Will FATCA Cause Some of the Headlines We Read in 2015?

The final regulations for FATCA were released yesterday by the US Department of Treasury, and the IRS. If you’re interested, you can read all 544 abstruse pages at the links below.

As far as I can tell there is nothing unexpected in there and no good news. The United States still expects all foreign banks to comply with their law, even when it violates that country’s law. The US still expects our banks to pay huge sums to implement a foreign law, to administer a foreign law, and to betray law-abiding Canadian citizens.

I haven’t found any response or updated information from our Canadian government. The release of the final regulations led me to think about the potential impact of FATCA on Canada if our government does not protect its citizens.

https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/01/28/2013-01025/information-reporting-by-foreign-financial-institutions-and-withholding-on-certain-payments-to

Or  http://maplesandbox.ca/fatca-final-regulations-are-out/

Could the following be some of the headlines we might see in early 2015?

Bankruptcies on the rise across Canada.
The Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada has just released updated information. Bankruptcies in 2014 reached an all-time high of 117,258.  In 2011, only 81,636 bankruptcies were recorded.

Statistics shows an increase in suicides in the last two years
The latest release from Statistics Canada shows a large increase in the number of suicides in the past year. In 2014 there were 6,261 suicides in Canada, a 160% increase over 2009 when there were 3,890 suicides.

University enrollment across Canada is down
Peter, a 17 year old high school student in Winnipeg who will graduate this year, has no plans for university. ‘I’m hoping to maybe get a job as a welder, where I can earn a decent wage and maybe apprentice. My parents can’t afford to help me out with university because they’re trying to pay off this huge debt they owe to the IRS .My dad became a Canadian, like 20 years ago or something, but I guess the United States says he’s an American and fined him for not filing taxes and reports. Both he and my mom have taken second jobs, and I have to try and help out.’

According to Statistics Canada divorce is on the rise in Canada
According to a just-released report from Statistics Canada, the number of new divorce cases decreased by 8 per cent from 2006 to 2011, dropping steadily each year. The trend reversed in 2012, showing an increase of 4% in 2012, 8% in 2013 and 13% in 2014.

“Pet shelters inundated with abandoned pets, begging for donations
Record numbers of pets were admitted to pet shelters, according to the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies. Their recently released statistics show 185,232 dogs & cats admitted, compared to 133,675 in 2010 and 120,952 in 2008.”

ASCHA reports being overwhelmed by requests for seniors housing
The Alberta Senior Citizens’ Housing Association (ASCHA) has turned to the government for assistance. ‘We simply don’t have the housing available to fill all of the requests’, says a worker who asked to remain unidentified. ‘So many seniors have lost their homes because of FATCA and the fines levied against them.’

More families homeless in  2014
‘FATCA bankrupted me’ says a homeless 57 year old man. “I thought I was Canadian, but because I was born in the US, my bank reported me to the IRS, and I was fined for not filing taxes and reports on my bank accounts. I’m completely bankrupt, I’ve lost my job and I’ve lost my home. My wife left me and is living with our oldest son.’

Food banks experiencing severe shortage of food and donations are down                Food Banks Canada recently released their Hunger Count report for 2014. The report shows food bank use in the month of March.  There has been a general increase each year since 2008, when 675,735 people received food from a food bank. 2014 shows a dramatic increase.
2014: 1,721,658
2013: 987,238
2012: 882,188
2011: 861,775

Senior citizens displacing teenagers at Macdonald’s
A 23 year old manager at a Macdonald’s restaurant in Peterborough, Ontario says that most of his workers are now past retirement age. ‘Seniors are more dependable than teenagers, and recognize what good customer service is. I feel bad for them that they have to work so much longer, but frankly, the impact of FATCA on Canada’s economy has been a blessing in disguise for me.’

Department of Finance reports that the Guaranteed Income Supplement budget for seniors was spent in just the first 3 months of 2015.
The GIS provides a monthly non-taxable benefit to low-income Old Age Security recipients. An anonymous source says that analysts in the Department of Finance expect that the budget will be overspent by at least 350% by the end of 2015.

Bank tellers held hostage by distraught Canadian man bankrupt by US taxes              Today, a 48 year old man in Halifax held 3 bank tellers hostage for 4 hours before killing himself.  The bank had foreclosed on his mortgage and he’d been evicted the previous day. One of the tellers, a woman in her early thirties, although obviously shaken, displayed sympathy for the hostage taker. ‘He lost everything, because his wife was born in the US and lived there until she was 15. I guess she was fined hundreds of thousands of dollars by the IRS, and when she found out she committed suicide. He just couldn’t take it anymore and he snapped.’

Obviously, the above is all just my imagination at work. I’m still hoping that whatever intergovernmental agreement our government is negotiating with the US, Canadian citizen’s finances, privacy and rights will still be protected. If they don’t, we might actually be seeing news stories similar to the ones I’ve conjured up.

 (also posted on www.outragedcanadian.ca)