Solving Problem of U.S. Citizenship Information Sessions

Before you rush to an accountant or lawyer in a panic, if you are close to any of these locations, check out one of these information sessions on Solving the Problem of U.S. Citizenship: Solve Problem


  • Toronto, ON U.S. Citizenship & Young Adults: Navigating The Special Rules Imposed On U.S.Citizens Abroad Sat, June 7, 10 am to 12 noon, Univ of Toronto, St. Michael’s College, Carr Hall, 100 St. Joseph St, MAP NB: $20 individual or $40 for a family of up to four people

Who: John Richardson
$20 donation to offset costs-payable at the door

The recent CBC coverage of FATCA and U.S. extraterritorial taxation has raised awareness/concern over the plight of Canadian citizens of U.S. origin. Those who are learning about this for the first time (the OMG moment) will be experiencing a combination of shock, fear, betrayal and more. There will be lots of people interested in understanding the situation and determining whether and/or how to respond.

The following comment appeared on the blog:

Looks like the recent media coverage is creating mass panic in Canada. This might force the Canadian government to issue a statement sooner rather than later. This is good. But I feel bad for the people who are just having their OMG moment. They need some sound advice as to not to make bad decisions which would devastate them financially. While each situation is different, the Canadian government owes it to affected Canadians to provide some guidance and advice and fast. It needs to be official cannot just come from web sites like IBS or Maple Sandbox. Maybe the administrators should add some notes like they can’t be held responsible for actions that people take by following advice on these blogs. This is common sense, but might protect you from lawsuits.

We agree! The important thing it to stay calm! Do NOT panic! Do not react to this situation! Take your time to make the decisions that are appropriate to your situation! Above all else, do NOT even consider entering the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program or any other kind of disclosure program unless you are certain that it is right for you (which it almost certainly is NOT)!
Obviously NO blog or web site can provide reliable legal advice. No seminar for the general public can provide reliable legal advice! Your job is simply to begin gathering information and beginning to understand the new reality of U.S. citizenship.
What follows are a list of “Solving The Problems of U.S. Citizenship” information sessions that you can attend, for a nominal fee and anonymously! The sessions are NOT intended to provide legal advice. But, they are intended to help you identify the issues that may apply to your situation.
Do NOT engage the services of an accountant or lawyer before equipping yourself with some basic knowledge!
Solving The Problems of U.S. Citizenship – Exploratory Sessions
The topics covered are designed to alert you to issues and are NOT offered as legal or accounting advice specific to your situation.
They include:
Citizenship Issues:
– Are you STILL a U.S. citizen?
– Are your children U.S. citizens?
– What might FATCA mean for me?
Tax Issues
– Filing U.S. tax returns – what’s involved?
– Filing information returns (FBAR, Form 3520, 5471, etc.)
– Reasonable cause (avoiding penalties)
Financial Planning Issues
– investment products that are cancerous for U.S. citizens
Does it make sense to renounce U.S. citizenship?
– Renouncing U.S. citizenship

35 thoughts on “Solving Problem of U.S. Citizenship Information Sessions

  1. Isaac Brock and Maple Sandbox reaching out to expats in Europe with meetings planned for Germany. Great job! The more people who learn about the curse of being an American abroad, the better.
    Awareness is the first step towards curing the disease.

  2. No, pre-registration not necessary for the information sessions, but anything to reflect numbers to expect would be helpful.

  3. Blaze I suggest that yo delete any fearmongers who start posting about buying Gold at your websites.
    In Canada financial institution are not going to be shutting down accounts and withholding money. If you can not hide or explain why you relinquish the most that can happen is you get nasty letters from the IRS which are meaningless as long as you stay in Canada, CRA may collect from non Canadian citizen but FBAR is not included, This was due to the 1995 USA Canada tax treaty. You should all remember who was in power then.
    long term gold prices
    Gold is a risky investment Gold had a sharp upward streak in 1979-83 but returned to a more normal range. The 2008 upward streak looks similar except it may have lasted longer because Companies do not want to hire a lot more people these day because they feel Obama is anti-business,
    Blaze, I do not think you want people losing half their net worth just to prevent getting nasty letter from the IRS. People who also do the fear mongering and own gold may have problem with various SEC regulation.

