Life planning, Career planning and the Reality of U.S. Citizenship for Americans Abroad including Life Preparation for U.S.Citizen-children of U.S.Citizens
These seminars will include discussion and analysis of the IRS “relaxed opportunities” for people to come into compliance.
It is estimated there are 7 million U.S. citizens living outside the United States. Some of these people don’t know that the U.S. may consider them to be citizens. The vast majority of these Americans abroad (according to U.S. law), are required to file tax returns and complete information reporting forms to the United States. Although “citizenship-based” taxation has existed for years, what is new is the enforcement.
Why has Canada’s Privacy Commissioner been quiet on #FATCA since the IGA was signed?
Her office has ignored four e-mails I sent. Is she about to break her silence?
Chantal Bernier is scheduled to testify before Senate on Tuesday May 13 at 9:30 am. I’m not available then. Can anyone record it and post it here? (There always seems to be a problem with the video from Senate hearings afterwards that we don’t have with House of Commons meetings).
Thanks Tim for alerting me to this.
Queen’s University Professor Arthur Cockfield’s provided a comprehemsive report to the Privacy Commissioner in April on FATCA and the Erosion of Canadian Taxpayer Privacy.
In his 36 page report, Professor Cockfield reviews numerous laws, practices and policies. He says:
FATCA and the IGA unduly harm the privacy interests and rights of Canadians in part because detailed financial information concerning hundreds of thousands of Canadians would be transferred to a foreign government for the first time…The Canadian government should not implement the IGA until these privacy concerns are addressed.
Professor Cockfield looks at various laws and practices. He briefly addresses some Charter issues:
The IGA may violate section 15 of the Charter that prohibits discrimination on the grounds of national origin (including citizenship). As discussed in this report, the IGA discriminates against US citizens (and others) residing in Canada by offering unequal treatment of these individuals (see Part VI.G.). A criminal investigation calls for constitutional law protections afforded by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms including section 8, which restricts unreasonable searches and seizures.75 A demand for tax information may also violate an individual’s right to remain silent under section 7 of the Charter.76 If the United States.
Professor Cockfield concludes:
Accordingly, the IGA and the Implementing Act do not protect the privacy rights and interests of Canadians. Bill C-31, the proposed law to implement FATCA that at this writing is before Parliament, needs to be amended to account for these privacy concerns. Until the privacy and other concerns are studied and addressed by Canadian lawmakers,Canada should only transfer FATCA required data associated with U.S. persons who are not Canadian residents. This approach accords with longstanding practice and emerging global information exchange standards. The government should take immediate steps to ensure this standard is codified in Bill C-31. This move would safeguard the privacy rights of Canadians while enabling Canada to work cooperatively on a global scale to ensure that tax evaders—American, Canadian, or otherwise—do not have a safe haven anywhere.
Professor Cockfield is on the panel with me next week, along with a Candian-American tax lawyer based in New York.
Many thanks to Badger for this great find. I did a quick speed read. If Badger would like to do one of her thorough and thoughtful analyses, that would be greatly welcome.
By Arthur Cockfield and Allison Christians in today`s Globe and Mail: How the U.S. Pulled Off the Great Canadian Privacy Giveaway.
For the first time in Canadian history, our federal government is preparing to provide a foreign government with sensitive personal financial information about hundreds of thousands of Canadians. It is doing so to stave off threatened economic sanctions, and is getting nothing in return.
Their article tells the “`sad saga“ of how the US managed to pull it off and makes a suggestion for an amendment to the enabling law that would allow reporting only on U.S. residents.
Privacy Isn’t All We’re Losing by Peggy Noonan in Wall Street Journal is one of the best I have read on the NSA issue. Much of what she says can be applied to FATCA, IRS, FBAR, OVDI, etc.
If—again, if—what Mr. Snowden says is substantially true, the surveillance state will in time encourage an air of subtle oppression, and encourage too a sense of paranoia that may in time—not next week, but in time, as the years unfold—loosen and disrupt the ties the people of America feel to our country.
Americans and former Americans living outside US have already experienced that. Many of us now feel only animosity.
Peggy Noonan wonders what can be done
So what’s needed? We must realize this is a crucial moment: We either go forward with these programs now or we stop, and think.
Unfortunately, US seems to have lost the ability to stop and think. We have been repeatedly told that the FATCA train has left the station. If it doesn’t derail, there will be more and more passengers jump off the citizenship train as soon as they can. Many of us who left the citizenship train years or decades ago are not about to get back on it–not even for visits.
How did we get here? You know.