If You Want Your Country to Treat You as Her Own, Stop Telling Her You are “American”

The following two comments appeared on a post at Isaac Brock “Refreshing: @SophieintVeld calls EU answer to plight of #AccidentalAmericans “bullshit”

Perhaps one of the difficulties countries experience, that of “standing up to the United States” could be mitigated if citizens and residents of those countries stopped calling themselves “Americans.” Certainly if one does NOT believe him/herself to be American, one would not describe oneself as such. Why allow American law define one’s nationality particularly when doing so allows the U.S.to supersede the laws of the country one resides in?

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by USCitizenAbroad

cross posted comments from the Isaac Brock Society

Watched the video a second time today. The time has come to RETIRE the term “Accidental American”. The tern suggests that the petitioner “JR” and others like him are “Americans” of any kind at all. He is NOT an American of any kind and neither is a single person who was born in the USA, left the USA as a child, and has never held himself out as a U.S. citizen. He is a “carbon life form” who is simply being claimed by the United States as U.S. property. Nothing more and nothing less.

What FATCA is about is:

FATCA is about the United States unlawfully laying claim to the citizen/residents of other nations as “tax slaves” and as “weapons”, to attack the economies of other nations, by extending its tax base into other nations. The simple “FATCA Of The Matter” is that, for the U.S. to claim that a citizen and resident of another nation, is a U.S. citizen (against that person’s will), has evolved into an “Act of War” against that nation – what the petitioner calls the “weaponization of nationality”. For the USA to call a citizen/resident of another nation a U.S. citizen is to say to that nation:

That “carbon life form” is our property and we will use our property as a way to extract rents from your economy. (If you use OUR property you must pay us rent.)

It seems to me that countries around the world must do the following:

1. Protect their own citizens from the United States. It’s quite simple really. They should simply say:

So, sorry but “JR” is a resident of our nation and a citizen of our nation. The USA is free to call him anything they want when he is in the USA, but when he is in our nation he is to be treated as a citizen of our nation and accorded all the rights to which citizens of our nation are afforded. We do understand that Americans do NOT have rights (because this is necessary to preserve their American freedoms), but in our nation our citizens have rights and they have equal rights. For example: As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada has said – “A Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian“ (Of course Justin means only “certain Canadians” are really Canadians, but I digress ….)

We (nations of the world) have no opinion, with respect to those Americans, who are in our country, but are not citizens of our nation (the “Homelanders Abroad” type). But our citizens have the full rights of citizenship when in our nation.

We will NOT allow them to be treated as your “property”, when they are living as citizens on “our property!”

We know, that for Americans, the concept of human “rights” is “very deep”, but trust us, “human rights” can exist.

Countries simply cannot allow the United States to claim their citizens as U.S. citizens!

Bottom line: Under no circumstances can the USA be permitted to claim the citizens of other nations (residing in those nations) as U.S. citizens when they are resident in our country.

2. If these European (and other) countries are NOT willing to defend the rights of THEIR citizens, then they should simply agree, that they are nothing but U.S. property and deport (return) them to the United States.

The battle cry should become:

“Defend or deport”.

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Adding to the previous comment:

There is a continual focus on:

“Are you or have you ever been a U.S. citizen?”

That’s fine, but the focus needs to change to:

“Who may determine the citizenship of an individual? How is that citizenship to be determined? Under what circumstances can a citizen and resident of country A, be claimed as a citizen of country B”

To date, the world has deferred to U.S. law to answer the question of whether someone is a “U.S. citizen”. I believe that is the wrong question. It leads to absurd results and it allows U.S. lawyers to effectively impose unwanted U.S. citizenship on people with no U.S. connection. The question is whether Country A has to accept a citizenship claim by Country B with respect to a citizen/resident of country A.

(The idea that the USA can impose citizenship on a person born outside the USA is laughable. Yet, U.S. lawyers swear it is true. To say that the USA can impose U.S. citizenship on a person born outside the USA is to say that the USA can use any person of USC parents as a weapon against the economy of another nation.)

The narrow question in a new FATCA world should be:

Can a second country decide the citizenship of a person who is a citizen/resident of a another country? Interestingly the United States is, in certain circumstances, willing to apply its own legal standards, to determine whether someone is or is not a citizen of another country.

See:

In addition, although not determinative of the question, the following information from the State Department is interesting:

Dual Nationality

Section 101(a)(22) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) states that “the term ‘national of the United States’ means (A) a citizen of the United States, or (B) a person who, though not a citizen of the United States, owes permanent allegiance to the United States.” Therefore, U.S. citizens are also U.S. nationals. Non-citizen nationality status refers only individuals who were born either in American Samoa or on Swains Island to parents who are not citizens of the United States. The concept of dual nationality means that a person is a national of two countries at the same time. Each country has its own nationality laws based on its own policy. Persons may have dual nationality by automatic operation of different laws rather than by choice. For example, a child born in a foreign country to U.S. national parents may be both a U.S. national and a national of the country of birth.

