.

  225. @WhiteKat You said almost exactly what I said to Victoria. I said “I am so envious.”
    @All: We could have our own Brockstocks (or Maplefests) in our own communities. We could even plan them simultaneously across Canada and maybe in other countries.
    I’m in London Ontario. Is anyone in southwest Ontario interested in a Brockstock or MapleFest here?

  226. I like the idea a lot, I’d like to meet more people in person affected by this. I did meet Calgary411 in Calgary, way back when I was new to this, and was still pretty much in shock. She was a huge help in calming me down and helping me look at this realistically.
    @Whitekat, I debated whether to say anything about your choice of words (I agree with your sentiment, believe me), because I’m not personally offended by swearing, and I’m pretty sure I’ve used euphemisms, and things like ‘f**ked’. However, I finally did decide to comment, just to say that we are hoping that this will be a site that everyone feels welcomed to, including the proverbial ‘Canadian granny’ who might be offended by the stronger curse words. Strong emotion often brings strong language, and I’m often guilty of it myself and have to go back and edit myself.
    At any rate, I echo your sentiment, I would just choose, personally, to write it as ‘FATCA is so F**CKED’.
    If any out there disagree with me, do let me know, because I do wonder if I’m being overly sensitive about it (not on my behalf, but on my mother’s). Did the frank swearing offend anyone’s sensibilities?

  227. Like Outtraged, F***ED didn’t offend me personally, but as one of the administrators and referees in the Sandbox, I agree with Outraged.
    An alternative might be FUBARed (notice how close it is to FBAR. Someone (I’m not sure who. Was it Victoria?), in fact, often used FUBAR to refer to FBAR.
    Tim educated me earlier this year that FUBAR actually is a military term for F***ed Up Beyond All Repair. He also taught me that SNAFU is a military term for Situation Normal All F***ed Up.
    I checked with a friend who is retired from RCAF. My friend laughed at me that I didn’t know that. Sure enough, as usual, Tim was a wealth of information.
    Did others know that?
    Wikepedia confirms this information and gives a couple of other military slang: TARFU Totally and Royally F***ed Up Beyond All Repair or Things Are Really F***ed Up (Take your choice).
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_slang
    Warner Brothers actually produced films for US military during World War II which featured Private Fubar, Seaman Snafu and Private Tarfu. I wonder if we could get them on board to help us fight FATCA.
    This information from Wikipedia shows an image of Seaman Snafu as well as a video clip of Private Snafu checking out jobs of Private FUBAR and Private Tarfu.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Brothers_%281944_film%29
    I’m sure we could come up with all kinds of meanings for FATCA. I will stick to my acronym: Foreign Attack To Control All.
    I often include in my letters and tweets to Finance Canada and Jim Flaherty: Don’t let US FATCA Canada.

  228. ‘My bad.’…apologies to anyone who I may have offended. I will try to play a little more politely in the sandbox.

    1. Thanks, Whitekat, much appreciated, I’m relieved you understand, as we absolutely want people to use this forum to learn, and to empathize, and to vent out some of that anger that I think we all have at being caught in such a ridiculous and unjust situation.

  229. @WhiteKat: Thanks for responding so quickly and respectfully.
    We’re always walking a tightrope between encouraging freedom of speech/freedom of expression and creating a place that is welcoming and inclusive for all to play, learn, grow and explore.
    Thanks for understanding. Your contributions are always welcome.

  230. Thanks Blaze.
    Re: http://www.emigrate.co.uk/news/20130726-7461_fatca-compliant-nations-get-rarer
    The author seems to think Canada has already signed an IGA. Does he know something we don’t? He writes: “Most Western nations and EU states have already opted in, as have Japan, Canada, Switzerland, Ireland, Mexico and most of the Scandinavian bloc. Still in negotiation are Australia, the Caymans, Cyprus, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and more.”

  231. @WhiteKat : I doubt Canada has signed anything yet, and I hope I’m not wrong. I suspect that, like far too many “journalists” these days, the author hasn’t bothered to check his facts or is making some of them up. Though I have my concerns about so-called “mainstream media,” I take them far more seriously than I take posts from most websites (other than this one and IBS of course, at least from posters whom I recognize). I wouldn’t lose any sleep over that post.
    Congratulations on the get-together in Vancouver! As some visitors to this website already know, there is a group of us here in Ottawa who get together from time to time. If any of you are coming to Ottawa at any time, let Pacifica or me know and we’ll try to arrange a meeting with you and the others we know of in Ottawa and nearby areas.

  232. Totally off topic, but may be of some interest:
    http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/nwsrm/cnvctns/bc/bc130715-eng.html
    “During their defense, the Tyskeruds told the Court their income was “gifts from God.” Referring to themselves as “Children of God,” they believed they had the right to arrange their affairs in a way that would exempt them from paying income tax.”
    At least they didn’t claim “the devil may me do it”

  233. @ Hazy…..
    You mean Obama is handing out money here too?
    After all, the media seems to think Obama is God!!!

    1. I just got a cold call from the Wall Street Journal, reporter looking for either me or my husband. As I reported at Isaac Brock,
      Interestingly, I was just contacted by the Wall Street Journal — cold calling people who are listed on the just-out quarterly “Name and Shame” document. What was the reason I felt I had to renounce — was it the taxes? I may or may not be quoted. I absolutely tried to convey in the short conversation due to deadline that it was not about taxes owed. The taxes I paid to the US from 2005 through 2012 were almost nil (the 2012 US taxes $250, when my Canadian tax bill was $0.00). The US tax law and US tax accounting firms I hired (three — two of them that did actual work for us), their retainers (some of it lost because I “fired” the in-US firm), the immigration / nationality lawyers I hired on both sides of the border totaled just over $40,000 of Canadian retirement savings, 2005 through 2012, for my husband, myself and my son.
      Could it be this article? http://isaacbrocksociety.ca/2013/08/08/huge-jump-in-number-of-published-expatriates-in-federal-register-but-the-list-still-isnt-complete/comment-page-3/#comment-474953
      I don’t think so. The reporter I talked with was Liem Kleven.

  234. Great news Calgary. Did they give any indication when they might publish?
    Interestingly, I just pitched another article to WSJ today, but I haven’t heard back from them yet.

