Questions to Ask Cross-Border Lawyers and Accountants

Over at Brock, Wondering has put forward several excellent questions to ask cross-border lawyers or accountants before doing anything.
If you are a Canadian citizen considering engaging ANY cross-border lawyer or accountant, ask these questions at the initial conversation:

1) If I do not choose to comply with US extra-jurisdictional tax claims, what is the specific mechanism by which they will collect a tax claim from me using Canadian courts and laws? Can the US or any other foreign state garnishee my Canadian wages? Can they seize my Canadian bank accounts?
2) I understand that under the Canada–US Tax Treaty, Canada will not assist in collecting US taxes from any Canadian citizen, unless the tax claim proceeded their becoming a Canadian. How does this protection apply to my situation? Am I protected by this Treaty?
3) Do you know of any specific case where a Canadian court enforced a US personal tax claim or penalty against a Canadian citizen in Canada? When, where and who?
4) Do you know of any specific case where a Canadian citizen was detained the the US border because they had not filed US tax forms? When, where and who?
5) Are you prevented by any US law, professional certification, official registration or similar covenant with any US government agency from giving me full and frank advice?

I personally will not go anywhere near the cross-border folks. I already know the answers to most of the questions. My lawyer and my accountant agree with me that I have no obligation to do anything with the IRS.
If the cross-border specialist is honest, the answers should be:

1. There is no mechanism by which the IRS can collect tax claims in Canadian courts, The US cannot garnishee your Canadian income. The US cannot seize funds in your Canadian bank account.
2. If you are a Canadian citizen, CRA will not assist in collecting U.S. taxes–even if you are also an American citizen.
3. There is no known case of a Canadian court enforcing a U.S. tax or penalty against a Canadian citizen.
4. There are no reports of Canadian citizens being detained at the U.S. border because they had not filed U.S. tax forms.
5. Full and frank advice is greatly lacking from those in the cross-border compliance industry who are trying to suck Canadians in.

Don’t let IRS or the cross-border condors terrorize you. Know your rights before you do anything.

49 thoughts on “Questions to Ask Cross-Border Lawyers and Accountants

    1. CRA will help IRS to collect taxes on residents of Canada who are not Canadian citizens.  CRA will not help IRS collect penalties on residents of Canada who are not Canadian citizens.

      i do not know how often this has happened.  Does anyone else know?


  1. I have been a permanent resident of Canada for 40 years. I am an American Citizen. My Mother and Father were born in Canada, and I was born in the U.S.A. in 1963. Am I a Canadian Citizen?

  2. Thank You WhiteKat, I had read this same site but it didn’t seem so clear. I was 80% sure that I was a dual citizen, but now I have to certify myself. This FATCA thing is nothing but stress. Myself, my Wife and my Daughter are finally compliant(streamlined), but it cost us $8000 for them to tell us we owe nothing. The stress of this cloud over my family is almost unbearable. We have many things to think about, when it comes to U.S. citizenship. It seems a heavy liability for those of us who are law abiding citizens; heavy fiancially and physically. I mean, we are not UBS. If you are fishing for shark, you don’t dredge the whole bottom of the ocean and kill all the fish in the sea!

    1. Hi Albert, Sorry to hear about your family’s stress. Curious as to why you entered Streamlined FIRST before finding out for sure whether or not you actually are American?

  3. The worst part of FATCA, beside the invasiveness is filing the FBAR. Talk about pulling your pants in front of your accountant. Just the fear of making a simple mistake and winding up with a $10000 fine is completely unthinkable. The Lawyers and Accountants of this world are wasting their time against the U.S. machine. The U.S. will make ajustments to FATCA when they feel like, so it seems; Arrogance to the extreme! This is not a good way of making friends. You know that for countries to have agreed with these IGA’s, the U.S. must have had a firm hand around their neck! I 65 year old woman I know wound up on pills for depression and extreme weight loss due to the FATCA stress! Maybe FATCA is a way the U.S. can unload pension costs. If they stress people out enough and cause sickness and death, they won’t have to pay so much. It’s a good way to cut costs! Terrible!