A U.S. national may acquire foreign nationality by marriage, or a person naturalized as a U.S. national may not lose the nationality of the country of birth. U.S. law does not mention dual nationality or require a person to choose one nationality or another. Also, a person who is automatically granted another nationality does not risk losing U.S. nationality. However, a person who acquires a foreign nationality by applying for it may lose U.S. nationality. In order to lose U.S. nationality, the law requires that the person must apply for the foreign nationality voluntarily, by free choice, and with the intention to give up U.S. nationality.

Intent can be shown by the person’s statements or conduct. The U.S. Government recognizes that dual nationality exists but does not encourage it as a matter of policy because of the problems it may cause. Claims of other countries on dual national U.S. nationals may conflict with U.S. law, and dual nationality may limit U.S. Government efforts to assist nationals abroad. The country where a dual national is located generally has a stronger claim to that person’s allegiance.

However, dual nationals owe allegiance to both the United States and the foreign country. They are required to obey the laws of both countries. Either country has the right to enforce its laws, particularly if the person later travels there. Most U.S. nationals, including dual nationals, must use a U.S. passport to enter and leave the United States. Dual nationals may also be required by the foreign country to use its passport to enter and leave that country. Use of the foreign passport does not endanger U.S. nationality. Most countries permit a person to renounce or otherwise lose nationality.

Information on losing foreign nationality can be obtained from the foreign country’s embassy and consulates in the United States. Americans can renounce U.S. nationality in the proper form at U.S. embassies and consulates abroad.

Call for Information Regarding Lack of U.S. Reciprocity #FATCA

I’ve received a request from our fellow expats-in-peril Association des Américains Accidentels to search for documents to help them in their litigation.

As of this week, we have hired a lawyer to get a legal opinion re: FATCA.

One of the angle we are pursuing is non reciprocity. Under the French Constitution (article 55) a treaty which is not reciprocal becomes null and void, as simple as that. We are presently looking for all documents written par the IRS/Treasury to US Senators or any other documents emanating from the US Treasury which point to the fact that the US has no intention of making FATCA reciprocal.

We are now in full gear and our aim is to make FATCA null in void in France and perhaps at the European level too. (it is another avenue we are exploring too)

In advance many many thanks,

Eric and Fabien

I have already sent them the letter from Mark Mazur (then Assistant Secretary of Treasury for Tax Policy) to Senator Rand Paul dated Oct 10, 2012.

Please help their legal challenge: Let’s Unite to Defeat FATCA

 

#FEARBar (“Foreign Email Account Report”) update – All indications lead to reporting #offshore email accounts

Cross posted from the Renounce U.S. Citizenship blog.

The above tweet references a post written four years ago in June of 2013. The post predicted that at some point the United States would require disclosure (in addition to FATCA (Form 8938) and FBAR (FinCen 114) and other forms) the email accounts used by Americans abroad.


That post concluded with my prediction:

The purpose of FBAR and FATCA is to …

Provide the U.S. with information that is outside of its jurisdiction. In other words, the U.S. has no legal right to the information. Therefore, by threatening “life altering” penalties, the U.S. forces its citizens to provide this information to the U.S. government.

If the contents of bank accounts is important, then the contents of an email account would be even more valuable.

You heard it here first:

The next information return that the U.S. will require is the:

Foreign Email Account Report” – FEARBar for short!

Congress will (like FATCA) unknowingly pass the general legislation (slipped in as part of a Hiring Act) and authorize the IRS to specify the contents of the return. What an Orwellian World!

FEARBar coming to an information return near you!

Continue reading “#FEARBar (“Foreign Email Account Report”) update – All indications lead to reporting #offshore email accounts”

Morales-Santana: SCOTUS Makes it Harder for People Born Abroad to U.S. Citizens to Become U.S. Citizens

cross-posted from the citizenshipsolutions blog

by John Richardson

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Prologue:U.S. citizenship is not as attractive as it was

One benefit of U.S. citizenship: If one is a U.S. citizen then one cannot be deported from the USA

Some Green Card holders become U.S. citizens. Some do NOT become U.S.
citizens. Many of those Green Card holders become U.S. citizens in order to avoid the possibility of deportation. Deportation results in expatriation and can (among other things) subject the unfortunate Green Card holder to the S. 877A Expatriation Tax, which can result in significant confiscation of assets. In fact, the S. 877A Expatriation Tax discourages people from seeking Green Cards in the first place. That said, it is only Green Card Holders who are “long term residents” who are subject to the Exit Tax.

