Jim has not yet reviewed the 1164 pages of information (nor have I). He provides a link to the documents and says:
I rely on readers to review them and notify me at email@example.com and the interested public of anything of significance.
To some of us in an e-mail, Jim also said:
It would be good to have as many pairs of eyes as possible review these docs for anything that might be useful, particularly in the Canadian and US litigation. My guess is that most of it is fluff – maybe all of it— but perhaps something got in here that’s more telling than they supposed when they released it. As noted, I have not yet reviewed the docs. At this time, I do not plan to issue my own analysis.
Second, please report anything of interest – especially if perhaps helpful for (a) appeal of withholding of some docs or (b) our friends in Congress opposed to FATCA and the IGAs – to me. Also notify the larger community for their insights.
Two years “Expedited.” Really?
Actually, Jim did better than I did. I submitted a Freedom of Information request to U.S. State Department for some personal information in September of 2012. I’m still waiting after more than three years and many phone calls to them.
This may be of interest to Canadian citizens living outside our borders for more than five years. If you are able and willing to travel to the last riding in which you resided in Canada, with proof of your ID, your Canadian citizenship, and of your residence in that riding (an old utility bill or tax assessment from CRA might do that trick), you can in fact vote either in advance poll or on election day.
“Tax havens” vs. “Bank Secrecy” and a world of residence based taxation
Governments in general and the U.S. government in particular, have become more concerned that U.S. citizens either move their capital from the United States or hide their capital from the United States. People who would move their capital from the United States so that they could generate a better “after tax” rate of return. People who would hide their money from the United States so that their capital and income would escape U.S. Taxation. Any country with tax rates lower than U.S. tax rates would be considered to be (from a U.S. perspective) a “tax haven”. Any country that does not disclose the identity of its customers to the United States would be considered to be engaged in “Bank Secrecy”. As more and more income is generated from capital, governments the world over, have become concerned about capital escaping taxation. This concern has culminated in the OECD “Common Reporting Standard” which will “keep the capital of a country’s residents” in that “person’s country of residence”. In other words, countries are concerned that the residents of a given country, pay tax to that country. This principle reflects the principle that all countries (save one) impose taxation based on the fact of “residence” in the country.
In 2010 the U.S. Congress passed and President Barack Obama signed into law the U.S. “Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act” which is known as FATCA. It was aimed at resident U.S. citizens, green card holders, etc. President Obama, Senator Carl Levin and others claimed that the purpose of FATCA was to combat tax evasion, tax havens and bank secrecy. That may be a partial truth.The truth is that FATCA attacks “middle class” Americans abroad AND expands the U.S. tax base into other nations.
President Obama signed FATCA into law on March 18, 2010. Senator Carl Levin, a co-sponsor of the FATCA legislation, declared that “offshore tax abuses [targeted by FATCA]cost the federal treasury an estimated $100 billion in lost tax revenues annually” 156 Cong. Rec. 5 S1745-01 (2010). FATCA became law as the IRS began its Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP), which since 2009 has allowed U.S. taxpayers with undisclosed overseas assets to disclose them and pay reduced penalties. By 2014, the OVDP collected $6.5 billion through voluntary disclosures from 45,000 participants. “IRS Makes Changes to Offshore Programs; Revisions Ease Burden and Help More Taxpayers Come into Compliance,”
http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRS-Makes-Changes-to-Offshore-Programs;-Revisions-Ease- Burden-and-Help-More-Taxpayers-Come-into-Compliance (last visited Sept. 15, 2015). The success of the voluntary program has likely been enhanced by the existence of FATCA.