Monthly Archives: May 2017

May 31 2017 Canadian FATCA IGA lawsuit update: Plaintiffs ordered by Federal Court to turn over more detailed financial records to Government

As part of our FATCA IGA litigation in Canada’s Federal Court, Our three Plaintiffs previously provided financial information to the Government lawyers on their accounts. However, Government submitted a motion to compel Plaintiffs to provide additional very detailed financial information.

Our litigators felt that this request was unnecessary and unreasonable — and resisted the motion; however, the Case Management Judge sided with Government and ordered today, on May 31 2017, Plaintiffs to provide further documents.

Plaintiff Gwen responds to court order: “If the nosy-ass government hacks feel that they will find something that they didn’t know before, they will be sorely disappointed and this changes nothing other than to piss us off even more…”

Plaintiff Ginny comments: “I am disappointed with the decision that permits the government to invade our privacy in further minutia. This power play demonstrates to me that the government has no respect for privacy principles and will do everything possible to uphold their decision to support FATCA, and the importation of US law into our sovereign nation.

Their choice to ask for costs is another clear warning to discourage any citizens wishing to challenge unjust legislation. However, the three of us remain undeterred in seeking justice for all of us affected. Once again, I rely on my family motto: don’t let the bastards get you down.”

Plaintiff Kazia says: “Although I am disappointed with this outcome, I am hopeful that these next steps, however uncomfortable, will get us even closer to ultimately achieving a positive resolution in our favour. We will stand up for what is right.”

The documents that now must be turned over are:

Every document that reveals the nature and content of the following financial vehicles that the plaintiffs currently hold, or held after January 1, 2014 (domestically or otherwise):

o All bank accounts

o All mutual funds

o All brokerage and investment accounts, and

o All insurance accounts or plans that have cash value, such as life insurance contracts or annuities (including but not limited to whole and/or universal life coverage, etc.)

With respect to the 2014 and 2015 taxation years:

o Filed T1 tax returns

o T2 tax returns in respect of any businesses that the plaintiffs own or control, and

o Any related documentation, slips or schedules

The Court also requested more “particulars” on the Claim.

These include:

Each type of physical harm the Plaintiffs allege as been suffered; or will for certain be suffered if the impugned provisions remain operational by any one of them or by anyone else, as a result of the impugned provisions;

All mental or psychological harm the Plaintiffs allege has been suffered; or will for certain be suffered if the impugned provisions remain operational; by any one of them or by anyone else, as a result of the impugned provisions;

All financial harm, loss, or damage that the Plaintiffs allege has been incurred; or will for certain be incurred; by any one of them or by anyone else, as a result of the impugned provisions.

In addition, Court ordered Plaintiffs to pay $2500 in costs for the motion.

Plaintiffs do not have to pay these costs if we ultimately win the court challenge; however this order emphasizes again the personal financial risks Plaintiffs have undertaken on behalf of Canada and Canadians.

The Court has given Plaintiffs 60 days to provide the information and ordered that Government complete examinations for discovery within 45 days of the latter.

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Lynne Away from Maple Sandbox

Lynne (Blaze) has asked me to let you all know that she will be away from Maple Sandbox for a while. Unfortunately, she is in the ICU at the University Hospital in London, Ontario.

I, for one, will be eagerly awaiting her to rejoin us with her insightful, thoughtful and clever comments and posts.

Hang in there, Lynne, and  please do remember there are a lot of people who will miss you and who I know will join me in sending good (and healing) thoughts your way.

May 15 2017 Response of some Witnesses [Including those of FATCA supporter Elise Bean] to U.S. House Subcommittee with recommendations to “improve legal framework” of FATCA

[I now include in this LINK the recommendations of Elise Bean, a long-time FATCA supporter and witness at the FATCA hearing.]

On April 26 2017 there was a Hearing at the U.S. House Subcommittee on Government Operations dealing with the harm caused by the U.S. FATCA law imposed on the world.

At the conclusion of the hearing, Chairman Meadows asked the Witnesses for “three recommendations on how to improve the legal framework set up by the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act” (FATCA).

My personal-only interpretation of this request is that the Chair is saying something like: “If FATCA has to be replaced with something else, can you recommend three compromise laws/approaches that would achieve the “good” aims of FATCA but minimize the harm, and which would receive bipartisan support?”

— I enclose as a link the May 15, 2017 submitted personal recommendations of Jim Bopp, a witness and attorney for the U.S. FATCA/IGA/FBAR lawsuit currently pending in United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (I am one of the plaintiffs).