  4. @Albert Yes USA is disgusting in what it is doing to honest people around the world–many who have nothing to do with the U.S. except an unfortunate place of birth.
    Even more disgusting are the government’s that have surrendered their own citizens to the U.S. under threats of sanctions. Those countries should have joined together to say no to FATCA. Canada should have taken a leadership role in saying no. Banks and other financial institutions worldwide should also have joined together to fight FATCA.
    Instead, we were all betrayed. Then the compliance condors flew in to make hordes of money. I know of an elderly widow in her 80s who was terrorized by Canada Trust and Price Waterhouse to become compliant even though she has been a Canadian citizen since 1974. Like you, she spent thousands of dollars to tell the. IRS she didn’t owe them anything.
    You said your wife and daughter also are compliant. What is their connection to US? Was it joint accounts with you and an RESP for your daughter or were they also born in U.S.?
    It is important that you get a Canadian citizenship certificate. Are you planning to renounce American citizenship? Do you have an appointment? The last I heard, some Consulates had a waiting list of 10 months.
    Welcome to Sandbox. You are among friends here.

  5. Mrs. Swanson, Thank You for your response. It is definitely a terrible situation. My Wife and Daughter were both born in the U.S., and are Permanent Residents in Canada. I am still at odds about renouncing my U.S. citizenship. I have always felt at home crossing the border each way all my life, but I have to say I don’t feel the same about going south anymore. My son was born here in Canada, and Canadian he will stay. I am not even sure of his status. If he was born of my Wife and I(American Citizens) is he considered American also? My Mother is 77 years old, and at the beginning stages of Alzheimers(born inQuebec) should I go thru FATCA with my mom. She has been here, In Canada since 1977, since our return from the U.S..I heard pensioners and/or Canadian Citizens are off limits;Is this the case? Thank You again.

  6. @Albert Your son being considered a U.S. Citizen is dependent on how long your wife lived in the U.S. and especially after the age of 14.
    He cannot claim U.S. citizenship through you because you left at such a young age.
    He is definitely a Canadian citizen because he was born in Canada.
    In terms of your mother, Canadian citizens and seniors are not “off limits.” However, your mother was born in Quebec. Did she ever become an American citizen? Even if she did, there is no reason for her bank to know that unless someone tells them.
    So far, Canadian banks do not seem to be asking about place of birth. If your mother’s bank asks, you can honestly say she was born in Canada and is a Canadian citizen.
    Canada Revenue Agency does not and will not collect taxes for the IRS for anyone who was a Canadian citizen at the time the tax liability occurred. CRA also will not collect penalties for IRS from either citizens or permanent residents of Canada.
    Will you become Power of Attorney for your mother? There could be some FATCA issues if and when a bank asks about your place of birth.

    1. Mrs. Swanson, My Wife lived in the U.S. ’til she was about 27 years old, and my mom never became a U.S. citizen. She probably had a Green Card, but again, she has been domiciled in Canada since 1977. So, are you saying that as far as my mom goes their is a don’t ask don’t tell ‘almost situation’? So I leave it alone?

  7. Does anyone know if a Green Card expires. Oh, now I know why they called it Green, because it represented infinite money!

  8. @Albert: Regarding your mother, my recommendation is that you do nothing, She is a Canadian citizen born in Canada. There is no need for the US or IRS to know anything about her.
    In Information for Individuals on FATCA, Canada Revenue Agency says:

    I hold a U.S. green card. How does this affect my tax residency?
    If you are a green card holder (that is, a lawful permanent resident of the U.S.), the U.S. considers you to be a U.S. resident.
    However, if you are a resident of Canada for tax purposes and do not hold U.S. citizenship, you should not identify yourself as a U.S. person to your Canadian financial institution.

    Considering that your mother has not lived in the US for almost 40 years and is not a US citizen, I think she should not do anything.
    You may wish to review other Frequently Asked Questions About FATCA for your family and yourself.
    In terms of your son, he could claim U.S. citizenship because of the time your wife spent in the U.S. after the age of 14. Did she register him for U.S. citizenship at any time?
    If so, he would be considered an American citizen. If not, there are differing views and people have tried unsuccessfully to get a definite answer. Some people have been told it is automatic. Others have been told he must apply for it.
    Lawyer John Richardson does not believe the US can force citizenship on people born outside of the U.S. John has traveled widely across Canada and the world to educate people about these issues. Here you can find a synopsis of John’s Solving the Problem of U.S. citizenship that was held in London Ontario in February 2014.
    Please note, I am not a lawyer nor an accountant. Any information or recommendation I give you should not be considered as professional advice. It is what I have learned from being connected to this issue for the past five years.
    Because of the complexity of your family’s issues, you may want to consider a consultation with John. We usually do not recommend lawyers or accountants, but John is probably more knowledgeable and helpful than any other lawyer on these issues. He also understands the stress people are under from this entire nightmare. He has been a strong fighter against citizenship-based taxation and FATCA on both sides of the border for years and is Co-Chair of Alliance for the Defence of Canadian Sovereignty.
    You can learn more about John at his Citizenship Solutions website.