    1. No indication when they might publish, but I would expect it would be right away. There is already the other short article referenced above. They might want to keep the momentum of this issue going. What does need to be conveyed is we are not on the list as having renounced because of taxes owed!!! We are NOT tax evaders. We are not US traitors. We are ordinary people who have become more US collateral damage.
      It may be good to follow-up with the same person who called me. 212-416-2766, Liem Kleven (sp?)

  235. Yay, Calgary411. Belated congratulations – and thanks for coming out in the open to share your story with the world. It would be fantastic if other journalists followed suit, and if your full story could get out there – it’s very compelling and would tug at the hearts of even the most hardened of fatca supporters, I think. If anything shows the injustice and foolishness of fatca, it’s your situation.

  236. Canada Revenue has recently changed it’s Foreign Income Verification Statement to include far more information than previously required. The form T1135 is the Canadian equivalent of FBAR, but far less intrusive. For example, account numbers are not required.
    Here are a few links
    http://www.moodystax.com/the-devils-in-the-details-the-new-form-t1135-is-released/
    http://www.bdo.ca/en/Library/Services/Tax/pages/Tax-Alert-Changes-to-Foreign-Income-Verification-Statement-Form-T1135-Some-Good-News-and-Some-Bad-News.aspx
    You can compare the new form to the old one, which I don’t believe had changed since it was first issued.
    http://198.103.185.14/E/pbg/tf/t1135/

    1. An important difference between FBAR and son-of-FBAR (I refuse to remember the number of the latter form, since neither my wife nor I file US tax returns and never will) is that T1135 is for Canadians who reside in Canada or who are deemed resident for tax purposes (very different and more specific than the IRS’ blanket inclusion of anyone born in the US living abroad without a CLN) and have property, accounts or income outside the country. As far as I know, no Canadian residing in a country other than Canada with his/her family, home, job and all income sources outside Canada, needs to file this form or any other form to CRA for as long as those conditions apply. Huge difference. T1135, and the part of the Canadian tax code defining who has to file returns to CRA, is exactly what the IRS should be copying, not the imperialistic absurdities they currently are using. I have no problem with the IRS going after US citizens residing in the US who are not reporting income from, accounts held in, or property owned in other countries. Nor with CRA going after Canadian residents who are doing the equivalent to that. THAT is tax evasion, not what IRS is trying to claim regarding millions of Americans living outside the US and especially those who’ve been outside the country for years.

  237. @schubert
    You’re correct. T1135 applies only to those who are considered to be Canadian residents for tax purposes, This would include Canadian diplomats and members of the Canadian Armed Forces serving overseas.
    Also the penalty regime is vastly different.
    http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/nnrsdnts/cmmn/frgn/pnlts_grd-eng.html
    Basically, a person would have to have deliberately failed to file the form to be hit with a gross negligence penalty. And even those penalties pale in comparison to FBAR.
    There’s many other differences between T1135 and FBAR. Maybe we’ll call T1135 “FBAR very, very lite”
    Even the Harper government has more sense than the U.S. government.

    1. Agreed, and re your last comment, I also agree, but boy is that ever a sad comment on the US government. You’d think with ten times the population they could do better than us, but no …
      Much as I don’t like our “Harper government,” I’m still far happier living in Canada than I’d ever be back in the US, especially with my CLN. And at least occasionally one of the Harperites actually does or says something sensible, like Flaherty’s letter to US media re FATCA nearly two years ago, and Baird’s comments re anti-gay legislation in other countries. I keep having to remind myself, and my US friends, that Canadian conservatives, for all their warts and flaws in my eyes, aren’t quite the same as US conservatives (never mind so-called liberals like Obama, who is about as liberal as Ghenghis Khan as far as I can tell).

  238. I don’t there is any possibility that there can ever exist the perfect gov’t that all people love. Still, I’ll take ours over the one in the united states of arrogance. I wonder if it’s even possible for someone who enters politics with the applaudable ideal of ‘doing good’ can even retain that ideal within our governmental systems. Someone has probably written a book about it, somewhere.

  239. @SChubert: Others On the point of with 10 times the population, you would think US could do better than Canada, we might want to look at the US Tax Code in the context of these articles.
    As many of us who have been around this issue for a while know, IRS Tax Code is 72,000 pages (or is it 74,000–I’ve lost count as I’m sure everyone else has.)
    IRS Tax Code also contains 4 million words, making it MORE THAN FOUR TIMES longer than ALL SHAKESPEARE’S works put together at 900,000 words.
    http://bigthink.com/how-to-think-like-shakespeare/us-tax-code-is-four-times-longer-than-shakespeares-complete-works-not-as-good
    US Tax Code is also almost five times longer than The Bible.
    http://taxfoundation.org/blog/stark-reminder-excessive-cost-complying-tax-code
    As you know, in our article Victoria and I asked how the “simple premise” of 1099s became the complex, complicated and convoluted nightmare it has morphed into.
    This article gives us a good clue. It seems IRS and maybe the entire US do not understand the simple concept of simple.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/george-will-taming-the-tax-code-beast/2013/08/09/230783ce-011b-11e3-9a3e-916de805f65d_story.html
    In 2004 campaign, George Bush announced plans to simplify US tax code. The crowd roared approval. Then he announced more complexities. Crowd roared again.
    Since the tax code was “simplified” in 1986, another 15,000 complications have been added.
    Maybe here’s the real reason no one seems able or willing to make things simple:
    “Each year 6.1 billion hours are spent complying with the tax code. This is equal to the work time of 3 million full-time workers, making tax compliance one of America’s largest industries. Is there time for Congress to reduce this waste of time?”
    Remember, all the above stats are BEFORE FATCA is incorporated or become effective.
    In contrast, I seem to remember reading somewhere (I couldn’t find it when I Googled it) that CRA’s Tax Code is about 1400 pages. Does anyone else know what the exact numbers are?

