Residents of Stanstead Quebec Wake up to Their OMG Moment

This past Monday a radio interview (in English) on CBC Radio Quebec aired; seemingly an an introduction to FATCA for this little town right on the border with Vermont. One can clearly hear the fear and confusion in some of the residents interviewed, including the mayor.

While some of the information is not quite accurate, the situation they face is something we understand all too well. The CBC is interested in comments, which gives us a chance to reach out to fellow Canadians in Quebec who are afflicted with this problem.
Phone: 1 888 691 3476
Email: quebecam@cbc.ca

You can see some of the comments on their Facebook page:

John Richardson was interviewed as well and has offered some thoughts for them to consider:

We have had virtually no contact with anyone in Quebec other than a few via Info Sessions in Montreal/at McGill last year.Please consider commenting at Facebook, tweeting and doing whatever you can to reach out to get this message across. And please don’t forget to mention the ADCS-ADSC lawsuit! Thanks!

What FATCA Did to a U.S. Military Veteran

Here is the story of what FATCA did to US Military Veteran Daniel Kuttel (aka Swiss Pinoy). veteran_proud

Daniel wrote this to Jubilee Network which has been promoting the myth that FATCA is intended to end corruption and that we are all the cause of global poverty.

Dear Mr. Hanauer,

I risked my life serving in the US military to defend America. While on active duty, I served in an active deployment unit which was ready to be deployed anywhere in the world within 72 hours to defend America. Have you ever risked your life for America, for the American people or even for an American living abroad?

After serving in the US military, my car broke down in the Nevada desert while I was moving to California, so I sold it for a night in a hotel room since I didn’t have any money to repair it. I then put my belongings into boxes and took the greyhound bus, from which my bicycle was stolen. Later, I got a general discharge from the Army reserves because I didn’t have the money to buy a car to report for duty! It wasn’t until many years later that I was able to afford a salvaged Geo Metro with a motor hood that was fastened down with a loose bolt! Once while driving along the freeway, the bolt came lose and the hood banged upon the front windshield, blocking my view. I was lucky to be able to pull over without getting into an accident.

Then, I lost my job, car and home during the dot-com crisis. I might have been able to stay in America if the check to finance the visa for my wife to join me hadn’t bounced since my bank account had been cancelled. My retirement savings was also cashed and taxed without my approval. Being unable to find work in the glutted job market, I put some clothes into a backpack and went job-hunting in Europe. Eventually, I found work, repaid my debts in the US and saved to be able to get a mortgage. For many years, my wife and I did not have any children because I feared losing my job again and since we struggled financially.

Living in Switzerland, I continued to fight for America, debating for years the most controversial and heated conflict. Often, I was the only American voice speaking out diplomatically against anti-American hostility. I provided a lone American voice which challenged negative stereotypes about Americans. I donated thousands of hours of my time for America and was never given a single penny in return. I didn’t even get any thanks or recognition. My time spent for America was for free and for my own personal satisfaction with no gain of any kind.

In 2012, my mortgage was soon to expire, so I scanned the market for refinancing options and learned that most banks were rejecting clients with US citizenship due to FATCA. FATCA caused Americans to be seen as being a risk. So, I contacted HUD and the VA, but they replied that they do not help Americans overseas. I then contacted various US politicians, but they either didn’t respond or they stated that anything that they did for US expats would be used against them by the opposing party. Other people accused me of being a tax cheat or having a poor banking record.

Can you imagine how it feels to be discriminated against for being American because of the US government, after having spent decades fighting for America? Can you even attempt to begin to picture how angry I am?

Since I didn’t want to risk losing my home a second time, since nobody cared about me or was willing to help, I gathered the strength to renounce US citizenship. After doing so, my bank reported in the press that it had closed the bank accounts of all of its US clients that it was able to contact. By renouncing US citizenship, I had thus saved my mortgage. I didn’t lose it a second time. I also wasn’t thrown out of any banks again.

After renouncing, I spent many free hours of my time helping and supporting Americans living abroad. Yet, instead of challenging non-American hostility against Americans, I challenged American hostility against Americans. Again, I’m was never paid to do this, I gained nothing from it and never received any kind of recognition or thanks from the US government. Yet, I’m still fighting for America as a non-US citizen since I feel for the people who are suffering and since I know that this situation is not right.

If you were to put yourself into my shoes, could you even begin to imagine how this feels? There are no words to describe this. I am angry, very angry. Yet, I continue to do what I have always done, and that is to fight for what is right, against all the odds.

You know, there is one thing that my sister would really want, and that would be for me to live near her in Colorado. Yet, I cannot do so since I am no longer a US citizen, due to FATCA. My family is divided. My daughter is a US citizen but not my son.

I know that you want FATCA more than anything in the world, but is the pain and suffering caused from such really worth it? If your foundation protects the poor from predatory financial behavior, then where have you been? I’ve been seeking your help for many years now and now that I’ve finally found you, will you really be true to the efforts of the Jubilee Network? I’m hoping to hear from you again.

Best regards,

Daniel Kuettel

It’s Real -Amendment to Budget Resolution Sets Stage for Repeal of FATCA

[Congressional Record Volume 161, Number 50 (Wednesday, March 25, 2015)]
[Senate]
[Pages S1901-S1956]
From the Congressional Record Online |through the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]

TEXT OF AMENDMENTS

SA 621. Mr. WICKER submitted an amendment intended to be proposed by
him to the concurrent resolution S. Con. Res. 11, setting forth the
congressional budget for the United States Government for fiscal year
2016 and setting forth the appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal
years 2017 through 2025; which was ordered to lie on the table; as
follows:

At the appropriate place, insert the following:

SEC. ___. DEFICIT-NEUTRAL RESERVE FUND TO REPEAL THE FOREIGN
ACCOUNT TAX COMPLIANCE ACT.

