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.

Black Fly Time

I am attaching to this post the full text (minus my name and address) of an email I sent earlier today to Prime Minister Harper, Finance Minister Flaherty, Opposition Leader Mulcair, Justin Trudeau (Liberal leader), Elizabeth May (Green Party leader), Paul Dewar (NDP Foreign Affairs Critic and my MP), Peggy Nash (NDP Finance Critic) and Murray Rankin (NDP National Revenue Critic).  For greater effect (I hope), I sent these emails separately rather than as a bulk list or ccs.  I focused a bit on NDP members, because I want to flag the Toronto Centre dimension to current sitting members (and maybe also hand a few grenades to the other parties for the by-election, if McQuaig wins the nomination and the other recipients’ staffers pay attention).

IGA email re Cruz etc

The full text is too lengthy to post here, and perhaps arguably too lengthy as an email (more than four pages).  However, the first page summarizes the six points I wanted to make; the following pages are elaboration and a few web links supporting the points.

The gist of the email is to express opposition to a Canada-US IGA, for reasons that are already painfully familiar to regular visitors to this website – with the recent addition of the Ted Cruz story, which necessarily takes a full page on its own, to communicate exactly why I consider the treatment of his renunciation of his accidental Canadian citizenship so grotesquely disparate to a not-so-hypothetical parallel renunciation of accidental US citizenship.  I think this stark and compelling example needs to be driven home to our elected parliamentarians and cabinet ministers.  (I maybe should have used the female gender in my example, but that didn’t occur to me until after I sent the emails and then stumbled over one of WhiteKat’s blogs, sorry WhiteKat no offense intended …)

The current timing of an email such as this is, I believe, critical, given the possibilities of an IGA announcement when Parliament resumes in October (and, one hopes, not before then!).

One email probably won’t make a difference. But multiple emails may make a difference.  I encourage all Canadians visiting this website, whatever your national or ethnic origin (to borrow the words of our precious Section 15 of the Charter), to send similar emails NOW to your own Member of Parliament and to other members as you think appropriate.

No doubt my email could have been shorter and perhaps better-written.  Please do NOT cut and paste my wording; use your own, perhaps with my wording as a starting point for improvement.  Cut-and-paste jobs don’t have the impact of obviously-individual emails.

I appreciate so very much all that Lynne, Victoria, Don and others have done in attempting to get these stories before Canadian media.  But I am discouraged at how seldom we seem to get much media traction in Canada.  I think our best bet, for now, is to blitz Parliament with the message.

And please, those of you who are NDP members, even if you don’t live in Toronto Centre, hammer home your concerns to Mulcair and the NDP critics, mentioning your NDP membership in your emails.  I didn’t do that in the copy I’m posting here, nor in the copies I sent to Harper, Flaherty, Trudeau and May, since I don’t want to dilute the message by flagging that I’m not one of their “base” members.  I’m rubbing the NDP’s nose in it, though.

Toronto Centre residents, whether NDP or not, should pay close attention to what happens to the NDP nomination meeting on September 15.  Vote accordingly in the by-election.  See my post on this elsewhere on Sandbox, linked in my email.

Remember, all that is necessary for evil to triumph, is for good people to say and do nothing when it rears its ugly head.

And (re the thread title): one black fly can’t kill a moose, but a swarm of black flies can bleed a moose to death, if the moose can’t free itself from the swarm.  Let’s bleed the moose!  NOW!

Saddened Is A Canadian Citizen!

flagFinally! After 36 years in Canada and a very long wait for her citizenship application, Saddened became a Canadian citizen today.

Here is what Saddened sent to me in an e-mail a few minutes ago.  (I’m posting this with her consent)

I AM A CANADIAN!!!!!

 

YEAH!!!!!!!!!!

Congratulations Saddened. Now you need to change your name to Happy.   freedom next exit
Next step on the Road to Freedom is a CLN.

 

Where do we go from here? Is it time for an organization?

Since their origins, both the Isaac Brock Society and Maple Sandbox have been invaluable sources of information and a productive forum for intelligent discussion. These discussions have matured to a point where we have a much greater understanding of the overreach of the United States government into the lives of those who choose to permanently live outside of the United States or are ‘Accidental Americans’. This summer, we have seen contributors to Brock and Sandbox quoted in various publications and even have articles published in The Hill.

