All posts by schubert

Top Story on CBC News national website about FATCA

In case you haven’t already heard of or seen this, CBC today has published an excellent article about Carol Tapanila’s fight on her disabled son’s behalf against FATCA and the IRS pirates
I’ve already written to Tom Mulcair, Murray Rankin (NDP National Revenue critic), and my MP Paul Dewar (NDP Foreign Affairs critic) with this link, in case they missed it, calling again for them to fight against any attempt by our government to toss any Canadian or his/her financial privacy under an IRS bus.
I urge all of you reading this in Canada similarly to forward this link to your own MP and his/her party leader, with appropriate comments. We have to make it politically impossible for Flaherty to sign an IGA, and this story I think will go a long way in that regard. Particularly once we start to hear what the government has to say in response to Brison’s and Hsu’s questions on the Order Paper about what consultations and research the government has or hasn’t done about FATCA, due as soon as parliament resumes later this month.

US Chamber of Commerce joins TAS in dumping on FATCA

In other very encouraging news today, yesterday the US Chamber of Commerce (a rather prestigious and heavy-hitting US institution) published the article linked below criticizing FATCA and suggesting that FATCA may be the next Obamacare-rollout-like catastrophe about to hit what is increasingly seen as an incompetent Democratic administration in Washington.
So, in one day, we have both the US Chamber of Commerce and the US Taxpayer Advocate report to Congress finally echoing many of the objections we, the NDP, in fairness Jim Flaherty himself, ACA, and others too numerous to mention, have been raising about FATCA for the past couple of years.
Metaphors spring to my mind. Like, “the emperor has no clothes and the crowd is starting to notice.” Like, “gee that onrushing freight train seems to be losing all its wheels and teetering on the edge of a very deep cliff.”
Unless our Finance Minister has taken leave of his senses, which I think extremely unlikely, I no longer think we’ll see a Canada-US IGA any time soon, if ever. With heavy-hitters like these in the US saying “wait a minute, what the hell are you doing and why?” why should Canada or any other country leap into an IGA with the US to sign onto something that seems to look like might actually get derailed or gutted PDQ.
Remember that previous US ambassador to Canada who, back in the Fall of 2011, advised everyone to “sit tight?” That’s starting to look like supremely good advice for many so-called US persons, especially “accidental” (I prefer “inadvertent” or “unwilling”) so-called Americans living in Canada (the parallels to Ted Cruz aka “border babies”). Let’s just wait and see how this train wreck is going to unfold now.
If I were one of that handful of countries that leapt into bed with the IRS via an IGA, or an FFI that has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on compliance mechanisms, I think I’d start to feel a bit foolish (and very hard-done-by) right about now. And if I were a compliance maven with visions of fat fees from terrified offshore alleged Americans dancing in his/her head, I think I’d see those visions turning to mush.
We don’t want to count our chickens before they’re hatched, but maybe it’s time to take a deep breath, ignore the Chicken Littles in the compliance industry, “sit tight” and watch with fascination what seems more and more like a FATCA train wreck.
Nice news for a wintery Friday, anyway.  Happy New Year, everyone.

