Thanks very much, PatCanadian, for doing this interview!
Vancouver Sun: Metro Vancouver Woman Joins Movement to Drop US Citizenship
The author, Douglas Todd made contact with Pat, due to Pat having contacted the Vancouver Sun regarding their coverage of FATCA/US tax policy on Canadians. He also asked Pat if she could help him get in touch with other people affected by this – several other Sandboxers/Brockers have – and also at the end of the article asks people to get in touch with him.
I’m wondering (hoping!) that’s because he plans to do more coverage of this important issue. It’s a complex issue with several, if not many, facets. If you’d like to share your story, or general information about the issue, and/or suggest another article focusing on a specific aspect/s of the problem, it may well be worth getting in touch with him.
I was very happy to report on a born-dual friend’s successful consulate meeting this week, in which he applied for a CLN based on his relinquishment at the time of taking government employment.
However, people have reported some consulate personnel erroneously telling them that a person born dual or who acquired their non-US citizenship as a minor is unable to expatriate except by renouncing. In fact, there is no automatic disqualification of such persons from having the capacity to perform certain other relinquishing acts.
Such consulate personnel are probably conflating s. 349(a)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act with all other non-renunciation methods of relinquishing one’s citizenship. Section 349(a) (1) is naturalising in a foreign country after Continue reading Relinquishment of US Citizenship by Persons-Born-Dual or who Naturalised in a Foreign Country as a Minor
In light of the Canadian Government’s ongoing IGA negotiations with the US, Maple Sandbox and the Isaac Brock Society today issued a joint letter to the Hon. James Flaherty, MInister of Finance, demanding an answer to one simple question, which to date he has not answered. Do all Canadians have the same rights? The letter is reproduced below. As well, you can download a PDF of the letter here.
It has also been released to media outlets with the following message:
“Do all Canadians have the same rights? For two years, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has refused to answer that simple question while he negotiates with a foreign government trying to financially terrorize Canadian citizens, residents and financial institutions.
Now Isaac Brock Society and Maple Sandbox have put that simple question to Minister Flaherty in the attached Open Letter.
We hope you will bring this to the attention of Canadians and Mr. Flaherty. Perhaps you will be more successful at getting an answer from Minister of Finance than we have been.”
“OPEN LETTER TO CANADIAN FINANCE MINISTER JIM FLAHERTY
The Honourable James Flaherty, P.C. M.P
RE: FATCA: Canadian Rights vs. Foreign Demands
We write to you today asking a simple question: Do all Canadians have the same rights under Canada’s laws and our Charter of Rights and Freedoms?
Your government is quietly negotiating a new tax information sharing agreement with the United States that we fear will remove those rights from Canadians whom the U.S. wants to claim as their own. We would like your assurance that no such removal is being contemplated.
There are at least a million people in this group, with another two or three million family members who will be affected by any agreement with the U.S. that compromises their rights.
We are law-abiding, responsible, tax-paying Canadian citizens and residents, many of us here for decades or our entire lives. We live from Atlantic to Pacific to Arctic. We have studied, worked, retired, earned an income, owned homes, raised Canadian-born families, volunteered, voted, participated in our communities, donated to Canadian charities, saved, invested, planned for our children’s education, their and our own disabilities and our retirement and diligently paid our federal, provincial and municipal taxes.
But now we are suffering as a foreign government tries to financially terrorize us. There have been many sleepless nights. Marriages have been strained. Health and careers have been affected. Some have even contemplated suicide.
Our Canadian citizenship certificates describe us as: “… entitled to all of the rights and privileges and bears all the responsibilities, obligations and duties of a Canadian citizen.” We have met our obligations, and we now respectfully ask you, and the government of Canada, to meet your obligations to us.
As you are fully aware, the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) demands Canadian banks, credit unions and other financial institutions provide information to U.S. Internal Revenue Service – either directly or through the Canadian government – on our accounts with them.
This is a nightmare for us, and it should be for your government. Those accounts are often held with Canadian-born spouses and children. Those assets were earned, saved, invested and taxed entirely in Canada. Income was reported to Canada Revenue Agency and taxes paid. If we refuse to provide consent for transmission of our information to a foreign government, FATCA expects our banks to declare us “recalcitrant” and close our accounts.
FATCA violates Canadian banking, privacy and human rights laws and Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Yet, under foreign threats, Canadian banks and financial institutions may violate those rights – possibly with help from your government through the imposition of an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA).
Mr. Flaherty, you yourself wrote “Canada is not a tax haven. People do not flock to Canada to avoid paying taxes.” You called FATCA “unwarranted” and “extraterritorial.” You insisted FATCA would “turn Canadian banks into extensions of the IRS and would raise significant privacy concerns for Canadians.”
Nevertheless, your officials are negotiating in secret with American officials for a “solution both countries will find agreeable.” There should be no negotiating fundamental Canadian rights. It should be clear. Canadian laws and the Charter protect all Canadian citizens and residents. Anything less makes us second class Canadians and surrenders Canada’s sovereignty to a foreign power.
So, again, the question is simple. Do Canadian citizens and residents born in United States or with some bizarre past U.S. connection have the same rights as all other Canadians?