The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate
may revise the allocations of a committee or committees,
aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution
for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments,
amendments between the Houses, motions, or conference reports
relating to fairness of United States taxpayers, which may
include the repeal of the provisions commonly known as the
Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, by the amounts provided
in such legislation for that purpose, provided that such
legislation would not increase the deficit over either the
period of the total of fiscal years 2016 through 2020 or the
period of the total of fiscal years 2016 through 2025.

Hat Tip to Tim

FATCA Letter to Leaders and MPs

In this election year, ADCS has sent letters requesting Party policy on FATCA:

Letter to Leader of NDP
Letter to Leader of Liberals
Letter to Leader of Green Party
Letter to Leader of Conservatives
Copies of that letter to several Opposition Critics, Cabinet Ministers or some MPs.

As you can see, these letters are very similar. We ask direct questions relating to FATCA. As an example, here is the content of the letter to Thomas Mulcair:

Thank you to you, the NDP and some of your MPs for standing up for Canadian citizens and residents, whether born in the United States, in Canada or in any other country, against the American Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) enabling legislation.

You may be aware we have commenced litigation against the Government of Canada resulting from the Conservative government surrendering Canadian citizens, residents, laws, constitution and sovereignty to the United States for FATCA.

We are disappointed at your near silence since the FATCA enabling act was passed. We are, therefore, contacting you now to request your party’s policy in writing on what you would do if the NDP is elected to form the next government.

Specifically, we ask:

1. Will your party commit to repealing the FATCA IGA in its entirety?
2. If not, why not?
3. What action will your party take to protect Canadian citizens and residents from the demands of a foreign government under FATCA?
4. What action will your party take to uphold Canadian laws, the constitution, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and Canadian sovereignty as they relate to FATCA?
5. What action will your party take to agree with our lawsuit that the FATCA enabling Act violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and Canada’s constitution? Will you direct the Ministry of Justice to quickly reach an acceptable settlement with us?
6. What action will your party take to ensure a foreign law does not prevail over Canadian privacy, human rights, banking and other laws?
7. What is your time frame for any commitment you may make?

Approximately one million Canadians, their families and business associates are affected by FATCA and many will want to know which party represents their needs and rights. Many will make their voting decision based on this.

We hope the NDP will fight for their rights as Canadians.

I will advise you of the responses we receive or if we do not receive responses.

Other Canadians may wish to write to their MPs and/or candidates in their ridings. You can share responses you receive here.

Relinquished Decades Ago: Still a U.S. Tax Citizen or Not?

Lawyer Virginia La Torre Jeker in Dubai has a fascinating Two Part (and a coming Part Three featuring John Richardson) article Living in the Past: Citizenship Relinquishments: Am I Still A U.S. Tax Citizen?

She addresses the issue many of us are experiencing. We were told decades ago we were “permanently and irrevocably” relinquishing U.S. citizenship when we became citizens of other countries.

Part 1 addresses One Country, Two Citizenships.

She makes it clear reading this is not for the faint of heart. She says:

It may come as a surprise to learn that the United States of America, while one country, has two forms of citizenship. One form reaps many benefits; while the other form bears only fiscal burdens. One country – Two citizenships? Yes – it is true.

She also makes writes about the frightful trip back to the future many of us are experiencing as to whether we are or are not “tax citizens” of a foreign government.

While Part I deals with ways people can relinquish U.S. Citizenship for Immigration and Nationality purposes, Part 2 focuses on U.S. TAX citizens.

It’s complex but thorough. Stay tuned. I will post Part 3 when it is available.

Unfortunately, she does not cover the issue of those whoibecame citizens of other countries as minors or the issue of Accidental Americans.

UPDATE March 24, 2015 Virgina La Torre Jeker responded to a comment I made on this article. She pointed out she wrote an article last month about minors and about mental incapacity issues. Unfortunately, it confirms the nightmare the title of her article Help! I Want to Expatriate but they won`t let me.

In her response to my comment to her, on the subject of minors, she responded:

Another very difficult topic. While I am not an immigration lawyer, I understand that parents can apply for their minor children to become naturalized US citizens. From what I understand – No consent or understanding is required of the child in order for them to be naturalized as citizens. The parent can do all of this for the minor child. Again, this is my understanding & if it is incorrect, I would appreciate the relevant information. On the other hand, a parent cannot renounce US citizenship for his or her minor child. Only the child can do it and of course, not until he has reached a certain age and level of maturity so that the Dept of State is satisfied he has the mental capacity to know what he is doing when renouncing. I found this disparate treatment of the child’s rights and the parents’ rights with respect to the child’s US citizenship to be rather uneven and quite interesting.

Updated March 30, 2014 Part 3
was posted today.

It contains a lot of legal and technical information, including input from John Richardson. Ms. La Torre Jeker seems to concur with the position that those who relinquished U.S. citizenship prior to 2008 or 2004 are not U.S. “tax citizens.”

However, as John notes, many of the compliance fanatics are trying to turn their advice into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

My non-legal advice is don’t fall into the self-fulfilling prophecy trap!