    1. No idea, but I timed myself when I completed my 2012 CRA return (which as Canadians know includes filing for provincial as well as federal income tax, on the same form and attachments).
      I did it myself (I’ve never hired anyone to do my taxes for me in my life), and it took about an hour. Some of which was taken up double-checking the arithmetic. By hand (well, with the aid of a spreadsheet sometimes to calculate the percentages to the nearest penny)). I’ve never used tax-preparation software in my life either.
      Mind you, my only income is pension income (federal superannuation, CPP and OAS) I don’t have investment income yet and won’t until I RRIF my RRSP in a couple more years. But when I was employed my tax returns took about the same length of time, an hour.
      I don’t think many Americans can claim to have done their own tax returns in an hour. Nor tax professionals doing US tax returns for a living. Except maybe for teen-agers reporting income from their summer jobs and part-time work, if they even made enough to trigger a tax-filing requirement.

  240. @Schubert: Your final comment about kids doing their own income tax made me laugh. I remember when I tried to do my income tax return in April the year after my first summer job in Pennsylvania.
    I was so frustrated, I threw the pen across the dining room table and said “I’m not going to do it.” Instead of helping me, my mother just shrugged and said “OK, it’s up to you. If you don’t do it, you won’t get your refund back.”
    That was enough for me. I did it. I remember it exactly–I got $127 refund–everything I had paid the previous summer in income tax. To a 17 year old in 1968, that was a huge amount of money!
    The lesson, of course, was stick with it. Don’t give up.
    I’ve always done my own income tax in Canada with little problem. I think about that comment from my mother every time I’m doing it.
    The more I learn about IRS, the more I appreciate CRA. About 10 to 14 days after I e-file, my refund is in my bank account through direct deposit.
    Then, I get my Notice of Assessment in the mail. As complicated as the IRS system is, it boggles my mind IRS does not issue something similar to a NOA to confirm they have received, reviewed and assessed your income tax return.
    On only two occasions over the 45 years I’ve lived in Canada, I have had to deal with a real person at CRA. In one case, it was to appeal a decision disallowing an exemption I had claimed (my appeal was granted). Both times, staff were helpful, respectful and polite.
    I remember Steven Mopsick saying he never does his own IRS return. He has 30 years or experience as a lawyer with IRS and is now in private tax law practice. Yet, he does not do his own return. I think that shows the differences between the two systems.
    I’m finding those differences extend beyond income tax departments. When I put in a request to CIC for information from my citizenship file (Thanks to you Schubert for pointing me in that direction), I had the information within a few weeks.
    I put a request for information into US Department of State in October of last year. I received a letter confirming they had received it a few weeks later. I called in March to find out when it would be processed.. I was told I MAY have a response in November of this year (13 months after the request!).
    Yikes! I could have a baby (if I wasn’t too old!) or compete a year of university study in far less time than that!

  241. @ Blaze
    The Canadian Income Tax Act is about 2,600 pages long. That includes many pages of regulations and schedules. The actual length depends on the publisher, fonts used and size of the print. In case you’re interested in the latest edition:
    http://www.carswell.com/product-detail/practitioners-income-tax-act-2013-44th-edition/
    One thing also to remember about the U.S. tax code is that most states and even some cities have income taxes. So add umpteen more pages.
    I remember some years ago looking at a Massachusetts tax return which included a septic system expenditures tax credit.. (Although to be fair, Manitoba has an Odour-Control tax credit).
    Of course, each Canadian province has it’s own income tax act, but generally, they are not too lengthy. Except Quebec,where a resident has to file both a Federal and a Quebec return.

  242. I talked to an acquaintance of mine who went to the Calgary Consul today.
    This is what he told me.
    (1) He booked an appointment for notarial services. It appears he did not notify them beforehand about the specific reason for his appointment.
    (2) Showed up at his appointment on time.
    (3) When he was directed to the applicable window, he was asked what he was there for.
    (4) He said he was there to relinquish citizenship
    (5) The clerk immediately left her chair, came back in a moment, handed him some stuff to read, and told him to book another appointment.
    He claims he was not able to communicate any further, and was shuffled on out of the Consul. He was expecting to be directed to an officer in front of whom he would have his documents notarized. He travelled more than 15 hours by bus to get to Calgary, and that was all he got.
    It’s difficult for me to say, but it appears that the clerk assumed he didn’t know what DS-4079, DS-4080, DS-4081, or DS-4083 are, and that they just sent him on his way. It appears that she assumed he had read nothing about the implications of renunciation, and sent him away.
    It strikes me that his first response should have been as follows:
    “I am here for notarial services, and wish to have these documents notarized by the appropriate Consular Officer.” The aforementioned documents (4079, 4080, 4081, and/or 4083) should have been filled out ahead of time. He claims they were, but that he never got a chance to tell them.
    It appears he did not specifically notify the Consul ahead of time that said particular appointment was for renunciation. I don’t see anything on the website that says that particular step must be done.
    I looked at their website, and cannot find an email address to communicate directly with them. It appears to me that if they must be notified ahead of time that the appointment is specifically for renunciation, the only way I see to communicate that is by regular snail mail or by fax.
    I see a fax number for the Consular Section, which is 403-263-2241.
    I am going to book an appointment, and notify them by fax. I don’t see any other way of notifying them beforehand about the specific purpose of the appointment.
    What went wrong here? I see several possibilities:
    (1) He did not notify the Consul ahead of time as to the specific purpose of the appointment.
    (2) He incorrectly assumed that the bureaucratic clerk on the other side of the window had a brain, and that she would assume that he had his paperwork ready.
    (3) Maybe the Consul only does renunciations on specific days of the week?
    Anyway, he is understandably annoyed. I also have a long way to travel should I choose to rebook an appointment, and I want to make sure that everything is done right the first time.
    Comments??

  243. Possible option Number 4 of what went wrong.
    (4) The clerk messed up.
    Was the clerk aware he had an appointment?
    You said he was not able to communicate further. Did he ask to speak with someone else?
    I hope Pacifica or Calgary411 will be able to provide some insight. It would be useful to have this posted on the Consulate thread at Brock.
    Has anyone else had a problem like this?
    Fifteen hours by bus and he’s told here are some forms. Come back again. Outrageous!

