Renouncing for some is excruciating & not because of the emotional ties



Barbara left the following comment at Brock earlier today. Her story is different in that she lives in a lower-tax based country (easier to owe US tax) where gaining citizenship is very difficult, if not impossible. I think this situation has come up far less often in public discussions and all of us should be aware of all the ways US tax policy is abusive to expats.


Agree with Mike : Renouncing is not only not easy, it’s excruciating. On that annual Greenback Tax expat survey, they often come up with a number like 37% of expats “considering renunciation”. My husband and I are two of those. I’ll bet the majority our fellow would-be renunciants have not taken the plunge, not because they don’t want to bother, but because the obstacles are just too extreme.

Sure, if you’re a lifelong Canadian, it may be administratively simple to renounce. Sure, you have to deal with is the boo-hoo emotional part, and 5000 bucks; I get that. But if you’re one of the tens or hundreds of thousands of Americans living in Saudi or Korea or Nigeria or China or Iceland, or other such places where it is either nearly impossible, or extremely unattractive, to take on local citizenship–even if we choose to or even enjoy living there–then renunciation is one of the most difficult decisions one can face.

We took years to make the decision. It isn’t costing us $2350 plus a few tears. It’s costing us our entire life’s savings to buy a passport of convenience through a property purchase, one which seems safe, but certainly not the best of all potential financial investments. Then we get to wait three years. Then we get the passports, we think. Then we deal with whether or not changing citizenship might affect our permanent residency status where we live. Only then do we face the pleasure of renouncing.

No matter what happens with the current tax reform, we’re determined to go through with it. We’ve lost all faith in the US government. There’s no doubt in my mind that the next administration will be a reaction against this one, and will be all Democrats, out for blood. And there’s no question the economy and national deficit will be in a worse mess than it is now. And us rich squillionaires hiding money abroad will be the first to be roped right back in.

Anyone who claims renouncing is easy, try thinking outside your own borders.

And I too hate all Homeland Americans. I find it hard to talk to them at all anymore. Who gives a damn about talking about Harvey Weinstein? I want to talk about TTFI.

October 29, 2017 Canadian FATCA IGA Legislation Litigation Update: Government delay in obtaining their expert witnesses

cross-posted from the Isaac Brock Society

by Stephen J. Kish


Our trial on Canada’s FATCA IGA legislation in Federal Court will now be delayed further because Mr. Justin Trudeau’s lawyers are having problems obtaining their expert witnesses (our side’s experts have already filed affidavits).

The problem is that Government’s contracting/procurement process is not functioning as it should, and Government is having difficulty establishing the necessary retainer contracts for each of the experts they wish to use.

The hoped for time frame for the experts contracts is now end of November; however, Government experts want at least 12 weeks to prepare their affidavits.

I can’t give you a firm date yet on the trial, but speculate that trial might take place sometime early summer 2018.

Each year more and more Canadian citizens are rounded up and turned over to a foreign country

Testimony: Green Card Holder Victim Of FATCA After Failing To Return Expired Card

cross posted from Tax Connections

Original Statement on April 9, 2015

Submission to the United States Senate Finance Committee
International Tax

To anyone who doesn’t really understand the fear and frustration of FATCA and the insanity of the US tax system:
I am not and never have been American. I don’t live in the USA and I have no financial connections to the USA.

However, many years ago I got a green card when I married an American. We lived in the so-called, Land of the “Free”, until we decided to move permanently to my home country to care for my elderly parents.

A year or so after my return to my home country my green card expired, became null and void, but I didn’t know I was supposed to return it to USCIS along with an I-407 form. (Green cards don’t come with a set of disposal instructions.) Years later when I found out about this I searched for days to find that old green card and then I sent it away. It was received (according to the mail trace) but never officially acknowledged and there were no replies to my follow-up inquiries.

This left me trapped in a perpetual state of deemed US “personhood” which comes with onerous US tax filing and now highly intrusive FATCA reporting too. The threatened penalties for not filing FBAR (FinCEN114) forms are staggering. They would exceed my life savings (mostly a modest inheritance from my non-American parents). If I lose my life savings to the IRS I could end up on welfare and that would not be fair to taxpayers here in my home country.

What did I take from the USA when I left? I took savings of less than $5K and a gain of less than $75K from the sale of the house we built with our own labour and paid for entirely from the savings I brought with me from my home country (no mortgage on that house). All of this was reported to the IRS and taxed appropriately.

