Category Archives: General Info

Toxic Tax Act (FATCA) Is In Trouble

Here might be a ray of hope for us.
Nigel Green says FATCA, America’s New Toxic Tax Act, Is In Trouble.
Mr. Green gives two reasons for believing FATCA is “running out of steam.”

Firstly, the US Treasury Department has again failed to meet its own end-of-year deadline to publish the FATCA rules, one of the key steps in its implementation.  This is the second time that the Treasury Department has missed such a deadline – the first one came and went in September 2012.
Secondly, to date, only the UK, Denmark, Ireland and Mexico, plus a handful of British Crown Dependencies, have signed FATCA’s required Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA).  The Treasury Department had hoped to finalise IGAs with many others, including Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, and Switzerland before the end of 2012. It failed on that too.

Mr. Green does expect IGAs to be signed and regulations to be released.  Yet, he remains optimistic:

But there’s no getting away from the fact that the campaign to introduce FATCA appears to be floundering.

As most of you know, Mr. Green also had a thread last week, FATCA Good Or Bad: You Decide.  Some familiar names and a few new ones are in the comments.  All “decided” FATCA is bad.  If only these were the real decision-makers!
Let’s keep up the pressure as FATCA flounders.

FATCA Regulations Delayed Again? (Reuters)

Reuters is reporting FATCA Final Regulations Have Been Delayed Again.
I have no idea if this is accurate.  Reuters says sources in the accounting industry, who asked not to be named, are their source. The sources say the regs will be released in January.
US Treasury Department is not confirming this nor are they denying it. Instead, they say:

“We are still working to issue the final regulations and they will be released soon.”

Who knows what “soon” means with IRS and Treasury.  They have difficulty with simple English, which is why they require a 72,000 page Tax Code.
Continue reading FATCA Regulations Delayed Again? (Reuters)

FATCA Fact Finding Forum in Toronto Sat., Dec 15


December 5, 2012
The Progressive Canadian Party presents

A Fact Finding Forum on U.S. Tax Grab in Canada

“FATCA”: What is at Stake for Canada and Canadians?

Saturday, December 15, 2012 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. (doors will open at 10:00 a.m.) University of Toronto – Victoria College – Victoria College Building – Room VC115
In 2010, U.S. President Barack Obama signed into law the “Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act” (FATCA) with the stated purpose of detecting “U.S. persons” (which by U.S. Internal Revenue Service definitions would include many Canadian citizens residing in Canada) who may be hiding taxable income abroad. FATCA would place expensive data collection and reporting requirements on Canadian financial institutions: banks, stock and equity funds, pension funds, insurance companies, etc. – costs that would be passed on the Canadian consumer. A 30% withholding on U.S.-derived income would punish “recalcitrant” Canadian institutions for failing to provide the demanded information to the IRS.
In an effort to ease compliance costs for Canadian firms, the Government has indicated its interest in signing an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with the U.S. under which the Canadian Government would enforce FATCA – a U.S. law – in Canada. An IGA also would override Canadian laws barring transfer of private information, such as Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act. On November 8, The Department of Finance has asked for comments from the Canadian public on a FATCA agreement with the U.S.
In an effort to help in developing responsible, well-analyzed submissions to the Finance Department, as well as to assist the Government, MPs, and the Canadian public in making informed choices, the Progressive Canadian Party invites you to a fact-finding forum on FATCA and consequences for Canada. Speakers include the following:
  • The Honourable Sinclair Stevens, Progressive Canadian Party Leader, former MP and Cabinet Minister.
  • Dorian Baxter, Progressive Canadian Party President.
  • Professor Allison Christians, H. Heward Stikeman Chair in Tax Law, McGill University Faculty of Law.
  • James George Jatras of, Washington, DC; former U.S. Senate staffer and diplomat.
  • Representative (name to be announced) of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.
Among the questions to be addressed by speakers and in general discussion:
  • What would be the costs of FATCA (with or without an IGA) for Canada and Canadians?
  • Should the U.S. be allowed to make laws for Canadians? Is FATCA consistent with Canada’s sovereignty?
  • Is FATCA consistent with Canadian privacy laws, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, WTO, NAFTA, and principles of international law?
  • Is the Government rushing into an IGA with the U.S.? Where are the Opposition and Canadian media?
  • Would FATCA subject the retirement savings of Canadian citizens to confiscation by the IRS?

US One of World's Top Tax Havens

We’ve known it for a long time.  Now, it is making headlines in US.
US Ranks Among Top Secret Tax Havens, tells how:

A Russian gangster used a tiny magnet firm in Southeastern Pennsylvania to defraud thousands of investors and launder hundreds of millions of dollars through bank accounts around the world.

It’s estimated $14.5 trillion is stashed in US by criminals and tax cheats.  The article points out how agreements will “leave out wide swaths of people.”
Of course, Florida Bankers Association is saying banks have no obligation to know their customers’ tax obligations.  Isn’t that just what banks around the world have been saying to United States of Arrogance?
But wait, there’s a reason for the US being different:

“I don’t think that makes the United States a tax haven. It’s free enterprise. You open it, and you have the responsibility.”
So, in US it’s “free enterprise” to help people defraud, launder money and avoid taxes.  Yet those of us who have bank accounts, retirement savings and education savings for our children in the countries where we live and have been citizens for decades are “tax cheats” with obligations to a foreign government.
OK.  Now I get it.  Free enterprise.  Arrogance. Hypocrisy.
Foreign Attack To Control All (FATCA). International Robbery Society (IRS).


