Legislative History Reveals FATCA Had Nothing To Do With Collecting Tax Revenue From U.S. Persons With Foreign Accounts Evading Taxes (Part I)

reprinted with permission from Tax Connections

Prior to the enactment of FATCA, Congress and the Executive were in possession of concrete-evidence revealing FATCA would fail to collect any meaningful amount of tax-revenue from U.S. persons evading tax through offshore financial center holdings. Congress should have halted enactment of HIRE – if in fact, FATCA’s purpose was to collect tax-revenue from offshore tax evasion by U.S. persons.

The United States Congress used estimates from the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) as the foundation for supporting the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), contained in the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act (HIRE).

HIRE was a tax expenditure designed to encourage U.S. small business to hire new employees. HIRE included two tax expenditures of note: a payroll tax exemption to employers and a one-thousand dollar tax credit for employers hiring employees between February of 2010 and January of 2011. [1] FATCA was included in HIRE because the tax revenue collected from FATCA was supposed to offset the tax expenditures authorized by HIRE. [2] The tax revenue FATCA was said to be targeting was from U.S. persons with foreign bank accounts who were evading tax.

In July of 2008, and around the time of the UBS scandal and the Global Financial Crisis the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations held a hearing and issued a report entitled “Tax Haven Banks and U.S. Tax Compliance”. [3] The underlying justification for FATCA as a substantial revenue raiser rested on a single statement found in a footnote in the 2008 hearing report: “Each year, the United States loses an estimated $100B in tax revenue due to offshore tax abuses.” [4] In a 2009 follow-up report, the Ways and Means’ Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures held a hearing entitled: Banking Secrecy Practices and Wealthy Americans. During this hearing, the Senate increased the U.S. tax revenue loss-estimate by 50 percent stating: “Contributing to the annual tax gap are offshore tax schemes responsible for lost tax revenues totaling an estimated $150B each year.” [5] The estimates entered into the record during these hearings measured the offshore tax gap, or the amount of tax revenue[6] that would be collected if offshore tax evasion by U.S. persons holding foreign bank accounts was ended. One month, before HIRE was signed into law by President Obama, new evidence revealed the offshore tax gap was nowhere near as large as previously thought.

On February 23, 2010, the JCT released a report estimating that FATCA would instead, only collect $8.7B over ten-years or $870M per year; a huge difference from last-year’s estimate of $150B per year.[7] Assuming this latest estimate was accurate, the 2008 and 2009 estimates were drastically overinflated – to the tune of over $149B annually! At that point, a reasonable person puts on the breaks and asks questions. At the very least Congress should have engaged in some due diligence to determine why there was such a huge discrepancy. After all, there was plenty of time remaining on the legislative clock,[8] and the report invalidated the policy justification for FATCA. Instead, Congress and President Obama steamrolled FATCA into law in less-than a month after the JCT estimate – almost like, they wanted to hurry to get it in, before someone caught wind that the FATCA had nothing to do with closing the fictitious $150B offshore tax gap, because there was really no tax revenue outstanding. (Part I….To Be Continued)

*******

[1] The Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act of 2010 (Pub.L. 111–147, 124 Stat. 71, enacted March 18, 2010, H.R. 2847).

[2] HIRE was originally a $150B dollar incentive package, but the package was reduced to $15B before enactment. It would be interesting to take a look at the timing of the reduction in the HIRE economic incentive package (from $150B to $15B), and compare it with the JCT’s February 23rd estimate, to determine if the reduction in the spending package was a result of learning FATCA would not collect any meaningful amount of tax revenue from offshore accounts, because there was none to collect.

[3] Tax Haven Banks and U.S. Taxpayer Compliance, Senate Permanent Subcomm. on Investigations, Comm. on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, 110th Cong. (2008).

[4] Ibid.

[5] Banking Secrecy Practices and Wealthy Americans, Senate Ways and Means Subcomm. on Select Revenue Measures, 111th Cong. (2009). Emphasis added.

[6] In the U.S., we have a 1099 system, where banks are forced to report interest and dividends. Unless there is some income from the account, it follows that there can be no income tax due from that account. The way to determine whether there is income from an account is to require the accountholder’s financial institution to report on the income from the account.

[7] The 2010 JCT report estimate of $8.7B in offshore tax evasion tax-revenue to be collected over ten-years or $870M per year (median average). It should be noted that the report breaks down the estimate by year. Therefore the median average is not the best number to use in every case. Individual calculations based on empirical data from a particular year proving the current validity of the report will incorporate the amounts listed on the report for each relevant year in question to preserve the integrity of the proposition for which the calculation was intended to support.

