Carl Levin: FATCA For Law Enforcement, National Security

I had posted this earlier in another thread, but I think this letter from Carl Levin to IRS is so significant, it needs a thread of its own. levin

In Obama’s 2009 press conference on FATCA, he credited Carl Levin for being one of the masterminds on FATCA for combating  offshore tax evasion.

In 2012, Carl Levin wrote a letter to IRS, demanding (page 11)

Although FATCA is structured to address offshore tax abuse, offshore account information has significance far beyond the tax context, affecting cases involving money laundering, drug trafficking, terrorist financing, acts of corruption, financial fraud, and many other legal violations and crimes. Given the importance of offshore account disclosures, FATCA guidance and implementing rule should create account FATCA forms that are not designated as tax return information but, like FBARs, may be provided to law enforcement, regulatory, and national security communities upon request. FFIs are not, after all, U.S. taxpayers, and will not be supplying tax information on behalf of their U.S. clients; they will instead be providing information about accounts opened by U.S. persons. The U.S. Supreme Court has long held that bank account information is not inherently confidential but is subject to inspection by law enforcement and others in appropriate circumstances. Foreign account information is too important to a wide range of civil and criminal law enforcement and national security efforts to be designated as tax return information bound by Section 6103’s severe restrictions on access.

Why bother with a warrant or surveillance when you can simply declare someone a “US person” and FATCA them?!?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 thoughts on “Carl Levin: FATCA For Law Enforcement, National Security

  1. Interestingly enough I saw an interesting article in the NY Times about income mobility within the United States. After the Southeast Carl Levin’s Michigan has some of the lowest rates of mobility in the entire country. In fact some areas of the US such as San Francisco have comparable levels of income mobility to that of Scandinavia however the nationwide average is pulled down by many of the Southeastern and Midwestern States.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/22/business/in-climbing-income-ladder-location-matters.html?hp&_r=0

    There is a significant gap up even going from Erie, PA to Cleveland(which I always think of as being close to each other). A child growing up in the bottom fifth of income levels has a 8.3% chance of rising to the top fifth in Erie but only 5.2% in Cleveland and 5.1% in Detroit. Erie seems to be taking after the rest of the state of Pennsylvania where areas like Pittsburgh and Altoona have even higher levels of income mobility.

  2. Lynne, thank you. I’m not too sure how involved the branch of democrats abroad here in Canada will be but, a member of the FATCA committee for them in Chile did contact me and has the link as of today to this site. I’m not sure if they will participate because of probably not being able to go outside of a certain set of rules but, perhaps they will.

  3. I just sent a few tweets to Carl Levin and Democrats Abroad. I invited them to come to Maple Sandbox and tell us why they want to FATCA honest Americans Abroad and turn over legal bank information to law enforcement and national security.

    I would be delighted if they would join the discussion, but I suspect they won’t. I hope, however, they will at least check out this post and the comments.

    If they didn’t know about us before, they do now.

    Thanks to US Citizen Abroad for first tweeting this thread to Levin–which gave me the idea to encourage them to come here.

    U.S. Citizen Abroad @USCitizenAbroad 2h

    The name’s Levin. @SenCarlLevin http://maplesandbox.ca/2013/carl-levin-fatca-for-law-enforcement-national-security …- US gov is waging war on American citizens everywhere. Really.

  4. @Badger, Others: I already sent it to Kevin Schoom and Jim Flaherty.

    I said:

    The entire letter is truly frightening for anyone born in US who is a legal resident and citizen of another country such as Canada. Of particular concern is one of his final statements:

    Although FATCA is structured to address offshore tax abuse, offshore account information has significance far beyond the tax context, affecting cases involving money laundering, drug trafficking, terrorist financing, acts of corruption, financial fraud, and many other legal violations and crimes. Given the importance of offshore account disclosures, FATCA guidance and implementing rule should create account FATCA forms that are not designated as tax return information but, like FBARs, may be provided to law enforcement, regulatory, and national security communities upon request

    Drug Trafficking? Terrorist financing? Corruption? Fraud?