    1. Hello Mrs. Swanson, I already have the certification paperwork. I have another question for you. If my mother has a Green Card from 1960 should I still file U.S. taxes for her. Again, My Mother was born in Quebec, and at the beginning stages of Alzheimers. She is 77 years old, and is collecting a pension from the U.S. every month. Thanks. She is not a U.S. citizen.

  9. Mrs. Swanson, You don’t even realize how relieved I am. Thank You very much. You just removed a heavy load. By the way, Do you know what the ‘Real’ numbers are for U.S. citizenship renunciations?

    1. Glad to help.  What was it that “removed a heavy load?”

      In terms of your mother, I continue to recommend that she should not file anything with IRS, although a pension from the U.S. may complicate things.

      Is she claiming that income on her Canadian tax return?  Is that income a private pension plan or Social Security from the time she worked and lived in the U.S.?


    2. I just found this information on U.S. Social Security Payments

      US social security benefits received by residents of Canada are only subject to tax in Canada. The United States will not tax these benefits pursuant to the Canada-US Treaty.

      Generally, Canadian residents receiving US social security benefits are required to include 85% of those benefits in computing their Canadian income. However, the inclusion rate is 50% for Canadian residents (and their spouses or common-law partners eligible to receive survivor benefits) who have been in receipt of benefits since before January 1, 1996.


      So that seems to confirm your mother is not required to pay tax on American Social Security to the U.S. Does she have other U.S. income?
      In addition to the fact that CRA will not collect taxes for the IRS for a Canadian citizen, the IRS has also not been able to enforce tax claims in Canadian courts in the few times they tried. So, you and your mother have a lot of protection.
      We do not know if that will change in the future, but that is what the current situation is.

    3. Here is information about Green Card Expiration from U.S. Immigration.

      This says:

      Each green card has a green card expiration date, usually 10 years from the date that the card was issued.

      This seems to have become effective in 1989, more than 10 years after your mother left the U.S.  Another law was passed in 2004 (I think that is when it was) that Green Card holders are required to officially surrender their Green Card or be subject to filing U.S. taxes.

      My personal (not legal advice!) opinion is that is so long after your mother left the U.S., you should not be concerned about it.

      Plus, I really don’t think the IRS has either the interest or the resources to pursue a Canadian grandmother with Alzheimer’s living in Canada–especially when they are very aware neither CRA nor Canadian courts would help them.

      I hope alll of this may help you to sleep better.

  10. Mrs. Swanson, Thank You, again. What removed the heavy load was not having to file another U.S. tax return with FBAR’s and worries about making a mistake. I am solely responsible for gathering info for myself, my wife and my daughter. To add another person becomes a lot of work filing every year. This FBAR thing really has gotten under my skin. To answer your question, my mother gets a social security check, and yes we declare this every year along with her Canadian pension, and some interest revenue. That’s it. Do you know the ‘REAL’ number of U.S. citizens that renounce every quarter? By the way, I really enjoy this site. Thanks again.

  11. @Al: I don’t think anyone knows the REAL number of renunciations every quarter. Many have renounced but do not show on the list. Many more have relinquished but do not show on the list.
    The list also does not report on those who have not been able to get an appointment to renounce, those who are not able to travel to a U.S. Consulate, those who cannot afford the exorbitant fee or cannot renounce for other reasons.
    The list also does not include others like me who refuse to go to a U.S. Consulate and play their nasty games.
    I’m glad the site is helpful. But, it’s Lynne–not Mrs. Swanson–please.
    If you have benefitted from what you have learned here, I urge you to donate to the ADCS lawsuit where we are challenging the FATCA IGA as a violation of our rights under Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

    1. Lynne, What nasty games does the U.S. consulate engage in. Even renouncing seems like a helluva burden. I think talking about this FATCA problem is O.K., but I don’t believe it’s enough to distract the U.S. Government. There needs to be real protests! Street protests, flag waving in front of the U.S. consulate. Something more! ADCS lawsuit has been registered, Thanks.