[8] The House Ways & Means Committee held the Hearing on Banking Secrecy Practices and Wealthy American Taxpayers on March 31st, 2009. The House passed the original version of HIRE on June 18th, 2009. The JCTs estimate was released on February 23rd, 2010. HIRE passed the Senate the following day on February 24th, 2010 (with amendment). The House followed by adding an amendment on March 4th, 2010 (with amendment) which was approved by the Senate on March 17th, 2010. March 18th, 2010, President Obama signed HIRE into law, and thereby FATCA into law as well. Therefore, there was a full month from the time the JCT report was issued, and the day President Obama signed HIRE (containing FATCA) into law. (Part I….To Be Continued)

The Repatriation tax and the 962 Election for Americans with a U.K. corporation

by Monte Silver
reprinted with permission of the author

The U.S. 2017 tax reform has made it very problematic for an American residing in the UK to conduct business through a UK corporation. Operating through a UK corporation exposes the expat to two new taxes: Repatriation and GILTI. This article will discuss the little known 962 election, how it can be used to reduce Repatriation tax liability, and some issues that must be considered before doing so.

A numerical example is helpful. An American living in the UK has been operating a CPA sole practice or family restaurant for 30 years through a wholly owned UK company. After paying UK corporate income tax on profits over the years, the company has $500,000 in retained earnings in its bank account, which the expat is counting on for retirement. Under the Repatriation tax, the expat is now personally liable for $87,700 (17.54% * $500,000) of that amount.

How is this tax paid? In eight annual payments, with the first payment of 8% (or $7,016) being due June 15, 2019 (as a result of the extension achieved from the U.S. Treasury).

Let’s assume that the expat has no personal foreign tax credits to use to offset to the Repatriation tax. In other words, in previous years the expat has already used all personal income tax paid in the UK to offset U.S. income tax.

Section 962 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”) may help. Section 962 allows the expat to be treated as a corporation for a specific year (say in 2017) solely for purposes of the Repatriation tax (and other Subpart F income which taxpayers rarely have).

Why does this help? Simple. If we assume an average UK corporate tax rate of 20% over the past 10 years, then approximately $100,000 ($500,000*1.20%) of UK corporate tax has been paid. As the UK corporation never owned U.S. taxes, it never utilized these taxes as credits on any U.S. corporate tax return.

And if the expat utilizes the 962 election in 2017, there are two potential benefits: (1) ability to use the corporate taxes paid in the UK to offset the Repatriation tax, and (2) enjoy the lower corporate Repatriation tax rate.

In the real world, situations are rarely black and white – i.e. lots of corporate credits but no personal credits. For example, if the expat has some personal tax credits available, the point at which the 962 election becomes beneficial requires analyzing different numerical scenarios, taking into account many factors, such as gross-up rules under section 78. However, in cases where the UK corporation has a significant pool of unused tax credits and the expat has none, the 962 election may make sense.

The remainder of the article will discuss one significant landmine that may arise when using the election. And it is important to state until now, 962 has rarely been used, so there may be others:

Post-2017 distributions. What happens when the UK corporation finally distributes the $500,000 to the expat? If no 962 election was made, no additional U.S. tax is paid by the expat (IRC 959). UK tax, however, may be due. And if 962 election was made? Bad news: all the distributions out of the accumulated earnings, beyond what was paid on the Repatriation tax, are subject to U.S. tax (IRC 962(d))! Ouch. At what rates? Most likely personal marginal rates. Double ouch.

An example will help illustrate this. In the above example, if no 962 election is used and no personal tax credits are available, the expat would be liable for $87,700 in Repatriation tax, but no more U.S. tax would be due upon distributing the $500,000. But under 962, let’s assume that the $100,000 in corporate tax credits eliminated any Repatriation tax liability. Upon distribution of the $500,000, the expat would pay U.S. taxes at the marginal rate, or as much as $185,000 ($500,000 * 37% – the highest marginal rate). Triple ouch!

Does 962 make sense? It may in the following three situations, but careful analysis is required: (1) When the UK corporate tax credits far outweigh the personal income tax credits available, and/or (2) when the expat has no plans to withdraw the money in the corporation, and/or (3) the UK taxes due at the time of distribution may render any U.S. additional taxes minimal.

In summary, in planning around the Repatriation tax, the 962 election is an option. However, careful analysis is required to achieve the best results under U.S. and UK tax law. A totally different analysis exists for the 962 election with regard to GILTI in 2018 onward.

Nothing herein shall be deemed legal advice
American Tax Solutions

U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia and Netherlands form international tax enforcement group

According to an article by Michael Cohn in Accounting Today, a multi-lateral tax enforcement group has been formed. TThe Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement (or J5 for short), intend to “collaborate in fighting international and transnational tax crimes and money laundering.”

Membership of the J5 includes the heads of tax crime and senior officials from Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS CI), Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) in the U.K., the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) and Australian Taxation Office (ATO), the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), and the Dutch Fiscal Information and Investigation Service (FIOD).

