Monthly Archives: November 2013

More Speaking Out Against FATCA

Ruth Freeborn of Kingston Ontario is again speaking out on FATCA. Ruth has been quoted in Wall Street Journal, Globe and Mail and on CBC.Today, she is in Kansas City Star, McClathchyDC and NewsMax.
In New Tax Law Driving Expats to Renounce U.S. Citizenship, Ruth’s quotes about her reasons for renouncing to protect her Canadian husband and child are right next to a photo of Tina Turner. Who did that layout?!?

“My decision was either to protect my Canadian spouse and child from this overreach or I could relinquish my U.S. citizenship,” she said. “It was with great sorrow I felt I had to relinquish, but there was no other choice for me and many like me.”

Ruth also says

“My husband cannot understand why Americans are so offended by having their personal emails and phone calls monitored by the NSA yet are very comfortable requiring a Canadian to hand over their bank account data, which is far more sensitive.”

The article also writes about the rich who are renouncing like Tina Turner, Eduardo Saverin and Denise Rich. As Ruth says:

“The rich can afford expensive tax attorneys,” Freeborn said. “The poor and the middle class cannot. My bank down the street is not an offshore account and I’m not hiding money.”

Marylouise Serrato, executive director of American Citizens Abroad points out some of the problems with FATCA. Cynthia Bennett of Germany says FATCA was the “last straw” to cause her to renounce.
Of course, we have the usual quote from U.S. Treasury about all the “illicit activities” we are hiding in our routine bank accounts down the street.
Ruth is a Sandboxer and Brocker. I will let her decide if she wants to reveal her identity here.  I don’t know if Cynthia is or not. I’m quite certain Tina Turner, Eduardo Saverin and Denise Rich aren’t, but we would love to have them join us in our fight!
NewsMax picked up the same story, but with a very different slant in Rand Paul Goes After Tax Law Aimed At Expats.
That article begins by saying:

A controversial new tax law that Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is attempting to repeal is driving hundreds of well-heeled Americans living abroad to renounce their U.S. citizenship.

They again use Tina Turner, Eduardo Saverin and Denise Rich as examples. But, they also use the quotes from Ruth, Marylouise and Cynthia. They conveniently left out the information about Ruth’s husband being the sole income earner with an income of $51,000. Somehow, I don’t think that meets the threshold of “well heeled.”
Ruth is a Sandboxer and Brocker. I will let her decide if she wants to reveal her identity here.  I don’t know if Cynthia is or isn’t. I’m quite certain Tina Turner, Eduardo Saverin and Denise Rich don’t hang out here, but we would love to have them join us in our fight!

Guardian Reporting On FATCA

The Guardian is the latest publication to pick up the FATCA story.
In Banks Forced To Comply With FATCA Despite Not Being In The US, Canada is the lead.
Unfortunately, it uses the TC words: Tax Cheaters. It also uses the D word: Dual.
The following doesn’t address Canada specifically, but seems to describe our situation, as well as that of some other countries.

One example is determining exactly how the banks will ascertain the information in question. The IRS has basically suggested that financial institutions ask about the citizenship of everyone who opens or maintains an account. If Americanism is detected, the account holder’s assets must be evaluated for certain criteria that indicate a possibility of tax evasion. Many observers consider this line of inquiry to be incredibly intrusive and an offense to the expectation of personal privacy.
Another looming issue that has watchdogs up in arms is that compliance with the American law may run afoul of standing sovereign laws that govern the transmission of confidential information. Americans with dual citizenship or visas still expect that certain rights will be guaranteed by the constitution of the other country, and the collection and communication of personal data interferes with those rights. Obedience to FATCA may require breaking statutes that regulate that interaction unless the host nation can devise a means to legislate its way out of breaking its own constitution.