    1. I suggested that possibility in number (2) of the things that may have gone wrong. Perhaps he incorrectly assumed that the Clerk has a brain.
      As far officials being aware that he had an appointment, he said his name was called, so I must assume that they knew.
      In any case, what is not clear to me is whether it is imperative to advise the Consul ahead of time as to the specific reason for requiring notarial services.
      I would have thought that simply showing up with the necessary completed forms would suffice.

    2. @ Arctic Grayling,
      What a hassle. I’m sorry this happened to your acquaintance.
      Although many consulates use “notarial and other services,” for Calgary you have to e-mail specifically to book a relinquishment/renunciation appointment. They reply with instructions and if, it’s a renunciation, their renunciation questionnaire (Calgary hasn’t been using the 4079 for renunciations but sends a one page renunciation questionnaire instead.)
      This is the page on the Calgary website with the booking instructions.
      http://calgary.usconsulate.gov/service/booking-appointments.html
      “For information on how to renounce or relinquish your U.S. citizenship at the Consulate in Calgary, send your request to Calgary_ACS@state.gov
      Calgary’s normally considered to be a very good and considerate consulate to deal with. That they could not make an exception, as your friend had travelled 15 hours to get there, is dreadful.
      It’s not clear to me, though, if the clerk saw that you acquaintance had the filled-out DoS forms and, if so, why the clerk gave your acquaintance something to read, or the clerk knew that your acquaintance had travelled 15 hours, in which case, IMHO, the clerk should have done their best to get a consul to meet with your acquaintance (simply “We got a guy here who travelled 15 hours and has all his forms filled out …”), and if so the clerk would either tell your acquaintance that a consul would see him or that they wouldn’t, or that they couldn’t because they were in a meeting or whatever). Or if no consul were available that day (Calgary is a small consulate) just tell your acquaintance that in the first place.
      So, I don’t know if it was stupid bureaucracy or a misunderstanding/miscommunication. Either way, I think it’s awful it happened.

    1. @ Blaze…
      It seems that Europeans have adopted a simple solution to avoid paying the costs of kissing Obama’s backside.
      They politely nod and sign FATCA, and then to sidestep the costs, the banks they simply close existing accounts and/or refuse to open new accounts for US citizens who live there.
      With no US citizens as account holders, there will be no reporting to do, and thus no cost.
      I don’t blame the banks for doing that. Their responsibility to their shareholders to avoid unnecessary costs should trump any unilateral demands by a foreign government.
      In another comment I posted a link that contained, among other things, a commentary by a Swedish/US dual national. He said that he cannot bank or have investment accounts in Sweden now. In fact, he said that such has been the case for him since 2011.
      So, the question in my mind is this. How long will it be before Canadian banks think about an expedient solution like that?

  244. @ Pacifica…
    In an earlier posting, somewhere (I forget where), I was advised by somebody (I forget by whom) that it was notarial services that were required for renunciation.
    Now I see from the link that you posted that such is not the case, at least not for Calgary. Does Calgary do things differently than other Consulates? Or was I misinformed?
    In any case, yes, the guy I am talking about is not amused.

    1. A lot of them use “notarial and other services” for booking expatriation appointments, and you just show up, they don’t even know why you’re coming. Some, Calgary — London, England, is another that comes to mind — have you e-mail first to book expatriation and they send instructions/questionnaire/forms in reply.
      I found some more info about how to book at Calgary in this post by by Calgary411, which is quite detailed. http://maplesandbox.ca/2012/renunciation-and-relinquishment-what-are-the-differences-is-there-a-difference/#comment-8426
      Also it’s useful to check the Consulate Report Directory on the Isaac Brock site to find out about procedure at specific consulates. http://isaacbrocksociety.ca/consulate2/ It’s currently around 130 pages of people’s personal experiences, arranged by consulate location.

  245. OK, the form is less than 2 pages long. How many pages are the instructions and what is the estimated completion time under the Paperwork Reduction Act?

  246. My information is that the earliest appointment available in Calgary for renunciation is December 10.
    No good for me. Now I am getting annoyed and impatient.
    Now I am trying to navigate the maze that each Consul has on their respective websites. I am willing to go to any Consul in the country to get this done.
    It seems that specific appointments must be made for renunciation, and that notarial services (in Calgary at least) is not the way to go.
    Does an appointment for notarial services work at another Consul?

  247. Thanks WhiteKat. Some familiar folks quoted in the article.
    The headline “It’s A Taxing Issue” may lead some to believe this is about taxes, which it isn’t.
    The article itself covered most of the important points, including: It’s the morass of requirements and paperwork that entails that are driving her and thousands of others to give up their citizenship altogether.

    1. I have issue when I hear people say it isn’t about taxes, and I think it is just as misleading and confusing to say that it is not about that. It is about taxes in the sense that it is about USA’s unique policy of citizenship based taxation and all the repercussions associated with that. Take away the taxing issue of citizenship based taxation and all our troubles go away.
      Maybe when one says ‘its not about taxes’ one should be more clear and say, ‘its not just about taxes owed’. Because to be truthful, there is some amount of double taxation – for example, for those that are collecting pensions, disability benefits, or employment insurance benefits – not just for those in the 100K sunshine club.
      I agree though, that the article is lacking in information, and suggest people head over there to comment, particularly since it is a Canadian based article.

  248. I wouldn’t characterize that piece of journalism as deliberately misleading, but misleading it is nevertheless..
    It isn’t really about taxes at all. Very few of us ever owe. It is about the unreasonable burden of administrative costs that Uncle Sam puts on us and, as a result, our inability to lead a normal life where we live.

    1. It is about taxes, not necessarily about taxes owed, but about the whole citizenship based policy of taxation in the USA.
      Also, it is more than just an administrative burden and cost. There is a list of negative effects a mile long due to USA’s policy of citizenship-based taxation, one example being the futility of participating in the retirement planning vehicles of one’s resident country.

  249. @ Whitekat….
    The issue of retirement planning, being one of the restrictions placed upon us by US policy is a point well taken. However, to me, it is just part of being able to live a normal life where one resides.
    Yes…I was referring to taxes owed.
    After the experience my friend had in Calgary, I am damning the torpedoes. I am angry. I am sailing full steam ahead, and will book a renunciation appointment almost anywhere on this planet where I can get it done. I just want to get it done, at just about any cost, and as soon as possible. I am corresponding with consuls across the country, and have even checked with two consuls in South America, where we will be in 2 months time. I will check with others too. In total, I will check with Bogota, Quito, Santiago, and Buenos Aires.
    I am going to skip the more time consuming process of relinquishment, and just renounce. I want this to be unequivocal, and I want it to be now. I have already paid to get the tax returns done anyway. I am so angry with them that I am afraid it will make my blood pressure go up to dangerous levels.

