Monthly Archives: March 2014

A "Thank You" to all "Brockers & Sand Boxers"

Along with the many donations we received for the Canadian Charter Challenge Fund, people sent comments, notes and letters. The sender of the letter in this post specifically requested that it be posted on Brock. Since most of us consider Maple Sandbox our sister site, I will also post it there to make sure no one is missed as I am certain this is in keeping with the intention of the sender.
Continue reading A "Thank You" to all "Brockers & Sand Boxers"

Letter from Elizabeth May

I just received this letter via e-mail from Elizabeth May. It includes a link to an article she had published in a BC newspaper. Microsoft Partners in Learning

Dear Ms. Swanson,
Thank you for your message regarding the US Foreign Account Tax Compliancy Act (FATCA) and what it means for Canadians. I share your concerns on this urgent matter, and I will continue to work to ensure that Canadians do not suffer financial penalties as a result of this legislation.
As you are likely aware, on February 5 Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced that an inter-governmental agreement with US officials to implement FATCA had been reached. Although Minister Flaherty claimed to have negotiated hard-won concessions from the US, the reality is that this agreement remains largely unchanged from when it was first announced.
Under FATCA, Canadian banks will soon be required to search their account records for the personal information of US citizens, their children, and all those who through some accident of family or work history acquired some characteristic of interest to the IRS, and report the findings to the Canada Revenue Agency, who will then provide the information to US officials.
This legislation is slated to come into effect globally on July 1, 2014, and thus it is imperative that Canadians with US citizenship or legal status take steps to educate themselves about what these changes mean for them.
More detailed information about the agreement is available in a recent column I wrote for a BC newspaper:
It is also important to bear in mind that although it may seem that FATCA is a done deal, it is possible that the agreement would not survive a constitutional challenge.
Peter Hogg, former Dean of Osgoode Hall Law School and one of Canada’s foremost constitutional experts, has rightly pointed out that in addition to being a significant privacy concern, FATCA would likely be a violation of Section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which forbids discrimination based on “national or ethnic origin.”
I will do everything I can to ensure that Canadians remain up to date on any and all future developments in terms of legal challenges to FATCA. In the meantime, I urge you to write to your Member of Parliament, write letters to the editor of your local newspaper, talk to your friends and neighbours, and continue to stay informed about this alarming change to our country’s financial landscape.
Thank you again for taking the time to write to me, and for your engagement with this critically important issue.
Elizabeth May, O.C., M.P.
Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf Islands
Leader of the Green Party of Canada

The link she gave to her article does not take you directly to it, so here is What’s Up With FATCA? An Issue That Should concern more than those Canadians with ties to the U.S.

It's time for Canadian residents to close their bank accounts and move their money to a credit union.

I don’t believe this information has been posted yet on Sandbox, so I’m cross-posting this information from Brock (and from some private emails in the past couple of days).
It is my understanding that under FATCA, credit unions are exempt from reporting any accounts held by Canadian residents, if those credit unions have fewer than 2% of their accounts held by non-residents of Canada. This was stated in a draft publication issued by Credit Union Central of Canada, earlier this month, provided to me privately by someone who managed to get it from CUCC’s website.  The document says it is still a draft, but also says “while final Guidance is not expected until sometime in May, the current version is complete enough to be a reliable source.”  They are collecting comments from member credit unions to provide to Finance Canada by April 4.
With the above qualification, I quote directly the following paragraph in the document provided to me:
“Credit unions which hold less than two per cent of their deposits for non-residents of Canada will qualify for reduced reporting obligations. They will identify and report only accounts of members who are U.S. persons and who are not residents of Canada. Unlike internationally active banks, they will not be required to report accounts of members who reside in Canada. “
Continue reading It's time for Canadian residents to close their bank accounts and move their money to a credit union.

Relinquishment of US Citizenship by Persons-Born-Dual or who Naturalised in a Foreign Country as a Minor

I was very happy to report on a born-dual friend’s successful consulate meeting this week, in which he applied for a CLN based on his relinquishment at the time of taking government employment.

However, people have reported some consulate personnel erroneously telling them that a person born dual or who acquired their non-US citizenship as a minor is unable to expatriate except by renouncing.  In fact, there is no automatic disqualification of such persons from having the capacity to perform certain other relinquishing acts.