Leaders of the group met Thursday in Montreal to formulate their plans. The J5 plans to work together to gather and share information and intelligence, as well as conduct operations and build capacity for tax crime enforcement officials. Areas of focus include cybercrime and cryptocurrency, data analytics, and enablers and facilitators of tax crimes. The alliance will concentrate on building international enforcement capacity, as well as enhancing operational capability by piloting new approaches and conducting joint operations, to bring perpetrators who enable and facilitate offshore tax crime to justice

While it sounds like the planned operations will be aimed at bigger fish, what will be interesting to see is how Canada and the Netherlands proceed. Both countries have Mutual Collection Assistance provisions in their tax treaties with the U.S. (as do France, Sweden and Denmark) that indicate they will not collect from their own citizens if they were citizens when the tax was incurred. And of course, in the case of Canada, no collection of FBAR penalties. Unless I misunderstand, it sounds like the J5 intend to move into enforcement, which sounds like collection to me.

It appears that in addition to provisions in any number of DTA’s, we now have several “information exchange” programs/policies/statutes such as Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (#FATCA) , the Common Reporting Standard (#)CRS and the OECD’s CONVENTION ON MUTUAL ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANCE IN TAX MATTERS . It is difficult enough to read ONE treaty and comprehend what is covered. How is one to evaluate ALL of the aspects that are touched upon by these different programs?

Up to now the one principle that protected one from extraterritorial collection was the revenue rule. A
paper I came across years ago (dated 2004) by Professor Vern Krishna was already predicting the fall of the “revenue rule.” This paper was written a few months after the U.S. passed the American Jobs Creation Act, (see page 154 from link) while removing the issue of intent* to avoid paying tax when renouncing, also created the notion of “tax citizenship.” When relinquishing or renouncing, the requirements of notifying the State Department and filing information with the IRS were added to the process. Four years away from the H.E.A.R.T. Act (the Exit Tax 877A) and 6 years from
H.I.R.E. Act ( FATCA).

In tax law, absent special enforcement treaties, sovereign countries do not enforce the revenue laws
of other countries (the “revenue rule”).

To overcome this rule, many countries negotiate bilateral treaties for information disclosure and
mutual enforcement assistance to counter tax evasion.

In theory, the common law revenue rule reflects the principle that a country has exclusive
sovereignty over its tax policy. However, Lord Mansfield’s rule has limited scope in a world of
increasing regulatory supervision and information exchange between countries on money
laundering and terrorism financing.

The traditional rule that a country will not enforce the revenue laws of another country
and that no country is under an obligation to disclose financial information to foreign governments is very much on its way to extinction.

What do you think? Will all these actions eventually result in a system where there are no privacy laws concerning one’s finances, every bloody dime one earns will be owed to someone as tax?

*****

*removed the intent issue of renouncing for tax purposes by establishing 3 tests (income, asset, certification of tax compliance for 5 years on form 8854) to determine

New Accidental American Groups

 
In the last little while, there are 4 new Accidental American groups which appear to be under the umbrella of Fabien Lehavgre’s group ( website , Facebook , Twitter . I don’t believe I have seen any of these mentioned here so want to be sure this information is available so people are aware of it.

For those of you on Facebook and Twitter, kindly share, RT and like these pages. Thanks.

 

UK

UK Accidental Americans Facebook Page

 
ITALY

Italian Accidental Americans Facebook Page
 
IRELAND

Irish Accidental Americans Facebook Page

 
BELGIUM

Belgian Accidental Americans Facebook Page
 

Interrupting our regularly scheduled programming: It appears that there is a delay to the June 15, 2018 @USTransitionTax payment

cross-posted from Brock
by USCitizenAbroad

I haven’t had time to really read and digest this Bulletin from U.S. Treasury.

You will have to read and draw your own conclusions, but it appears that paragraph 16 speaks to this issue:

Q16: If an individual fails to timely pay his or her first installment of tax due under section 965(h), will the IRS assess an addition to tax for failure to pay? Will the taxpayer’s requirement to pay all subsequent installments be accelerated under section 965(h)(3)?
A16: If an individual meets the criteria in this paragraph and pays the total amount of the first installment on or before the due date for the second installment, the IRS will not assess an addition to tax for failure to timely pay the first installment and will not accelerate subsequent installments under section 965(h)(3). An individual with a net tax liability under section 965 is required to report the liability on his or her tax return for the year in which or with which the inclusion year of the deferred foreign income corporation ends and pay the full amount of that liability on the unextended due date of that return, unless the individual elects to pay the liability in eight annual installments pursuant to section 965(h)(1). However, the IRS has determined that, if an individual’s net tax liability under section 965 in the individual’s 2017 taxable year is less than $1 million, the individual makes a timely election under section 965(h), and the individual did not pay the full amount of the first installment by the due date under section 965(h)(2), the failure to make the payment will not result in an acceleration event under section 965(h)(3) so long as the individual pays the full amount of the first installment (and its second installment) by the due date for its 2018 return (determined without regard to extensions). For this purpose, the relevant due date generally is April 15, 2019. In the case of United States citizens or residents whose tax homes and abodes, in a real and substantial sense, are outside the United States and Puerto Rico, and United States citizens and residents in military or naval service on duty, including non-permanent or short term duty, outside the United States and Puerto Rico, the relevant due date is June 17, 2019, which is provided by Treas. Reg. §1.6081-5(a)(5) and (6). Although the IRS will not assess an addition to tax for failure to timely pay the first installment, a taxpayer will be liable for interest on such amount from the due date of the installment. See I.R.C. §6601.

