Monthly Archives: November 2014

USA Went to War With UK Over Taxing…See The Irony

My article in today’s Tax-News (an international tax publication based in UK) USA Went To War with UK Over Taxing…See The Irony.
As Ginny concludes, “Justice is not easy and it sure is expensive.”

Ms. Hillis and others hope Mayor Johnson will make Winston Churchill proud and join the revolt against FATCA taking place right now in Canada with help from around the globe. If Mayor Johnson were to take similar action in Great Britain, it could serve as a New Independence War to fight unjust taxes of a foreign government. Mr. Johnson has the “political cache” to do just that.
“I assume you well know your history. And that you can see the irony.”

Ted Hsu Asking Questions About IGA

Allison Christians has information on her blog about numerous questions Liberal Ted Hsu asked in an Order Paper (scroll down to Q816 Nov 24, 2014).
I do not pretend to understand the myriad of complexities on this. Heck,even Allison can’t figure it out and she’s a law professor! Allison says:
In fact, Allison says:

Some of the questions clearly illustrate that treaty-making in Canada is really quite a mysterious process

Allison calls it:

It is a maddeningly opaque regime.

That pretty well sums up this whole experience with the Canadian government. I’m glad Mr. Hsu continues to ask questions. But, I fully expect the answers to Mr. Hsu will be non-answers–exactly like the non-answers he got to his questions last year.

ADCS Asks Democrats Abroad to Correct Misinformation

In a recent e-mail to Brazil Democrats Abroad, Regional Vice Chair – Americas and Vice-Chair Democrats Abroad Canada conveyed some glaring inaccurate information about the Canadian lawsuit.
Adrienne Jones to Democrats Brazil
That misinformation was:

Republicans Overseas “have exploited the fear of FATCA to the nth degree to target their Repeal FATCA ’cause’ and their proposed suit, get this, against the Canadian government for signing the compliance agreement (Intergovernmental Agreement)
On November 19, ADCS sent a letter to Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Chair of Democratic National Committee asking for a correction to the information. Here is the content of the letter:

November 19, 2014
Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Democratic National Committee
Dear Ms. Schulz,
It has been brought to the attention of the Alliance for the Defence of Canadian Sovereignty (ADCS) Directors that Adrienne Jones, DPCA Americas Region Vice-Chair and Democrats Abroad Canada Vice-Chair, has communicated incorrect information regarding our Canadian lawsuit on the constitutionality and legality of the Canadian legislation enabling the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) Intergovernmental Agreement.
In her letter to David Ferrell and possibly to others, Ms. Jones stated:

Republicans Overseas “have exploited the fear of FATCA to the nth degree to target their Repeal FATCA ’cause’ and their proposed suit, get this, against the Canadian government for signing the compliance agreement (Intergovernmental Agreement).

We advise you that Republicans Overseas and the Republican party have no connection to our Canadian lawsuit nor have they provided any financial support to the lawsuit.
Please read a copy of the Claims (which we hope you and Democrats Abroad will support) filed in Canada Federal Court at:
The plaintiffs of our lawsuit are two brave Canadian women who were born in the United States, but came to Canada at the age of five and have lived their lives since then only as Canadian citizens. The lawsuit is being funded only through donations to ADCS, a Canadian non-profit corporation, from Canadians and international friends from Australia to Vatican City.
Our lawsuit is the first legal challenge to FATCA in the world.
We also confirm that the ADCS Directors fully and enthusiastically support the Republicans Overseas planned lawsuit in the United States, but we are not involved in that litigation.
As Democrats Abroad are now fully aware of the devastating impact FATCA has on honest law-abiding people around the world, we hope that your organization will join with Republicans Overseas and with our Canadian group to defeat FATCA.
We suspect that Ms. Jones was confused regarding the lawsuit. However, ADCS respectfully asks that you, on behalf of Democrats Abroad, correct publicly the misinformation that Republicans Overseas has initiated a Canadian lawsuit, and that you take steps to ensure that Democrats Abroad will now work cooperatively, and in a non-partisan manner, with Republicans Overseas and ADCS to defeat the entirety of FATCA.
I will ask Michael DeSombre of Republicans Overseas to post this letter on the Republicans Overseas website and ask that you kindly post the letter on the website for Democrats Abroad. Thank you for doing this.
A reply would be appreciated.
Stephen Kish, ADCS Chair
John Richardson, Co-Chair
Patricia Moon, Treasurer
Carol Tapanila, Director
Lynne Swanson, Chair, Litigation Committee
Toronto, Canada
Adrienne Jones, DPCA Americas Region Vice-Chair and Democrats Abroad Canada Vice-Chair
Sharon Manitta, DPCA Communications Director for Press
Michael DeSombre, President, Republicans Overseas

There have been e-mails exchanged since then between Stephen and Ms. Jones. There has been no correction.
Republicans Overseas posted this on their Facebook page.

One More Reason To Fight FATCA: CRA Privacy Breach

Yikes! This is exactly the kind of thing we have predicted for FATCA.
CBC is reporting a privacy breach leaks tax details of prominent Canadians.
Murray Rankin says:

“They were warned…Here we go again.”

And An Ottawa lawyer specializing in privacy law called the latest breach “very, very serious,” among the worst he has seen in 30 years.

“I don’t remember a case when CRA lost control over such information,” Michel Drapeau said in an interview.