Such consulate personnel are probably conflating s. 349(a)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act with all other non-renunciation methods of relinquishing one’s citizenship.  Section 349(a) (1) is naturalising in a foreign country after Continue reading Relinquishment of US Citizenship by Persons-Born-Dual or who Naturalised in a Foreign Country as a Minor

FATCA "Is Going To Be A Train Wreck"

Ever since we were told by Steven Mopsick and others that the FATCA train has left the train wreckstation, we have been insisting it will derail and become a huge train wreck.
Now, one expert is agreeing with us.  In Get Ready For The Train Wreck, a former IRS Deputy Commissioner and Department of Justice Prosecutor says:

It’s going to be a train wreck.

He also says:
We’re going to see some bad results this summer.
He points out there are about 20 million tax cheats in the U.S. He says small businesses are the biggest violators, pocketing about 52% of profits without reporting them.
He predicts:

Treasury is going to lose money on this legislation.

I don’t feel vindicated. It just makes me angrier that the train is proceeding full steam ahead with no regard for the consequences.

B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Association Speaks Out Against FATCA

“We oppose (the FATCA IGA) on a number of grounds, but we will restrict our comments to the large scale infringement of privacy rights.”

That is the beginning of a four page Submission by the B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Association to Finance Canada.
BCFIPA challenge several aspects of the IGA as well as question the jurisdiction of the federal government to regulate credit unions which fall under provincial jurisdiction.
They also state clearly their agreement with Peter Hogg.
BCFIPA Concludes:

There are considerable difficulties involved in any attempt to implement a FATCA IGA in this country and those will almost certainly result in extensive litigation and damage to people and institutions which are in no way connected to tax evasion in this country or in the United States.
Therefore, we urge you not to proceed with this wholesale infringement of the constitutionally guaranteed privacy rights of Canadians.

Thanks to privacy lawyer Michael Power who e-mailed me BCFIPA Calls For Halt to FATCA with the link to the actual submission.

What If Angry Peoples World-Wide Began Challenging the Constitutional Legality of FATCA in Court?

On March 10 2014 a small group of Canadians (with supporters in other countries) took a gamble and donated money they could not afford to try to bring down FATCA using a legal challenge approach.

What if similar groups in other countries took their governments to court over this?

One Brocker, upset that the Swiss referendum did not obtain enough signatures, already told us that:

“[The Swiss Federal] Constitution undisputably mandates guarantees of nondiscrimination and liberty of economic opportunity, as well as the right to a family and the protection of privacy, among many other things. Here at IBS, we all know that FATCA violates such guarantees, as expressed in the UDHR, as well as many constitutions around the world”.

Here is a list of countries with constitutions. How many of these constitutions guarantee fundamental rights that are violated by FATCA?:
Are there any Brockers/Sandboxers or their sympathizers in these countries who could lead anti-FATCA constitutional challenges?
See today’s new post on the Republicans Overseas website asking that this happens:

“Canadians Ask “US Persons” World-Wide To Challenge Legality of FATCA
In only six days Canadians Dr. Stephen Kish and Lynne Swanson received sufficient donations from Canadians and those in other countries to retain a constitutional expert attorney. The attorney will examine the constitutionality of the proposed IGA (Intergovernmental Agreement) between the United States and Canada to implement FATCA.
They and other Canadians believe strongly that the IGA will violate Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Kish and Swanson ask concerned peoples in all countries affected by FATCA (i.e., ALL countries worldwide) to begin similar efforts to bring down the FATCA beast.
See the press release for the Canadian Charter Challenge Fund:

Submission to Finance Canada From Allison Christians and Arthur Cockfield

McGilll University Professor Allison Christians and Queen’s University Professor Arthur Cockfield have made a Joint Submission on the FATCA IGA to Finance Canada.
I admit I’ve only read the beginning. My energy is crashing so I can’t read anymore tonight, but I’m posting it here so others can see it.
There is a link there to download the full paper.
In addition, Allison has posted it at her own blog Christians & Cockfield: Submission to Finance Dept on FATCA in Canada

John Richardson and Dr. Stephen Kish Proposal to Revise Canada-US IGA

It is astonishing that a country with a proud history as Canada would yield to these extraterritorial demands. But what is most disappointing of all is the fact that Canada is uniquely positioned to repel this obnoxious law and send a statement to the United States that imperialistic actions against the rest of the world, under threat of economic sanctions, will not be tolerated.

That, my friends, can be found on Page 2 of the 69 page Richardson-Kish Submission to Finance Canada on the FATCA IGA and proposed legislation.

It is not too late. On behalf of the citizens of every sovereign nation outside of the United States, I urge you to reject the enabling legislation. Do the right thing.

I’m only at the beginning, but if this in any indication, I think this is a hard-hitting submission.