    2. I was referring to how the U.S imposes unwanted citizenship on some people and makes it so difficult to renounce by requiring it to be done at a Consulate, makking people wait almost a year for an appointment and another six months to a year for a CLN, exorbitant fees, etc.

      Plus, many of us were told by U.S. Consulates decades ago that we were “permanently and irrecocably” relunquishing U.S. Citizenship by becoming citizens of Canada or other countries only to be told 40, 50 or even 60 years later that we are still U.S. Citizens for tax purposes.

      Bottom line is I don’t trust any U.S. Consukate.  some others feel the same way.  Many more have been willing to travel long distances and pay the outrageous fee to renounce. Some live in or near cities with a Consulate, so that makes it a bit easier for them.

  12. +1 Lynne!
    I live 5 hours+ from Vancouver in good weather. This time of year, you take your life in your hands trying to get over mountain passes.
    For my family of six, the CLN charge would come to $14,100 USD or $19,562 Cnd! Add in gas, a hotel room for a night, plus the missed income from a couple of days of work lost.
    And the consulate is a scary place. Jacked up security, bullet proof glass tellers windows, cameras and guards everywhere.
    It’s no great surprise that many of us here in Canada skip the Deluxe Consulate Expatriation Package and go the Do-It-Yourself Self-Relinquishment Route!
    All the best to my fellow Maple Sandboxers and to you Lynne in the New Year.
    BC Doc

    1. When my husband relinquished (no fee at that time) we drove through a ground blizzard to get to Calgary (a 3 hour drive, one-way). It turned out to be the coldest 2 days of that winter. For safety sake, we shelled out for 2 nights in a motel to avoid driving in the dark. Stressful? You bet it was. His appointment went quite smoothly but I couldn’t know that while pacing the hallway 10 floors below the consulate’s enclave waiting for his return. Of course after R-Day, there was the anxious wait for the CLN to arrive and then the dreaded minefield called final filing. It’s all outrageous and I completely understand why DIY is your choice. May 2016 bring you, your family and EVERYONE release from this nightmare called FATCA/FBAR/CBT.

  13. @BC Doc: I remember Arctic Greyling reporting that a friend traveled 17 hours by bus to a Consulate. Even though he had an appointment, for some reason, they told him to come back on another day.
    I don’t know if he went back or what the eventual outcome was.
    We haven’t heard from Arctic Greying for a long time. He renounced at a Consulate in South America, but I don’t remember which country.
    I know someone else who flew from London Ontario to Calgary to relinquish because the wait time for an appointment in Toronto was way too long. In the long run, he saved money because if he had waited for a Toronto appointment, he would have been required to pay the $2350US fee.

  14. If their is a cost of $ renounce citizenship, Do you also need an attorney to represent you?, if so what are the legal fees? I assume that if you are compliant for 5 years, your not worth more than $ 2 million U.S., and you owed 0 dollars for five years, that you are free? Is your net worth exit fee cut off $4 million U.S. if you are married? Thanks.

    1. You do not need a lawyer to go to a U.S. Consulate to renounce.  If you think you may be over the amount to be a covered expatriate, consulting a lawyer would be a good idea.

      As I mentioned earlier, the situation of your family appears complex. For that reason, you may want to consult John Richardson at  I don’t know what his fees are.

      John is not part of the compliance industry. His purpose is to help people deal with this whole nightmare.

  15. Lynne, I’m Not a covered expat. Are their any FATCA amendments for 2015-2016 that may be news . For instance can we stop filing the FBAR?!
    I know, wishful thinking right?

