As previously reported by the IRS, and several other sites, the IRS sent a survey to about 4,000 individuals ‘living abroad’, “regardless of whether or not you have filed a U.S. federal income tax return while living abroad.” This is being done through an independent survey firm, ICF.
While the emphasis here and at Brock has been primarily on the larger financial firms and their industry association, it will be interesting to watch how the smaller investment firms react to FATCA.
Here’s one item from Advisor.ca that may illustrate what we may see:
Advisors must be more diligent in determining whether clients truly are U.S. resident taxpayers, and remind them of their obligations. For our part, we won’t open accounts until prospects provide copies of their passports and sign IRS Form W-9 (Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification
In particular, the smaller firms, which number in the hundreds, if not thousands, may not get the FATCA due diligence requirements correct and ask for information that is not required and may very well be illegal.
Calgary411 and I set up on one corner of an intersection across from the BMO convention centre. Fortuitously, it was a great location, as anyone who wanted to go up to Macleod Trail to get a coffee had to walk right past us.
We got out there about 10am and immediately garnered a lot of interest from people driving by, as well as pedestrians. I quickly lost count of the thumbs up we received. Quite a few horn honks, as well.
Not too long after we got there, the first of the bicycle cops showed up. I was a little apprehensive, although we weren’t blocking Continue reading A Very Successful Two Person Protest!
Here is FATCA: A “Simple Premise” Gone Terribly Wrong
This was coauthored by Lynne Swanson (aka Blaze) in London, Canada and Victoria Ferauge (aka Victoria) in Versailles France and was published today in The Hill Congress blog.
In the article, we ask
President Obama and members of Congress, how did the “simple premise” of “cracking down on illegal tax evasion and closing loopholes” become an attack on financial lives and personal integrity of millions of people living outside United States, their banks and laws and constitutions of their countries of residence?
Is this how “common sense measures” will “restore fairness and balance in the tax code?”
Mr. President and Members of Congress, is this what you intended?
Here’s a report from Geneva Lunch published today: IRS Targeted American Citizens Overseas: IRS Systematically Targeted Overseas Americans
American Citizens Abroad (ACA) has provided evidence “of the arbitrary and questionable IRS (US tax office) management of the Overseas Voluntary Disclosure Programs” (OVDP) to members of three US Congressional committees working together to investigate IRS abuses, ACA said Tuesday 4 June.
The Geneva-based international group says that the 2009 OVDP in particular was “extremely prejudicial to Americans living overseas who sought to become compliant with their taxes due to errors or omissions under the OVDP. Believing they could come back into the system by simply filing the appropriate paperwork and paying any outstanding tax burden, these individuals were later told they would be hit with a standard penalty of 20% of the highest value of their bank accounts over a five-year period.”
Jackie Bugnion calls it entrapment to hit people with ruinous penalties.
“There is no question that the IRS targeted Americans living overseas,” says ACA Director Jackie Bugnion. “By luring them into the OVDP in a form of entrapment then hitting them with ruinous penalties based on the overseas assets, instead of using the discretion which was within IRS purview for benign actors, the IRS treated ordinary, hard-working Americans like criminals. Most of the unreported accounts were pension funds and basic financial accounts used for living expenses and were not being used to hide assets.”
So, does anyone think this will get the same kind of media and Congressional attention that Tea Party is currently getting?
Here, in Canada, we’re in the middle of a political scandal, where some Conservative party senators appear to have tried to scam the system and claim housing expenses which they shouldn’t. And on top of it, the Prime Minister’s chief of staff gave one of them the money ($90,000Can) to pay it back so that the investigation would stop (hmmm, ulterior motive there?). Of course, the senators are saying that the rules weren’t clear and that they just made a mistake. And yet the one who was given the money actually said he took out a bank loan to pay it back. He appears to be piling lie upon lie.
What concerns me, apart from the basic dishonesty, is how divorced from the rest of us these people are. We’re talking hundreds of thousands of dollars in false claims.
For crying out loud, $90,000 is a LOT of money to most of us. How many of us could come up with that to GIVE to a co-worker to help them out of a debt?
Almost daily I see and hear things that remind me that our society has gone deep diving into an ocean of narcissism. It’s becoming a world of ‘me first’, of ‘I deserve to have whatever I want’, of ‘what I want is more important than what you want’. Continue reading Corrupt, narcissistic politicians – our saviours?