What do I get from the USA? Absolutely nothing – NO right to return to the USA to live or work; NO US Social Security because I have never had US income; NO rescue by US marines in a disaster; NO US vote; NO representation in the US Congress; and since I haven’t visited the USA in almost 20 years (and never will again), NO benefit from the USA’s infrastructure. I do not want any of those things anyway.

What do I want from the USA? I want to be left alone so that I can lead a normal life without the stigma of being called a “US person for tax purposes” (and ONLY tax purposes).

What’s the biggest irony of my whole situation? Well, my husband is no longer American since he recently relinquished his US citizenship. He now has a priceless piece of paper called a CLN (Certificate of Loss of Nationality) which means he can open and retain bank accounts here with no intrusive FATCA reporting.

Meanwhile I, who never was American, will have to live with uncertainty for the rest of my life. If my bank finds out about my past connection and failed disconnection to the USA, it will report me and my accounts to my country’s tax agency which will forward that information to the IRS. And then … well I shudder to think.

Some Americans may hate me for saying this but I have no love or respect for what the USA is doing with its irrational citizenship-based tax system and now its FATCA overreach. These same Americans might even laugh and gloat about how I became trapped as a “US person for tax purposes” but at least my husband, an upstanding citizen, has escaped the clutches of the USA. He did so with no regrets and when his CLN finally arrived he felt nothing but relief. I and my country are proud and pleased to have him. His warm and welcoming citizenship ceremony here in my, now OUR, country was one of the best days of both of our lives.

Neither of us is “un-American” but we are “non-American” and we cannot fathom why the USA will not graciously let its people go.


Perspectives on Announcement of Possible Tax Reform for #AmericansAbroad


Our big news broke yesterday and in spite of the fact it is not actually confirmed, many are
counting on this to become reality. Discussions are covering quite a range of issues/reactions;
2 comments from the Isaac Brock Society deserve a post of their own.

On October 26, 2017 at 6:25 am USCitizenAbroad says


The title of the article (presumably) comes from the Financial Times authors and NOT from Rep Brady. It’s very important to stay supportive of the main message and not be distracted by small aspects that one doesn’t like.


The White House does not write the legislation. Unless the White House actively opposes changes for the taxation of Americans abroad, it’s response is not as important as the response of Congressional tax writing committees.

When you read the complete article you will see it has been reported that a change in tax policy for Americans Abroad appears to be supported (or at least not opposed by):

1. Mark Mazur of Obama Treasury fame

2. American Chamber of Commerce

3. It appears that Brady is saying that the lawmakers supporting that area of the tax code have also made the change for RBT (which suggests that the 2013 and 2015 submissions have done their work).

4. The White House sees no problem with it (maybe)

5. RO is mentioned as having brought the signatures to the White House

Appears that the collective work of a lot of people/groups, over a period of years, may be paying off. I think that the most significant support (from the perspective of change) may be from Homelanders: the American Chamber of Commerce and perhaps Mark Mazur.

Assuming the truth of this article, the biggest hurdle has been crossed. Congress is acknowledging and considering the issue (I suspect that this may already have been written into the draft legislation).

Considering that the effects of CBT cannot be understood by those who have never lived it, this is a tremendous achievement – which reflects the work of large numbers of people (and organizations) since 2011.

It’s vitally important that those large number of people and organizations, come together in support of change.

What unites all people affected by this issue (the end of “place of birth” taxation) is far more important than the specific aspects of what divides them (RBT vs. Territorial, etc.).


On October 26, 2017 at 7:39 am USCitizenAbroad says


My worry is that any advantageous changes made to the tax code now could just as easily be undone when the next tax reform comes along. It is nerve-wracking not knowing where you stand and what to expect in respect to year-to-year filing obligations. What US person can possibly live a normal life abroad with that uncertainty hanging over them? I just reliquished my citizenship in August this year and the feeling of relief is enormous. Even if these tax reforms pass, I’m glad I’ll never have to waste another thought on whether I am compliant with the US/IRS in every conceivable way.

Those who have lived with the US/Obama/FATCA/FBAR/ Condor enforced assault on Americans abroad since 2009 (this is when the rollout began) would agree with you. Interestingly, this experience has put people to some hard thinking of what U.S. citizenship is really worth. For those who have another “First World Passport”, U.S. citizenship is clearly more of a liability than a benefit.