Just imagine what could happen with a leak of far more detailed information about us. Then, think about that information falling into the hands of fraudsters–or worse.
One more reason to keep fighting FATCA–and keep donating to ADCS.

Ginny Writes to London Mayor Boris Johnson. Help Stop FATCA with ADCS.

November 22, 2014
Boris Johnson
Mayor of London
Greater London Authority
City Hall
The Queen’s Walk
London SE1 2AA
Dear Mr. Johnson:
Yes, Boris Johnson I know just how you feel.
But the article is incorrect about the amount for the cut off and you would owe a lot more than just the capital gains on your house. Fines and exit fees could amount to hefty penalties for failure to file income reports when you, like a lot of of us, didn’t know about these until recently. Because the IRS never informed anyone or published their regulations in any way that the public would see.
The USA is the only country in the WORLD that taxes by citizenship, rather than residence. They need $$$ to fund their deficit and they are now going after every person in every country that they consider American. Like you, many people who lived in the USA for a few years or more who had no choice where they were born, never have considered themselves US citizens. You are a British citizen clearly. You have no ties to the USA. I know that feeling too.
However, to date there are only two people in the world, my co- plaintiff and I who are taking on this issue (in our true home country Canada, as full Canadian citizens, in our courts) because Canada entered into an agreement with the USA which turns over our banking information via our CRA. Just as the UK has done by entering into a similar intergovernmental agreement. As you are now finding out. I am not saying that to toot my own horn. I am saying it so that you might consider another option.
You might consider launching your own legal protest in the UK on behalf of people there like you, that the USA deems to be tax invaders. I bet that might be an interesting political launching pad for you, considering the USA went to war with the UK over off shore taxing in the first place. As in the ‘real’ Tea Party Revolution. I assume you well know your history? And that you see the irony?
And you have political cache that I don’t.
It’s not easy and it sure is expensive. But principles and access to justice are very important things to stand up for, in my opinion. Your mentor, Mr. Churchill would no doubt be proud of you if you did.
All the best, Boris.
Ginny Hillis,
Windsor Ontario, Canada
[Plaintiff in Canadian FATCA IGA lawsuit against Government of Canada]

Horrible, Terrible Day with IRS and FATCA

Robert W Wood at Forbes is reporting on Mayor Boris Johnson’s Terrible, Horrble, Terrible very Bad Day as an American. He suggests Mayor Johnson’s next book should be about the plight of U.S. citizens abroad.
That book could help Canada’s $1 million dollar baby who was born in Hawaii when her mother went into premature labour and gave birth nine weeks early. With everything the family is dealing with, I certainly do not want to add to their stresses by telling them what a U.S. place of birth means for little Reece as she grows up.
Patric Cain has reported on a Canadian man who went to Mexico to renounce his unwanted U.S. citizenship.
According to Patric`s article, there may be a court hearing of our lawsuit early in the new year. Help make that day a good day. Donate to ADCS now.

I Am Canada. Hear Me Roar

I Am Canada. Hear Me Roar Mr. President from Robert W. Wood in Forbes.

Dear President Obama:
I and thousands of Canadians are embroiled in an impossible situation. I am a Canadian. Yet because I was born in the U.S., you say I must file tax returns and FBARs, even though I haven’t lived there since 1973. I was not aware I needed to file U.S. tax returns and never heard of FBARS or FATCA until now…

I believe the U.S. wasn’t looking primarily for wealthy offshore accounts. FATCA was always about grabbing fines and penalties, taking from Canada and other nations to fuel the U.S. recovery…

A resident and citizen of Canada for decades, I and thousands of others ARE CANADA! We will never take a dime from the U.S. We do not use U.S. services but must pay fines levied against us.Besides, would I want a U.S. passport? Americans are the first to be grabbed by terrorists…

The story in the letter is one we have heard many times. Issues with employment, strained marriage, stress, incredulity, anger, frustration, etc.

I Am Canada

Solving U.S. Citizenship Issues – Information Session Toronto, Sunday Nov. 30, 2014

Life planning, Career planning and the Reality of U.S. Citizenship for Americans Abroad including Life Preparation for U.S.Citizen-children of U.S.Citizens & Snowbirds

The IRS made changes to the “Streamlined Program” (a “relaxed” way for delinquent U.S taxpayers to catch up with their U.S. tax and information reporting forms) on June 18 of this year. Further guidance was given on October 08. Snowbirds in particular, face a potential conflict. It is commonly misunderstood that anyone can stay in the U.S. for up to 180 (actually 182 or less) days per year without any tax consequences. In fact, the manner of counting days is subject to a complex way of computing the total number and of course, there is a form to be filed in the event one is over the limit. In the same manner many expats have been caught off guard with respect to filing tax and information returns, snowbirds who are unaware of the correct procedure are at risk.
Should one be so unfortunate as to be cast into the U.S. taxation net, the Streamlined Program might appear to be a way out. Even better, recent IRS indications are that they will presume that those outside the U.S. were non-willful non-filers, which will eliminate penalties. What could be better? However, in order to qualify for the non-U.S. residence status, one must not have spent more than 35 days in the U.S. for the past three years. The Catch 22 is in order to qualify for the U.S. resident version of Streamlined, one must have filed U.S. tax returns for the previous 3 years.
Continue reading Solving U.S. Citizenship Issues – Information Session Toronto, Sunday Nov. 30, 2014