Knock Out! Manny Pacquiao punches “insatiable” IRS.
I admit I’d never heard of Manny Pacquiao before today. I’ve now learned Pacquiao is a world class boxer and is the second highest paid athlete in the world.
American Spectator says Pac Man now “takes on his toughest opponent in his next fight: the Internal Revenue Service.”
Roy Jones, Evander Holyfield, and Floyd Mayweather all fought the most powerful three-letters in boxing and lost. Manny Pacquiao, a Filipino who doesn’t possess their home field disadvantage, has already defeated the IRS without stepping through the ropes.
By fighting in China instead of in US:
The Pac Man may be the first boxer to defeat the Tax Man. More amazingly, he may be the first tax refugee to flee the “land of the free” for China. Should he earn $20 million for his fall fight against Brandon Rios, the government in Macau will gobble up $2.5 million of it. Had he opted for Las Vegas, Uncle Sam would have seized $8 million.
Forbes explains it this way:
Because Pacquiao is neither a U.S. resident nor a citizen, he will not pay U.S. tax on any money earned from the fight, allowing him to pocket an extra 28 percent of the purse.
I’m a bit confused. Wouldn’t he have a Green Card because of his previous fights in US? Wouldn’t that still require him to pay US taxes?
In any case, I think we need the Pac Man in our ring as a FATCA fighter. Sock it to them, Manny!
According to their website, Scotiabank started out in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1832. They have over 7 million personal and business customers in Canada – a number of which they’re now throwing under the FATCA bus. Yay Scotiabank. Not.
C’mon Flaherty! C’mon Govt of Canada! Protect your citizens no matter where they were born!
“What does this mean to Scotiabank and our customers?
It is the Bank’s intention to meet our FATCA obligations across our entire global network, where applicable and permitted. To that end, Scotiabank has created a team of professionals committed to implementing the operational changes required to meet those obligations.
Scotiabank operates in more than 55 countries. Fifteen of those countries are in negotiations with the U.S., and two — the U.K. and Mexico — have reached an agreement and are now FATCA Partners.
- As each country in which Scotiabank operates enters into an agreement with the U.S., we will do what is required to meet the obligations imposed by that country’s FATCA agreement.
- Where Scotiabank operates in countries that are not FATCA Partners, we intend to meet our FATCA obligations by, wherever possible, entering into an agreement directly with the U.S. Treasury.”
FATCA Fact Finding Forum Report Part III
We took a break after Professor Christians’ presentation and began again with a brief talk by Anglican Archbishop Dorian Baxter who is the President of the Progressive Canadian Party. He related a very funny story of a conversation with an older member of his congregation who lamented that we no longer had Steve Jobs, nor Johnny Cash or Bob Hope. They talked a bit about this and then applied to current state of Canada – we have no jobs, no cash and no hope!
He emphasized that we need to hold the CDN govt accountable to the standard of the Westminster model of Parliamentary Democracy. This relates to a core principle of the Progressive Canadian Party and the illegal “merger” of the Canadian Alliance Reform Party (aka “CRAP”). This provoked much laughter. Then he applied the Westminster ideal to the fact that FATCA is an invasion of CDN Autonomy as well as the Canadian Treasury as it is a money grab of millions of dollars from Canadian families, their children and their children’s children.
Next we heard from James Jatras who had travelled all the way from Washington to be with us. He has a completely different approach than what is commonly being expressed, even by Brockers. We all speak of FATCA as if it will happen; “resistance is futile.” He feels there is very much that can be done to defeat FATCA.
*FATCA is not equivalent to NAFTA, WTO, etc. Most Homelanders are completely unaware of it. Including a high-level aide to a Senate Finance Committee
*FATCA amounts to a UNILATERAL, extra-territorial law which says if you don’t obey us, we will punish you with sanctions.
*Instead of an IGA, Canada should pass a tax treaty override; what we have now is the CDN govt and the FFI’s collaborating against CDN citizens.
*US: “we are generously allowing you to change your law.” This is no partnership.
*Article 2 of the IGA “foreign partner; subsection A is unequal to subsection B and Art 6 US will “eventually” adapt to partner level This will never happen.