  250. @ the forum…….
    It seems that whoever informed that it was notarial services that are required was not misleading me, at least not in the case of Toronto. On this particular issue, it most certainly appears that Toronto operates differently from Calgary.
    Toronto sent me an email and asked me to book an appointment for notarial services.
    So…….what a surprise!!! Just like every other interaction with the US government, there is no consistency. This a more frustrating a process than finding Obama’s original birth certificate. When I go to the Consul, I need to bring my original birth certificate to renounce. Apparently Obama didn’t need his to be President. All we have ever seen is a PDF that any Adobe expert can photoshop.
    I still have my original birth certificate. I strongly suspect that the reason we haven’t seen Obama’s original is because it’s somewhere in Kenya.

  251. Just be glad you don’t live in BC. It doesn’t seem possible to get an appointment here. They have NO spots showing ever and don’t show an alternative method of getting one.

    1. @ Whitekat.
      What makes you think I am not in BC?
      Maybe I am and maybe I am not (wink wink).
      Getting where I need to go to get this done is a use of the aeroplan points I have.

  252. Did someone say at some point that Toronto Consulate is now only accepting relinquishments/renouncements for residents of Ontario?
    I haven’t been able to locate that, but I thought I had read it somewhere.

    1. @ Blaze………..
      I have seen nothing on that, but I wouldn’t be surprised. I would be annoyed, but not surprised.
      This whole thing is becoming such a dog’s breakfast that nothing would surprise me.

  253. If this one wasn’t so frustrating, it would be funny.
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/janetnovack/2013/08/16/tax-court-irs-agent-faked-pastors-letter-to-claim-charity-deduction/
    Here a synopsis:
    WHAT: Tax evasion. Forgery of pastor’s signature. Falsifying documents of church. Gambling winnings.
    WHO: IRS employee 28 years. IRS Agent 20 years. CPA. Degree in accounting and economics. Maser’s training in forensic accounting, Assisted by another IRS employee.
    JUDGE: “Record in this matter is full of inconsistencies, contradicting testimony, fabricated documents and simple untruths”
    IRS AGENT RESPONSE (FROM DESK AT WORK!): “Completely unfair and biased” (Maybe she’s related to Pamela Wallin)
    PASTOR: “I forgave her.” (even though he initially didn’t know her).
    PENALTY: 20%.
    OUTCOME: STILL HAS JOB WITH IRS!
    IRS: No Comment.
    Forbes asks “What was IRS agent thinking?” Easy answer–that she would get away with it precisely because she was an IRS agent.
    Now, we know why IRS demands to FATCA us. They need jobs for more IRS agents.

    1. @ Blaze…..
      The events involving Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin show what a double standard there is in this country too.
      If we filed our taxes as dishonestly as Duffy and Wallin filed their expense reports, we would be long-term guests of the Federal Government.
      People like that also reinforce my personal disdain for the press. Their behaviour is symptomatic of the arrogance of the press in general. They think they are deities themselves with the power to dictate public agenda, and to create and/or destroy whatever public personalties they wish, much like the created Trudeau and Obama, and destroyed people like Nixon and Palin.

  254. If anyone has any question about how far US will go to silence its opponents, read these article in the Guardian about how Glenn Grenwald’s partner was detained by UK authorities in London England as he was simply transiting from Berlin at Heathrow to a flight to Rio de Janerio.
    Glenn Grenwald, is the American journalist who broke the Edward Snowden story in The Guardian. His partner, David Miranda, is a Brazilian citizen.
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/18/glenn-greenwald-guardian-partner-detained-heathrow
    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/aug/18/david-miranda-detained-uk-nsa
    Detained nine hours under Terrorism Act; No right to speak to a lawyer; No information given to Brazilian officials (including Brazilian Ambassador to UK); Laptop, cell phone, DVDs, video game consoles, other items seized and not returned.
    Greenwald calls this a “failed attempt at intimidation.”
    He says:

    They completely abused their own terrorism law for reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism: a potent reminder of how often governments lie when they claim that they need powers to stop “the terrorists”, and how dangerous it is to vest unchecked power with political officials in its name.

    I wonder if Mr. Grenwald is aware of FATCA. He could be a strong ally.
    I tweeted him asking if knows about FATCA and would like to join us in the fight.

  255. @Hazy: “Paranoia is just having the right information,” (William S Burroughs)
    The information in that article is truly frightening, especially with Grenwald’s partner having been detained for as long as they possibly could with no reason other than he is Grenwald’s partner.
    It was good Guardian lawyers and Brazilian officials were on it quickly. Who knows what could have happened otherwise.
    Does anyone else think David Miranda may have been flying to Rio through London to avoid US? Instead, UK detained him! Wonder what US would have done.

  256. @ the forum…
    A condition that Canada should insists upon to sign FATCA would be the right to give Snowden asylum.
    Canada would be perfect for him. We speak the same language, and he would be able to fly here from Russia over the pole without having to cross US airspace.

  257. @ Blaze….
    re: My Aeroplan points…..
    Maybe I should phone the IRS information line and ask them if the my Aeroplan points would be considered an “offshore account”.
    Better still, since Obama signed FATCA, maybe I should ask him?

  258. iEpats asks Is China About To Sign Up To FATCA?
    http://www.iexpats.com/china-sign-fatca/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=china-sign-fatca
    The author says:

    The first sign that China may be considering joining up to the Foreign Account Compliance Tax Act (FATCA) has come at last.

    He then reports

    China is about to sign the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters…
    This could be a momentous day for FATCA, because so far, China has shown a complete disregard in public to the US tax law for expats.

