Monthly Archives: October 2013

American Taxman Stay Away From Me

I did it!  Many of you know I rewrote the lyrics to American Woman to be American Taxman Stay Away From Me.
When I couldn’t find anyone to record it, I did it myself with the help of a couple of friends (non-Americans who refused to appear on camera).
I can’t sing and I didn’t want to insult the music of Burton Cumming and Randy Bachman, so I merely spoke the words.
I am not a myth!

Charter Lawsuit Against CSEC

privacy keyboardB.C. Civil Liberties Association and Open Media have filed a lawsuit  against Canada’s Communications Security Establishment Agency (CSEC) for violating privacy rights of Canadians under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The lawsuit argues two aspects of CSEC’s operations violate the charter’s protections against unreasonable search and seizure, and infringe on free expression, including:

  • The interception of the private communications of Canadians.
  • The sweeping collection of metadata information produced by Canadians in their everyday activities online and through phone conversations.

One of the lawyers involved is Joe Arvay. Joe said:

“Unaccountable and unchecked government surveillance presents a grave threat to democratic freedoms.”
“We are deeply concerned that CSEC is gaining secret, illegal access to the private communications of ordinary Canadians, and there are no reasonable safeguards in place to monitor its activities. We know from the experiences of other countries that government agencies have a tendency to push and even break the boundaries of spying unless they are checked.”

As many of you know, Joe is the lawyer some of us consulted about FATCA. He is one of Canada’s leading constitutional lawyers and is “on stand-by” for us if we need to file a FATCA Charter challenge. I can only imagine what Joe will say if the government tries to turn our financial information over to a foreign government.
You Go Joe!

Letter to IRS on Accidental Americans

In a letter to the IRS, US law firm Flott and Co tells of three “Accidental Americans”:

The first is a Canadian.  She was born in the US while her parents, both Canadian citizens, were at graduate school in 1954.  She returned to Canada with them when she was two years old and has lived in Canada since.  When her father inquired about her US citizenship in 1973, the US Consul in Winnipeg advised that she would lose her US citizenship if she obtained a Canadian passport and lived in Canada for three year after reaching her 22nd birthday without taking an oath of allegiance to the United States.  She obtained a Canadian passport, continued to live in Canada, and did not take an oath of allegiance to the United States prior to reaching her 25th birthday.  Unfortunately, unbeknownst to her, the section of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, which the US Consul referenced in his letter to her father, was repealed in 1978 before she had completed three years continuous residence in Canada after turning 22 in 1976. She was shocked to learn on July 22, 2013 that she is still a US citizen by birth.

The second is British.  She, too, was born in the United States while her parents, both of whom were British citizens, were in the US.  She returned with them to England when she was three and has lived in the UK ever since.  Indeed, she has travelled to the US on a UK passport with a US visa, issued by the US Consulate in London.  She contacted me in early May to confirm that she was not as US citizen based on the US visa issued to her.  I had to advise her that she was indeed a US citizen by birth and explained US citizenship is automatic and non-consensual by operation of the Fourteenth Amendment.  Being a British citizen at birth did not affect her US citizenship.

The third is Irish.  She was born in the US to Irish nationals who were studying in the US.  She left when she was five and has lived in Ireland or other parts of Europe since.  On July 10, 2013 she contacted me after having been told the week before at a party that US citizens were being called in to a local bank to verify their citizenship.  Like the Canadian before her, she was genuinely surprised to learn that she is a US citizen and subject to tax on her worldwide income.

He raises some good points in his letter. However, he focuses–as many lawyers and accountants seem to do–on suggesting better ways for these three women who are not economically connected to U.S. to become compliant with IRS. He refers to them as “innocent delinquents.”

Why aren’t the professionals recommending changes to American law? Why aren’t they telling IRS what FATCA is doing to real lives? Why does United States of Arrogance think they have any right to claim these individuals, along with millions of others around the globe, as their own?!?

Oh, wait, I know the answer to that last question. Because they are bullies.