However, in Canada, the issues discussed here, primarily Citizen Based Taxation and FATCA, are virtually invisible to our elected representatives, the media and the general public (with the exception of the Green Party of Canada).

Living in an advanced Western democracy, with a modern and model Constitution, Canadian citizens and permanent residents can and should expect our government to protect us in many ways. We expect police and fire services, safety regulations, affordable and accessible health care,protection of our land, our borders, our resources, and our economy. And when some of those protections fail or are inadequate, we expect public debate and action by our government.

Can anyone honestly say that the Canadian government has protected U.S. persons in Canada from CBT?

We do know that Canada has limited influence over U.S. tax policies. However, except for RRSPs, why haven’t TFSAs, RESPs and RDSPs been included in any of our treaties or other agreements with the U.S.? Instead, they are treated as taxable foreign trusts, with compliance difficulties and penalties.

Why are our mutual funds and ETSs classified as Passive Foreign Investment Corporations, thereby making them subject to discriminatory taxation, complicated forms and penalties for honest mistakes?

As far as FATCA is concerned, the jury is still out. We simply don’t know the shape of a Canada-U.S. FATCA IGA and how it will compromise our Charter rights and freedoms and our privacy rights.

In spite of all the wonderful discussions we have been having, I feel we are hampered by the lack of a legally registered organization with a spokesperson the media can turn to. Instead, on those rare occasions when FATCA or other issues affecting U.S.  persons in Canada is mentioned, reporters usually turn to professionals with a vested interest in promoting compliance and fear.

This proposed organization would be one of Canadians defending Canadian interests, values and laws from the intrusion of U.S. extra-territorial taxation.

The organization could begin with just a few core members to get things started and look after the not very difficult or costly task of provincial registration. Then it would recruit members. Both the Maple Sandbox and Isaac Brock Society can be used to promote membership. There would be a small membership fee to defray expenses.

It is my opinion that the organization would be more effective if the core group was located in Ottawa or Toronto. There appears to be a more concentrated population of duals and former Americans in those cities. The location would also be closer to political and media centres, and thus possibly have more legitimacy in the eyes of the media and the powers that be.

The organization itself might not launch any lawsuits over FATCA, but would assist anyone or any other group, such as the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, with both financial and research assistance.

So, the question is, where do we go from here? Is just discussing the problems of CBT and FATCA enough or do we need boots on the ground, so to speak?  Please share your ideas.

“I Hope Someone, Somewhere, Sometime Will Say This Is Wrong”

Exposed: IRS Colludes With Banks To Unfairly Target U.S. Citizens Abroad is an excellent article about the real impact of FATCA. It comes from Occupy.Com.

It is one of the comprehensive and accurate articles on FATCA I have read.I wish the mainstream media would do as thorough and as accurate a job in covering the issues.

A woman in France speaks for many of us when she says:Wrong

“I hope someone, somewhere, sometime will say this is wrong.”

“In a panic,” she renounced her U.S. citizenship because of the upset it was causing her ill non-US husband.  She is now “more and more depressed.”

Victoria Ferauge (aka Victoria) says:

“There are too many unintended consequences. It’s negatively impacting people who are not tax evaders. What I find astonishing is how it never occurred to the IRS how this could have an impact on regular people.”
Marvin Van Horn (aka Just Me) shares his horror story of IRS trying to seize $172,000.

“I said, ‘You want to apply the penalty based on my house?’ So then my penalty went from $90,000 to $172,000. I said, ‘This is ridiculous. For a tax failure that’s less than $20,000 over six years and a failure to file a form, you want to charge me a penalty of $172,000?’”

With help from TAS, he managed to whittle that down to $27,000, which he know says he probably should not have paid.
A Georgetown University law professor gets it:

 

“In my view, a working system to address offshore accounts addresses offshore accounts,” said Itai Grinberg, professor of law at Georgetown University. “For a U.S. expat living in Berlin, having an account in a Berlin bank is not an offshore account. It’s an on shore account.”

Unfortunately:

“That’s my view, that’s not what FATCA says,” he added.

Victoria describes the situation well:

“We feel a little like David against Goliath here.”
I’m certainly no Bible expert, but I seem to recall from Sunday School that David whacked the giant bully Goliath in the head with a stone and killed him.
If we are Davids working together, we can do the same to FATCA (I hope!)