Yes, I think it makes a lot of sense for those who can easily renounce to renounce. Good decision.

From a practical perspective, the people most affected by this are those who have been U.S. tax compliant. What has become clear is that the only Americans who can live outside the United States are those who do NOT file U.S. taxes. Filing U.S. taxes is (whether known at the time or not) always the first step toward renunciation. It’s not the taxes, it’s not even the reporting. It’s that U.S. tax compliance means that one cannot integrate into the retirement and financial planning programs of other countries. And then (as you point out) there is the constant fear and anxiety.

Actually, U.S. citizenship-based taxation is okay, except for the following four points:

1. Totally Unjust: It’s extremely unjust. Why should people be taxed just based on “place of birth”:?

2. Completely incomprehensible: It’s so complicated that Americans abroad can’t understand what is required of them. For example, when it comes to the forms, there is a lack of agreement in the tax compliance community.

3. Compliance is impossible: Even it U.S. tax compliance for Americans abroad could be understood, it is basically impossible to comply with.

4. Escape is impossible: And finally: Even though it’s unjust, incomprehensible and impossible to comply with, there is no way to to escape without paying lots of fees and in the case of many a a Nazi and Soviet style “Exit Tax”. (The U.S. “Exit Taxes” are far more comprehensive than any Exit Tax imposed by any other country.)

But, other than those four things, U.S. “citizenship-based taxation” really isn’t so bad!

October 24, 2017 Canadian and United States (RO) FATCA IGA/FATCA Litigation Update

cross-posted from the Isaac Brock Society

October 24, 2017 Canadian and United States (RO) FATCA IGA/FATCA Litigation Update

by Stephen J Kish
October 24, 2017

OCTOBER 24, 2017 FATCA IGA legislation/FATCA litigation update.

Canadian (Alliance for the Defense of Canadian Sovereignty [ADCS] is the “client”) FATCA IGA legislation lawsuit:

We are suing (since 2014) the Government of Canada (specifically Justin Trudeau’s Attorney General and Revenue Minister), in Federal Court for rounding up Canadians having a U.S. taint and turning them over to a foreign government. We argue that this violates Canada’s sovereignty as an independent nation and its Charter of Rights that is meant to protect all Canadians.

As to next steps, it now appears likely that most, if not all, of our brave lay witnesses, who provided written affidavits demonstrating harm, will NOT be examined by the Government lawyers. This is good news as it means that we will get to trial “sooner”. We do expect, however, that our expert witnesses will be cross-examined by Government next.

We have not yet received all of Government’s affidavits (e.g., from their experts). When we do, our legal team will need to decide whether they need to cross examine any of the affiants. We are moving forward but I am sorry but I cannot give you a time frame on this.

It is the “job” of the Case Management Judge, who supervises our case, to keep our litigation “moving”.

U.S. Republicans Overseas (RO, the client) FATCA, IGA, and FBAR lawsuit:

Mark Crawford, Senator Rand Paul, Roger Johnson, Daniel Kuettel, Stephen Kish, Donna-Lane Nelson, and Marc Zell are Plaintiffs, Republicans Overseas is the client. The lawsuit is in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

From the petition: “This case challenges FATCA, the IGAs unilaterally negotiated by the U.S. Department of the Treasury (“Treasury Department”) to supplant FATCA in signatory countries, and the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (“FBAR”) ad- ministered by the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. These laws and agreements impose unique and discriminatory burdens on U.S. citizens living and working abroad.”

U.S. Government lawyers have been arguing, so far successfully, that none of the Plaintiffs have the necessary “standing” to go to trial. The RO attorney however, argues in part that a “certain” threat of harm/prosecution is not necessary, but that a “credible” threat of prosecution should suffice for standing.

On August 30, 2017, Plaintiffs filed a petition for rehearing to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing that the original panel’s Opinion conflicted with two decisions of the United States Supreme Court. Plaintiffs asked that the original panel reconsider the case under correct standards, and absent such action by the original panel, we asked that the full Court consider the case en banc to establish and apply standing rules compliant with existing Supreme Court decisions.

The 6th Circuit has now denied rehearing. Plaintiffs’ next step will be to file (which they will) a certiorari petition to the United States Supreme Court, asking them to review the decision of the lower court on standing. This petition is due on Monday, December 25, 2017.