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

As has been mentioned on another post, several activists with the Isaac Brock and Maple Sandbox sites have planned a demonstration in Toronto on November 13 and 14, on the sidewalk outside the convention centre where representatives of various Canadian financial institutions are meeting to discuss, among other things, “navigating the hurdles to compliance with FATCA.”
Five candidates for the Toronto Centre by-election, and their campaign organizations, have been invited to participate in the demonstration. They are the candidates for the Conservative, Green, Liberal, New Democrat, and Progressive Canadian parties. The Progressive Canadian party was included, in thanks for their support some months ago in organizing an excellent meeting in Toronto on FATCA and all that is wrong with it. The Greens, Liberals and New Democrats all have expressed major reservations about FATCA. The Conservatives were included in fairness and to signal that we are not partisans and represent a full spectrum of political views, while being united in opposition to FATCA and any Canada-US IGA.
We thought this would be an opportunity to learn exactly what degree of support these parties are, or are not, prepared to provide to those opposing FATCA and an IGA. After some discussion, a group of us agreed that all five of the mentioned parties should be contacted, but none of the other candidates on the ballot (eleven in total).
For those who are interested, attached is a PDF copy of the email that was sent to each of the five parties (with the organizer’s and sender’s personal particulars removed). generic candidate email
The Conservative email was copied to Jim Flaherty. The other four emails were copied to the parties’ leaders; also, the Liberal email was copied to MPs Ted Hsu, Scott Brison, and Irwin Cotler (Liberal justice critic and former Minister of Justice); and the NDP email was also copied to MP Murray Rankin.
We will keep you posted as to who does or does not accept the invitation. Draw your own conclusions from this information.
Linda McQuaig’s (NDP) campaign office is at this writing the only one to acknowledge and then reply; the reply says that Ms. McQuaig unfortunately “is unable to attend. Best of luck with your event!”
As replies are passed on to me, I will update in the comment thread to this post.
UPDATED November 9.  Progressive Canadian Party candidate Dorian Baxter has informed us he is attempting re-arrange his schedule in order to assist us in our demonstration; he considers FATCA to be “nothing more than an unethical money-grab.”  Details in the thread below.  So far no other invited candidates than he and McQuaig have replied.

Copious thanks to Jim Jatras for calling the following to our attention.
The government of Russia, and more specifically the Foreign Minister (and not, please note, their Finance Minister), has weighed into the FATCA discussion with this very forthright statement that any agreement between the US and Russia on FATCA must be fully reciprocal and must respect Russian sovereignty and must not impose foreign extraterritorial legislation on the actions of Russian institutions.
I urge everyone to write Flaherty, Harper and your members of Parliament along the following lines (please use your own words or modify mine, I don’t want this to become boilerplate text). I sent this to Flaherty with copies to Rankin, Brison, May and my MP Paul Dewar (also Foreign Affairs critic). Others might wish to send this as well to Harper (who’ll just bounce it to Flaherty if his office replies at all) and to Baird (who has never even acknowledged anything I’ve sent him, nor has his ministerial correspondence unit).
“Please note in the following news item today, that Russia has made it very clear that any agreement between the US and Russia over FATCA must be fully reciprocal and must respect Russian sovereignty. The statement also mentions that FATCA as currently formulated is an extraterritorial violation of the sovereign equality of other countries.
“It would be utterly unacceptable for Canada to accept or insist on less than what Russia does, in any agreement with the US over FATCA. As it is highly unlikely the US can respect or even get full reciprocity, which would require US Senate approval not yet forthcoming in even one IGA the US has signed, I think the most rational approach for Canada to take is to walk away from negotiations with the US over this, to insist on Canadian financial institutional compliance with current Canadian law and our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and to contemplate protections or retaliatory sanctions against the US should it ever actually enforce the threatened sanctions against Canadian financial institutions that have branches in the US.
“Canada’s sovereignty is no less important than Russia’s, and I expect that my government will stand up for Canadians as forthrightly as the Russian government does for its own citizens and sovereignty. It would be a very sad, pathetic commentary on any Canadian government that would not do so.”

URGENT need for support for Ted Hsu's question Q-121 re FATCA

PLEASE, everyone write to Flaherty and ask that he answer Hsu’s questions not only thoroughly but PROMPTLY. December 13 is his deadline; if there is going to be a Canada-US IGA at all, I strongly suspect it will be announced before then. Canadians should have the answers to Hsu’s questions BEFORE then, or no later than when it is tabled in Parliament. Timing isn’t good, if it drags to December 13, IMO. Also, let’s keep the pressure up.
I am providing below, for suggestions (but NOT for copy-paste, individual letters have more weight than petitions and boilerplate emails IMO but some might disagree), what I sent this afternoon to Flaherty, cc to Hsu’s office, my MP, and Murray Rankin (NDP Revenue Critic and point-person for the NDP caucus on FATCA).
It would be ESPECIALLY useful for those of you living in ridings currently held by Conservatives to do this today or tomorrow, given that on Wednesday or Thursday most Tory MPs will be off to their convention in Calgary — where I would hope FATCA will come up.
Continue reading URGENT need for support for Ted Hsu's question Q-121 re FATCA

