Solving US Citizenship Problems- Vancouver May 23, Geneva June 7, Dublin June 8, & London UK June 16 2017

Vancouver BC – Tuesday, May 23, 2017 Details below

Geneva CH Wednesday, June 7, 2017- Details TBA

Dublin IE – Thursday, June 8, 2017 – Details TBA

London UK – Friday, June 16, 2017 Details TBA

Have you received a FATCA letter or been warned of the consequences of being a U.S. person?

New this year in the U.S. assault on people and countries outside its borders, is the “second wave” of reporting – the “entity” reporting. This is nothing less than every financial entity – any corporation, non-profit corporation, your Canadian controlled-private corporation (CCPC), any fund with shareholders-is fair game for an associated financial lender, bank etc to ask:

“Who are your clients, shareholders? Are they, or have they ever been, U.S. citizens?”

If so, they need to fill out a US tax form. (W8-no withholding for non-US taxpayers or W9-for withholding on US taxpayers) to be kept on file with the bank.

My financial advisor indicated he now realized I had not exagerrated the extent of this U.S. interference in Canada. He now has to ask each and every new client, regardless of what they are buying,

“Are you, or have you ever been, a U.S. citizen?”

Utterly outrageous.

Why am I getting letters from my bank all of a sudden?

The “FATCA Hunt” – the hunt for U.S. persons (whatever that is) began on July 1, 2014 which was “Canada Day”. Although both the definition of “U.S. person” and whether one meets the definition is not always clear, the search has begun. The level of FATCA awareness has begun. Some organizations are actively warning people that “U.S. Personness” matters. The purpose of the warning is presumably to encourage people to ”come clean” and deal with their U.S. tax situations. In some cases, there is no particular warning – just a letter indicating that they are suspected to be a “U.S. person”. Often one must prove to the institution sending the letter that one is not a U.S. person.

What individuals are U.S. taxpayers? Who is a U.S. citizen?

There are individuals that the U.S. government would define as “U.S. citizens” who:

do NOT agree that they are U.S. citizens because they have performed a “relinquishing act” under applicable U.S. laws;
do NOT even know that they may be U.S. citizens because they have never lived in the United States
are citizens and residents of countries that do NOT allow multiple citizenships
To put it another way: one’s status as a U.S. citizen is NOT always clear.

I have never heard of these requirements! What determines the income that must be reported to the IRS? What “Information Returns” are required to be reported to the IRS?

FBAR (Now called FinCen 114)
FATCA 8938 – Report of Specified Foreign Assets
5471 – Information return for Foreign Corporation
3520 – Information return for a “Foreign Trust”
3520A – related to the 3520
8621 – for mutual funds
8965 – for exemption regarding ACA (“Obamacare”)
I am only a snowbird! Why does this affect me?

Substantial Presence Test
Form 8840 Closer Connection Exception Statement for Aliens
Caution: Streamlined Programs & 35 day rule – Catch 22

What are the ways I can become compliant?

Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program – AKA “OVDP – Not appropriate for the vast majority of people
Streamlined Compliance – A pre-packaged way to “clean up” past compliance problems
Obeying the law – filing amended tax returns outside the “IRS Created” programs
Delinquent FBAR Submission Procedures

What costs are involved in renouncing U.S. citizenship?

The costs of a total of 6 years (5 years prior the year of renuncation plus the year of renunciation) of tax compliance and information returns
The cost of any back taxes and penalties
A $2350 administrative fee
Possibility of having to pay an “Exit Tax” (which can be the biggest problem)

VANCOUVER BC
WHEN: Tuesday, May 23, 2017 1:00 – 3:00 pm
WHERE: 1010 Richards Street, Vancouver B C V6B 3E4 (Downtown) MAP
Richards & Nelson, Gallery Condo Building, Amenity Room, Entrance at REAR of BLDG on lane.
Metered parking on street or lot at Richards & Smithe. Canada Line – Yaletown stop.
Expo & Millenium lines – Granville Station.
ADMISSION:PLEASE REGISTER IN ADVANCE by email to john at citizenshipsolutions dot ca
COST: $20 payable in cash at the door

Information presented is NOT intended or offered as legal or accounting advice specific to your situation.

