Invitation to participate in Carleton University study

A student at Carleton University has asked if we would allow him to use our blog to find volunteers for a study on the experiences of American/Canadian duals and former American/Canadian duals. Lynne and I have agreed to this, and we are very interested in the results. I’m not going to say much more, as the student, James Eastman-Timmons, will provide an introduction. I will say that I checked the Carleton U site and did some Googling, and did confirm that the professors who he listed as being on the ethics board who approved the project really are on the board, and that James has a profile on linkedin.

I hope many of us do take him up on this as, from my perspective, it’s an opportunity to help educate and inform a whole new set of people, who may, after this study comes out, join us in our fight.

15 thoughts on “Invitation to participate in Carleton University study

  1. calgary411

    James,

    Re: “I am looking for individuals who have held both Canadian and American citizenships at one point in time, and individuals who currently hold both American and Canadian citizenships. The research study explores the experiences of individuals holding both citizenships, but also those who held both citizenships at one point in time and renounced their US citizenship.”

    I would not be one to enter the experience of my family for your study because of my location. Too bad you cannot expand the boundaries. My question is do you mean “holding two citizenships as in VOLUNTARILY” or as in FORCED “US-defined dual citizenship”? I ask, because:

    My son was born in Canada to two US citizen parents and by US-defined citizenship law is a US citizen — even though never formally registered with the US as a birth abroad. Not in my definition and I fight against the entrapment that a US-defined US citizenship places on someone with without ‘requisite mental capacity’ to understand the concept of *citizenship* and therefore is not able to renounce such a US-defined US citizenship and further must not have the assistance or the influence of anyone to in doing so.

    Specifically as one example, my son was born in Canada, raised in Canada, never lived in the US, never had any benefit from the US, only from Canada. His family, consisting of US parents who became Canadian citizens in 1975 and his sister who was also born in Canada, live in Canada. Why would he ever *voluntarily* become (if it was not automatic) a US citizen. He and others like him, because of developmental disability, are ENTRAPPED into the consequences of US citizenship-based taxation law and the abhorrent yearly cost of compliance with the help of US tax law and accounting professionals that he would need to help him/them do so without penalty. Note that a parent, a guardian or a trustee does not have the right to renounce a US-defined US citizenship on behalf of such a person without requisite mental capacity (which could also include someone with dementia, a brain injury caused by an accident, stroke, etc.), even with a court order.

    Note the circular dilemma that my son or others like him would have no more requisite mental capacity to enter into the US tax and reporting system to file all back US tax and reporting forms that would allow his or their final filing of Form 8854 to prove compliance with US tax and reporting after a renunciation — which he cannot do because: go back to DOS regulation that such a person cannot renounce because he does not have the requisite mental capacity. It’s bloody insane!

    If the US had residence-based taxation like the rest of the world (save Eritrea), my son and others like him in Canada and other countries around the world would not have the problem they do because of a US-defined US citizenship and that immoral consequence of US citizenship-based taxation. There WILL be others without the boundaries of your study who would be so affected — they just don’t know it yet.

    For further comment on this discrimination of some Canadians who could never renounce a US-defined citizenship for any amount of money, see http://www.rdsp.com/2014/03/10/rdsps-and-fatca-warning-to-people-with-disabilities-with-any-connection-to-the-u-s/. It might also be of interest to some to see what the Conservative government thinks about those in the situation like my son’s: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANqVaEpRi_4.

    Reply
  2. Lynne Swanson

    @James Thanks for clarifying. That leaves me out–although I find the IRS demands burdensome.

    Do you want to hear from “Accidental Americans”–I.e. People born in US but who have never considered themselves American? That would include Canadians born in a US hospital or those who were born to Canadian parents while they were temporarily working, studying or visiting the US. Many of those people have always considered themselves Canadian citizens until the IRS intrusion into their lives.

    Reply
    1. James Eastman-Timmons

      Good question. ‘Accidental Americans’ are individuals I would like to hear from, yes. Thank you for this point.

  3. Pacifica777

    I read James’ post literally and therefore assumed a person who is not, or never was, a dual citizen would not be eligible to take part in this survey. He may be being quite specific about the focus group. But, yeah, that term does get misused/misunderstood a lot in recent years, so it’s a good idea to clarify it with him. One thing for sure — sounds like a terrific topic for a research project!

    Reply
  4. Lynne Swanson

    @James The points raised by Schubert and Johnnb are important ones. I also detest the use of the D word. So do many other people who consider themselves Canadian citizens only.

    Could you clarify that point for us please.

    Reply
  5. Schubert

    I thought perhaps I should post a comment, which I including in my cover email in which I forwarded the URL for this thread to several people I know in the Ottawa area.

    As I read James’ description of the survey, this is aimed at present or past US-Canada dual citizens.

    I, and some of the people to whom I forwarded this link for information and possible interest, am not now and never have been a dual-Canadian-US citizen for a microsecond. I “relinquished” my US citizenship four decades ago, on becoming a Canadian citizen, voluntarily and very much intending at the same time to relinquish my US citizenship. I went out of my way to notify the US Secretary of State of that fact, timing my notification by letter for the bicentennial of the US Declaration of Independence, and shortly thereafter received a CLN (of which I had known or heard nothing until that receipt) in the mail from the US Embassy. In law and in my own mind, I’ve never been a dual citizen even for a microsecond, as I said. Moreover, my coming to Canada and becoming a Canadian had nothing at all to do with FATCA nor US taxation, which was never an issue forty years ago, at least for me as I had in fact been filing US tax returns up until I became a Canadian (I had been warned about this by a personnel officer at my place of employment when I came to Canada). So my reading of the survey description tells me I’m not what James is looking for, and even if he were, I am not about to give anyone any possible leverage to claim that I’ve ever considered myself a dual citizen, by participating in this survey.