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 …)

Open Invitation to Linda "FATCA" McQuaig

Hi Linda.
In case you haven’t heard, your Leader, Tom Mulcair, has just issued a letter to a lot of us concerning the NDP’s position on FATCA, in tandem with a letter to Jim Flaherty by Murray Rankin, your party’s Revenue Critic. See link here
Hmm … how does this match your published statements on FATCA?
My colleagues and I at Isaac Brock Society and Maple Sandbox cordially invite you to dinner, with the set menu depicted in the following photograph.
crow supreme
Sorry it’s not exactly haute cousine; we couldn’t find a better recipe on short notice. I think this one suits you to a “T.”
You are welcome to bring your spiritual buddy, Diane “merger” Francis, along with you.
Enjoy the crow. Bon appétit!
Your Canadian neighbours at Maple Sandbox and Isaac Brock Society

Mulcair finally has taken a stand on FATCA

I am pleased to report that a number of us who have been blitzing Mulcair and other NDP MPs finally got an email from Mulcair today, which takes exactly the position he should have taken in Toronto on September 20 in that public meeting when he said the NDP had no policy on FATCA. I’d like to think it’s more than a coincidence that this comes after a flurry of emails from several Brockers and Sandboxers to Mulcair challenging him on the “no policy” statement, given the BC Caucus’ very strong letter to Flaherty two years ago. Perhaps some of us, including me, having sent letters and reminder copies of the September 2011 letter to the eleven remaining MPs who signed that letter and asking “what gives here” may have helped too.
Here is the full text of the email from Mulcair, which I got and which I know at least one other participant on both websites also got today:
Thank you for taking the time to write and share your concerns with current US tax and foreign bank account reporting laws, and, more specifically, the U.S. Foreign Account Compliance Act (FATCA).
I share your concerns that FATCA’s sweeping provisions on financial disclosure will have significant consequences for dual Canadian-American citizens and Americans with landed immigrant status lawfully living here in Canada. Please know that New Democrats have consistently challenged the over-reaching aspects of FATCA and have urged the Conservative government to negotiate protective measures for those citizens who would be affected by FATCA’s onerous regulations.
We are also troubled that the secrecy of these negotiations with the US is detrimental for citizens with legitimate concerns relating to privacy and financial pressures. They must rely on media reports for developing news and have no opportunity to have their views considered in a meaningful way.
In discussing this matter with my NDP colleagues, we felt that it was important to reinforce how serious and unfair the consequences of FATCA could be for Canadians if unilaterally imposed. In taking the lead on this issue, Official Opposition critic for National Revenue, Murray Rankin, has written to Finance Minister Jim Flaherty calling on his government to reject any agreement that may violate the privacy rights of Canadians, erode Canadian sovereignty, or fail to offer Canada equal benefits to those provided to the United States. Please see the attached copy of Murray Rankin’s letter to Minister Flaherty.
Going forward, please be assured that New Democrats will remain vigilant on this issue. We will continue to pressure the Government to help address the above-mentioned concerns and ensure the rights of Canadians who hold dual citizenship with the United States are protected.
Again, I appreciate the time you have taken to share your concerns with me.
Thomas Mulcair, M.P. (Outremont)
Leader of the Official Opposition
New Democratic Party of Canada

Possible window into Flaherty's current IGA bargaining position

I wrote a lengthy letter to Jim Flaherty in late August concerning the FATCA IGA negotiations. Today, I finally received by email a signed reply from Flaherty. The reply is essentially an update from his letter back in November, 2012 which many of us have received and which has been posted elsewhere on this website, I believe. It included a one-page advisory on what forms US citizens living in Canada are supposed to file, according to the IRS, which advisory repeats the earlier statement that CRA will NOT collect non-filing penalties, nor tax liabilities incurred by persons who were Canadian citizens at the time of the liability, no matter whether they are dual citizens of the US and Canada.
What is new, however, are the following paragraphs:
Flaherty Oct 2013
Continue reading Possible window into Flaherty's current IGA bargaining position