Tag Archives: citizenship

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?

FATCA: The Death of the American Economy

I’ve never heard of Adam Bilzerian or The Bilzerian Report, but this guy understands FATCA:  The Death of the American Economy.

Mr. Bilzerian predicts

On January 1, 2013, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) will go into effect, thereby causing the greatest exodus of capital from the American economy in history.

He gives numbers from Washington Post to support his position:

Richard Rahn of the Washington Post writes that FATCA will risk causing the exodus of up to $14 trillion dollars of capital from the American market and could cost well over 10,000,000 jobs.

Mr. Bilzerian also understands problems faced by countries such as Canada where #FATCA violates laws:

This puts the banks in these jurisdictions in the precarious position of deciding whether to abandon the US jurisdiction altogether or break the law in their home country.

So, Mr. Bilzerian asks what is the benefit:

Surely the benefits of this legislation must be significant to warrant such tremendous risk, right? The answer of course is no, because as with most things coming out of Washington these days, logic and rationality have no bearing on the decision-making process. So while the government officials responsible for FATCA estimate that the legislation will bring in about $800 million in additional revenue per year, almost all relevant experts estimate that FATCA stands to cost American taxpayers billions. The implementation alone will require hundreds, if not thousands, of new IRS agents, with the administrative capacity to match. Then there is the private sector, which will have to spend hundreds of millions of dollars re-organizing their entire operations just to comply with the legislation.

Finally, Mr. Bilzerian concludes:

With lunacy like this becoming commonplace in Washington, is it any wonder why wealthy Americans are renouncing their citizenships in record-breaking numbers?

He doesn’t mention it is not only wealthy Americans. It is middle class Americans just trying to live a normal life outside of US.
Unfortunately, Mr. Bilzerian does not seem to write for the mainstream media and no one in Washington is interested in listening.
 
 

Are we talking to ourselves? Who's listening?

I was struck by comments made by Allan Gregg in early September at Carleton University. His comments were shared via email with many Canadians mainly because of his attack on the governing Conservative Party of Canada. Mr. Gregg was a Conservative pollster and is a frequent political commentator.  I ‘m not sure if his remarks will resonate much with non-Canadians, but it you want to read them in full they can be found at www.allangregg.com.
Among the many things I noticed was his comments about the internet. The remarks below are somewhat taken out of context:
If I believe the world is flat, the internet now puts me in touch with legions of fellow flat earthers and reams of pseudo science to support that belief. As importantly, if I am so inclined, I never have to be exposed to any contrary views and can find total refuge in my community of flat earthers. The Internet therefore, offers me the opportunity to have a completely closed mind and at one in the same time, fill it full of nonsense disguised as fact. In a brand new way therefore, the internet democratizes not just individual opinion but legitimizes collective ignorance and spreads a bizzaro world of alternative reason. When this occurs, prejudice and bias is reinforced and the authority of real science and evidence is undermined or even more likely, never presented.
Although both the Isaac Brock Society and Maple Sandbox provide useful and practical advice on relinquishment and renounciation and a forum for discussion of the problems of U.S. citizenship based taxation and FATCA, I do sometimes wonder if we are all just talking to ourselves.  There has been only a scattering of media reports in Canada and the rest of the world on these subjects in the past year. Most of the articles linked to have a small audience.
I don’t mean to imply that the posters to both sites have a bizzaro world of alternative reason or are ignorant.. On the contrary, almost all posts have been intelligent and thoughtful. It’s just that the issues have not been getting much traction.
From the Canadian point of view there has been an almost complete lack of comment by all political leaders and the MSM for a very long time.  We have seen excellent papers written by the likes of Andrew Bonham and Allison Christians, but these papers have a limited circulation.
So I have a few questions—are we just talking to ourselves and to what extent do policy makers in Canada (or any other country) rely on papers in academic or professional journals for guidance in deciding public policy?

Americans in Switzerland Letter to Congress

Americans living in Switzerland seem to have been hit the hardest of any with reports of banks there closing accounts of US-born Swiss residents and even refusing to renew mortgages because of IRS efforts.
An Americans in Switzerland Letter has been sent to Congress.   Will it make a difference?  It doesn’t seem much will budge Congress or IRS, especially when you consider Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin said in July:

“You either get a Swiss bank account to conceal what you’re doing, or you believe the Swiss franc is stronger than the American dollar.”