If the IRS sends a taxpayer a notice of an addition to tax for failure to timely pay the first installment, and the taxpayer meets all the conditions for relief described above (including making the required payment by the due date for the second installment due under section 965(h)), the taxpayer should contact the IRS office that issued the notice and request abatement of the addition to tax for failure to timely pay the first installment in accordance with the provisions in these FAQs.

Posted: 06/04/2018

Note that this does NOT apply to all people (appearing to give relief only to small businesses).

Be on the Lookout! Bubblebustin to be on CBC The National- on the #TransitionTax

Update from BB / Bubblebustin

Those in Canada who are potentially affected by the Transition/Repatriation Tax (or not but care about Canada’s sovereignty) need to contact their government representatives and Ministers. As suggested by our MP’s office, start with:

Your Member of Parliament, and

Minister of Foreign Affairs,
chrystia.freeland@parl.gc.ca,
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6
Telephone: 613-992-5234
Fax: 613-996-9607

Minister of International Trade of Canada
Francois-Philippe.Champagne@parl.gc.ca
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6
Telephone: 613-995-4895
Fax: 613-996-6883

Minister of National Revenue
Diane.Lebouthillier@parl.gc.ca
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

Minister of Finance
bill.morneau@canada.ca
The Honourable William Francis Morneau
Department of Finance Canada
90 Elgin Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0G5
House of Commons
Parliament Buildings
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6
Send a message to the Minister

Daniel Lauzon was quoted in the CBCNational News segment.
Daniel Lauzon works as Dir. Communications for Finance Canada.
Daniel can be reached at 613-369-5696

Should you PM me or post here with the efforts you’ve made, I would like to take them to the reporters with the CBC covering this story in developing the government action (or inaction) side of the story. The press needs to know how Canadians are getting treated by our government and maybe the additional coverage will cause the government to take action.
 

UPDATE: Here is a direct link to the segment.

Trump’s tax reform affects Canadian residents The National
 
 
cbc the nationalThis aired on Monday, April 30. CBC News-The National Interview with Evan Dyerevan dyer

Outstanding new resource on FATCA, CBT, etc. by Andrew Grossman

A new resource on all the issues faced by expats, #AmericansAbroad, #AccidentalAmericans, #US persons, et al:

andy g
FATCA: Citizenship-Based Taxation,
Foreign Asset Reporting Requirements and
American Citizens Abroad

 
 
By Andrew Grossman

I don’t think there is anything else which is so extensive or thorough. This is brilliant research and gives reference to many, many court cases. Definitely a resource we are fortunate to have. (Brock SWAT to compliance community: “Watch out!”)

Thank you Andrew Grossman!

It is permanently located on the sidebar at Brock under the Important Information box – Introductory and Essential Material on CBT, FATCA, Citizenship Issues.

Here is the link to the Brock page.
Here
is the original.

The “Pax Americana” to the “Tax Americana”: How the USA is imposing a separate, punitive tax regime on “nonresidents”

cross-posted from storify

The “Pax Americana” to the “Tax Americana”: How the USA is imposing a separate, punitive tax regime on “nonresidents”

Tax Colonization by exporting the Internal Revenue Code to other countries

by John Richardson

If you Decide to Comply, DON’T choose a Homelander Tax Compliance Professional

I was very surprised to receive the following email on Friday evening. I cannot recall ever getting anything like this before. I will not identify the author because it is not proper to publicly share an email without the permission of the sender. It is not anyone I have ever heard of before and I doubt any of you have either. It took me a while to decide if I would answer or not. I tried to put my reaction aside after all, why be surprised that a tax compliance professional would demonstrate so little awareness outside of his/her experience. In the end, I simply could not ignore how I felt. I replied and have decided to publish the email without naming its author and my response.