    I don’t think signing MAATM necessarily means China will sign on to FATCA. Although both are designed to combat tax evasion, FATCA is far more invasive and I think would be a far greater problem for China. (personal opinion only!)
    So, let’s hope China continues to show “complete disregard for FATCA.”
    Even if China does sign on to FATCA, can you imagine the screaming from the U.S. politicians and banks are who are already loudly voicing objections to “reciprocity” for counties like UK, Germany and Mexico. Add China to the list and I think things will get very, very nasty (which could be very, very good for us).
    Plus, I suspect there are a lot more Chinese residents with investments in US to avoid paying tax than there are US citizens living in China.

    1. I will also add that Canada signed the MAATM way back in 2004 but as of today has NEVER gotten around to actually putting it into “force”.

  259. @WhiteKat: A few things in that letter from CUCC are relevant to us. The first is:

    The Canadian government remains in
    “intense” IGA negotiations with the U.S. that may be delayed by Canadian constitutional issues.

    I hate the fact the government seems to be communicating with the banks and credit unions about what is happening, but they are leaving us completely in the dark.
    However, that statement is a positive one for us. That means the government recognizes there are serious constitutional issues and they can’t just simply sign away our rights or let the financial institutions just ignore them.
    The letter goes on to say CUCC remains in contact with the government raising their objections to FATCA. That is a good thing, although I suspect they, like the banks, are raising objections about the costs and administrative “burdens” for CUs and not on the issue of violation of our rights.
    CUCC also says:
    Based on the information currently available in
    FATCA Regulations and IGA’s signed with other countries, we speculate the requirements may be…

    Note the word “speculate.” They, just like us, don’t have any idea what the IGA will say. They have based it on the model of other countries. I personally believe Canada is holding out for something very different, knowing that it will be impossible to implement as the U.S. demands in Canada legally and constitutionally.

    What do others think?

  260. Blaze,
    You were an HR manager. What is your take on the link provided at Isaac Brock by “notamused,” including the comments that follow that one: http://isaacbrocksociety.ca/expat_tax/comment-page-40/#comment-503873?
    Are Canadian companies in compliance with these rules?
    Apparently the Canadian (and other-country banks) are (and have been required all along) to search their employees, including perspective ones, to apply the same US jihad rules and turning over of financial information that they will employ to search out bank clients with US indicia.

  261. @Calgary411: Take a very, very deep breath!!!
    That information from IRS has NOTHING to do with employers outside IRS being required to report to IRS.
    There is a simple explanation for it, although it may seem complicated to non-HR professionals.
    I will try to post something tomorrow. For now, I will say this is very similar to CRA standards for determining if someone is an employee or if someone is self-employed.
    As much as we love to hate the IRS, this is not one of the reasons.
    I’m FATCAed out for today (I have been working on a couple of other projects out of the Sandbox) today, so I don’t have the energy right now to give this the attention I think it needs to explain it in ways people can easily understand.
    I will cross-post my answer tomorrow at Brock.
    In the meantime, no one should lose sleep over this tonight.

    1. Thanks, Blaze. Not losing sleep over it. I (and others) will welcome a better explanation from someone with expertise.
      Is the author’s “There is also an exception for amounts on which the employer is required to withhold income tax by the laws of any foreign country / United States possession.” (i.e., Canada’s withholding on the earnings of the employee) what makes the difference? The author, Virginia La Torre Jeker J.D., gives the example of UAE countries not collecting income tax so the exception would not apply there. Is the exception similar to terms of the US Social Security / Canada Social Insurance agreement?

  262. @Calgary: I first need to do a huge mea culpa. When I went to Brock, I linked to the wrong article–the one on determining if someone is an employee or if one is self-employed.
    This morning while my energy and concentration is better, I discovered the article you were referring to is different than the one I read.
    For others, this is the article Calgary was referring to. It was posted by notamused at Brock
    http://blogs.angloinfo.com/us-tax/2013/08/26/tax-shock-for-foreign-employer-with-us-employees-learn-your-withholding-duties/
    This is going to take a bit more research on my part. I want to try to gather some more information and consult some others before I say anything further publicly. I will see what I can find out and post something later today or tomorrow.
    In the meantime, I apologize for saying that this has nothing to do with employers outside US being required to report to IRS and saying there was a simple explanation.

    1. Thanks, Blaze, for taking on the additional task to try to help us understand the link provided.by ‘notamused’. I thought you might have some insight into this, having been a Canadian HR Manager.
      In my reading, it just harkened to me that it might be more of what was previously overlooked by the US, now coming back to bite us. That the banks that will be looking for US Persons in countries outside the US also need to look for US Persons in their employ (and should have been doing so all along?) seemed ironic.
      Is it that Canada and other countries with US Tax Treaties are exempt from reporting / withholding, but such countries as in the UAE are not and they will be the ones affected?

  263. I am just beginning some of my research into this. I’m going out in a few minutes, but I wanted to post this information directly from the IRS that I located:
    http://www.irs.gov/publications/p54/ch02.html
    This deals with U.S. employers with employees outside U.S. and says:

    U.S. employers generally must withhold U.S. income tax from the pay of U.S. citizens working abroad unless the employer is required by foreign law to withhold foreign income tax.

    The important point in that information is that Canada and most other countries of the world is that employers are required by law to withhold income tax y their own governments. Therefore, they would not e required to identify U.S. citizens among their employees and withhold tax for IRS. Just as important is the fact they also could not do that legally under provincial and federal human rights laws.
    I agree there may be implications for countries where income tax is not withheld or where there is no income tax. That doesn’t apply to Canada or to the countries where most Sandboxers and Brockers live and work (At least I don’t think it does.)

    1. Perhaps the only way it might??? affect here is if (covered by the US/Canada Tax Treaty??) an employee exceeds the US FEIE and housing allowance or if, indeed, the US is successful one day in repealing the FEIE. Thanks for providing the IRS link, Blaze.
      From the author, for me to ponder:

      …In the Ruling the IRS makes clear that a foreign employer of a US citizen or resident must withhold US income taxes, even though the foreign employer has no US trade or business or other US connection, such as a US payroll system.
      In my view, this Revenue Ruling oversteps jurisdictional boundaries as any US nexus is lacking. How can the IRS mandate that a foreign employer without US connections withhold on wages it pays to a US employee who is working in a foreign country?