  16. For context, I’m a Canadian born son of an American expat mother, have never lived, worked or had accounts or assets in the US. My net worth would be well under a million, my income will likely never get as high as $90k. I’m married to a Canadian with no US ties.
    I have a long expired US passport, renewed once decades ago.
    It appears I’m trapped in this nightmare. I’m hoping someone can help me with 2 questions.
    1) Would the IRS allege any claim on my house or the proceeds should we ever sell it?
    2) Are there any resources out there to help me do the paperwork to file myself if file I must? Even trying to figure out from the IRS website what forms need to be done makes my eyes glaze over. My income tax situation is fairly straightforward.
    Would greatly appreciate any help, this is causing me a great deal of stress.

    1. I am no lawyer or accountant, but I am a US born US person, so am familiar with your issues. In my opinion (and no doubt the opinion of MANY others) you need to step back a bit and ask the question, “How likely will I get into any trouble due to my US personhood since I have a Canadian birth certificate?” Basically, the answer is ‘not very’ if you ask me.
      If your Canadian bank inquires as to your US status, you tell them you are NOT one, and if they ask for proof, you show them your Canadian birth certificate. This is all you need to do unless for some reason YOU let the cat out of the bag in which case I would suggest switching to a new financial institution. Avoiding letting your bank in on your little secret will allow you to avoid FATCA reporting which in turn will allow you to avoid any nasty FATCA letters from the IRS.
      There is no reason for you to jump up and say, ‘here I am’ to the IRS or to FINCEN which will be happy to take your tax returns and FBARS (and associated taxes and penalties) if you volunteer your US status and Canadian financial information, as they are unlikely to ever find out anything about you otherwise.
      In my opinion, it is highly unlikely, bordering on extreme paranoia for anyone to think that there will be any searching by either Canadian or American governments into the lineage of Canadians to ascertain which Canadians have an American parent and might therefore be ‘US persons’.
      Most of us ‘born in the USA’ Canadians WISH we were in your situation, as we are hiding out in plain view with our US birth certificates (but we are not showing them to our Canadian banks). Even then I still think that as long as we keep our birth places a secret (i.e. LIE if we must), even the US born Canadians (at least those without economic ties to USA) can stay safe indefinitely, or at least long enough for this FATCA fiasco to die down. You, with your Canadian birth place are one of the luckier US persons, if there is such a thing as a lucky US person that is.

    2. @Bill: Welcome to Sandbox. You are among friends.

      I agree with White Kat’s advice. You were born in Canada. The IRS does not know about you. Do not put yourself in their sightlines.

      Do not allow yourself to be terrorized by a foreign bully with the help of your Canadian government or the compliance vultures. If you do speak to a professional accountant or lawyer, be sure to ask them the questions posted in this thread–and be sure their answers are honest.

      To answer your specific questions:

      1.  IRS may try to claim capital gains tax on a sale of your house if the capital gains is over $250,000.  However, this would only happen if you tell the IRS about it.  My advice is Don’t tell the IRS anything.

      2.  I personally do not know where you can find information on self-filing. Again, I recommend no filing.

      If you choose to file with the IRS, you will be living this nightmare for the rest of your life.  

      Everyone needs to do whatever will give them the most peace of mind.  I know of two sisters who have been in Canada for over 40 years.  Both were married to Canadian citizens.  Both are Canadian citizens themselves.

      Neither of them knew about the IRS issue until a few years ago.  One filed with the IRS because she couldn’t sleep if she didn’t.  Her sister did not file with the IRS because she said she wouldn’t sleep if she did.

      The compliance vultures and the IRS do not want you to sleep. That is how they rope you in with their threats and bullying. Don’t let them control your life.

    3. P.S. Even if you do file with the IRS, if they ever try to make any claim against your income or sale of your home or to levy penalties for failure to declare Canadian accounts or assets, Canada a Revenue Agency will not collect for IRS.  To date, Canadian courts will not enforce American tax laws or attempts of the IRS claim funds from Canadians in Canada.

      Therefore, IRS has no means of collecting anything from you.

      End the nightmare. Sleep well. And please consider donating to the fund for our legal challenge to FATCA in Canada.

    4. Another vote to do nothing. Hundreds of thousands around the world take this approach. The Infernal revenue society only has resources to chase whales and minnows who jump into the net. Don’t volunteer to be collateral damage.
      As an Irismman would say ‘I tell them feckin nothing’ or as Dan would say only tell them what they already know. Good luck.

