Monthly Archives: September 2013

"Lot of Tension" with Canada. "Gaping Hole."

This article is actually about Panama-US FATCA negotiations.  Buried in the article holemay be a real glimmer of hope for Canada.
A lawyer who has been advising foreign firms on FATCA says:

“There is a lot of tension between the U.S. and Canada.”

That seems to indicate Canada is holding out.  On the other hand, he also said:

“The Canadians have been really exasperated by the inability of the U.S. to have more concessions”

So, that sounds like the U.S. is not budging, which is not good news.

Treasury “is struggling to complete deals with China and Canada, leaving two potentially gaping holes in the FATCA dragnet,” tax experts said

Keep digging Jim Flaherty!

NDP Revenue Critic Letter to Flaherty

We’re getting attention. NDP now seems to have a position on FATCA. I’m just not sure it’s the position we want.
Joe Arvay just sent me an NDP Revenue critic Murray Rankin Letter to Flaherty. Joe said he sent my Financial Post article to Rankin “and pestered him a bit, so it seems to have paid off.”
The letter focuses primarily on how information may be provided to IRS:

We are concerned that these negotiations may allow United States to bypass the established exchange of information between the Internal Revenue Service and the Canada Revenue Agency to instead get information directly from Canadian financial institutions. Concerns have been raised that such a system could potentially violate Canadian privacy laws. Furthermore, at this time, it is unclear of reciprocal information would be granted in return.

Alarming to me was this statement:

Cracking down on tax cheats should occur through international cooperation rather than unilateral action.

Does that sound to anyone else like the NDP has joined the tax cheats bandwagon in writing about us?!? Flaherty has been clear since the beginning of this nightmare that we are not!
The letter goes on:

What’s more, the secrecy of the negotiations over this agreement has left Canadians in the dark as to the integrity of their personal banking information. The Canadian government should be standing up for the civil liberties of Canadians. Furthermore, the Conservative government must ensure that any agreement reached is fair for Canada.
In the interest of transparency, fair taxation and respect for privacy rights, we are asking the government to reject any agreement that violates the rights Canadians or that fails to offer Canada equal benefits to those provided to the United States.

So, NDP does make some small mention of our rights, but the major focus seems to be on IRS not being able to get information directly from banks and on “equal benefits” to Canada.
When I pointed this out to Joe, he cautioned me:

It is a politicians letter not a lawyer’s so don’t read more into it than need be. The NDP can’t waive Canadians legal and constitutional rights

Have the NDP Brass sold out to the Obamacrats?

(cross-posted at IBS)
On October 14, 2011, the BC Caucus of the NDP sent a letter to Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird about FATCA. The letter states five objectives which the caucus said should guide Canada’s negotiations with the US on FATCA. (See BC Caucus Letter to Flaherty and Baird re-IRS, please read the objectives on page two). I and, I think, any reasonable Canadian could accept an IGA if it incorporates and respects ALL of these five objectives. I cannot support an IGA that fails any of these five, nor can I support a political party that would sell out any of these five objectives. It sure looks to me like a clear and excellent policy statement.
Tom Mulcair said in Toronto Thursday (see the other threads) that the NDP doesn’t have a position on FATCA and won’t until he consults his caucus. Sorry, Tom, but twelve BC members of your caucus actually listened two years ago to their US-born constituents and formulated a position before you were chosen leader. What’s wrong with that position? Why haven’t you endorsed it, and why have you waited this long even to answer questions about FATCA, refusing to date even to acknowledge receipt of emails sent to you from around Canada concerning FATCA?
The answer, my friends, may be blowing in the following quotation from a fund-raising appeal sent by NDP National Director Nathan Rotman about a week ago to all NDP party members.
“We’ve got some of the best talent in the world working with us here at New Democrat headquarters. For example, Jeremy Bird, an Obama campaign strategist and architect of the most impressive field campaign in electoral history.”
Continue reading Have the NDP Brass sold out to the Obamacrats?