— I mention the U.S. negative court decisions on Plaintiff standing as I personally suspect that this general issue will be brought up by Government attorneys in the Canadian FATCA IGA legislation lawsuit — Mr. Trudeau’s Ministers arguing that there has been no “FATCA harm” caused to any Canadian. I personally dispute this as Government admits that the Canadian FATCA IGA legislation has directly resulted in over 100,000 Canadians (now up to 500,000?) being turned over to a foreign country — a clear harm that is a Charter and Constitutional violation.

Alliance for the Defeat of Citizenship Taxation (ADCT) litigation efforts in United States:

An aim of ADCT is to defeat by litigation in U.S. court citizenship-based taxation and related laws that we believe, in part, violate the U.S. Constitution. ADCT is not moving forward with any lawsuit in U.S. Court until the US tax reform legislation is passed by Congress (probably in 2018) and our legal claims can be clarified in light of that legislation (or absence of legislation) and established at that time as being reasonable to pursue.

Continue reading October 24, 2017 Canadian and United States (RO) FATCA IGA/FATCA Litigation Update

Time to Reach Out to Another Community for Support Regarding Tax Reform


For some time an idea has been considered by ADCT and the letter below is the result of that idea. We have yet to tap into another community who is in a unique position to possibly offer us help – the tax compliance community. There are plenty who have voiced their opposition to FATCA, who think CBT is an abomination, etc. So why not ask them to join us?

We will be sending this letter to a “known” group of professionals which may expand in the future. In the meantime, please consider asking your tax accountant, lawyer or advisor to consider it.


From The Desk of John Richardson

October 18, 2017


Re: Tax Reform as an opportunity to end the U.S. practice of imposing direct taxation on people who live in other countries.

(If you do not have time to read, please go directly to the last page of this letter.)

I am writing to you personally, on behalf of the millions of “hard working” American citizens living outside the United States and on behalf of the “Alliance For The Defeat Of Citizenship-Based Taxation”. American citizens living outside the United States are “Ambassadors For American Values”.

You are receiving this letter because you have been identified as a person who assists Americans abroad with tax, retirement planning, investment counselling, basic financial planning or a combination of the above. You are well aware of the devastating impact that the current rules of “citizenship-based taxation” have on the lives of “every day people” who have chosen to live outside the United States.

As you are aware, the United States is engaged in a process of tax reform. The last major tax reform was in 1986 (how the world has changed). Tax Reform 2017 appears to be a continuation of the work done by the House Ways and Means Committee (2013) and the Senate Finance Committee (2015). A discussion of “International Tax Reform” has featured prominently in these discussions.

Most of the discussion of changes in “international taxation” has been about changes in the rules governing corporations. There is a growing consensus that the U.S. system of “worldwide taxation” is damaging to corporations. As a result, momentum has been building towards changing corporate taxation from “worldwide taxation” to some form of “territorial taxation”. What “territorial taxation” (subject to the specifics) means in broad terms is that:

U.S. corporations would NOT be subject to taxation on profits earned outside the United States.
Individual (DNA) U.S. citizens are ALSO currently subject to a system of “worldwide taxation”.

The effects of being subject to a system of “worldwide taxation” based ONLY on “citizenship” (all other countries impose taxation based on residence) are:

1. U.S. citizens living in other countries are subject to the Internal Revenue Code, as though they lived in the United States, even though they do NOT live in the United States.
2. U.S. citizens living in other countries are subject to taxation on their “worldwide income” which includes income earned in their country of residence.
3. U.S. citizens living in other countries, who own financial assets or have pension plans locally in those countries are required to treat those “local” assets as “foreign” for the purpose of “reporting” to the IRS. This creates the possibility of “every day people” being subjected to punitive taxation and reporting penalties for attempting to live an “every day lives”.

In practical terms this means that a U.S. citizen living in France (who is subject to full taxation in France), is ALSO subject to taxation on his/her French income by the United States. In addition, because that U.S. citizen living in France is subject to all of the rules of the Internal Revenue Code, that individual is also subject to a collection of “penalty laden” reporting requirements that make full U.S. tax compliance difficult and costly. The cost of U.S. tax compliance for U.S. citizens living in other countries must be considered in terms of both “Direct Costs” and “Opportunity Costs”.

“Direct Costs”: U.S. citizens living in other countries are likely to be subjected to punitive taxation on the normal instruments of financial planning because their vehicle for financial planning is (although local to them) foreign to the United States. In addition, the cost of tax return preparation (when competent help is available) is often very high.