We implore you to answer now. This nightmare has dragged on too long.
This letter is the collaborative effort of Canadians across Canada – most are active participants in the Isaac Brock Society and Maple Sandbox blogs. Many do not want their names revealed now because of an impending betrayal of their financial privacy rights by their government and by their banks. They fear the unprincipled predatory financial attack by the U.S. helped by that Canadian betrayal.
Lynne Swanson, maplesandbox at gmail dot com
Administrator, Maple Sandbox
Peter W. Dunn, petros at isaacbrocksociety dot ca
Administrator, Isaac Brock Society”
The Isaac Brock Society and Maple Sandbox today issued a joint letter to Mr. Terry Campbell, President of the Canadian Banker’s Association, detailing their opposition to FATCA. The letter, which was hand delivered to Mr. Campbell’s office, is reproduced below. As well, you can download the PDF of the letter here.
November 12, 2013
Canadian Bankers Association
Dear Mr. Campbell,
As citizens and residents of Canada, we are strongly opposed to the Canadian Bankers Association’s (CBA) recently-stated advocacy for an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) that would allow the government of the United States – through the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act – to impose its tax laws in Canada.
Such an agreement would represent a gross violation of Canadian sovereignty and would violate the rights of Canadian citizens and residents under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Canadian Human Rights Act, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, and other legal guarantees. The CBA’s claim that an IGA would mitigate these violations in any meaningful way is illusory.
There are an estimated one million people in Canada who have, one way or another, connections to the U.S. that would place them, through FATCA, on the U.S. Internal Revenue Service’s radar screen. Add in family members, who are also caught up in this net, and the one million gets closer to four million – that’s nearly 12% of the Canadian population! Continue reading Letter to Canadian Bankers Association, Issued Jointly by Isaac Brock Society and Maple Sandbox, in Opposition to FATCA
It’s been months since I’ve seen any availability for Vancouver appointments. Thanks to Cyal8rUS, who posted the following comment on the “About the Isaac Brock Society” page: Quote “If someone with authorship privileges would be able to blog this: The Vancouver US Consulate FINALLY has new appointments available for “other” ACS services. If you have been trying to book a renunciation appointment, get there quickly. …” End Quote So, I posted on Brock and here. Seems there’s been quite a change at Vancouver.
The Vancouver website says; “If you would like to make an appointment to renounce or relinquish your U.S. citizenship, please email VancouverCLN@state.gov ” So, I e-mailed that address a few minutes ago and got an immediate automated reply (very comprehensive with detailed instructions). Of particular interest is this paragraph [emphasis added]: Quote “IMPORTANT NOTE REGARDING APPOINTMENTS. If you arrive fully prepared for your appointment, we will likely process your loss of nationality in one interview. If you do not have the forms filled out or if you do not have all required original evidence, you will need to return for a second appointment.” EndQuote
So: (1) only one visit is required, (2) you must book through Vancouver.CLN@state.gov (not through the online calendar).
Full text of the e-mail after the arrow. Continue reading Expatriation Appointments at Vancouver – Now in ONE Meeting!
There’s no question with renunciation (Immigration and Nationalities Act, s. 349(a)(5)). You are relinquishing your citizenship and notifying the US government of it at the same time, and that’s the date your US citizenship ends.
But what if you relinquished your citizenship by a different method of INS, s. 349(a), such as taking citizenship in another country with the intent to relinquish your US citizenship (349(a)(1))?
The State Department is clear. No matter when you notify the US govt of your relinquishment, once your CLN application is approved, your US citizenship ended on the date you actually relinquished it (that is the date your performed the relinquishing act, eg. naturalised as a citizen of another country — this date is indicated as your expatriation date on the the CLN.)
The IRS, however, according to s. 877A(g)(4) of the US Tax Code, considers the date of your relinquishment for IRS purposes is not the date of your actual relinquishment but the date you notified the US government of it (your consulate meeting). This was not the case prior to 2004, however [the relevant section was 7701(n) in 2004 and it was replaced by 877A in 2008].
So, what if you relinquished your US citizenship long ago, but only recently learned of US law and policy changes which make it important to be able to prove you are not a US citizen, and wish to obtain Certificate of Loss of Nationality (a document you probably never even heard of before)? What if the current law regarding IRS and citizenship termination did not exist at the time you relinquished? Logic leads one to the conclusion that laws passed after a person ceases to be a citizen are irrelevant. The IRS has never made a definitive statement on this issue, however their instructions for the 8854 (expatriation tax form) are only directed at people with expatriation dates “after June 3, 2004.”
Tax lawyers Michael J. Miller and Ellen Brody have just published an excellent article on this matter, Expats Live in Fear of the Malevolant Time Machine, in which they point out the legal, as well as common sense, absurdity of a retroactive application position. It’s very clear reading with useful references to legislation and case law as well.
We often use separate terms for “renunciation” and “relinquishment” since there are some notable differences between renunciation and the other methods of terminating one US citizenship. However, renunciation is actually one of the 7 methods of relinquishment, as set out in Immigration and Nationalities Act, s. 349(a). This post explains some of the similarities and differences. Continue reading Renunciation and Relinquishment: What are the differences? Is there a difference?