I wish I had pointed out to this person that technically, due to the Canadian IGA (or likely any Model I agreement), that there are no harsh penalties that have been implemented. A professional who is truly conversant with this situation should have stated this better. Does such a statement show a conscious attempt to confuse the expat, assuming penalties from FBAR, OVDP etc will come to mind? Could it be a reference to the idea that Form 8938 is a harsh penalty all on it’s own? (As a matter of torture, most definitely….) Or is the practitioner just sloppy? (Maybe we could get this person to rule on all the “plain language” misapplications we hear of….retroactive 877A, anyone?).

I also wish I had challenged the statement that “the program is working.” There is nothing to suggest that the majority of non-resident (or resident, for that matter) Americans have become compliant. The numbers quoted in the statistics for the OVDP are nowhere near 9 million and we know some of those who came forward are Homelanders. For some interesting figures regarding compliance please see Professor William Byrnes’ “Is FATCA Much Ado About Nothing“? . Prof. Byrnes states “The IRS War on the FBAR is simply not working.” (“The IRS received 807,040 FUBARS FBARs in 2012; compliance with FBAR filing appears to be declining.”) Every tax compliance professional should be required to read this report. It would go a long way in curtailing the inflammatory language we experience, intended to confuse & frighten and assumes we are all idiots.

I also should have challenged the nonsense about ICE not allowing visas of former citizens being allowed to enter the U.S. This amounts to the usual threat of the Reed Amendment. Does ICE have the power to override the State Department?

I am simply astonished at the arrogance of this person. What to say of the obvious limited exposure of such an “expert.” (I have never heard anyone suggest that there are bank problems in Canada). Mentioning OVDP and not Streamlined. Who on earth does this person think he/she is?

My USC/resident-CPA sister strongly suggests I complain to the appropriate accountancy board.

And the unmitigated gall of implying I should send clients………good gawd………

*******

(emphases are mine)

If this is the Patricia Moon who has given up her US citizenship because of FATCA, then this is for you. I have seen your “protests” regarding FATCA and filing US tax returns. You stated that you were delinquent in your filings, and that you caught yourself up and then renounced your citizenship.

You are one of the very reasons that FATCA with its harsh penalties was implemented. I have been practicing in the international tax area, specializing in US expatriates, for over 31 years. I am the chairman of a state CPA Society’s International Tax Committee, and have an international reputation in this area. Over my 31 years’ time I have prepared and/or reviewed several thousand tax return. I have seen dozens of people such as yourself , people who are American citizens, and enjoy the benefits of being an American citizen, while failing to fulfill the obligations that come with citizenship – namely filing a US tax return and paying any tax due. One cannot enjoy the benefits of American citizenship without complying with the responsibilities.

Since FATCA has been implemented, there have been citizens such as yourself who have renounced their citizenship. I understand from a couple of US Customs & Immigration attorneys that I work with that ICE often won’t allow visas to come back to the US, sometimes even for vacations, to former US citizens. However, a much larger number of persons have come forward and are now filing tax returns and complying with the responsibilities of being a US citizen.

So the law has worked. It is accomplishing its intended goals. I personally have worked with several formerly noncompliant individuals to “get them legal” through the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program.

Staying legal is not a difficult process. It requires filing a US tax return every year. Often there is no tax due from it, as the foreign tax credits and the foreign earned income exclusion will reduce or eliminate the tax on all but US-sourced income.

Giving up citizenship is a drastic step when compliance is so easy. It is like amputating your arm because you have a hang nail.

And, from my experience, most larger banks WILL continue to work with Americans abroad. Very few are closing American accounts. In Canada, for example, I know that BMO Harris actually promotes accounts for Americans. I have several clients in Canada who bank with them. RBS Bank, Banque Scotia, TD Mortgage Corporation, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, and many others.

Just my thoughts. Feel free to give my name to any individual who wants to become legal, but does not want to go to the extreme that you did.

Thank you.

*******

My response:

Your email is extremely offensive and demonstrates that you understand this situation from one point of view and one only.

Perhaps you are unaware of the fact that the large majority of expats living outside the US for decades were simply unaware of any requirement to file taxes and information returns. The U.S. made no attempts to educate or notify people of these requirements. Surely you have known people who were “non-willful.” I certainly hope you did not put any persons such as these in the OVDP/OVDI.

Your comment “You are one of the very reasons that FATCA with its harsh penalties was implemented” is curious, given I did not owe any tax. I was a stay-at-home mother with an annual income that never exceeded $11,000 CAD from doing the books for my husband’s company. An annuity inherited from my parents was transferred at a later time and I most certainly paid the tax that was due.

As to “I have seen dozens of people such as yourself, people who are American citizens, and enjoy the benefits of being an American citizen….”

  • I had not lived in the United States for thirty years and was/am a law-abiding, tax compliant citizen/resident of Canada
  • I was not “enjoying the benefits of being an American citizen”
  • If you are referring to having the right of return, there is nothing particularly unique there; the majority of countries on earth allow their citizens to return
  • And I certainly am in no need of the Marines coming to save me in Canada (a “benefit” that one would have to pay for, were it even relevant to those living in first-world countries).