“Opportunity Cost”: Compliance with the Internal Revenue Code means that U.S. citizens living in other countries will often NOT be able to benefit from the financial and retirement planning opportunities available to their neighbours who are NOT U.S. citizens. For example, Australia has a public Superannuation plan. It appears that U.S. tax laws would deprive U.S. citizens living in Australia from benefitting from this plan.
“Role of Tax Treaties”: It’s important to recognize that in many cases these problems are not alleviated by U.S. tax treaties. In fact the problems are exacerbated by U.S. tax treaties which contain a “savings clause” which “saves” the right of the United States to impose taxation on (U.S. citizen) residents of other countries, according to the rules of the Internal Revenue Code.

The time has come to end this “relic of the past” which began as a form of deliberate punishment during the Civil War (yes in the 1800s) and continues to be a punishment today.

Significantly, the definition of “U.S. citizen” includes people who have NO CONNECTION to the United States and are residents and citizens of other countries!!!

It’s not Taxation Without Representation it’s Taxation Without Connection

It’s also important to note that the rules of U.S. “citizenship-based taxation” apply to the “citizens and residents” of other countries, who just happen to also be U.S. citizens because they were born in the United States. In many cases, these people have no connection to the United States (sometimes not even knowing that they are considered to be U.S. citizens). In other words, the United States is currently imposing direct taxation on the foreign incomes of people who do NOT live in the United States!

Previous advocacy, comments and requests – from “U.S. tax compliant” Americans abroad

In 2013 a large number of the comments from individuals submitted to the House Ways and Means Committee came from Americans abroad who were trying to comply with U.S. tax requirements.

In 2015 a large number of the comments from individuals submitted to the Senate Finance Committee came from Americans abroad who were trying to comply with U.S. tax requirements.

These submissions and comments may be found at:

A collection of very specific comments from those personally affected have been collected in the 195 page “book” found here:

A rare display of bi-partisan unity

In 2017 a number of organizations, from across the political spectrum, including Republicans Overseas, Democrats Abroad and American Citizens Abroad have requested a change from the rules that require U.S. citizens living outside the United States to pay U.S. tax on their income earned outside the United States. Although the specific proposals advanced by these groups vary in the details, they all request that:

U.S. citizens living outside the United States, who are therefore tax residents of another country, should NOT be subject to the rules of the Internal Revenue Code that apply to Homeland Americans.

No person should be treated as a “tax resident” of more than one country! The time has come to correct this injustice. U.S. tax laws should be amended so that the United States does not impose U.S. taxation on the:

Non-U.S. source income earned by people who do NOT live in the United States.
So, what am I requesting you to do?

I intend to send a simple request to the various committees working on tax reform, which simply focuses on the result sought with the following request:

“Please amend the Internal Revenue Code so that the United States no longer claims the right to impose U.S. taxation on non-U.S. source income which is earned by people who do NOT live in the United States. For example: The United States should not be imposing U.S. taxation on the French income earned by a resident of France.”

This petition is supported by the following professionals (lawyers, accountants, investment advisors, etc.) who work with non-residents who are subject to U.S. taxation on their foreign income.

This petition is supported by the following professionals:

John Richardson – lawyer

Your name – capacity

All other names – capacity

If you simply reply to this email with your name and capacity, I will add your name to the petition. It’s that simple.

Thank you for your consideration and assistance.

John Richardson

Republicans Overseas TTFI proposal, letters, and petition delivered & discussed with White House staff: EIGHT DAYS (to October 22) LEFT TO SEND IN MORE PETITIONS TO CONGRESS

cross-posted from the Isaac Brock Society
by Stephen Kish


Having renounced, I cannot be a Republican, but I do support the effort of hardworking Republicans Overseas (RO) to end citizenship-based taxation and establish TTFI (territorial taxation for individuals).

See below the 10/10/2017 letter emailed to me from RO’s Michael DeSombre.

— The key time sensitive point of this post is that although our letters and petitions (1744) have already been delivered and discussed with White House and some legislative staff, WE ASK FOR YOUR HELP IN OBTAINING EVEN MORE (at least 5000 total) PETITIONS — TO BE DELIVERED DIRECTLY TO CONGRESS BY OCTOBER 22, 2017.

Please take one minute to fill out the petition HERE.