From the Bopp text:

“This letter provides three recommendations on how to improve the legal framework set up by the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (“FATCA”).

First, we recommend that any taxation of overseas Americans comply with established United States constitutional principles and international legal norms.

Second, we recommend that the current laws be repealed in their entirety [Bopp goes on to include specifically FATCA, IGAs, FBAR, and citizenship-based taxation] and certain proposals rejected.

Third, we recommend that Congress enact a 1099 requirement on foreign banks, established by treaty, as long as this complies with established United States constitutional principles and international legal norms…”

—- Appended to the end of the Bopp recommendations are my personal thoughts as a separate submission: I support, as does Mr. Bopp, the repeal in entirety of FATCA, FBAR, IGAs, and citizenship-based taxation (the latter to be replaced with territorial/residence-based taxation), do not support any “watered-down” FATCA-replacement legislation whatsoever — which I believe will continue the harm, and offer suggestions on changing U.S. citizenship laws in the very limited context of FATCA harm. In hindsight, I now feel that I should have gone further in my recommendations for citizenship law changes.

—- When I receive the recommendations of strong FATCA supporter Elise Bean, a hearing witness, I will post.

Ongoing developments: Republicans Overseas has initiated an intensive lobbying campaign with Congress to kill citizenship-based taxation and replace with territorial taxation. There can be no promise of success, but these people are trying. I am not aware of similar efforts on the Democrat side.

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Solving US Citizenship Problems- Vancouver May 23, Geneva June 7, Dublin June 8, & London UK June 16 2017

Vancouver BC – Tuesday, May 23, 2017 Details below

Geneva CH Wednesday, June 7, 2017- Details TBA

Dublin IE – Thursday, June 8, 2017 – Details TBA

London UK – Friday, June 16, 2017 Details TBA

Have you received a FATCA letter or been warned of the consequences of being a U.S. person?

New this year in the U.S. assault on people and countries outside its borders, is the “second wave” of reporting – the “entity” reporting. This is nothing less than every financial entity – any corporation, non-profit corporation, your Canadian controlled-private corporation (CCPC), any fund with shareholders-is fair game for an associated financial lender, bank etc to ask:

“Who are your clients, shareholders? Are they, or have they ever been, U.S. citizens?”

If so, they need to fill out a US tax form. (W8-no withholding for non-US taxpayers or W9-for withholding on US taxpayers) to be kept on file with the bank.

My financial advisor indicated he now realized I had not exagerrated the extent of this U.S. interference in Canada. He now has to ask each and every new client, regardless of what they are buying,

“Are you, or have you ever been, a U.S. citizen?”

Utterly outrageous.

Why am I getting letters from my bank all of a sudden?

The “FATCA Hunt” – the hunt for U.S. persons (whatever that is) began on July 1, 2014 which was “Canada Day”. Although both the definition of “U.S. person” and whether one meets the definition is not always clear, the search has begun. The level of FATCA awareness has begun. Some organizations are actively warning people that “U.S. Personness” matters. The purpose of the warning is presumably to encourage people to ”come clean” and deal with their U.S. tax situations. In some cases, there is no particular warning – just a letter indicating that they are suspected to be a “U.S. person”. Often one must prove to the institution sending the letter that one is not a U.S. person.

What individuals are U.S. taxpayers? Who is a U.S. citizen?

There are individuals that the U.S. government would define as “U.S. citizens” who:

do NOT agree that they are U.S. citizens because they have performed a “relinquishing act” under applicable U.S. laws;
do NOT even know that they may be U.S. citizens because they have never lived in the United States
are citizens and residents of countries that do NOT allow multiple citizenships
To put it another way: one’s status as a U.S. citizen is NOT always clear.

I have never heard of these requirements! What determines the income that must be reported to the IRS? What “Information Returns” are required to be reported to the IRS?

FBAR (Now called FinCen 114)
FATCA 8938 – Report of Specified Foreign Assets
5471 – Information return for Foreign Corporation
3520 – Information return for a “Foreign Trust”
3520A – related to the 3520
8621 – for mutual funds
8965 – for exemption regarding ACA (“Obamacare”)
I am only a snowbird! Why does this affect me?

Substantial Presence Test
Form 8840 Closer Connection Exception Statement for Aliens
Caution: Streamlined Programs & 35 day rule – Catch 22

What are the ways I can become compliant?

Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program – AKA “OVDP – Not appropriate for the vast majority of people
Streamlined Compliance – A pre-packaged way to “clean up” past compliance problems
Obeying the law – filing amended tax returns outside the “IRS Created” programs
Delinquent FBAR Submission Procedures

What costs are involved in renouncing U.S. citizenship?

The costs of a total of 6 years (5 years prior the year of renuncation plus the year of renunciation) of tax compliance and information returns
The cost of any back taxes and penalties
A $2350 administrative fee
Possibility of having to pay an “Exit Tax” (which can be the biggest problem)

WHEN: Tuesday, May 23, 2017 1:00 – 3:00 pm
WHERE: 1010 Richards Street, Vancouver B C V6B 3E4 (Downtown) MAP
Richards & Nelson, Gallery Condo Building, Amenity Room, Entrance at REAR of BLDG on lane.
Metered parking on street or lot at Richards & Smithe. Canada Line – Yaletown stop.
Expo & Millenium lines – Granville Station.
ADMISSION:PLEASE REGISTER IN ADVANCE by email to john at citizenshipsolutions dot ca
COST: $20 payable in cash at the door

Information presented is NOT intended or offered as legal or accounting advice specific to your situation.

May 13, 2017 Canadian Federal Court FATCA IGA lawsuit update: Motion for Summary Trial now submitted

“…The government of Canada has a responsibility to stand up for its citizens when foreign governments are encroaching on their rights…We believe that the deal reached between Canada and the U.S. is insufficient to protect affected Canadians…” June 2015 Pre-Election statement of Mr. Justin Trudeau (now Prime Minister of the Government we are suing) to a constituent

May 13 2017 Canadian FATCA Litigation Update:

SUMMARY TRIAL MOTION has now been submitted on Constitutional/Charter issues. We are finally moving closer to trial and our Vancouver litigators have now served and filed in Canada’s Federal Court a “Notice of Motion for Summary Trial”.

As detailed in this brief motion (see link) this is a pleading to the Federal Court of Canada for a summary judgement we are seeking on the Constitutional-Charter issues.

We argue in the motion that the Canadian legislation enabling the FATCA Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) violates Canada’s Constitution Act (by forfeiting Canada’s sovereignty and facilitating the extra-territorial enforcement of a foreign state’s taxation and tax compliance regime on Canadians) and Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Sections 7, 8, and 15).

There is this statement in the Motion:

“The contours of United States citizenship and the definition of US Person are matters of United States law and/or policy and are subject to be changed by the United States at any time.”

There is also this:

“It is a principle of international law that every sovereign state has the right to conduct its affairs without intervention by other states (the “Principle of Non-Intervention”). The Principle of Non-Intervention is at the core of the international legal order and is a corollary of every state’s right to sovereignty, territorial integrity and political Independence. The Principle of Non-Intervention is an element of the unwritten constitution.”

Will the Federal Court of Canada accept this Constitutional argument?

This motion is NOT the main, detailed legal submission (i.e., where all of the case law is discussed, etc.) which will be filed much closer to the hearing date (yet to be decided).

AFFIDAVITS. You will notice on pages 22-23 a long list of affidavit titles. Because of a technical issue related to the litigation, it is not possible to publish the text of these affidavits at the present time.

Some of the affidavits include those we previously submitted and those Government submitted – which we feel will help our case.

There are also expert reports from three witnesses (Ryan Liss, Roy Berg, Kevyn Nightingale) who were selected by our litigators to provide an expert opinion based on our litigators’ assessment of their expertise and experience.

In addition, there are affidavits listed from lay witnesses.

Our litigators made a strategic decision on the selection of specific lay witnesses for the trial from the larger group of volunteers. I thank the lay witnesses and all witness volunteers for their courage and commitment to push for return of Canada to Canadians.

LIKELY NEXT STEPS. On May 19, 2017 there will be a teleconference with Government, Case Management Judge, and our side to deal with the Government Motion to compel further documents from the three plaintiffs (we oppose the motion).

After the ruling, Examinations for Discovery of the three expert witnesses and the plaintiffs will be scheduled and conducted. Our lawyers will likewise examine the Attorney General’s witnesses. It is also possible that the Attorney General might examine our lay witnesses. We currently do not know if they will elect to do so.

Upon completion of the all examinations of the parties, and after filing all required submissions, we will await a trial date to be set by the court. Trial dates are dependent on the availability of Justices and court (backlog) schedules.

I know that the slow pace of our litigation is frustrating. Thank you for your continued support and kind thoughts.

Stephen Kish

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