Tag Archives: Banks

Banks must notify customers before sending information to CRA and the IRS

Just after the Canada US FATCA IGA was signed, CRA put out a list of frequently asked questions.
Among the list is item 14 which caught the attention of some: (emphasis mine)
14. Does my Canadian financial institution have to notify me if information on my accounts is being reported to the CRA?
Canadian financial institutions must be open about their policies and procedures for complying with the Agreement and must be prepared to make this information available to anyone who asks about them. Although there will be no obligation for financial institutions to automatically notify their account holders about reporting to the CRA under the Agreement, financial institutions must, upon request, allow account holders to have access to the personal information that has been reported. 
In his testimony before the Senate Finance Committee on April 30th, Kevin Shoom mentioned that there was a change to the implementing legislation to take away the voluntary nature of informing customers that their accounts have been flagged as reportable. He cited ITA subsection 265(5), which is written in the usual almost incomprehensible language of the Income tax Act.

(5) For the purposes of paragraphs (2)(a) and (b), subparagraph (2)(c)(ii), paragraph (3)(a) andb)(ii), subparagraph B(3) of section II of Annex I to the agreement is to be read as follows 3. if any of the U.S. indicia listed in subparagraph B(1) of this section are discovered in the electronic search,or if there is a change in circumstances that results in one or more U.S. indicia being associated with the account,then the Reporting Canadian Financial Institution must  seek to obtain or review the information described in the portion of subparagraph B(4) of this section that is relevant in the circumstances and must treat the account as a U.S. Reportable Account unless one of the exceptions in subparagraph B(4) applies with respect to that account.
 I have asked Kevin to ask CRA to change their frequently asked questions to revise item 14 and he agreed to do so.Until the Charter Challenge nullifies the IGA, there’s going to be mistakes made by FIs. At least now, with this change, they will be required to contact customers before passing private information through the CRA to the IRS.

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 IsaacBrockSociety.ca: 


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

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

FATCA Centric Debate–Toronto Centre November 18

Toronto Centre Debates have invited all Toronto Centre candidates to a FATCA Centric Debate for Toronto Centre for November 18 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. The location will be announced by November 13.
The organizers say:

FATCA – The most important issue Canadians are not aware of and Candidates won’t talk about!
Continue reading FATCA Centric Debate–Toronto Centre November 18

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.”

FATCA Hat Trick

I sent an e-mail to Maura Drew-Lytle and Terry Campbell last evening suggesting we have a Canadian Hat Trick with three opposition parties resisting FATCA.
Here is what I said:

Some might call it a FATCA hat trick. Three opposition parties standing up for Canadians on FATCA.

First, it was Elizabeth May and the Green party.
A few weeks ago, NDP Revenue Critic Murray Rankin joined the resistance:
Shortly after, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair sent e–mails to Canadians. Next was NDP Finance Critic Peggy Nash.
Now, two Liberal MPs, Dr. Ted Hsu (supported by former justice Minister, former law professor and international law and human rights expert MP Irwin Cotler) and Finance and Revenue critic Scott Brison have asked several direct questions on FATCA in an order paper.
Here are the questions in a more readable format than in the Order Paper.
 Canadians will not allow their banks and other financial institutions to violate their fundamental rights. We now have the clear support of three parties in our fight. We are also in ongoing contact with a prominent constitutional lawyer and Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA).

What will CBA do? Will you stand up for Canadians or will you capitulate to a foreign government?

“You have a choice, Sirs. You could do better.”

Maura Drew-Lytle responded this morning:

Thank you for the information.

Toronto Protest November 13-14 (Canadian Institute)

IRSCompliantForever is trying to organize a protest for Toronto Convention Centre November 13-14.
This one is not directed at the government. Rather, it is for the Canadian Institute’s 19th Annual Regulatory Compliance for Financial Instutions.
Included on the agenda is:

  • Navigating the hurdles preventing you from achieving compliance with FATCA

What could that mean? It couldn’t mean finding ways to circumvent Canadian laws. Could it?
Can anyone join him?