Monthly Archives: November 2012

US One of World's Top Tax Havens

We’ve known it for a long time.  Now, it is making headlines in US.
US Ranks Among Top Secret Tax Havens, tells how:

A Russian gangster used a tiny magnet firm in Southeastern Pennsylvania to defraud thousands of investors and launder hundreds of millions of dollars through bank accounts around the world.

It’s estimated $14.5 trillion is stashed in US by criminals and tax cheats.  The article points out how agreements will “leave out wide swaths of people.”
Of course, Florida Bankers Association is saying banks have no obligation to know their customers’ tax obligations.  Isn’t that just what banks around the world have been saying to United States of Arrogance?
But wait, there’s a reason for the US being different:

“I don’t think that makes the United States a tax haven. It’s free enterprise. You open it, and you have the responsibility.”
So, in US it’s “free enterprise” to help people defraud, launder money and avoid taxes.  Yet those of us who have bank accounts, retirement savings and education savings for our children in the countries where we live and have been citizens for decades are “tax cheats” with obligations to a foreign government.
OK.  Now I get it.  Free enterprise.  Arrogance. Hypocrisy.
Foreign Attack To Control All (FATCA). International Robbery Society (IRS).


IRS Goes Global

As Just Me predicted months ago, IRS Goes Global.
The author asks if this is Clark Kent to Superman. No, it’s actually more Lex Luthor out to dominate the world and the universe.
Interestingly, the article asks Who Is A US Taxpayer and gives this answer:

Under the US Internal Revenue Code, individuals may be deemed US taxpayers if any of the following descriptions fit: A US passport holder ;Green Card holder;Individual who spends 183 days in the US in one year; or 122 days a year for three consecutive years.

I’m happy with that definition.  It leaves out huge groups: Anyone born in US or anyone born to a parent who was born in US.
As IRS Goes Global, more countries are hopping on board the FATCA train. Denmark and US Have Signed IGA.  Here is the actual Agreement Between US and Denmark.
I would be surprised if many Danes living in Denmark have income in US banks. But, I suspect many banks in southern states are hopping mad that US and Mexico Have Signed IGA.  I have not been able to find a copy of the actual agreement, but what does the following in the article mean?

An IGA “does not contain any exemption from FATCA, but, instead, a model for information sharing is offered based on existing bilateral tax treaties and allowing FFIs to report the necessary information to their respective governments rather than to the Internal Revenue Service.”

And, while I don’t agree with this, finally someone cheering on FATCA Negotiations promotes FATCA for what it is:

It has been established to prevent US citizens living abroad from avoiding the payment of taxation due on their foreign financial assets and offshore accounts. With US National Debt approaching $16.3 trillion at the time of writing, the recently re-elected President Barack Obama will be keen to get national finances under some semblance of control. Clearly, generating revenue from the 5.5 million Americans living abroad who do not file tax returns should be one of his priorities.

All along we’re been told FATCA is after the fat cat Americans living in US and the rest of us are just caught up in that snare.  But, this says any American living outside US is the target. I’m not sure what person or organization is the author of this, but it is from blog.

Twenty Ways IRS Can Find Yankees (That May Include Us!)

Yikes! This is scary stuff!   Twenty Ways IRS Can Find Yankees.  That could include those of us who have not thought for decades we were “Yankees.”
This somehow reminds me of Simon and Garfunkel’s Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover.(I’m showing my age again.)

Just slip out the back, Jack
Make a new plan, Stan
Don’t need to be coy, Roy
Just get yourself free
Hop on the bus, Gus
Don’t need to discuss much
Just drop off the key, Lee
And get yourself free.

We thought we did all those things ages ago.  We hopped on the bus (or plane), slipped out honestly, made a plan for our lives in our new countries and had no need to be coy.  We didn’t discuss much because US Consulate was clear and firm. We were no longer “Yankees.”
Now, we need to find new ways to drop off the key and get ourselves free. Can we come up with 50 ways or even 20 to do that?

Flaherty's November 8 letter – note same-day link with call for FATCA comments

As noted in another post on this site and on the IBS site, yesterday November 8 Finance Canada posted an invitation to concerned individuals and groups to comment on the negotiations between the US and Canada over FATCA and related matters.  This “consultation” call noted that Finance has received many comments already on FATCA.  They (Flaherty) have in fact received numerous comments from me, the most recent being an email I sent on June 17.  Yesterday I received by email (five months later!) a reply signed by Flaherty.  I am appending that letter in full to this post.
Note that the letter is dated November 8, the same day that Finance invited comments on the consultations with the US over FATCA.  Note also that the letter re-iterates all the points Flaherty has been making all along, including repeated assurances (see also the fourth page, the September 2012 attachment) that CRA will NOT collect IRS liability or penalty claims against Canadian citizens.
A coincidence that my letter was sent the same day as the consultation invitation?  I don’t think so.  I think the letter, which I’ve seen on the IBS site was received by at least two other persons on the same day I got mine (the identical letter is posted on IBS by someone else), was sent out to re-assure those of us who have been commenting repeatedly (note the opening paragraph in my letter, this was my third or fourth letter to Flaherty on FATCA) that we aren’t going to be thrown under the bus.
At least that’s my interpretation.  It would be rather difficult politically, I’d think, for our government to throw us under any buses, given the timing and wording of the letter and the announcement, even if they wanted to do that.  I don’t think they do.  I think they have a very hot political potato on their hands and they know it.
I’m going to try to attach the full four pages of the letter, at 1280 pixels wide.  I hope this works …
Flaherty letter November 8 2012

Canadian Government Seeks Input on FATCA

The Canadian Ministry of Finance is Seeking Input on FATCA Negotiations From Canadians.
Between Brockers, Maple Sandboxers and many others, we have already provided an immense amount of input. But, they are asking for “additional comments.”  Let’s give it to them!  Soon! No deadline is given, but we can’t lose his opportunity.
I have (again!) contacted Canadian Civil Liberties Association and asked them what they will be doing on FATCA.   Eight weeks ago, CCLA told me they would advise me “tomorrow” what they might be able to do. They still have not done that.
If anyone else is interested in contacting CCLA, my contact has been Abby Deshman, Director of Pubic Safety. mail address:  Perhaps if Abby hears from others, she will realize how important this is.

US Treasury Engaging With More Than 50 Countries on FATCA

US Treasury has announced it is Engaged with More Than 50 Countries To Combat Tax Evasion through FATCA.
The announcement says:

The Treasury Department has already concluded a bilateral agreement with the United Kingdom. Additional jurisdictions with which Treasury is in the process of finalizing an intergovernmental agreement and with which Treasury hopes to conclude negotiations by year end include: France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan, Switzerland, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Guernsey, Ireland, Isle of Man, Jersey, Mexico, the Netherlands, and Norway.

Interesting that Canada is included.  I received a letter from Flaherty last week.  His tone has softened slightly, but I don’t sense he has he has budged a lot from his original position.  I will post the letter in the next day or two.  My own best speculation is that an agreement with Canada will be far from what International Robbery Society actually wants.  What do others think?  Tim?
The announcement goes on to give other countries at other stages.
The announcement also says:

“By working cooperatively with foreign governments and financial institutions, we are intensifying our ability to combat tax evasion while minimizing burdens on financial institutions.”

How about minimizing burdens on citizens of other countries who have had no financial ties with US for decades–or in some cases, never?