Do All Canadians have the Same Rights?: Letter to Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, Issued Jointly by Maple Sandbox and the Isaac Brock Society

In light of the Canadian Government’s ongoing IGA negotiations with the US, Maple Sandbox and the Isaac Brock Society today issued a joint letter to the Hon. James Flaherty, MInister of Finance, demanding an answer to one simple question, which to date he has not answered.  Do all Canadians have the same rights?  The letter is reproduced below.  As well, you can download a PDF of the letter here.
It has also been released to media outlets with the following message:
“Do all Canadians have the same rights? For two years, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has refused to answer that simple question while he negotiates with a foreign government trying to financially terrorize Canadian citizens, residents and financial institutions.
Now Isaac Brock Society and Maple Sandbox have put that simple question to Minister Flaherty in the attached Open Letter.
We hope you will bring this to the attention of Canadians and Mr. Flaherty. Perhaps you will be more successful at getting an answer from Minister of Finance than we have been.”

November 25, 2013
The Honourable James Flaherty, P.C. M.P
RE: FATCA: Canadian Rights vs. Foreign Demands
Dear Minister,
We write to you today asking a simple question: Do all Canadians have the same rights under Canada’s laws and our Charter of Rights and Freedoms?
Your government is quietly negotiating a new tax information sharing agreement with the United States that we fear will remove those rights from Canadians whom the U.S. wants to claim as their own.  We would like your assurance that no such removal is being contemplated.
There are at least a million people in this group, with another two or three million family members who will be affected by any agreement with the U.S. that compromises their rights.
We are law-abiding, responsible, tax-paying Canadian citizens and residents, many of us here for decades or our entire lives.  We live from Atlantic to Pacific to Arctic.  We have studied, worked, retired, earned an income, owned homes, raised Canadian-born families, volunteered, voted, participated in our communities, donated to Canadian charities, saved, invested, planned for our children’s education, their and our own disabilities and our retirement and diligently paid our federal, provincial and municipal taxes.
But now we are suffering as a foreign government tries to financially terrorize us.  There have been many sleepless nights. Marriages have been strained.  Health and careers have been affected.  Some have even contemplated suicide.
Our Canadian citizenship certificates describe us as:  “… entitled to all of the rights and privileges and bears all the responsibilities, obligations and duties of a Canadian citizen.”  We have met our obligations, and we now respectfully ask you, and the government of Canada, to meet your obligations to us.

As you are fully aware, the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) demands Canadian banks, credit unions and other financial institutions provide information to U.S. Internal Revenue Service – either directly or through the Canadian government – on our accounts with them.
This is a nightmare for us, and it should be for your government.  Those accounts are often held with Canadian-born spouses and children.  Those assets were earned, saved, invested and taxed entirely in Canada. Income was reported to Canada Revenue Agency and taxes paid.  If we refuse to provide consent for transmission of our information to a foreign government, FATCA expects our banks to declare us “recalcitrant” and close our accounts.
FATCA violates Canadian banking, privacy and human rights laws and Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  Yet, under foreign threats, Canadian banks and financial institutions may violate those rights – possibly with help from your government through the imposition of an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA).
Mr. Flaherty, you yourself wrote “Canada is not a tax haven.  People do not flock to Canada to avoid paying taxes.” You called FATCA “unwarranted” and “extraterritorial.”  You insisted FATCA would “turn Canadian banks into extensions of the IRS and would raise significant privacy concerns for Canadians.”
Nevertheless, your officials are negotiating in secret with American officials for a “solution both countries will find agreeable.”  There should be no negotiating fundamental Canadian rights.  It should be clear.  Canadian laws and the Charter protect all Canadian citizens and residents.  Anything less makes us second class Canadians and surrenders Canada’s sovereignty to a foreign power.
So, again, the question is simple.  Do Canadian citizens and residents born in United States or with some bizarre past U.S. connection have the same rights as all other Canadians?
We implore you to answer now.  This nightmare has dragged on too long.
This letter is the collaborative effort of Canadians across Canada – most are active participants in the Isaac Brock Society and Maple Sandbox blogs.  Many do not want their names revealed now because of an impending betrayal of their financial privacy rights by their government and by their banks.  They fear the unprincipled predatory financial attack by the U.S. helped by that Canadian betrayal.
Lynne Swanson, maplesandbox at gmail dot com
Administrator, Maple Sandbox
Peter W. Dunn, petros at isaacbrocksociety dot ca
Administrator, Isaac Brock Society”