      And, would the ruling apply to all US Citizens working Abroad, even those who are now citizens of other countries, including supposed “Accidental Americans”?

  264. @Calgary and Others: The more I look at this and at the information from IRS, the more convinced I am this does not apply to countries which are required by law to withhold income tax and submit it to the country’s tax authority.
    I will use Canada as an example. In Canada, by law, Canadian employers must withhold income tax from every employee’s pay. Then, they must issue a T4 every year to CRA and to each employee to confirm income paid and tax, CPP and EI deducted.
    For this reason, no companies in Canada are required to withhold for IRS because the employer is “required by foreign law to withhold foreign income tax.”
    I believe FEIE is irrelevant in this situation because there is a total exclusion from the IRS requirement even for US companies in Canada. “Accidental Americans” are also irrelevant in this situation for the same reason.
    The author is an experienced American tax lawyer who has lived in Dubai since 2001 and who also worked in Hong Kong for 15 years.
    It is important to remember she was writing for AngloINFO Dubai in United Arab Emirates. I checked and did not find similar information on AngloINFO Worldwide, Argentina, Australia, Indonesia, France, Switzerland, etc.
    Her comments that you posted followed her last sentence in the previous paragraph, which was:

    This latter exception would not apply in many (if not all) cases in the Middle East since generally most Middle Eastern countries (such as the UAE) have no income tax.

    Therefore, I think her assessment and comments relate to Middle East countries.
    I do share her opinion and question that:

    In my view, this Revenue Ruling oversteps jurisdictional boundaries as any US nexus is lacking. How can the IRS mandate that a foreign employer without US connections withhold on wages it pays to a US employee who is working in a foreign country?

    Although I support her position and question, I see no reason for it to apply to Canada or to any other country where employers by law must withhold and submit tax.
    Some (or is it all?) Middle East countries don’t have income tax, so there is no need to withhold and report. I suspect (but don’t know for sure) that many U.S. companies in Middle East are already withholding and reporting to IRS on their US citizen employees.
    I spoke with two friends today who worked for several years in Middle East–one in Dubai and one in Saudi Arabia. I asked them what they thought non-US companies would do if they were required to do this in the Middle East.
    The friend who worked in Dubai said: “Send them home and hire someone from India.”
    The friend who worked in Saudi Arabia said: “Ignore it.”
    In any case, my conclusion after several reviews of the article and the information I posted above from the IRS is that the issue that the author raised does not apply to any country which is withholding tax under the laws of that country-i.e. Canada, France, Switzerland, Germany, New Zealand, UK, Australia, etc.
    It would be great if anyone who knows how to contact Virginia La Torre Jeker could ask her if she would be interested in sharing information here and at Brock about what this ruling actually said and what countries it might affect. I would also welcome feedback from her (or any other tax lawyers who may read this) on whether my conclusion is correct or not.

    1. Blaze, thanks many times over for the time you have taken to research and give us your conclusions, partly based on your Canadian HR expertise, partly based on your US Citizenship matters expertise, as well as conversations with colleagues.
      I have found a reference to Virginia La Torre Jeker and her email address (vjeker@eim.ae) at Steven Mopsick’s site, where he refers to one of her blog entries: Renewing Your US Passport? BEWARE — – State Department Turns Over Your Social Security Number & Location to the IRS (yet another subject). I will send her an email and ask if she would like to share with Isaac Brock Society and Maple Sandbox information on what countries might be affected by the ruling she refers to might be affected.

  265. Thanks Calgary. Please feel free to point her here and see if she agrees with my conclusion.
    I would really welcome another professional opinion on this and would love to know if my thinking that her post applies to the Middle East (and other countries which may not require income tax withholding) is correct.
    It would also be great if she would be willing to give us the IRS Ruling she referenced in her article.

  266. Dear Reader:
    I’m a bit ‘confused’ as to your ‘confusion’. My blog post very clearly states:
    “There are two possible exceptions to income tax withholding that may apply to US citizen employees. Generally, these are for amounts paid to US citizens (note, not to green card holders) when the amounts are covered by the foreign earned income / housing exclusions of Code section 911. There is also an exception for amounts on which the employer is required to withhold income tax by the laws of any foreign country / United States possession. ”
    The relevant law is in Section 3401(a)(8)(A)(ii) of the Internal Revenue Code which basically excepts from the definition of ‘wages’ subject to income tax withholding, remuneration paid for services performed in a foreign country or in a possession of the United States by a United States citizen if, at the time of the payment of such remuneration, the employer (other than the United States or an agency thereof) is required by the laws of any foreign country or of a United States possession to withhold income tax upon such remuneration.
    Thus if a foreign country requires the employer to withhold income tax, the employer should be covered by the exception set out above.
    For your further information the Revenue Ruling referred to is Rev. Rul. 92-106 1992-2 C.B. 258 http://www.legalbitstream.com/scripts/isyswebext.dll?op=get&uri=/isysquery/irl49a2/1/doc
    Virginia La Torre Jeker, J.D.
    Please note, this is not US tax or legal advice; but is for your general information only. Furthermore this information it is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code; or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or tax-related matter addressed herein.

    1. Ms La Torre Jeker,
      Thank you for your prompt reply and for reassuring me that for most ‘US Persons,’ many citizens of and making their lives in other countries than the US with their own countries’ withholding income tax, will not be affected by the ruling you refer to. Thanks also for giving a link to that ruling, “The Issue” and “Law and Analysis.”
      It is indeed often difficult for me and I think many other lay persons and we want to be absolutely sure of the intent, especially with the ‘warning’ titles that lead us to read the continuing articles that may affect us. With the coming of FATCA and reading of the trend of employers of other countries turning away ‘US Persons’ as perspective employees, as well as some foreign banks declining financial services to US Persons, I am glad to see your exception highlighted and further explained. I will put your reply into a comment and we can put this one to rest. Better to be sure we are not affected than to be sorry to have misinterpreted another US law.
      Thank you very much for your time in replying to, especially, my concern.
      Regards,
      calgary411

    2. http://isaacbrocksociety.ca/expat_tax/comment-page-40/#comment-507814
      Further:
      From: Virginia La Torre Jeker, FEMC
      Sent: Wednesday, August 28, 2013 8:25 AM
      Subject: RE: “Tax Shock for Employers with US Employees — Learn Your Withholding Duties”
      You are welcome. If you need help on US tax matters, we are happy to be of service.
      The real concern is what will IRS find next in the international area as a ripe field on which to assess penalties? One never knows! In the not too distant past, not many people were concerned about FBARs! Look at the situation today….. Trust you get the point.