The letter from RO:

“One of the most important items discussed [at the White House meeting] was Republican Overseas’ political strategy for having TTFI included in tax reform. These discussions provided significant positive feedback and insight. With this new information, RO will tailor its lobbying strategy going forward to maximize our chances of ending citizenship based taxation.

The three most important meetings with regards to ending CBT were with Samantha Zager, White House Associate Political Director, and with Matt Stross, Legislative Counsel to Congressman George Holding (North Carolina), and Congressman David Schweikert, a key member on the House Ways and Means Committee.

Ms. Zager was impressed with the letters and the volume of petitions. The White House supports our grassroot efforts to reach out to Congress and to lobby for the inclusion of TTFI. Ms. Zager will help to facilitate meetings with individual members in both the White House and Congress who can help with TTFI inclusion.

While we have White House support, only Congress makes law. We need to ensure that any tax reform bill sent to the President includes TTFI. Congress needs to hear from overseas Americans directly.

What you probably want to know now is: “Have we done it? Is CBT a thing of the past? Is this double taxation nightmare over?” Unfortunately, CBT is not gone yet, but we are definitely in the process of consigning CBT to history.

The next step is to take our fight to Congress.

We are setting up meetings with key members of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee on October 23-25, 2017. Republicans Overseas has three goals for this second phase:

Deliver a petition requesting the inclusion of TTFI in the tax reform package with 6400 signatures from overseas Americans. Our petition campaign will continue until October 22, 2017 in order to gather the necessary signatures.

— Deliver 10-20 letters that will be included as testimony into the Congressional hearings on tax reform.

— Meet with key people who are drafting the tax reform package and ensure that they have heard your voices and understand that TTFI tax reform will benefit America as well as benefiting overseas Americans.

We need your help! Here is what you can do to support TTFI:

Please sign the petition if you haven’t already done so. I assume all of you have already done so, but if not, please do so right away. The campaign will run until October 22, 2017, and we have a new landing page for the petition. We have your signature if you have already signed—no need to sign again.

— Please go out again to your mailing list or friends and ensure they have all signed the petition. -Ensure you hit both Democrats and Republicans.

— Become a paid member (e.g., Associate level) of Republicans Overseas HERE. RO is entirely self-funded, and your membership fees will be used to continue the legal and political battle against FATCA as well as to fund the political efforts to end citizenship based taxation.

Thank you for your ongoing support! We can’t do it without you. We will continue to fight for the end of citizenship based taxation.


Michael DeSombre”

Dual Filer Status- How to Live & Invest in Canada as a US dual filer -Courtenay BC Oct 12


3:00 – 5:00 pm P.S.T.
Crown Isle Resort & Golf Community/Copper Room
399 Clubhouse Drive V9N 9G3
Courtenay B.C.

The life of a dual-filer doesn’t have to be complicated.
Join our seminar and learn about the many strategies that can help you maximize your
after-tax income and remain compliant.

You may be a dual filer if you are a long-term dual citizen of the United States and Canada;
are Canadian born with an American parent; are an American Green Card Holder or live in Canada
with American citizenship.

In this seminar, specialist John Richardson will cover topics such as:

  • Investment restrictions to be aware of
  • Forms you need to file
  • Managing estate planning issues
  • Whether to keep your U.S. citizenship
  • Exit Tax (and its misconceptions)
  • Coming into compliance

Lara D Austin
Your Host Lara D. Austin BA FMA CIM
Investment & Wealth Advisor
RBC Dominion Securities



John Richardson B.A., LL.B., J.D.
Citizenship Lawyer

The Value of Participation is not about the Result; it Paves the way to Awareness & Education which must Come First


FYI -01 OCT 2017
I submitted my letter 1 hour late/on Oct 1 and it was accepted. Please keep them coming

In the last few weeks there has been a plethora of posts, comments and articles about tax reform, and whether or not the issues of non-resident Americans have been addressed. There have also been calls for letter-writing campaigns; the response has been disappointing. Many reasons have been suggested as to why more have not contributed to this effort. The prevailing point of view seems to be that it won’t do any good, it’s pointless, etc. Nobody understands this feeling better than those who have spent countless hours working to promote change. Please think about that for one moment. Would it be acceptable for the visibly active people to just decide, “well, this isn’t doing any good so I will just not bother anymore.” The problem with this way of thinking is that it is based only upon an expected result. Of course anyone who is engaged in an effort wants to see their goals reached. But that is rarely what happens in life; anyone who is married or has children well knows the compromise required, the sacrifices that have to be made to make a household run, for children to thrive, for a family to function well in the world. Life is messy, random and confusing.