    5. My only concern is the expired US passport, which I obtained long ago as a means of cementing ties to my US family. I had a higher opinion of the US then. It puts me on their radar to some point. If not for that I wouldn’t give it a moment’s thought.
      Anybody have any thoughts on whether that long expired passport may come back to bite me?

    6. Hi Bill,
      No offence, but you make me feel way less paranoid about my own situation, or is that way more paranoid?
      Relax. That long expired US passport is highly unlikely to make any difference to you as a Canadian living in Canada with a CANADIAN birth place. Your bank will NEVER have enough ammunition to report you (unless you tell them your secret) and the USA is not going to search through decades old US passports to find you or anyone else.
      You should would worry even LESS, if you never had a SSN. Do you have a SSN Bill?

    7. i agree with White Kat again Bill.  IRS and passport systems are not connected yet. IRS does not have any record of you. Even when the two systems become inter-connected, US Department of State will not likely dig out passport records from decades ago to turn over to IRS.

      Department of State does not likely care about you. They may not even still have a record of your long-ago passport.  If they do, they are not going to go searching through archaic files to find a passport of some guy born in Canada. They don’t have the interest or resources to do that.  

      Celebrate your Canadian place of birth. If you cross the border, give them your Canadian passport with a Canadian birthplace. If the border guard asks your citizenship, you honestly reply Canadian.  End of story.

      Don’t give IRS a reason to try to claim you. Live your life as a Canadian only. Stay away from the Compliance Condors who want to feast on you. Sleep well.



  17. What are your thoughts if my mother recently renounced her citizenship and also gave my personal info to her bank- who is aware that she was a us citizen? I recently got a letter From my pension plan asking about my citizenship. I said ‘no’ I am not a citizen of the us because I honestly didn’t think I was.
    I’m in the same boat as Bill McCaslan- this plague of ‘us citizenship’ was passed down to me through my mom. Just like birth-induced Chlamydia. I have never had a us passport and have no SSN.

    1. Strange that your Mom would give your personal information to her bank. Do you have an account there? Is there a direct connection between her disclosure of your information to her (your?) bank and the letter from your pension plan?
      You might consider that it is possible that you are not a US citizen; your Mother would have to meet certain residence or physical presence requirements in the United States or an outlying possession prior to the person’s birth. You can check the two sources below; the law that was in effect at the time of your birth applies.
      If you were not born in the United States, you might read up on how some view whether or not a birth abroad makes one “automatically” a US citizen.

    2. Hi Tricia,
      I don’t know if there is a connection between my mother’s financial institution and my pension plan, but if there is, I don’t know about it. As far as I know they are separate entities. I have no involvement with that bank whatsoever.
      I found it concerning that I received the letter shortly after my mom began banking with that institution. I don’t know why she chose to tell them that information when they asked – But now it’s done and I can’t do anything about that.
      My mother does meet the residency requirements that would make me a US citizen if I wanted to be one, which I don’t. However, she was moving around a lot at that time In her life and me proving that she resided there is going to be a huge pain in my ass if I do have to somehow prove that I’m a citizen so that I can then completely cut ties with America.
      I believe that US citizenship should be elective in my current situation. I am very happy being a Canadian citizen and see no reason or benefit in being American or viewed as American. Amercian citizenship feels a lot like some guy sideling up and Telling me I’m his wife, and so I have to prove I’m a wife of his so that I can then divorce him. Where is there consent? So ridiculous.
      Do you think public school teaching would be considered a government job? I have a tiny hope that maybe this could be used to relinquish my unwanted citizenship with the states. I am worried I can’t hide due to my mother’s disclosure to the bank. I can hardly afford renouncing (financially, emotionally or logistically). 🙁