If by “benefit” you mean having access to “the greatest country on earth” I will tell you that a component of renouncing involved my observations about Abu Gharib, Guantanamo, the assassination of American citizens by drone without due process and other actions that frankly made me ashamed to have ever been an American citizen. In other words, your assertion that my renunciation was “like amputating your arm because you have a hang nail” simply does not cover all that was involved. Not the least of which, was my Canadian family and how they felt about the effect of U.S. policy on their lives. My husband resented any account information being turned over to FINCEN (given the fact it was his money)and it was a huge issue in the marriage.

I have remained active in this movement having renounced over 6 years ago. I don’t gain anything personally by volunteering a huge portion of my life to this. I am fully conversant with what is required regarding compliance. It is not always simple and it is very expensive. You fail to mention facts such as:

  • the U.S. would expect capital gains tax on the sale of our personal residence for a gain greater than $250k
  • the U.S. treatment of Canadian mutual funds as PFICs is particularly punitive and would require 8621 every year
  • the U.S. insistence that my country’s tax-deferred vehicles designed to help save for education, disability and non-RRSP uses are foreign trusts requiring 3520 and 3520A every year; all of these plans mirror similar programs in the US (529s, ABLE and Roth IRAs)
  • had I been signed on my husband’s company (I wasn’t) we could have found ourselves subject to an annual 5471 and the particularly abusive Transition Tax

I personally have no desire whatsoever to go to the United States. I don’t care what CBP and ICE do. It doesn’t frighten me at all. A Canadian does not need a visa to visit the U.S. anyway.

None of us have ever claimed that obtaining bank accounts or mortgages is difficult in Canada. This is a situation that primarily affects Europeans and it is very, very real. I know many people who have been severely impacted by it. It was perversely disingenuous for Judge Rose claim in the Bopp FATCA ruling, that this was not due to FATCA but to independent action of the banks.

Over the years I have encountered many people such as yourself, who seem to think they are entitled to inflict their opinions and judgments about character based upon presumptions made about U.S. expectations. I wonder if it could ever occur to you that there are other places and people in the world who do not base the value of their existence upon opinions such as you have expressed. I find it difficult to believe you would end asking me to send you clients. I trust this will be the end of any communication.

Regards,

Patricia Moon
Secretary-Treasurer
xxx-xxx-xxxx
Alliance for the Defence of Canadian Sovereignty &
Alliance for the Defeat of Citizenship Taxation

Part 9-2: Responding to the Sec. 965 “transition tax”: From the “Pax Americana” to the “Tax Americana” (cont)

 

This is a continuation of the post “Part 9: Responding to the Sec. 965 “transition tax”: From the “Pax Americana” to the “Tax Americana”
cross-posted from citizenshipsolutions by John Richardson

The first portion of the post was published here.
Links to the first eight posts in my “transition tax” series are listed at the bottom of this post.

Part D: Citizenship and the expansion of Empire – Ancient Rome

As described by Andrew Henderson of Nomad Capitalist, in 212 AD the Roman Emperor Caracella expanded Roman citizenship by bestowing Roman citizenship on all free men. A listing in Wikipedia suggests that:

The Roman jurist Ulpian‘s Digest stated, “All persons throughout the Roman world were made Roman citizens by an edict of the Emperor Antoninus Caracas” (D. 1.5.17).

The context of the decree is still subject to discussion. According to Cassius Dio, the main reason Caracalla passed the law was to increase the number of people available to tax. In the words of Cassius Dio: “This was the reason why he made all the people in his empire Roman citizens; nominally he was honoring them, but his real purpose was to increase his revenues by this means, inasmuch as aliens did not have to pay most of these taxes.”[2] It should, however, be noted that Cassius Dio generally saw Caracalla as a bad, contemptible emperor.

Another goal may have been to increase the number of men able to serve in the legions, as only full citizens could serve as legionaries in the Roman Army. In scholarly interpretations that followed a model of moral degeneration as the reason for the fall of the Roman Empire, notably the model followed by Edward Gibbon, the edict came at the cost to the auxiliaries, which primarily consisted of non-citizen men, and led to barbarization of the Roman military

Clearly Rome was not the last empire to associate “citizenship” with “taxation”.

Part E: Empire and taxation: As goes taxation, so goes civilizations

As the late Charles W. Adams wrote in his classic book – “For Good and Evil: The Impact Of Taxes On The Course Of Civilization” – the evolution of civilizations is a function of the tax policies of the civilization. Presumably as “civilizations expand into empires”, the tax policies of an empire are more likely to expand beyond the borders of the nation and into other nations. What the United States calls “citizenship-based taxation” (making it seem patriotic) is really the policy of imposing “worldwide taxation” on the “tax residents” of other countries. It is explainable as a part of the creation and expansion of empire. FATCA is the way that the American Empire has forced other nations to (1) impose U.S. taxation on the residents of those countries and (2) force those other countries to bear the cost of so doing.