    I don’t understand how Canada can possibly be negotiating about the rights of Canadian citizens and residents with a country that is trying to claim them as their own in such a hostile and threatening manner. What right does any government–Canadian or foreign government–have to demand my legal, responsible bank and financial information should be available to law enforcement and national security organizations?

    When will Canada stand up for its citizens? When will Canada assure us we have the same rights as all other Canadian citizens and residents?

    Flaherty’s office did an automatic acknowledgement of receipt. Kevin Schoom replied:

    Dear Ms Swanson,
    Thank you for providing me with the information and your views below. I will append your e-mail to the earlier comments you have submitted and which are being taken into consideration.
    Regards,
    Kevin Shoom

    If others share my concerns about this, I would encourage you to also contact Flaherty, Harper, Schoom and anyone else you think should see this.

  5. Thanks for posting that Blaze.

    Crucial as a reminder that regardless of how the US is marketing this, it is NOT just about extraterritorial taxation. They sell it at home and abroad as if it is about catching ‘tax cheats’ and ‘evaders’, conveniently and deliberately omitting that we’ve already paid one full set of taxes where we actually live, earn and often have another citizenship. Our accounts are also primarily already taxed by the jurisdiction where they are held – as post-tax wages, and any interest earned is automatically reported to the CRA and taxed accordingly.

    So, how to justify that FATCA (and FBAR) basically strip searches our local assets without a warrant, without due process, without cause, without recourse, without representation? Far more would be legally required as a precursor to such intrusive and abusive a burden if the US wanted to impose the same for US ‘local’ accounts of ordinary US resident taxpayers.

    Important to remind the Canadian and other governments by providing them with thie quote from Levin, and ask them how FATCA could be congruent with existing Canada/US tax treaty (as US is pretending that an IGA is just an add on to existing tax treaties) with a mandate, intent and design that goes far beyond taxation. Ask them how Levin’s intent squares with their collusion via an IGA. This is NOT just about a nation’s ‘right’ to tax – we are being deliberately treated as if we are terrorists and criminals.

    We also know from the remarks of Richard Harvey – architect of FATCA that he candidly said that FATCA could be better marketed by touting it as a tool for combatting terrorism, etc. See “…Harvey suggests that tax authorities may want to increase coordination with the anti-money laundering/terrorist financing arms of government. Detailed customer due diligence may be easier to justify if it is being done for both tax and anti-terrorist/money laundering reasons. …” http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2122491
    ‘FATCA – A Report from the Front Lines’
    J. Richard (Dick) Harvey
    Villanova University School of Law and Graduate Tax Program
    August 1, 2012
    Tax Notes, p. 713, August 6, 2012
    Villanova Law/Public Policy Research Paper No. 2013-3001

  6. Carl Levin is old and wants to be remembered as the man who fought tax evasion. I think it’s jealousy since his state is going down the tubes and Detroit is bankrupted but, just across the river from Windsor. I don’t know but, he doesn’t understand a thing about Americans who don’t live there. Maybe because of the shape Michigan is in, he believes the Americans who have escaped over there need to help out more. The data gathering thing on foreign citizens and making Americans abroad part of a suspicious group that needs bank data monitoring is really so over the top it is hard to describe or respond to. He is one of those I have written many times trying to point out the facts of what he’s proposed will cause to happen to innocent people. I have never got a response from Levin.

    • Out of curiosity, after atticus’s comment, I popped over to Carl Levin’s website. He most certainly wants this as his legacy, there are references going back to 2003. He’s also been involved in ‘justice and civil right’s. He says, “I support the protection of the civil rights of all Americans.” He forgot to say ‘except those who don’t choose to live in the USA”

  7. What I don’t understand is why don’t Stephen Harper and the Conservative unleash their famous and ferocious attack machine on Levin. Buy up all the ad time on all the tv stations in Detroit and go at him.

  8. @ArcticGreyling: Levin doesn’t know what he’s talking about. That’s what’s so scary about him having so much power over our lives.

  9. FATCA is designed to report on US citizens. Most of the people who are involved in terrorism are not US citizens.

    So what is Carl Levin talking about?

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