      1. Hi Shannon,
        If you have no account at your Mother’s bank, it is likely there is no connection between her telling that bank you “are a U.S. citizen” and the letter from your pension. FATCA is extremely pervasive. In the second year of reporting, banks extended their search for U.S. Persons via entities (i.e., all corporations etc that have accounts at their bank). Your pension plan is probably asking due to that.
        Were you born in Canada? You mentioned no SSN and no passport and I presume, never voted in a U.S. election. As long as your mother did not register your birth with the U.S. Consulate, there is nothing to suggest they have any record of you. Many in your situation are doing absolutely nothing because they don’t expect to be found. And/or are waiting to see if there is anything in the expected tax reform that will end this situation for Accidentals. Have you replied to your pension plan that you are a U.S. citizen? Hopefully not yet………..
        I do not know if public school teacher would be considered enough of a government position to qualify for a relinquishment but in a sense, that may not matter. If you were born in Canada and are dual, there is no relinquishing act/it’s not easy. There is a person at Brock who has a lot of experience with this particular area and I would suggest you go to and direct your question to Pacifica. She may see it here but there are lots of other folks in your situation and you might benefit from reading up on what they are doing. Relinquishing costs exactly the same as renouncing (unless you can backdate a relinquishing act prior go June 2004 but again, if you are born in Canada, this is not so likely a possibility as I understand it. Renunciation is a clean break which they cannot refuse as long as you understand the consequences and are not being coerced in any way should you need to go that route.

    3. Thanks for getting back to me Tricia. I appreciate all of the information you have shared with me. This whole thing is very confusing and overwhelming. I’m having difficulty thinking clearly because this is so crazy. I will look up Pacifica and share my situation with her.

      1. You’re very welcome. I hope you are able to come up with a solution that works for you that causes the least amount of grief. Would be great if you keep in touch so we can know how you are………….

    4. Shannon. Don’t do anything more. You told your pension plan that you were not a US citizen. That is all you have to do. You will be joining tens of thousands around the world pursuing the same course.

    5. @ Shannon,
      (1) Staying Under the Radar:
      Duke of Devon and Tricia have raised a good point that you may do just fine doing nothing about this, as you have a Canadian place of birth.
      The banks seem to be doing what they have to – but nothing more than what they have to – in complying with FATCA, and the indicators they must look for don’t include parentage. (Canada-US FATCA IGA, Annex I, II, (B)(D), p. 20-23).
      I noted also that in the CRA’s guidance to the financial institutions, CRA stated that “financial institutions are not expected to be experts in U.S. nationality law”. (CRA Guidance on the Canada-U.S. Enhanced Tax Information Exchange Agreement, s. 8.33). Although this section of the Guidance Note is on the issue of the citizenship of persons who relinquished their citizenship via a relinquishing act performed prior to 2004, determining citizenship by parentage is also not a cut-and-dried matter. I doubt the financial institutions will do any more than the check for the 7 criteria required by the IGA (p. 20).
      I think the letter from your pension fund was a coincidence, as the pension fund and the bank are not related. Some financial institutions have been sending FATCA letters/questionnaires to everyone – my husband got one about six months ago from his bank and it appeared they were routinely sending them to all their business account clients.
      Canada-US FATCA IGA
      CRA Guidance on the Canada-U.S. Enhanced Tax Information Exchange
      (2) Relinquishment:
      We are aware at Brock of people receiving relinquishment based CLNs based on provincial and municipal employment (as well as federal), as these are considered subdivisions of the foreign state’s government (s. 349(a)(4)(A) Immigration and Nationality Act).
      There’s only been a few provincial-based relinquishments we know of, but all of these were accepted. Offhand I don’t recall a teacher, but I do recall that one of these was a person who worked in a hospital. (see links below).
      They generally don’t ask many questions at the consulate/embassy, sometimes none. But in the case of government employment, they seem to always ask how did you know at the time that you could lose your citizenship by doing that? It hasn’t mattered if the person was warned by their employer (one relinquisher reported that the fed govt had warned him) or if the person learned this by word-of-mouth (as several people had), or some other means, but that you were aware of this at the time is very important.
      Immigration and Nationality Act, s. 349(a)(4)(A)
      ” . . . accepting, serving in, or performing the duties of any office, post, or employment under the government of a foreign state or a political subdivision thereof, after attaining the age of eighteen years if he has or acquires the nationality of such foreign state . . .”
      Here’s some links from the Isaac Brock Society site that may be of particular interest to you.
      Relinquishment of US Citizenship by Persons Born Dual or Who Naturalised in a Foreign Country as a Minor:
      Reports by Persons who Relinquished US Citizenship Upon Taking Government Employment, Immigration and Natoinality Act, s. 349(a)(4)(A).
      Consulate Report Directory:
      (3) Conclusion
      So, I think it sounds likely you’ll be fine staying under the radar. Nevertheless, it’s really good to be aware all one’s options, as it’s definitely not a one-size-fits-all matter.

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