Collective psychotherapy – U.S. citizens outside U.S. – Not what they take from you, it’s what they leave you with

cross-posted from renounceuscitizenship blog

Going back to a general thread from a few weeks ago – on law and morality – this post speaks more to the effects of the law when it is not rooted in morality. On one level, an apologist might claim that “doing one’s duty” and “paying one’s share” is moral and is necessary to maintain funding and order in a society. However, when such a law is applied to those who live outside that society, as we all know from experience, unexpected conflicts, resulting punitive actions and penalties tend to denigrate the quality of life. We are not talking about “quality of life” amounting to physical comforts or financial wealth. By “quality of life, what is referred to is mental stability, emotional trustworthiness and the ability to move through difficulties with a sense of direction and confidence. When these parameters are stifled by confusion/lack of clarity of what is expected, and ridicule and negativity is directed toward those affected, the result is a not an issue of lack of compliance but rather, wrongly imposed requirements that simply make people anxious, immobilized by fear, depression and a general inability to adjust to the situation. How this can be justified when those same people ARE compliant in the society where they live, strikes many as simply being immoral.

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The Wisdom of Moe Levine Moe Levine (not that I ever met him) was considered to be one of America’s greatest trial lawyers. Although he died in 1974, his wisdom lives on his book (appropriate called) “Moe Levine on Trial Advocacy“. He (legend has it) was a master at delivering the closing statement in his jury trials. When arguing for a severely injured plaintiff he (according to the commentators of his time) would tell the jury (referring to a badly injured client):

“It’s not what you take from them it’s what you leave them with.”
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What do you Think of the Penalties in These Three Cases of Unreported FBARs ?

Ty Warner

Ty Warner
Ty Warner, founder/owner of the Beanie Babies line, was sentenced in July 2015 for tax evasion.The panel of three U.S. District Court judges gave him 2 years of probation and 500 hours of community service. The sentencing guidelines ranged from 46 months up to a maximum of 57 months. He agreed to pay back taxes and interest of $16 million as well as a $53.5 million penalty (the full FBAR penalty of 50% of the balance of the highest account-$107,000,000). According to Melissa Harris (author of this article that appeared in the Chicago Tribune, July 15, 2015) Warner’s sentence was “a punishment that reduces evading millions in taxes to a speeding ticket,” and that the sentence “flies in the face of both reason and justice”.

Warner had an estimated net worth of $2.5 billion, and was the 209th richest American.   According to Janet Novak of Forbes:

He admitted that around Jan. 31, 1996, he flew to Zurich and deposited about $80 million at UBS AG, instructing that no account statements be sent to him in the U.S., and that he kept the account secret until November 2007. During that period he failed to report at least $24.4 million in interest income on the account to the Internal Revenue Service, evading at least $5.6 million in taxes. He also failed to file with the Treasury the required annual “FBAR” report on his foreign accounts

What beggars belief is that Mr. Warner never provided any explanation for:

  • why he opened the account
  • the origin of the funds
  • audits of his books & records show the funds did not come from his company
  • his personal domestic accounts showed no signs of the origin of the funds

In fact the evidence suggested that the funds may have been pre-tax payments of some sort. To this day, the extent of his willful tax evasion is in reality, unknown.

So why did Mr. Warner get off so lightly? Was it because his lawyer Mark Matthews used the Olenicoff Defense?
Was it because his creation, the Beanie Babies line of stuffed toys, was just too cute for anyone to believe he was guilty of such evasion?

Peter Henning a Wayne State University Law School Professor and co-author of ‘Securities Crimes ”said in an interview, “I don’t want to say anything goes,….Clearly you can’t consider race or wealth. But you are looking at character. That is something judges can take into account. The question is how much should it weigh into the decision?”

This is where Mr. Warner hit the jackpot. He received 70 letters of support from friends, employees and recipients of his charity, actions which had nothing to do with the charges and only someone with money could do.

U.S. District Judge Charles Kocoras (of the panel) based his sentence on:

…..a reading of 70 letters, Kocoras found that “Mr. Warner’s private acts of kindness, generosity and benevolence” were “overwhelming,” with many occurring before he was under investigation and, in Kocoras’ words, motivated by “the purest of intentions.” Most were done “quietly and privately.” The judge concluded: “Never have I had a defendant in any case — white-collar crime or otherwise — demonstrate the level of humanity and concern for the welfare of others as has Mr. Warner.”

So a man guilty of many years of tax evasion, who did not even account for the origin of the account nor any records of it, received an incredibly light sentence based upon support from his family, friends and beneficiaries of his kindness. Where is the law here?
 

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Solving US Citizenship Problems -Toronto, July 19

 

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.

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US Citizenship & Young Adults: Navigating The Special Rules Imposed Upon US Citizens

“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?”

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