Another Open Letter to Recalcitrant Canadian Bankers Association: Response to statements made on November 19 2013 CBC broadcast

The November 19 CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) broadcast, in which a representative of the Canadian Bankers Association was interviewed, shows that Canada’s banks still feel that they have no choice but to capitulate to US demands for FATCA implementation.
This is just one brief response also posted on 


November 21, 2013
Mr. Marion Wrobel
Vice-President, Policy and Operations
Canadian Bankers Association
199 Bay Street, 30th Floor
Toronto, Ontario
M5L 1G2
Dear Mr. Wrobel,

[Re: Your November 19 2013 CBC broadcast statements on
Canadian banks and FATCA]

I am asking you, as a representative of the Canadian Bankers Association (CBA), to provide more balance in future statements you will make to the public on involvement of Canadian banks in implementing the U.S. imposed FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) law.
In your November 19 statements broadcasted on CBC the audience was left with the impression that Canada’s banks have no choice but to capitulate to U.S. demands to implement FATCA– because the U.S. has a “large economy” and “financial markets are integrated.”
I appreciate that only limited broadcast time was available, and know that you would not mislead; however, Canadians need to know, directly from the CBA, that Canadian banks do in fact have the option of resisting FATCA in order to protect rights of all of us and the sovereignty of our country. Continue reading Another Open Letter to Recalcitrant Canadian Bankers Association: Response to statements made on November 19 2013 CBC broadcast

MacLean's Article: FATCA in Toronto Centre

Just hours before the Toronto Centre debate on FATCA, MacLeans Magazine added fuel to the flame.
In On Being Canadian and How Freeland Could Have Responded to McQuaig, author Erica Alini brings FATCA front and centre.
In a debate, McQuaig attacked Freeland for being un-Canadian. Freeland, who has spent several years in Russia, UK and US, did not respond.
As Ms. Alini points out about FATCA:

This kind of snooping could turn out to unconstitutional under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which protects privacy and liberty and forbids discrimination based on “national or ethnic origin.” And among the many whose rights might be trampled over would likely be Freeland, who must have a SSN, if not a green card, and certainly had a U.S. address. It would also include Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, who was born in Connecticut, and probably other MPs. Continue reading MacLean's Article: FATCA in Toronto Centre

This Week's News–Lots

This has been a big week for FATCA News. I have been busy with various r FATCA projects, so I haven’t had time to post them.
Here are a few. The first was the letter to Canadian Bankers Association posted here and at Brock by Pacifica and the news release.
Toronto Centre has a FATCA Debate scheduled for November 18. Schubert posted that in another thread.
Toronto Centre (whoever they are) also has some articles on their site. Anti-FATCA Movement Gains Momentum and #TorCen Candidates Need To Understand What FATCA Implies For Privacy Rights in Canada
Today, FATCA in Canada was the lead story on the front of the Caymans Compass: Grassroots Challenge to FATCA In Canada
Moving across the pond, France and US signed an IGA. This was expected, but it is not good news for Americans living in France. I hope Victoria and others will tell us what they think of it.
In Switzerland, Tina Turner Gives Up U.S. Citizenship–FATCA Wheel Keeps On Turning.
Petros and I were contacted by a lawyer-reporter for an article in a prominent international tax journal. It should be published the beginning of next week. However, for copyright reasons, we may not be able to publish it here for about two weeks after publication.
Stay tuned… Continue reading This Week's News–Lots