I think the value of this post lies in it’s recognition that this process is not perfect. It is not predictable down to the nth degree. It is not instant. It is definitely not easy. But without it, there cannot be a result that achieves change. THAT is why your letters are needed. They will pave the way for the shift to begin. There is no substitute for it no matter how well-written a submission is, how many hours someone puts in presenting meetings, etc. What is needed is your signature on a petition and a letter that Solomon and Michael can deliver to the White House on Tuesday. You can even just sign the pre-made letter-what counts here more than anything, is numbers. Crass? Maybe, but it is what it is. There is still time to sign the dotted line on these two items. Please help by doing these two simple things.

If you need inspiration, please read and digest the post below. If you came to the expat movement later, you may be unaware of all that has been done. The post speaks to what HAS been accomplished in the last 5 years and what must continue. Giving up on this hideous, painful and expensive situation is simply not an option. We have built a community, a grassroots movement which is making history. We will likely not see another opportunity like this one for a long time. It is so very important not only for our sakes but for our kids and our adopted countries. Please don’t take a back seat now.

cross posted from the Isaac Brock Society
a comment by USCitizenAbroad

@Embee sums it up very well:

I found a quote from J.R.R. Tolkien today which made me dream a little dream of anarchy. I’m sick to death of control, no matter who or what is the purveyor and/or enforcer of it.

“The most improper job of any man is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity.”

We can’t just sit back and wish for freedom though. There may only be a slim chance of anything of significance to us coming out of US tax reform but if we don’t push our particular concerns forward in whatever manner is made available to us, slim becomes zero.

Solomon and Michael need petition signatures and letters. I hope they get enough in time.

The comments in this thread have reflected a diverse collection of views. The RO proposal has been severely criticized for various reasons (mostly revolving around the taxation of nonresident aliens). It’s true that the RO proposal has many flaws.

That said, I think it’s important to recognize that in broad terms, the RO proposal will change the impact of CBT as it currently stands. In that respect the proposal is at least a start and that start is described as “Territorial Taxation For Individuals”. It is possible (and I think advisable) to support the broad principle of changing CBT without necessarily agreeing with every aspect (or any aspect) of the specific RO proposal. Some of you may have read the most recent ACA proposal which does a good and interesting job of explaining what “territorial taxation” (borrowing from the language of the RO proposal) could mean for individuals. (Interestingly what “territorial taxation” COULD mean for individuals is what most of us think of as “residence-based taxation”.)

The Isaac Brock Society began in 2011. Since that time, the following things have happened or are happening. All this would have seemed to be nothing more than a fantasy in 2011.

– 2012 FATCA Forum in Toronto (transcripts & vidweos at this link) While naysayers wrote this off since it did not draw crowds, this meeting brought together a set of people whose influence has been enormous. It paved the way for the testimonies given at the Canadian FINA hearings-setting an example for others, spreading information in spite of the fact our politicians did not/would not listen.

– 2013 submissions to the House Ways and Means Committee

– 2014 Led by Stephen Kish and Lynne Swanson, the Canadian Charter Challenge collects over $18,500 in one week to fund legal opinion for a Charter Challenge to the IGA

– 2014 ACA Debate with Kirsch/Schneider in Toronto on the University of Toronto campus
Play-by-Play Reporting from Seminar to Brock Blog

– 2014 -present ADCS FATCA lawsuit in Canada raised nearly $600,000 and is alive and well

– 2014 Human Rights Complaint to the UN

– 2014 – present RO Bopp FATCA lawsuit in the USA

– 2014 Keith Redmond creates the American Expatriates FB group; leads to development of the Accidental American movement in France. Makes many media appearances and begins lobbying US government agencies

– 2015 submissions to Senate Finance Committee
Also here

– 2015 live meeting with staff of Senate Finance Committee in DC

– 2015 –ADCT formed to explore litigation against CBT in US courts

– 2016 – French Commission report acknowledging the effects of U.S. extra-territorial legislation on other countries

– 2016 Pushback to FATCA grows to more countries:

– 2016 Israeli Knesset postpones passing FATCA until Supreme Court hears case; case the injunction is denied -many links available