  267. @Virginia LaTorre Jekker Thank you so much for responding here and at both sites. I think the confusion arose from the headline in your article. Then, some inviduals were alarmed at some of the content, without taking the entire article into account.
    Your post clarified the fact this does not affect most countries.
    As I’m sure you appreciate, there is a great deal of anxiety, especially as FATCA seems to be taking over our honest, responsible lives outside United States.
    Again, thank you for your clarification.

  268. @KalC: Three years ago I would have said “no self-respecting” Canadian bank would violate Canadian laws due to demands of a foreign government.
    Yet, here we are with FATCA.

  269. “One never knows! In the not too distant past, not many people were concerned about FBARs! Look at the situation today…”
    Damn, I’d feel a lot better if a US tax attorney didn’t share my concern about what the International Robbers Society might come up with next.

  270. This article from today’s Globe and Mail may tell us why the Canadian government, banks, and other Canadians don’t seem to get why FATCA is such a huge issue for us.
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/technology/tech-news/half-of-canadians-say-government-online-snooping-acceptable-survey/article14004135/
    Over 50% of Canadians believe it is acceptable for the government to “monitor everyone’s e-mail and other activities online.” (47% said acceptable in some circumstances and 4% said acceptable all the time.”
    49% said it was “completely unacceptable.”
    As one person said “Canadians are surprisingly apathetic about their privacy.”
    Now I know why when I try to tell people about FATCA, they say “If you don’t have anything to hide, what difference does it make?” Of course, it’s not their records going to a foreign government.
    Even someone from Eritrea said it to me. When I asked if he would want his bank records going to Eritrea, along with those of his Canadian only wife, he said “That’s different. United States isn’t Eritrea.” Really?

  271. FATCA will put Hong Kong banks in a quandry according to this article in South China Morning Post.
    According to the author, the purpose of FATCA is to

    “attempt to shake the tree of US expatriates who have failed to pay taxes on, or are hiding, income abroad in 2014.”

    Actually,the original “simple premise” of FATCA was to combat tax evasion of Americans in US hiding assets and income in other countries. But, I think we can agree honest Americans (and former Americans, Accidental Americans and snowbirds have become the focus instead).
    The article is wrong when it says

    The US is the only nation in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development that taxes its citizens on their worldwide income.

    Most countries do tax based on worldwide income, but they base it on residency, not citizenship.
    The article, however, goes on to say other governments do tax worldwide, but they lack he enforcement tools.
    The article gets interesting when it says:

    China, which looks unfavourably on foreign meddling, takes umbrage at this.

    It also says:

    But the US government may have underestimated the resentment among foreign governments at being given their “marching orders” by the world’s lone superpower.

    It also places Hong Kong in a strong position:

    Hong Kong is home to many of the world’s biggest banks and insurers and, as an economic juggernaut in rising Asia, cannot be bullied.

    The article says China will be the “litmus test” for FATCA in Asia and so far China doesn’t seem to want to play the FATCA game without full reciprocity.
    It says the rest of Asia will follow China.
    The article concludes:

    Neither the Chinese nor US Treasury can afford to back down. Whoever blinks first in Hong Kong will be the loser.

    What’s your prediction? I don’t think China will blink. Wink perhaps, but not blink

  272. This was posted several weeks ago by Phil Hodgen. An extreme example perhaps, but an excellent illustration of the fallout from being an ‘Accidental
    American’
    http://hodgen.com/why-people-renounce-u-s-citizenship-for-estate-tax-reasons/
    “We do a lot of expatriation work. I get asked all the time “Why do people want to give up their U.S. citizenship?” Most recently, a reporter asked me this question today. I want to expand on the blog about one of the comments I made to her.
    One reason is estate tax. This is not the only reason, and not the dominant reason. But I predict that you will start to see a steady rise of expatriations in the Middle East particularly, and less so in Asia, for the reason I am about to describe.
    In the Middle East it is common for very large (VERY large) enterprises to be family-owned. The patriarch starts the company, or maybe two brothers. They are successful, and pass the business down to the next generation.”
    One thing does not often come up in our discussions is the estate tax implications of being classified as a US person. About 6 or 7 years ago a financial planner mentioned to me that if a person used a corporate executor, real problems could arise in settling an estate. That’s because a corporate executor (such as a trust company) would almost certainly know about the implications of being a US person and would want to make sure that the estate was handled by the book. This may not happen if someone had a family member or friend as executor who had no idea that anything had to be filed with the IRS, especially if you became a citizen of another country years ago, assumed you were no longer a US citizen, and stopped filing US returns.

  273. http://www.nearshoreamericas.com/tax-havens-close-the-loop-caribbean-cayman-panama/
    “The jig is up for tax cheats: Caribbean and Central America Close the Loop”
    According to this article Canada has concluded negotiations : “Incredibly, Mexico is the only country in the Western Hemisphere to have fully completed an intergovernmental agreement, with Canada and the Cayman Islands still waiting for final agreement after having concluded negotiations.”

  274. http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130904/news/news6.html
    Another new article: “FATCA Is A Benefit To Jamaica”
    “… The meaning of ‘taxpayer’ has been extended to include whether or not a person is residing in Jamaica; if something is not relevant to Jamaica, it could be of interest to international tax agreements. The amendment of the act gives the Jamaican tax authorities the right to exchange information under various Double Taxation Agreements.
    A taxpayer does not have to be contacted if tax authorities need production orders i.e., no secrecy law protection for matters of disclosure of information or the production of documents.”

  275. Thanks WhiteKat: I wonder if the author has inside information that Canada has concluded negotiations.
    If so, he seems to know more than Canadian banks or Canadian media. This makes me suspicious as to whether he does know that for a fact or if he is basing it on speculation or rumours as others have done.
    Canada has said since November of last year (10 months ago), negotiations were close to conclusion.