  4. @George: We encourage a range of opinions here. We don’t agree with all of them and have deleted a couple that we felt violated Maple Sandbox rules.
    Has anyone posted here advising people to buy gold? I think most participants here have the intelligence and ability to make the decision for themselves as to whether that would be a reasonable choice for them to make.
    I certainly do not want to see Sandbox become a playground for anyone promoting any financial products or services.

  5. Blaze I have not seen anything here unlike at Issac Brock Society.
    If you ever watch Business New Network, CNBC or Bloomberg they always force people who make recommendation to disclose their position.
    At Issac Bock some of the scare tactic are untrue about Canadian the Bank are not going to shut down people accounts and collect USA taxes. These people then recommend buying Gold. This may be considered sort of front running.
    “For example, analysts and brokers who buy shares in a company just before the brokerage firm is about to recommend the stock as a strong buy, are practising this type of “front running”. Brokers have been convicted of securities laws violations in the United States for such behavior. In 1985, a writer for the Wall Street Journal, R. Foster Winans, tipped off brokers about the content of his column Heard on the Street, which based upon publicly available information would be written in such a way as to give either good or bad news about various stocks. The tipped off brokers traded on the information. Winans and the brokers were prosecuted by then-prosecutor Rudolph Giuliani, tried and convicted of securities fraud. Their convictions were upheld by the United States Supreme Court in 1986.[1]”
    The 1995 USA Canada tax treaty is worse than FATCA as it allow collection of USA (non FBAR) taxes from Canadian permanent resident.
    It also recognizes USA tax laws against Canadian even though CRA will not collect and by Canadian Law precedent the Courts will not collect.
    “One explanation of the rule thus illustrated may be thought to be that enforcement of a claim for taxes is but an extension of the sovereign power which imposed the taxes, and that an assertion of sovereign authority by one State within the territory of another, as distinct from a patrimonial claim by a foreign sovereign, is (treaty or convention apart) contrary to all concepts of independent sovereignties. Another explanation has been given by an eminent American judge, Judge Learned Hand, in the case of Moore v. Mitchell, in a passage, quoted also by Kingsmill Moore J. in the case of Peter Buchanan Ld as follows: ‘While the origin of the exception in the case of penal liabilities does not appear in the books, a sound basis for it exists, in my judgment, which includes liabilities for taxes as well. Even in the case of ordinary municipal liabilities, a court will not recognize those arising in a foreign State, if they run counter to the “settled public policy” of its own. Thus a scrutiny of the liability is necessarily always in reserve, and the possibility that it will be found not to accord with the policy of the domestic State. This is not a troublesome or delicate inquiry when the question arises between private persons, but it takes on quite another face when it concerns the relations between the foreign State and its own citizens”

  6. typo
    At Issac Bock some of the scare tactic are untrue about Canadian Banks are not going to shut down people accounts and collect USA taxes. These people then recommend buying Gold. This may be considered sort of front running.

  7. George,
    How do you know? Accounts with US indicia are getting shut down all the time in Europe (Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland, etc). Its all over the news.

  8. Read the dam agreement, It is different than Europen FATCA, The Canadian Government negotiated a much better deal than the Eurpean, etc.
    Suspension of Rules Relating to Recalcitrant Accounts. This last time I will print relevant data. It is a pain to copy off PDF.
    .#2 page 14
    The United States shall not require a Reporting Canadian Financial Institution to withhold tax under section 1471 or 1472 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code with respect to an account held by a recalcitrant
    account holder (as defined in section 1471(d)(6)
    of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code), or to close such account, if the U.S.
    Competent Authority receives the information set forth in
    sub paragraph 2(a) of Article 2 of this Agreement, subject to the provisions of Article 3 of this Agreement, with respect to such account”
    article 2 is on page 10
    You can supply SSN or for existing accounts
    page 12
    Notwithstanding paragraph 3 of this Article, with respect to each Reportable Account that is maintained by a Reporting Financial Institution as of June 30, 2014,and subject toparagraph 4 of Article 6
    of this Agreement, the Parties are not required to obtain and
    include in the exchanged information the Canadian TIN
    or the U.S. TIN, as applicable, of any relevant person if such taxpayer identifying number is not in the records of the Reporting Financial Institution. In such a case, the Parties shall obtain and include in the
    exchanged information the date of birth of the relevant person, if the Reporting Financial Institution has such date of birth in its records”

  9. There is a provision in Canadian FACT where if another country get a better deal we can use that instead. I think other countries FATCA has that provision. Maybe a bunch of European US person may have to thank us. Of course if the Chinese get a better deal great.
    Remember I just had a green card 35 years ago, so I am really not effected. I was only in USA for about a year. Canada told the USA to go to hell on US person-hood definition.