IRS Goes Global

As Just Me predicted months ago, IRS Goes Global.
The author asks if this is Clark Kent to Superman. No, it’s actually more Lex Luthor out to dominate the world and the universe.
Interestingly, the article asks Who Is A US Taxpayer and gives this answer:

Under the US Internal Revenue Code, individuals may be deemed US taxpayers if any of the following descriptions fit: A US passport holder ;Green Card holder;Individual who spends 183 days in the US in one year; or 122 days a year for three consecutive years.

I’m happy with that definition.  It leaves out huge groups: Anyone born in US or anyone born to a parent who was born in US.
As IRS Goes Global, more countries are hopping on board the FATCA train. Denmark and US Have Signed IGA.  Here is the actual Agreement Between US and Denmark.
I would be surprised if many Danes living in Denmark have income in US banks. But, I suspect many banks in southern states are hopping mad that US and Mexico Have Signed IGA.  I have not been able to find a copy of the actual agreement, but what does the following in the article mean?

An IGA “does not contain any exemption from FATCA, but, instead, a model for information sharing is offered based on existing bilateral tax treaties and allowing FFIs to report the necessary information to their respective governments rather than to the Internal Revenue Service.”

And, while I don’t agree with this, finally someone cheering on FATCA Negotiations promotes FATCA for what it is:

It has been established to prevent US citizens living abroad from avoiding the payment of taxation due on their foreign financial assets and offshore accounts. With US National Debt approaching $16.3 trillion at the time of writing, the recently re-elected President Barack Obama will be keen to get national finances under some semblance of control. Clearly, generating revenue from the 5.5 million Americans living abroad who do not file tax returns should be one of his priorities.

All along we’re been told FATCA is after the fat cat Americans living in US and the rest of us are just caught up in that snare.  But, this says any American living outside US is the target. I’m not sure what person or organization is the author of this, but it is from blog.

Twenty Ways IRS Can Find Yankees (That May Include Us!)

Yikes! This is scary stuff!   Twenty Ways IRS Can Find Yankees.  That could include those of us who have not thought for decades we were “Yankees.”
This somehow reminds me of Simon and Garfunkel’s Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover.(I’m showing my age again.)

Just slip out the back, Jack
Make a new plan, Stan
Don’t need to be coy, Roy
Just get yourself free
Hop on the bus, Gus
Don’t need to discuss much
Just drop off the key, Lee
And get yourself free.

We thought we did all those things ages ago.  We hopped on the bus (or plane), slipped out honestly, made a plan for our lives in our new countries and had no need to be coy.  We didn’t discuss much because US Consulate was clear and firm. We were no longer “Yankees.”
Now, we need to find new ways to drop off the key and get ourselves free. Can we come up with 50 ways or even 20 to do that?

Canadian Government Seeks Input on FATCA

The Canadian Ministry of Finance is Seeking Input on FATCA Negotiations From Canadians.
Between Brockers, Maple Sandboxers and many others, we have already provided an immense amount of input. But, they are asking for “additional comments.”  Let’s give it to them!  Soon! No deadline is given, but we can’t lose his opportunity.
I have (again!) contacted Canadian Civil Liberties Association and asked them what they will be doing on FATCA.   Eight weeks ago, CCLA told me they would advise me “tomorrow” what they might be able to do. They still have not done that.
If anyone else is interested in contacting CCLA, my contact has been Abby Deshman, Director of Pubic Safety. mail address:  Perhaps if Abby hears from others, she will realize how important this is.

IRS Delays Key FATCA Dates

Breaking News!  Reuters is reporting IRS Is Delaying Key FATCA Dates.
According to this, FIs now have until January 1, 2014 to have procedures in place for reporting.
I’m a bit confused. I thought it was already that FIs did not have to report until January 2014, but they must advice IRS by January 1, 2013 if they will comply. Can anyone clarify that for me?  Tim?
Also, FIs now are not required to withhold until 2017.  The longer this is pushed back the greater chance we have of fighting this.  As Flaherty said recently, delay is not enough.

US Treasury Response on Reciprocity/FATCA May Harm Expats and Exports

Just Me is a phenomenal source of information on Twitter (where he is known at @FATCA_Fallout).  In fact, in Best Links For Citizenship-Based Taxation/Renunciation/FUBAR on Victoria’s blog, she says this about Just Me:

One person can make a difference, especially when that person has the persistence of a pit bull.

I’m glad the pit bull is growling on our side.
Today, on Twitter, Just Me posted a link to Treasury Response on Reciprocity (editor’s note: this link requires a lexis nexis account) from Tax Times. Just Me tweeted:

Treasury doesn’t understand why reciprocity of FATCA is not the same for foreign Residents vs US Expats.

I don’t usually disagree with Just Me, but I do on this–a bit. I think Treasury understands quite well the difference. They just think United States of Arrogance has right to more invasive information than other countries.
Just Me also posted a link to an article from Global Connections on how FATCA May Harm Expats or US Exports.
This says:

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service’s determination to implement dizzying new rules to trace foreign bank accounts held but not declared by American citizens could have a profoundly chilling effect on American businesses looking to expand beyond the borders, experts say.

Is anyone listening?  The fact FATCA is not even mentioned on the campaign trail or in debates gives us the answer to that question.