The elephant in the room-Update 1

In my posting on an information session held recently for members of the Canadian investment industry, it was stated during the session that after the IGA was signed it had to go to Cabinet for approval. No mention was made of Parliament. I found this to be different from my understanding of the process..
After reading Blaze’s  exchange with Maura Drew-Lytle of the CBA, I contacted Maura about this matter and related what was said at another financial industry presentation. She responded fairly quickly that I would have to contact Finance.
So, I then emailed Kevin Shoom. His response was “if an agreement is reached, it would be made public and require Parliamentary approval for implementation”.
So that should settle the question of Parliamentary approval. I did notice that he used the word ‘if”. I’m not sure if that has any significance.

Canadian Protections Against Uncle Sam

Uncle Sam MoreCanadians, Uncle Sam wants you. Actually, he doesn’t want you. He wants your money. Uncle Sam thinks he has the right to know about your money which was earned, saved, invested and taxed in Canada just because you were born in his country.
In Canadian Protections Against IRS, Lynne Swanson (aka Blaze) outlines some of the protections Canadian citizens and residents have against the IRS.
This was written in response to a couple of articles in The Money Guide advising Canadians of their obligation to IRS and recommending filing “before it is too late.”
I intentionally did not focus on the options for filing in this article.  That is covered elsewhere in The Money Guide. Instead, I chose to focus on the protections and some of the FATCA issues (but with a different approach than in the Financial Post article).
I gave links to Maple Sandbox and Brock in my submission. However, this was not included in The Money Guide Post. Instead, they linked to an their Tax Guide For US Citizens Living in Canada.
This article was posted as Guest Poster, but Lynne Swanson’s information is at the end.

Beanie Babies, Hyatt Heiress and IRS

Beanie Babies are now “US persons.”  Uncle Sam is mad at Beanie Babies.  Good old Sam has grabbed $53.6 million in FBAR penalties for $885,000 in taxes owed.
In IRS vs. Beanie Babies, Beanie Babies creator Ty Warner agreed to pay $53.6 million in restitution for his Swiss bank account of $94 million.
I do not support offshore tax evasion, but does this seem extreme to anyone else?  Maybe it’s just a drop in the bucket when your net worth is $2.6 billion, but Ty could still face prison time.
Here’s what the U.S. Attorney said:

“Regardless of wealth, everyone must pay taxes on all of their income, not just the amount they choose to report. Such conduct invites federal prosecution.”

On the other hand, Hyatt Hotel heiress Penny Pritzker Understated Income by $80 million in income to IRS due to an “inadvertent clerical error.”  Penny’s punishment?  She was appointed Secretary of Commerce.
Here’s what a White House senior adviser said:

“I think she’ll be extremely effective in leading trade missions around the world and helping U.S. companies develop those contacts that will lead to contracts back here in America.”


We Are Not Tax Cheats

Here is an article We Are Not Tax Cheats from the Financial Post by Lynne Swanson (aka Blaze). (The editor added Dual and American to the headline, but everything else seems to be exactly as I wrote it)
This article says:

If China, Russia, Mexico, Iran or Eritrea were demanding Canadian banks and other financial institutions submit private financial information on Canadian citizens and residents to those countries, there would be outrage.
If Canadian banks were spending millions of dollars preparing to develop systems to report information on Canadian citizens and residents to those countries, there would be outrage.
If the Canadian government were “actively seeking a solution that both countries will find agreeable,” there would be outrage.
If Canadian media were calling Canadian citizens and residents born in those countries “tax cheats,” and advising them to “come clean,” there would be outrage.
Yet, up to one million Canadians of American origin have lived that nightmare for two years with no resolution.

It also says:

The government refuses to tell us if it will sign away our rights.


We need Canada’s Finance Minister Jim Flaherty to insist that Canadian banks follow Canadian laws. We need Minister Flaherty to reassure Canadian citizens and residents that Canadian laws will not be changed for a foreign nation.
Most importantly, we need our elected officials to tell the United States that Canadian laws are made in Ottawa, not in Washington. We must not allow the United States to FATCA Canada.
We deserve no less than Canadians born in China, Russia, Mexico, Iran, Eritrea or elsewhere.


FATCA: A Tool of The Electronic Surveillance State

Jim Jatras at Repeal FATCA has a great new article out which says what most of us surveillancebelieve. FATCA: A Tool of the Electronic Surveillance State.
I’m too FATCAed out tonight to read it in detail, but I wanted to post it for others to see. It is a good companion to Hazy’s Elephant In The Room. Neither of them are what any of us should be reading shortly before bedtime!