  10. Well George old boy, “sitting tight” might just be fine for somebody like yourself who is only a green card holder from many years ago. But for somebody with “born in the USA” printed in their passport, the situation has many more consequences.
    And regardless of the sweetheart IGA deal you claim that Canada negotiated, all tax liabilities remain completely unchanged. That means all those tax deferred savings/pension plans that the IGA is allowing to be exempt from reporting requirements (for the time being) are still fully taxable according to Uncle Sam.
    Unless the US brings an end to CBT, the noose will continue to tighten for anyone tainted with “US indicia” who lives outside the Homeland.
    So George, you go right ahead and “sit tight.”

  11. If you are Canadian the CRA will not collect taxes at the time it occur. For permanent resident they will not collect FBAR. You do not need to set up a bank account with a passport. Use your driver license. Unless you have over $1 million US they only check for current indices, But if you want to buy Gold go ahead. Jut look at the chart I previously shown and ask if this is 1982 again.
    “Will my financial institution be asking me if I was born in the U.S.?
    A financial institution complying with the agreement will not be required to ask its account holders about their place of birth.
    If a financial institution, applying the due diligence rules of the agreement to its accounts, discovers any records connected to the account that have an unambiguous indication of a U.S. place of birth, the financial institution may treat the account as a reportable account or follow up with the account holder to obtain documentation that shows the account holder is not a U.S. resident or U.S. citizen. ”

  12. So sit tight and stay in the closet? Unless you report and pay according to Uncle Sam’s wishes, in his eyes you’re a criminal. In fact, your life as an ordinary Canadian is considered by the US to be one big continuous crime. What a great way to live, eh?

  13. I agree with George that there are some things in the IGA and subsequent information that are reassuring–i.e. banks are not required to ask for place of birth and no closure of accounts.
    I also agree with Joe Blow that there are things to be concerned about. Not being required to ask for place of birth is far from an assurance that banks will not ask for place of birth or will not ask “Are you now or have you ever been a US citizen?” or “Do you now or have you ever had a US Green Card?”
    Especially alarming to me is the fact the proposed legislation overrides other Canadian laws like privacy, human rights and banking laws. I think Canadian Bankers Association must be ecstatic at that. In fact both CBA and Flaherty claim this addresses privacy issues. As we know, it does not. It merely changes privacy laws to allow banks to legally violate privacy rights.
    I think we’re all feeling really overwhelmed right now. At least I know I am. We all need to stick together.
    We will soon have a post exploring a next possible step. I can assure you “soon” to us is much sooner than “soon” is to Flaherty and Shoom.

  14. Those few small pieces of chocolate in the Canadian IGA are a direct result of the efforts of the people from Isaac Brock and Maple Sandbox. Imagine what the IGA would have looked like it if we hadn’t made so much noise and instead just “sat tight.”

  15. I agree Joe. Murray Rankin and the other NDP MP who spoke with the protestors in Ottawa told them that we are a small group, but we are being noticed.
    We can’t stop now.
    I still need to start a thread about submissions to Finance Canada, but I just haven’t had the time to do it with everything else I’ve been doing. Are there any other Sandbox authors who could do that?

  16. It would be easy to give up now, out of frustration and fear, now that our govt has shown they’re not willing to treat as a regular canadian citizens. However, you’re right, Blaze, we HAVE to keep fighting, it’s more important now, than ever. I was a little despondent right after they signed the IGA, but I’m getting a second wind. GO CANADA GO! We CAN make a difference, if we all continue to hang together and keep talking and writing and fighting.

  17. I renounced last Sept. It is not a big deal as my wife is Canadian and we have lived in Canada since 1985 (she since 1965). I like to joke that I lost that form for loss of nationality (CLN) , but yesterday I found the form for loss (I am traveling in Europe and things get mixed up).