Canada is probably the number one victim of U.S. “extra-territorial taxation”.

Part F: Public Perception of Empire

Former Canadian Liberal Leader Michael’s Ignatieff writing on American Empire – 2003

Former Canadian Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff was a Harvard Professor when he was recruited by the Federal Liberals to return to Canada and lead the Liberals from the “waste land” to the “promised land”. Mr. Ignatieff was kind of a “public intellectual” who quickly learned that the “hard knocks” of political life were harder than the comforts of his academic appointments. In any case, Mr. Ignatieff recognized American Empire and wrote a fascinating article about it (which appeared in the New York Times in 2003 just prior to the Bush invasion of Iraq.) It’s a fascinating article. Well worth the read. It includes:

America’s empire is not like empires of times past, built on colonies, conquest and the white man’s burden. We are no longer in the era of the United Fruit Company, when American corporations needed the Marines to secure their investments overseas. The 21st century imperium is a new invention in the annals of political science, an empire lite, a global hegemony whose grace notes are free markets, human rights and democracy, enforced by the most awesome military power the world has ever known. It is the imperialism of a people who remember that their country secured its independence by revolt against an empire, and who like to think of themselves as the friend of freedom everywhere. It is an empire without consciousness of itself as such, constantly shocked that its good intentions arouse resentment abroad. But that does not make it any less of an empire, with a conviction that it alone, in Herman Melville’s words, bears ”the ark of the liberties of the world.’

In other words, the United States is a country that believes that all of its policies, actions and ambitions are cloaked in righteousness simply because it is the United States.

Part G: Empire and taxation: If you were to ask your friends the following question:

Q. Do you think that the United States would impose more punitive taxation and compliance requirements on: (1) U.S. citizens living in the United States or (2) certain Canadian citizens living in Canada?

A. The probable answer would be: Don’t be absurd. Of course the United States imposes more punitive taxation on U.S. citizens living in the United States than on Canadian citizens living in Canada.

Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!

To put it simply: The Internal Revenue Code of the United States imposes taxes, sanctions and penalties on certain Canadian residents that are not imposed on Homeland Americans at all. The point its is that “non-residents” are subjected to a harsher set of U.S. tax rules than are U.S. residents.

One answer to the question includes

I know the answer to this question. I filed one year using TurboTax (and a host of paper filings since TurboTax falls way short of being sophisticated enough for a foreign return) and it had a helpful function at the end where you could compare your US tax liability against others in a similar income band. My US tax liability was 2.5x the average bill in the same income band. That’s not 2.5% but 2.5x. My “fair share” was more than twice as much for the same level of income as the homelander “fair share”.

Thankfully, the out of pocket cost was limited by the taxes I had already paid in the UK. But, it shows the cost of not living a life optimised for the rules of the US tax system can be enormous. If you live in the US, there are tax no brainers. If you live in the UK, there are tax no brainers. But if you’re subject to both systems at the same time, you can’t benefit from the tax no brainers since, by and large, the other country takes what the other giveth.

As I’ve said before, the US tax system includes on the basis of citizenship but excludes on the basis of physical location since participation in the tax no brainers is limited by things like US source earned income which you can, generally, only get when you live in the US.

 

U.S. taxation of residents of other Canada and other countries: It’s really “territorial taxation” in reverse

As Charles Bruce (ACA Legal Counsel) describes it:

Ironically, this is a prime example of “upside down” territoriality. Under a territorial approach, such as, residency-based taxation, the taxpayer is expressly not taxed on foreign income. Here, the taxpayer – say, an American abroad – for sure will be fully taxed on foreign income, whereas his or her cousin in the States who earns domestic business income will enjoy the 20% deduction.

Part H: 12 examples (in addition to the “transition tax”) which U.S. residents can “laugh about” and Canadian citizens can/should “rage about”:

1. Templeton Mutual Fund bought in the U.S. by a U.S. resident is NOT subject to PFIC confiscation. The same mutual fund (with exactly the same securities) bought in Canada by a Canadian resident is subject to PFIC confiscation. Furthermore, the Canadian resident is required to report his ownership in his Canadian mutual fund on Form 8621 – check it out here.

2. A U.S. resident who invests in a ROTH IRA has automatic “tax deferral” and is not subject to U.S. taxation. A Canadian resident who invests in an equivalent TFSA does not have “tax deferral” and is subject to U.S taxation on the income on TFSA even though he is not subject to taxation on the income in Canada.

