Tag Archives: FBAR

Share Your US Tax Story

Do you want to Share Your US Tax Story?
Well, Democrats Abroad wants to hear from you.  They are publishing a selection of stories each day and say they will use some in submission to the government.
My big question is, what has Democrats Abroad done so far? My sense is not much (neither, of course, have Republicans Abroad). If representatives of either would like to dispute that, they are free to come here and tell us differently.  Don’t be surprised if we don’t agree with you.
Crying GlobeYou will either weep or scream as you read the stories.
Someone who has been a Canadian citizen for decades who got caught up in IRS snare with no one telling her she relinquished US citizenship and could get a CLN and be free of IRS.
A Belgian who had bank accounts closed.  An Israeli terrorized by IRS over legal sale of stocks. A US citizen in Switzerland overwhelmed with costs and time to be compliant.  A Thai businessman who finds IRS anti-business.
Then, there’s the Canadian citizen born in Canada with “US citizenship as it was passed to me, like a genetic disease, from my American father.”  Legal fees to the “sharks” (aka tax lawyers) and penalties extorted through OVDI cost him six months salary. He considers himself “lucky” with a understanding wife, a mortgage to pay, and a young family to support.   It seems none of those “sharks” told him CRA will not collect for IRS on Canadian citizens.  He’s waiting to renounce US citizenship.
I personally am not going to tell Democrats Abroad my story as I don’t consider myself American (and I don’t trust them!)  Have they told one Canadian citizen she relinquished three decades ago or told the other one born in Canada that CRA will protect him?  I doubt it.
I am posting this, though, in case others want to share their experiences to try to make a difference.

What's New?

As you know, Maple Sandbox is a gathering place for us to come together to share, learn, explore and grow together.
To stand up to IRS bullies, we need information as quickly as it becomes http://www.dreamstime.com/-image24675549available.  We need to learn from each other around the world.
I hope What’s New will be a building block for sharing those stories from the media or your own experiences.
What’s New will allow you to post articles under one central thread, rather than spreading them out through many different threads.  It also will give you the opportunity to share any other information you have with others.
Of course, some news and information will have still have threads of their own.
Please share your news, scoops and ideas.

Will FATCA Cause Some of the Headlines We Read in 2015?

The final regulations for FATCA were released yesterday by the US Department of Treasury, and the IRS. If you’re interested, you can read all 544 abstruse pages at the links below.
As far as I can tell there is nothing unexpected in there and no good news. The United States still expects all foreign banks to comply with their law, even when it violates that country’s law. The US still expects our banks to pay huge sums to implement a foreign law, to administer a foreign law, and to betray law-abiding Canadian citizens.
I haven’t found any response or updated information from our Canadian government. The release of the final regulations led me to think about the potential impact of FATCA on Canada if our government does not protect its citizens.
Or  http://maplesandbox.ca/fatca-final-regulations-are-out/
Could the following be some of the headlines we might see in early 2015?

Bankruptcies on the rise across Canada.
The Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada has just released updated information. Bankruptcies in 2014 reached an all-time high of 117,258.  In 2011, only 81,636 bankruptcies were recorded. Continue reading Will FATCA Cause Some of the Headlines We Read in 2015?

11 Reasons Why FATCA Must Go

11 Reasons Why FATCA  Must Be Repealed from Tax Management International  Journal is one of the best assessments about everything that is wrong with FATCA that I have seen from a professional perspective.
There is not much new in this for many of us, but it’s great to see professionals taking such a strong stand.  After a blunt and thorough assessment, the authors conclude:

The bottom line is that FATCA is sheer idiocy and
must be repealed as soon as possible. The world
economy has enough problems as it is without having
inane reporting requirements imposed upon it.

They hope there will be some “profile in courage” in US Treasury who “stand up and declare that FATCA is madness” and push for its repeal.  Unfortunately, Treasury and Congress have already shown where they stand on the “sheer idiocy” of FATCA.


Scotiabank has officially caved to FATCA

According to their website, Scotiabank started out in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1832. They have over 7 million personal and business customers in Canada – a number of which they’re now throwing under the FATCA bus. Yay Scotiabank. Not.
C’mon Flaherty!  C’mon Govt of Canada! Protect your citizens no matter where they were born!
“What does this mean to Scotiabank and our customers?
It is the Bank’s intention to meet our FATCA obligations across our entire global network, where applicable and permitted. To that end, Scotiabank has created a team of professionals committed to implementing the operational changes required to meet those obligations.
Scotiabank operates in more than 55 countries. Fifteen of those countries are in negotiations with the U.S., and two — the U.K. and Mexico — have reached an agreement and are now FATCA Partners.

  • As each country in which Scotiabank operates enters into an agreement with the U.S., we will do what is required to meet the obligations imposed by that country’s FATCA agreement.
  • Where Scotiabank operates in countries that are not FATCA Partners, we intend to meet our FATCA obligations by, wherever possible, entering into an agreement directly with the U.S. Treasury.”

FATCA Potentially Hazardous

We have discussed here and at Brock much of what is in Now Lebanon’s article FATCA’s Security Problem.  I think this is the first article I have seen with it all in one piece.
The author Michael Young is the opinion editor for The Daily Star in Lebanon. He certainly “gets” FATCA.  I wonder if he is a “US person” there.
He writes of the privacy issues for American citizens and spouses, “abusive”  burden on financial institutions and difficulties in accessing banking in some countries.
Mr. Young says FATCA is “a case of America throwing its global weight around.”  Plus:

The civil liberties implications are profoundly disturbing.

Mr. Young calls one area of FATCA “potentially hazardous.”  FATCA is demanding FFIs become “vast repositories” of personal information on American citizens with no guidelines for security of this information.
For a country obsessed with the security of its citizens in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, such behavior is paradoxical, indeed astonishing.
Mr. Young is as perplexed as we are on Department of State silence on FATCA.
At a time when American embassies regularly issue advisories to citizens to guarantee their safety, we are seeing the IRS asking institutions abroad to gather the most sensitive facts on Americans, with no oversight. The irresponsibility is breathtaking.
Mr. Young says it is “no wonder Americans across the globe are outraged.

IRS would not dare replicate FATCA in the United States.



CCLA Registers FATCA Privacy Concerns

Finally, Canadian Civil Liberties Association has sent an Open Letter To Ministry of Finance
I’m happy CCLA has registered their concerns.   I would have preferred for the concerns to have been addressed more strongly and more thoroughly, but at least CCLA has made a public statement on this.
When I say I would have preferred the concerns to be more thoroughly addressed, I am referring to the fact the letter addresses primarily privacy concerns, but equality, human rights and Charter issues seem less strongly expressed.
I like statements at the end of the letter:  In relation to the Finance Minister’s own earlier comments, CCLA says:

This should be the Canadian government’s starting and end point.  Privacy-invasive collection and disclosure of personal information should only be done when necessary.  Under the Canadian government’s own assessment, that threshold has not been met in this case.

They also encourage the government to do exactly what it should be doing:

The CCLA therefore urges the Canadian government to stand up for its citizens and residents and resist invasive, unnecessary foreign-imposed violations of individual privacy.

CCLA has also posted an E-Bulletin on CCLA Website.



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 fatcaregulations.com blog.