Last week in my email was a link to an article by Michael J DeBlis (unable to determine whether it was the father or the son). It runs in my memory that prior to the launch of the Tax Connections website, the younger Michael had started a blog that was specifically about expatriate issues and many of us joined and took part. He seemed particularly sympathetic and supportive of our plight and one who I would never have labelled a “condor.” And this post is in no way meant to be demeaning.
Imagine my surprise to read this:
Consider the following example. Pierre is a dual citizen of the U.S. and Canada who presently resides in Montreal. He has fastidiously filed U.S. and Canadian tax returns for the last ten years. Following an audit of his 2012 U.S. tax return, the IRS determined that there was a $ 20,000 deficiency and mailed him a notice of deficiency. Pierre timely filed a protest but Appeals found in favor of the IRS. Having failed to file a petition with the tax court, that deficiency soon became a $ 20,000 assessment.
The IRS now seeks to collect on its claim by imposing a tax lien on real estate owned by Pierre in Canada. Essentially, what the U.S. government is attempting to do is cajole collection officials from the Canadian Revenue Agency (Agence du revenue du Canada) to do its dirty work for it: namely, to collect Pierre’s unpaid U.S. taxes by enforcing an IRS tax lien on property located within Canada.
As incredible as this might sound, reliance upon a foreign taxing authority for assistance in collecting a tax judgment against a citizen of the requesting country is entirely permissible under the terms of the U.S.-Canadian Treaty. Of course, such a request must be accompanied by documents firmly establishing that the taxes have been finally determined.[ix]
Therefore, the Canadian Revenue Agency would have no choice but to enforce the lien and to collect the unpaid taxes. But what if Pierre filed a motion in a Canadian court to have the tax lien imposed by the Canadian Revenue Agency, at the behest of the IRS, set aside? Not surprisingly, the court would refuse Pierre’s request on the grounds that the imposition of the tax lien was proper under the terms of the treaty.
“Life planning, career planning and the reality of U.S. citizenship for Americans abroad” “Everything I wish I had known, but couldn’t even have imagined to ask!”
During the winter, John Richardson presented a number of seminars for those concerned with the obvious problems of U.S. citizenship (including the “threshold question” of whether you really are a U.S. citizen).
Seminar topics have invariably included the problems of: FBAR, FATCA, investing, retirement planning, mutual funds, U.S. tax compliance, renunciation, etc.The official “FATCA Launch” of July 1, 2014 will surely make the existing problems worse.
U.S. citizens living outside the United States are subject to a regime of rules that diminish their “life opportunities”. These rules are such that U.S. citizens abroad live at a disadvantage relative to the citizens of any other nation. Those attending previous seminars have been primarily “middle aged” people, who have attempted to plan for their retirement, only to find that their retirement plans are threatened, because of their birth in the United States.
A shared sentiment has been:
“If only, I had known about these rules earlier … This is information that my children and other young adults need to hear! What does all this mean for my children?”
Just after the Canada US FATCA IGA was signed, CRA put out a list of frequently asked questions.
Among the list is item 14 which caught the attention of some: (emphasis mine)
14. Does my Canadian financial institution have to notify me if information on my accounts is being reported to the CRA?
Canadian financial institutions must be open about their policies and procedures for complying with the Agreement and must be prepared to make this information available to anyone who asks about them. Although there will be no obligation for financial institutions to automatically notify their account holders about reporting to the CRA under the Agreement, financial institutions must, upon request, allow account holders to have access to the personal information that has been reported.
In his testimony before the Senate Finance Committee on April 30th, Kevin Shoom mentioned that there was a change to the implementing legislation to take away the voluntary nature of informing customers that their accounts have been flagged as reportable. He cited ITA subsection 265(5), which is written in the usual almost incomprehensible language of the Income tax Act.
(5) For the purposes of paragraphs (2)(a) and (b), subparagraph (2)(c)(ii), paragraph (3)(a) andb)(ii), subparagraph B(3) of section II of Annex I to the agreement is to be read as follows3. if any of the U.S. indicia listed in subparagraph B(1) of this section are discovered in the electronic search,or if there is a change in circumstances that results in one or more U.S. indicia being associated with the account,then the Reporting Canadian Financial Institution must seek to obtain or review the information described in the portion of subparagraph B(4) of this section that is relevant in the circumstances and must treat the account as a U.S. Reportable Account unless one of the exceptions in subparagraph B(4) applies with respect to that account.
I have asked Kevin to ask CRA to change their frequently asked questions to revise item 14 and he agreed to do so.Until the Charter Challenge nullifies the IGA, there’s going to be mistakes made by FIs. At least now, with this change, they will be required to contact customers before passing private information through the CRA to the IRS.
Perhaps you’ve just read one of the sensationalist IRS-propaganda articles in the media that says every person born on US soil is a US citizen and must file income tax reports to the US, and are at risk for huge penalties. Perhaps you heard about this situation through another person who has a US connection. Either way, you’re probably confused about what this means and what you need to do about it. Continue reading →
Canadian immigration lawyers have said U.S. Ted Cruz should be able to renounce Canadian citizenship “lickety-split” if there are no security or mental health issues.
A letter/article from Lynne Swanson (aka Blaze) to Senator Cruz asks him what’s taking so long to shake his embarrassing Canadian citizenship. Cruzing In Reverse also tells Senator Cruz how different the situation is for “accidental American” Canadians who simply (like him) want to shake free from their country of “technical” citizenship.