– 2016 Trinidad & Tobago resistance to signing of IGA

– 2016 formation of Australian group to
Fix the Australia/US Tax Treaty

– 2016 Nigel Green teams up with James Jatras to form #FATCA lobby Fantastic letter to members of
Congress with 25 signatories including Mr. Green and Mr. Jatras, Andrew Mitchell and Grover Norquist

– 2017 FATCA Hearing in DC (Meadows) Description Video

– 2017 Recent testimony in front of the European Parliament

open discussion and support of a general lawsuit against CBT in the USA

– although not always popular ACA has run long fight against CBT and a move to RBT

– Democrats Abroad is now “officially” supporting RBT for individuals

– and now (the subject of this thread) the RO initiative to attempt to get “territorial legislation for individuals” in the actual tax proposals for Tax Reform 2017

(and countless blogs, twitter accounts, Facebook groups, individual meetings, etc.)

All of these achievements (and believe each and every one of these things is a HUGE achievement) involved the tireless efforts OF A VERY SMALL GROUPS OF INDIVIDUALS. But, these SMALL GROUPS OF INDIVIDUALS RECEIVED THE WIND IN THEIR SAILS FROM A LARGER GROUP OF PEOPLE WHO SUPPORTED THESE INDIVIDUALS. This support can from encouragement. This support came from small individuals, who did small things, often by writing small letters (see for example: This support came from the willingness to do the small things that are necessary to make the big things possible!

I am not a fan of the U.S. Government. I am not a fan of their tax policies. I am not a fan of their abuse of Americans abroad. But, (for the most part) I don’t think the U.S. Government has been fully (or in some cases) even partially aware of the effects of the combination of their tax and reporting rules. (They don’t even understand these rules let alone how they impact Americans abroad).

A necessary condition to change these laws is to make those involved in Tax Reform:

1. Aware of what these laws are

2. How these laws actually impact Americans abroad

3. Aware that there is significant awareness and opposition to these laws.

On October 2 two members of RO have made it clear that they will be having direct interaction with those who can make a difference in tax reform. They are asking for your support in doing ONE THING. That ONE THING is to write and “support territorial taxation for individuals”. You don’t have to support their specific proposal to support “territorial taxation for individuals” (which in its most basic terms is a move away from CBT). The purpose of the exercise is to make it clear (awareness point 3) that the current tax policies are a problem. Without this awareness NOTHING is possible.

Even with the awareness, change will be difficult. Change will involved compromises. Change will be time consuming and frustrating. Unfortunately, that’s what the democratic process is about. You/we have lived with the problems of CBT. The lawmakers don’t even know that that CBT exists (let alone the problems). For RO to be able to personally deliver these letters could be a huge step in educating the lawmakers. It’s NOT that the lawmakers are supportive of CBT. The lawmakers don’t even know that CBT exists. On this point, think of Rep Connolly in the FATCA hearings where he said something to the effect that: “All countries tax their citizens” (obviously equating citizens with residents).

I am NOT defending the behavior of U.S. law makers or the administration (few have been more critical than I have been and continue to be). I am simply trying to argue that change will require education. Education will require engagement. Engagement requires personal interaction.

Your sending a letter and/or signing the petition will help RO achieve the personal interaction that they need to engage and educate. If you care about this issue at all, then you must participate.

I don’t believe that the mere fact of sending letters or signing petitions will make a difference. But, I do believe that WITHOUT YOUR EFFORTS and support that NO CHANGE IS POSSIBLE. Therefore, you are really deciding whether you want to act in a way that makes change possible or if you choose to act in a way that makes change not possible. It’s your choice. This is NOT about supporting a specific proposal. This is about behaving in a way that opens the door to discussion about change.

If it matters, I am not a Republican. I am not a Democrat. To the extent that I am political, I would be an independent. I am not primarily a U.S. citizen. So, these comments are not partisan. But, I am deeply committed to the struggle to getting these unjust laws changed. Furthermore, I believe that change can happen ONLY if all those affected create a united front in opposition to CBT. It is the opposition to CBT that unites ALL Americans abroad.

It’s very simple really. Where laws are made through a democratic process: If you don’t make your view known you can’t expect change.

Your participation may or may not make a difference. But, your NONPARTICIPATION will make a difference because it will ensure that no change will happen.

The lack of response to the request for letters makes it clear that Americans abroad are NOT willing to support this important move towards the abolition of CBT. Why not? You don’t have to support every aspect of the RO proposal to support this RO initiative.

This is not a political issue! It is a human rights issue that can be remedied through the political process!