    For those of you who have a CLN or who have applied for one, based on a years-ago relinquishment of US citizenship through whichever and however many of the seven ways you can do that, I offer you my preceding thoughts for your consideration before deciding whether to volunteer for this survey.

    If you actually are or have been a dual citizen, or in US law might be considered to be a US dual whether you believe that or not, and are concerned about FATCA, the IGA, CBT and the whole nine yards, and reside in the Ottawa area, I strongly encourage your participation in this survey. I don’t recommend participation, however, for folks like me, as described above and for the reasons given above.

    Reply
    1. johnnb

      I was thinking exactly the same thing when I read the information given. I suspect that the researcher has been just a bit loose in his definition and meant to include people like us but made a mistake.
      Unless the definition is changed to reflect the fact that we were U.S. citizens until the moment we became Canadian and then immediately ceased to be U.S. I would also caution against becoming involved in the project.

    2. James Eastman-Timmons

      Hi Schubert and johnnb, thank you for helping to clarify the invitation. I am looking for individuals who have held both Canadian and American citizenships at one point in time, and individuals who currently hold both American and Canadian citizenships. The research study explores the experiences of individuals holding both citizenships, but also those who held both citizenships at one point in time and renounced their US citizenship.

      Unfortunately, this study would not include those who have not held both citizenships at the same time.

      I hope this helps clarify, but please let me know if you have further questions. I have included my email address in the invitation.

      Thank you.

    3. Schubert

      Thanks for that clarification James. While your restriction will eliminate a fair number of active participants in this and the Brock website, your study certainly will be more valid for the purpose of determining to what extent FATCA, the IGA and CBT are causing US citizens to get rid of their US citizenship.

      I would urge you to take all possible steps to destroy all raw data collected (once analyzed of course), including notes during interviews, to prevent any possible way that your data (including records made during the interviews) could ever be used to identify participants, say under a court subpoena or less legal means (hacking, break-ins, etc and no I don’t think this is paranoia speaking). I say this because of the exit-tax ramifications for anyone, no matter what their net-worth levels as defined under the IRS’ mark-to-market scheme, whom the IRS might deem to have renounced or even relinquished their US citizenship for tax reasons. I would assume and hope you (and the Carleton ethics committee) are aware of that, but I think it bears stressing, given the very justifiable concern many US citizens feel about these ramifications.

    1. James Eastman-Timmons

      Hi Lynne, I will also soon be posting questions directly on the blog (in this section) which any of the readers/members of the blog are more than welcome to answer.

    2. James Eastman-Timmons

      In my research report individuals will be anonymous and their answers non-attributable to them. I can not speak to the blog. If you would like to contact me directly, my email address has been included in the letter of invitation posted here.

      Thank you.

  6. James Eastman-Timmons

    Date of Ethics Clearance: December 12, 2014
    Date Ethics Clearance Expires: May 31, 2015

    Volunteers needed for a study on the experiences of American-Canadian dual citizens

    Looking for current and former American­-Canadian dual citizens residing in Ottawa, Ontario to participate in a study. The study is on the extent to which current American-Canadian dual citizens consider their status to be inconvenient or burdensome, as a result of U.S. tax laws. This study also examines whether former American-­Canadian dual citizens (and are now Canadian citizens only) perceive their status to be inconvenient or burdensome, and whether this perception influenced their decision to renounce (give up) their U.S. citizenship. The researcher for this study is James Eastman­-Timmons in the Sociology & Anthropology department at Carleton University.

    Individuals interested in participating in this study will participate in a 60 minute interview. During this time, participants will be asked questions that are designed to determine the perceptions of American and Canadian citizenships, and American­-Canadian dual citizenship status. These questions will also examine what former and current American-­Canadian dual citizens consider to be the benefits and burdens of this status, what their experiences are with filing U.S. tax returns, and what their sense of identity is. That is, whether they identify as American, Canadian, or both American and Canadian. Former American­-Canadian dual citizens will be asked questions intended to determine why they have renounced their U.S. citizenship, and current American­-Canadian dual citizens will be asked questions intended to determine why they have chosen to maintain this status.

    If you choose to participate in the study, you do not have to answer questions or discuss sensitive financial information, and you have the right to withdraw from the study at any point in time, for any reason up until February 28th 2015. All efforts will be made to ensure that the identity of all participants is protected. All individuals who participate in this study will remain anonymous in the final research project, and their responses will be non-attributable to them. By participating in this study, you will be able to share your dual citizenship stories and raise awareness about the potential financial insecurities and other difficulties that may be associated with this status.

    For those who cannot or do not wish to be interviewed, I will also be posting a series of questions relating to the research topic onto the blog forum with the intention of gathering responses from readers/members. Again, all participants will remain anonymous in the final research project, and their responses will be non-attributable to them.

    This project has been reviewed and cleared by the Carleton University Research Ethics Board.

    For questions regarding ethics, the REB may be contacted at 613-520-­2517 or ethics@carleton.ca

    For those with further questions/concerns, the researcher may be contacted by email at: jameseastmantimmons@cmail.carleton.ca

    Sincerely,

    James Eastman-Timmons

    Reply

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