  18. Went to the Waterloo meeting tonight. It was FAB. I feel a bit better now…. emphasis on bit. Thought I had a moderate handle on this but I learned so much.
    The one HUGE piece I came away with from John is that the US is robbing countries of their assets and the countries are paying (the banking IT costs most probably re-cooped in banking fees, if their citizens are made to go on GIS or OAS) for the US to do this. Gonna pass that tid-bit off to Dear Mr. Harper!

  19. All of this is symptomatic of a country that is in rapid decline. Take a look at their debt, more than half of which has been accumulated under the direction of the idiot in the White House now. Take a look at how Putin just toys with him.
    Look at the extent of their military involvement in countries that pose no existential threat to the United States.
    Circling the drain.
    Race to the Bottom: (Ode To A Leaderless County )
    The reset button didn’t work.
    The Arab Street’s aflame.
    ObamaCare is off its rails.
    The jobless rate’s the same.
    The Peeping Toms of government
    Are snooping through our mail.
    Michelle is pushing little kids
    To feed on sprouts and kale.
    The IRS and FEC
    Are playing off the sheet.
    Our consulates and embassies
    Are forced into retreat.
    But if you deign to criticize,
    The mammoth mess we’re in,
    Your motive must be based upon
    The color of his skin
    For only willful prejudice
    And bigotry of mind
    Prevents embrace of presidents
    Who lead us from behind.

  20. I think you have confirmed with lawyer Richardson that you can not be extradited to USA for failing to file USA taxes.
    “It appears Petros’ lawyer looked into only the un-amended 1976 version of the treaty, which in fact did have a specific list that excluded tax crimes. But it seems that has changed.
    This Extradition Treaty excerpt seems further relevant because the CRA reassures that under the Tax Treaty there is specific US tax dirty work it won’t do, and the comment reappears frequently on the Brock site to the effect that “because of the Tax Treaty the US/IRS can’t do anything but send threatening letters.”

  21. CRA Now Works For IRS
    found it
    “Blaze on February 11, 2014 at 1:25 pm said:
    @George: I asked about extradition on Saturday. It’s not going to happen for failure to file with IRS.
    Reply ?
    George III on February 11, 2014 at 1:20 pm said:
    Blaze a question or confirmation for lawyer
    The revenue Rule says Canadian Courts will not collect for a foriegn power, Can you confirm with lawyer if that also means they will not extradite Canadian for failing to file non resident US taxes?
    Can you ask them if a Canadian has ever been extradite to USA for not filling USA taxes?
    I have been telling people can throw out nasty letter from IRS if they stay in Canada
    “A foreign State cannot escape the application of the rule that in no circumstances will the courts directly or indirectly enforce the revenue laws of another country, which is one of public policy, by taking a judgment in its own courts and bringing suit here on that judgment. The claim asserted remains a claim for taxes. It has not, in our courts, merged in the judgment; enforcement of the judgment would be enforcement of the tax claim.”

  22. …and in the Calgary Herald.
    Thanks for the link, BC_Doc.
    Your question:
    Will the Harper government agree to similar “lawful requests” for financial information on “Chinese-Canadians” by Bejing?
    ties in nicely with

    This will set a precedent that the rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms be waived for a segment of Canadian society. They will be second-class Canadians to any other, no matter the first-class Canadian’s national origin or the national origin of their parents / grandparents. Who will then be the next country able to bring their law into Canada to search for Canadians of another national origin?
    My hope is that this gets in front of every Canadian person who will decide such action is absurd and wrong and join us in the Canadian Charter Challenge to either stop or reverse implementation of the US FATCA IGA law in Canada. I hope that others will agree that implementation of the FATCA IGA could be buried in Bill C-31 omnibus bill without debating on its own merits and with the citizens of Canada is appalling.
    Should Canada remain a SOVEREIGN nation with a Charter of Rights and Freedoms that mean the same for all Canadians?

  23. @ Blaze….
    The article in the Edmonton Journal is just a rehash of information we have heard before. There is nothing new there.
    The media in general seems to fear taking any editorial stance that would make the American government, and therefore its head, look bad. The Canadian media was not shy about editorializing against Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, and either of the Bushes, but so far Obama appears to be a protected species.
    Apparently our editorial writers dare not criticize the anointed one. Where are the likes of the CBC and the Fraser Institute on all of this?

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