Toronto Centre Green candidate responds to our Demo and CBA emails

As noted on other threads, on November 6 I sent an email to five Toronto Centre candidates concerning our current demonstration outside the Metro Convention Centre in Toronto. Yesterday I sent emails to the same candidates, transmitting to them the joint Brock/Sandbox letter to CBA and reminding them both about our demo and about the FATCA-centred debate being organized by Toronto Centre Debates for November 18.
I received yesterday (but only got to my email today) a reply to these emails from the Green candidate. Several days ago I got a reply from the Progressive Canadian candidate, who has been in touch with IRSCompliantForever and who I understand may attend our demonstration. At this moment, I have received no replies at all to either email from the Conservative candidate (Geoff Pollock) nor the Liberal candidate (Chrystia Freeland), and all I have from the NDP candidate (Linda McQuaig) in reply to my second email is a standard robo-reply thanking me for my email, saying it will be forwarded to an appropriate person, and asking me for a donation. Conclude from all this as you will, Toronto Centre voters. And pass the word around.
The full text of the reply from John Deverell, the Green candidate for Toronto Centre, is as follows:
Dear XXXX,
Thank you for the extensive documentation you provided on the US Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act (FACTA) and the attempt to embroil Canadian financial Institutions directly in its administration.
As Green Party leader Elizabeth May indicated in January of this year, we do not approve of the extraterritorial enforcement of US tax law by Canadian financial institutions, nor do we approve of an Intergovernmental Agreement between Canada and the US to produce that effect. Continue reading Toronto Centre Green candidate responds to our Demo and CBA emails

News Release:CBA Letter and Protest

Here is the news release which was sent to Canadian media this morning:
Canada’s Banks: Would they Sacrifice Charter and Privacy Rights to Comply with Extraterritorial U.S. Tax Law?
November 12, 2013
For Immediate Release
TORONTO – U.S. Treasury officials are engaged in a financial attack on millions of law-abiding Canadians and Canada’s banking industry appears ready to help them win.
An open letter sent today to Terry Campbell, President of the Canadian Bankers Association (CBA), urges him and his association to abandon their policy of capitulation to unreasonable U.S. demands and instead defend the rights of Canadians everywhere. The letter is a collaborative effort of Canadians from coast to coast.  Most are participants at the Isaac Brock Society and Maple Sandbox websites at which the letter is posted online.
Under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), the U.S. demands that Canadian financial institutions identify “U.S. persons” among their customers and report comprehensive financial information on them to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. This would include millions of Canadians with U.S. connections, however tenuous. Continue reading News Release:CBA Letter and Protest

Letter to Canadian Bankers Association, Issued Jointly by Isaac Brock Society and Maple Sandbox, in Opposition to FATCA

The Isaac Brock Society and Maple Sandbox today issued a joint letter to Mr. Terry Campbell,  President of the Canadian Banker’s Association, detailing their opposition to FATCA.  The letter, which was hand delivered to Mr. Campbell’s office, is reproduced below.  As well, you can download the PDF of the letter here.
November 12, 2013

Terry Campbell,

Canadian Bankers Association

Dear Mr. Campbell,
As citizens and residents of Canada, we are strongly opposed to the Canadian Bankers Association’s (CBA) recently-stated advocacy for an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) that would allow the government of the United States – through the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act – to impose its tax laws in Canada.
Such an agreement would represent a gross violation of Canadian sovereignty and would violate the rights of Canadian citizens and residents under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Canadian Human Rights Act, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, and other legal guarantees.  The CBA’s claim that an IGA would mitigate these violations in any meaningful way is illusory.
There are an estimated one million people in Canada who have, one way or another, connections to the U.S. that would place them, through FATCA, on the U.S. Internal Revenue Service’s radar screen. Add in family members, who are also caught up in this net, and the one million gets closer to four million – that’s nearly 12% of the Canadian population! Continue reading Letter to Canadian Bankers Association, Issued Jointly by Isaac Brock Society and Maple Sandbox, in Opposition to FATCA