Then, of course, Obama’s former press secretary Robert Gibbs said;

“I pick a bank because there’s an ATM near my home. Romney had a bank account in Switzerland.”

Well, guess what?  People living in Switzerland get bank accounts with ATMs near their homes too.  It’s not convenient to get on a plane, fly across the ocean, use an ATM in Washington (which IRS considers the official residence of Americans living outside US), take out US dollars, fly home to Switzerland and convert the money into Swiss francs to spend where you live.
And, Senator Durbin, there is a third reason for Swiss bank accounts.  People living in Switzerland need them for normal everyday banking–like deposits of employment income, payment of bills and mortgages and saving for children’s education and retirement.
Those are also the reasons people living in Brazil, China, India, Mexico, Canada and elsewhere have bank accounts in the countries where they live (and where many of us are citizens).
Go after the real tax cheats.  Certainly find out why Romney and others living in US have Swiss or Cayman Island accounts. Make them file FBARs.   Leave the rest of us alone to pursue our normal, honest, law-abiding tax-paying lives in other countries.
Democratic Swissophobia is hurting “US persons” throughout the world.  The witch hunt is causing Amerophobia around the globe.  .
 
 
 

Will the Harper Government sell us out?

There have been very few comments from Jim Flaherty or the Canadian Government, in general, for many months regarding FATCA or the situation of so called USPs in Canada.
Mr Flaherty’s comments last Fall were quite strong. As you all likely know, he made it clear that FBAR penalties would not be collected in Canada and that Canada was not a tax haven. He seemed to be strongly backing USPs in Canada. His comments were very reassuring.
There have been some hints that an IGA ( Intergovernmental Agreement) over FATCA is being negotiated, but nothing concrete has been said, to my knowledge.
Often, the Canadian government gives in to the elephant  next door. Just look at what has been done to satisfy the U. S.over border security issues. However, there have been other issues such as softwood lumber where Canada has stood its ground.
My question is- will the Harper government  give in to the Americans or will it vigorously protect the rights of its citizens?
 

The Sleeping Bear Metaphor

OK, as a farewell, or at least “au revoir,” post from me (now that my wife got her CLN today!!!)
This post is by repeated request from Blaze, and out of respect and honour to her, what’s she done for others, and what she’s gone through.  It was one of my off-the-cuff throwaway remarks, but she liked it so I’m posting it here.
Continue reading The Sleeping Bear Metaphor

Crossing the US Border on a non-US passport showing a US birthplace

There is a bit of anxiety concerning what happens at the US border once you have a CLN or once you’ve applied for one.  Or for that matter, if you have a Canadian passport that shows a US birthplace, have no US passport and don’t want one, and haven’t yet decided whether a CLN is a good idea for you.  If you’re one of any of these concerned people, this post and thread are for you. Continue reading Crossing the US Border on a non-US passport showing a US birthplace

Show and Tell

Maple Sandbox is a place for sharing, learning and growing.

Show Your stuff

 
We encourage others to bring their own creative nuggets of information here for Show and  Tell.

 
 
 
I will do the first Show and Tell by sharing information about the maple tree, the maple leaf and Canada.
A maple tree is calm, but strong and sturdy. She provides shade from the glaring sun, breaks the force of strong winds, cleans the atmosphere, produces oxygen to support life and offers nesting to birds, squirrels, raccoons and even spiders without prejudice. Continue reading Show and Tell

One Couple's Experience

We moved to Canada from the United States in 1968 and received what was then called Landed Immigrant Status.  My wife was with me and I was a draft dodger.
It became obvious to us after only a couple of years that we wanted to stay in Canada so we looked into getting Canadian citizenship.  At that time there was a mandatory five year waiting period before you could apply so we just continued to gather information.  We were told that becoming a Canadian citizen would, by US law, mean we lost out US citizenship and we were told that at the citizenship ceremony we would be required to sign a renunciation of our US citizenship. Continue reading One Couple's Experience