*like a preemptive war where one commits suicide to avoid death
*China will not; expects Brazil will not; Russia? It is CRUCIAL that Canada say “NO” This will set the stage for others to do the same. Powerful influence since we are such a major partner of the US, if we can do it, so can others
“Never seen such a bad law similar to the Catastrophic Recovery Act of 1989 or the Dubai Ports Law, which were repealed
*FATCA stands to cost the world $1 trillion dollars what with the tax lawyers, accountants and the IT depts. required to make it work
*CBA letter to US Treasury – take 1% of the money spending to implement FATCA and use instead, to repeal FATCA
*We need $50k – $100k a month for 12 months in order to deal with repealing FATCA; ads in “Roll Call; etc, you can’t just ask Congress to do something, there’s a process
*EXTORT EMBARRASSING DETAILS/ MAKE AN ORGANIZED EFFORT
*Treasury is in a rush to get IGA’s signed before the repeal forces rise up
*Where on earth are the CDN media, the NDP, the Lib Party, the Conservative Party –(just at this point, Mr Gullon mentions a newcomer is a member of the Green Party)
*FATCA = a US Discriminatory Trade Infraction
*Canada: We will hit you with law suits, trade actions, etc. Legislation after FATCA-we will withhold 30% of all income of Americans in Canada; ask our PFFI’s to collect waivers, etc
*Seek out those spending millions now and get a tiny portion of that towards PR to repeal
*Discussion of who has signed – UK, Denmark, Ireland, Mexico, Switzerland; UK has to clear Parliament; the Honorable Sinclair Stevens suggested that we emphasize any aspect that UK has yet to clear – this could have an impact on Canada. Not sure it was clear why – i.e., an American might not understand the Canadian attitude toward England in parliamentary matters.
*Are the IGA’s “Executive Agreements?” or “Competent Authority Agreements?” Is Treasury overstepping by not getting Congress to approve IGA’s? Treasury says they have to promulgate regulations and that they have the legal authority to do so. Do they?
*UK-signed Sept 12, 2012. They still have to implement the legislation allowing for FATCA and now, son of FATCA
*There are those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who ask “what happened?” We need to be of the first category.
*You must require the government to JUSTIFY why they are doing this
*Bring back 2003 when PM Chretien said NO to attacking in Iraq; very similar to the “coalition of the willing” notice again, the UK is the first to sign on
*Recapture and recreate the 2003 movement
*The Green Party representative, Erik (sp?) Jacob Hawkins is a Critic in the Shadow Cabinet, is from Barrie and works directly with Elizabeth May; Parliament recessed; however, with a petition with at least 25 signatures, a member can force Parliament to examine an issue. The Honorable Sinclair Stevens, Prof. Allison Christians and Jon Richardson immediately drafted a petition which we all signed to present ASAP and hope no IGA is signed before Parliament resumes in January.
*There should be bilateral agreements without any bizarre sanctions
*Banks themselves should have reasons to instigate movement against FATCA; likely banks have pressured Flaherty who clearly did not like, did not agree with and did not want FATCA
*Discussion of possible actions in near future re: Op Ed’s, etc. (more on this later and please don’t ask for now)
At this point, Petros asked me to drive Prof. Christians to the airport to catch her plane so I left and do not know what happened after this point though Jon Richardson mentioned there would be several more speakers after the break and Petros had prepared something, so hopefully, he will have more to report and was able to deliver his comments.
Generally, the audience composed of about 5 members of the Prog. Canadian Party including previously named speakers; Abby Desham, Allison Christians, James Jatras, Petros, Deckhard and myself (I don’t know if there were other Brockers) and the rest were duals with their non-US partners. I spoke to a lady who said she was an Accidental remaining in “full ostrich;” she has been following since ExpatForum and reads IBS. The lady sitting next to her had to go but also came due to Brock. I spoke to a couple and a man who said Peggy Nash had told him about the meeting; another set of 3 who knew via Brock and 2 more who also knew via Brock. One fellow was conversant with many concepts but I did not get a chance to speak with him. At least 11 attendees were not Brockers or speakers or Party members
Beginning list of possible catch-phrases/ideas to promote:
Tax Treaty Override / US will not honor treaties / futility of reciprocity /US is doing something OTHER than citizenship-based taxation / War of 2012-War of 1812 idea) / violating Autonomy, violating privacy/ Bullying – not on the playground, not here either / Sanctions against Canada / A REAL FRIEND SAYS ‘NO’