Author Archives: Lynne Swanson

Trump Attack on Canadian (and other) Privacy

Well, the attack on privacy under U.S. President Trump didn’t take long. Just five days after taking office, Trump signed an Executive Order eliminating privacy protections for foreigners.

President Donald Trump’s Executive Order on domestic safety, released yesterday, has enormous implications for the privacy of everyone living outside the United States. For Canadians, the order should raise significant concerns about government data shared with U.S. authorities as well as the collection of Canadian personal information by U.S. agencies. Given the close integration between U.S. and Canadian agencies – as well as the fact that Canadian Internet traffic frequently traverses into the U.S. – there are serious implications for Canadian privacy. Moreover, the order will raise major concerns in the European Union, creating the possibility of restrictions on data transfers as it seemingly kills the Privacy Shield compromise.

There doesn’t seem to be much security of data in the U.S. with 64% of Americans affected by a major data breach

Plus, U.S. border agents are demanding social media information from Muslim Americans and asking foreigners for their social media handles.

It’s happening and it’s scary.

Welcome to TrumpLand.

Is U.S. Treasury Secretary Nominee A Real Tax Cheat?

Hmmm. Donald Trump’s nominee for Treasury Secretary failed to disclose $100 million in assets and “forgot” to mention his corporation in the Cayman Islands.

Don’t worry. Steven Mnuchin assured U.S. Senate it was all “a simple mistake made amid a mountain of bureaucracy.” His “oversight..was unintentionsal.”

Mr. Mnuchin says

Filling out these forms is quite complicated.

He insisted he does pay all his taxes. I wonder if he shares the view of Trump that a billionaire not paying taxes “makes (him) smart.”

I suspect Mr. Mnuchin doesn’t like FATCA very much–if he even knows what it is. He does want to make things simpler.

“I would support changing the tax laws to make sure they are simpler and more effective.”

So dare we hope he would actually bring forward the Republican resolutions to repeal FATCA and move to residence-based taxation?

Accidental Americans (And Others): Do Nothing!

Backing up the above tweet, Keith Redmond posted the following on Facebook:

Dear Members: I just had a lengthy, robust call with an individual who spent 25 years in upper management with the Department of Treasury IRS Criminal Investigation. He confirmed what I thought about the IRS. There is more bark than bite. He stated that there are many, many Americans overseas ho have no business in entering the US tax system and that Accidental Americans UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should enter the US tax system. He confirmed that there are MANY US tax pros who prey on Americans overseas and Accidental Americans through fear and falsehoods. (e.g. you will get arrested, etc.). Any US tax professional who pushes and scaremongers these individuals to comply are not professionals and should not be used! He confirmed that the IRS is NOT going to go after you in your country of residence (most especially if you are a citizen of that country) and the IRS is NOT going to arrest you at the US border. The IRS does not have the resources to do this plus they go after those who have committed a crime not the average American overseas. He stated that Americans overseas need to not succumb to the fear. Excellent conversation and I am glad my views have been validated.

This reflects what I have long believed. Unfortunately, there is still the nightmare of FATCA to deal with. In some countries, anyone born in the US cannot even get bank accounts. We are treated as criminals just for banking where we live.

I asked Keith how his contact explains and justifies this.

Keith replied:

He can’t. He finds the whole situation abhorent…

Israel Dismisses FATCA Case

AGGGH!

The Israeli Supreme Court dismissed the case against FATCA.

It seems the Supreme Court of Israel thinks privacy is dead in today’s world:

“What can be done? In the modern world the right to privacy is very limited,” Supreme Court Justice Mazuz said. “The alternative to privacy is criminal acts of every kind. This is nothing new, except for the fact that it is regulated now under law and other mechanisms. It’s like the infringement on the right to freedom of occupation. There is always a need for licensing, regulation, and supervision. There are many infringements on freedom of occupation, right to property and privacy, because without it modern society cannot function.”

Scary stuff. Sounds like Justice Mazuz is an ally of the likes of Carl Levin and Gerald Keddy.

By Israel Court approving law targeting “Americans living in Israel,” the Israeli Supreme Court also seems to think U.S. law dictates constitutions of the world:

Justice Hanan Meltzer in part justified the law by noting its acceptance by the United States, saying this created a presumption of constitutionality.

“As long as the US law is in force, there is a presumption of constitutionality in regards to its purposes.”

In other words, U.S, “Congress has spoken” for Israel.

Proposal to Repeal FATCA in U.S. Congress

Republican U.S. Congressman Mark Meadows is proposing to repeal “the heart of FATCA” according to Bloomberg.

In the article FATCA Reporting Under Assault in U.S. House Legislation, Bloomberg says:

The law “goes well beyond what is appropriate” and violates U.S. citizens’ constitutional right to privacy under the Fourth Amendment, Meadows said in a news release Sept. 7. FATCA also creates “unnecessary burdens,” he said.

The actual bill begins:

“To repeal the violation of sovereign nations’ laws and privacy matters”

The rest is legalese. Any legal minds out there who can decipher this for us?

I’m not certain from reading this article if the bill has actually be introduced in Congress or if it is just proposed. I suspect this will never be passed.

But someone is listening. I would love to have a new version of “Congress has spoken.”