3. A U.S. resident who invests in an ABLE plan (Achieving a Better Life Experience Act) has automatic tax deferral. A Canadian resident who invests in an RDSP (equivalent “special needs plan”) is subject to U.S. taxation on that income. Furthermore, the Canadian resident is required to report his ownership of his RDSP on Form 3520 – check it out here.

4. A U.S. resident who invests in a S. 529 “education plan” has automatic tax deferral. A Canadian resident who invests in an RESP (equivalent “education plan”) does not have “tax deferral” and is subject to U.S. taxation on that income. Furthermore, the Canadian resident is required to report his ownership in his RESP on Form 3520 – check it out here.

5. A U.S. resident who receives distributions from a 401K plan is not subject to the 3.8% Obamacare surtax. A Canadian resident who takes a distribution from an (equivalent) Canadian RRSP is subject to the 3.8% Obamacare surtax. Furthermore, the Canadian resident is required to report his Obamacare surtax on Form 8960 – check it out here.

6. A U.S. resident is not required to report his local U.S. bank accounts to U.S. Financial Crimes. A Canadian resident is required to report his Canadian bank accounts to U.S. Financial Crimes. This is a very special category of “form crime” -see information about Mr. FBAR.

7. A U.S. resident is not required to report his U.S. financial assets annually to the IRS on Form 8938. A Canadian resident may be required to report his Canadian financial assets annually to the IRS on Form 8938. Form 8938 is an extremely intrusive, time consuming form. Check it out here.

8. A U.S. resident is NOT required to treat his activities in the USA as foreign and subject to penalties and reporting. Certain Canadian residents are required to treat their business activities in Canada as foreign and subject to penalties and reporting. Check out Form 5471 and From Form 8865.

9. A U.S. resident married to a U.S. citizen spouse is allowed to make unlimited gifts to his spouse. A Canadian resident married to a Canadian citizen spouse is NOT allowed to make unlimited gifts to his spouse. Furthermore, the Canadian resident is required to report certain gifts to his spouse on Form 709 – check it out here.

10. A U.S. resident who renounces U.S. citizenship will not have his U.S. pension plan subject to confiscation because of the Section 877A Exit Tax. A Canadian resident who renounces U.S. citizenship would have his Canadian pension plan subject to confiscation because of the S. 877A Exit Tax. It’s because it the pension is NOT a “U.S. pension”, but is a “Canadian pension”.

11. The TCJA includes a provision that allows U.S. residents to deduct property taxes on their U.S. principal residences, but specifically does NOT allow a Canadian living in Canadian to deduct property taxes on his Canadian principal residence.

12. The TCJA provided allows a deduction of up to 20% of passthrough income for specified service business owners with income under $157,500 (twice that for married filing jointly) for certain income effectively connected with the conduct of the trade or business within the US. A U.S. resident operating a U.S. business is entitled to the deduction. A Canadian resident carrying on a small unincorporated business in Canada is NOT entitled to the 20% reduction.

An “unintended consequence” or “willful”?

The vast majority of U.S. residents and Congressmen neither understand this nor know that this is taking place. That said, some members of the Treasury clearly do understand that:

Part I: It’s the “Tax Americana” – a “form” (pun intended) of “tax colonization”

In any case – the “Tax Americana” must first be understood and then end:

The time has come for the United States to stop imposing “worldwide taxation” of people who are “tax residents” of other countries and do NOT live in the United States”.

The time has come for other countries to recognize the “Tax Americana” and realize how the “Tax Americana” is eroding the sovereignty of other nations!

The next post in this series will explore the question of:

What could the Canadian Government do (without U.S. agreement) to stop the U.S. from taxing Canadian residents (who are also U.S. citizens)?

John Richardson

The first eight posts in my “transition tax” series were:

Part 1: Responding to The Section 965 “transition tax”: “Resistance is futile” but “Compliance is impossible”

Part 2: Responding to The Section 965 “transition tax”: Is “resistance futile”? The possible use of the Canada U.S. tax treaty to defeat the “transition tax”

Part 3: Responding to the Sec. 965 “transition tax”: They hate you for (and want) your pensions!

Part 4: Responding to the Sec. 965 “transition tax”: Comparing the treatment of “Homeland Americans” to the treatment of “nonresidents”

Part 5: Responding to the Sec. 965 “transition tax”: Shades of #OVDP! April 15/18 is your last, best chance to comply!

Part 6: Responding to the Sec. 965 “transition tax”: A “reprieve” until June 15, 2018

Part 7: Responding to the Sec. 965 “transition tax”: Why the transition tax creates a fictional tax event that allows the U.S. to collect tax where it never could have before

Part 8: Responding to the Sec. 965 “transition tax”: This small business thought it was saving to invest in business expansion – Wrong, they were saving to be robbed by America!