Swiss Referendum Breaks Through Fear of Retaliation

Unlike Canadian Bankers Association who insist there is nothing that can be done to stop FATCA, some in Switzerland disagree.Switzerland
LegalEra reports FATCA Can Be Overturned–Breaks Through Fear of Retaliation
The article says:

There is an atmosphere of vague fears, mostly half-formulated and at best half-expressed: such as losing access to the American market or even reprisals against Swiss corporations. These fears have gone to the point of leading the Swiss Parliament to accept an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with the US, which will not bring any benefit to the country other than averting retaliation.

That is not stopping citizens in Switzerland from advocating for a referendum on FATCA. They need 50,000 signatures by January 16 for a referendum to be held. I’m sure we all wish we could sign!
The article also says:

FATCA opponents calculate that the Swiss referendum may slow down, where still possible, the process of IGA signing [Inter-Governmental Agreements] started by the US Treasury. But it seems to have slowed down anyway: since the agreement with Germany on May 31, no new IGAs have been signed. Admittedly, France’s IGA had been on the agenda for French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici, when he was visiting the US in October 10-12 [but the signature meeting had to be called off because of the partial shutdown]. Even counting France, the Department of Treasury has therefore scored only 9 IGAs so far.
Considering that at least thirty IGAs would be needed, in as many countries, in order for FATCA to be a success, it appears that the Department of Treasury is still far off the mark. One major country, China, has apparently declined to go along the road to an IGA.


FATCA: You Have An Option, Sirs. You Could Do Better.

Dear Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, Kevin Shoom, (Senior Chief, International Taxation, Finance Canada) and Terry Campbell (President Canadian Bankers Association):

“You had an option, Sir.”

Those words, which Brian Mulroney thundered at John Turner in 1984, changed Canadian history.  Going into the leadership debate, the Liberals had a comfortable lead. Instead, Mr. Mulroney’s Progressive Conservatives were elected with 211 seats, the largest in Canadian history.
Here’s what else Mr. Mulroney said:

“You had an option, Sir. You could have said ‘I’m not going to do it. This is wrong for Canadians and I’m not going to ask them to pay the price.’
“You had an option, Sir. You had an option to say ‘No.’ You chose to say ‘Yes’. Continue reading FATCA: You Have An Option, Sirs. You Could Do Better.

Canadian Investment Executive and Canadian Bankers Association Preparing for FATCA

Are you panicking about FATCA?  Are you looking for a “helping hand” because you are “in need of advice and reassurance?”

Coming Soon: Canadian Investment Executive to Your Rescue!  

Investment Executive Encourages Canadian Investment Advisors to help you come to terms with your obligations to a foreign government.
As is usual, there is no mention of Canadian Protections from IRS. There is no mention of Canadian laws or Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. There is no mention of the possibility of a getting a CLN because you may have relinquished when you became a Canadian citizen.  Continue reading Canadian Investment Executive and Canadian Bankers Association Preparing for FATCA

We Are Not A Myth Portrait Protest Growing–But We Still Need You

We Are Not A Myth Portrait Protest is slowing growing, but we still need more.
Collage (1)Please join in. You can add your own photo and message or e-mail to AtticusinCanada and she will add it for you

We Are Not A Myth is not just for Canadians!

We hope people from around the world will add their faces to the protest. Show US Treasury you and your FATCA issues are not myths.
You may not have been able to be in Ottawa, but you can participate through the Portrait Protest.

James Jatras Files FATCA Information Request

Washington lawyer, lobbyist and former U.S. diplomat has filed a reqest for information on negotiations with Canada, Swizerland and the UK.
You go James! 
I must also credit James with helping Victoria and me with our two most recent FATCA articles. He pointed us to OpEd News for the We Are Not Myths articles.
He also provided us with the information from the European Chamber of Commerce and HM Revenue and Customs about the costs of FATCA for FFIs. That information is one of the biggest myth busters of all.
Thanks James!

Anti-FATCA hits mainstream international print media

The October 12 print edition of the prestigious and widely-read UK journal, The Economist, has this article about FATCA, also on this web link
Good and balanced article. So much for the Treasury’s Stack of Lies. It will be impossible for the US to ignore this one.
Happy (Canadian) Thanksgiving, everyone!  (Not you, Stack and Obama …)