The plight of Mr. Morales-Santana: No U.S. citizenship = the possibility of deportation

The facts as described by the court:

In 2000, the Government sought to remove Morales-Santana based on several criminal convictions, ranking him as alien because, at his time of birth, his father did not satisfy the requirement of five years’ physical presence after age 14. An immigration judge rejected Morales-Santana’s citizenship claim and ordered his removal. Morales­ Santana later moved to reopen the proceedings, asserting that the Government’s refusal to recognize that he derived citizenship from his U. S.-citizen father violated the Constitution’s equal protection guarantee.

Continue reading “Morales-Santana: SCOTUS Makes it Harder for People Born Abroad to U.S. Citizens to Become U.S. Citizens”

Congress to introduce Foreign Washing Machine Compliance Act (FWMCA) to fight offshore abuse of Tide Detergent

 

Every now and then, we all need a good laugh. Instead of posting a mind-boggling account of the never-ending misery of being a U.S. expat abroad, here is something completely different. Enjoy!

reposted from Isaac Brock Society
Posted on March 13, 2012 by Eric

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Recently, reports have surfaced that drug dealers are abandoning the U.S. dollar in favour of a cleaner, more liquid medium of exchange.

Tide has become a form of currency on the streets. The retail price is steadily high — roughly $10 to $20 a bottle — and it’s a staple in households across socioeconomic classes. Tide can go for $5 to $10 a bottle on the black market, authorities say. Enterprising laundry soap peddlers even resell bottles to stores. “There’s no serial numbers and it’s impossible to track,” said Detective Larry Patterson of the Somerset, Ky., Police Department, where authorities have seen a huge spike in Tide theft. “It’s the item to steal.” …

Continue reading “Congress to introduce Foreign Washing Machine Compliance Act (FWMCA) to fight offshore abuse of Tide Detergent”

Hands Down this is the Worst Academic Piece About FATCA ever Written

 

 

Profesor Paul Caron, on his TaxProfBlog posted the following article:
CONSIDERING “CITIZENSHIP TAXATION”:
IN DEFENSE OF FATCA
20 Fla. Tax Rev. 335 (2017):
by Young Ran (Christine) Kim

 

If any description could possibly be demonstrated over & over in this piece it would be the term “offensive.”  I confess to a hard-edged bias against academia, likely for the same reasons as most people; i.e., the rather noticeable and consistent lack of everyday common sense. Even in my own field (piano performance, where a doctorate is called a DMA not a Phd) there is a prevalence of people who may be perfectly schooled in the accuracy of Baroque ornaments, precise methods of articulation in Classic-period pieces or any number of other tedious accomplishments yet their actual playing (which is the whole point of a performance degree vs an academic one) is so devoid of vitality and inspiration it is enough to make one weep. I don’t know if the same exists in all disciplines but one thing that does apply here is a complete (and I mean complete) lack of awareness on the part of the author, of the harshness of how these theories play out on the lives of REAL people. What would make much more sense would be to address these problems head-on rather than justify “concepts” through a lot of theoretical jargon.

 

The following comment says it well:

 

The people affected by “citizenship-based taxation” are U.S. citizens and Green Card holders who live outside the USA and are “tax residents” (and often citizens) of other nations. The paper discusses (sort of) “citizenship-based taxation” as an abstract concept without considering the brutal effects that it has on the people subjected to it. The acknowledgement of the difficulties with pensions, retirement planning, foreign spouses, mutual funds, CFC rules, etc. (the reality of citizenship taxation) is most notable in its absence. And no, FBAR and Form 8938 (as obnoxious as they may be) are reporting requirements and not the specific tax rules (PFIC, etc.) that affect Americans abroad. I suspect that this paper will be subjected to the criticism that it so richly deserves.

Posted by: John Richardson | May 26, 2017 1:14:02 PM

While this criticism can be equally leveled at the members of Congress who passed FATCA, the Treasury Department personnel who wrote the regulations and last but not least, the heartlessness of many tax compliance practitioners, there is something especially repugnant about those pontificating from their ivory towers, proclaiming that FATCA, citizenship-based taxation, global transparency and all the rest of it, are worth the grief being caused.

Ms Kim indicates her paper finds its origins in Ruth Mason’s recent article, Citizenship Taxation, [89 S. Cal. L. Rev. 169 (2016),

A major difference between the two is that Ms Mason basically sees citizenship taxation in a negative light while Ms. Kim attempts to find it as a natural basis to support FATCA.

She addresses three main arguments; the fairness argument, the efficiency argument and the administrative argument.
 

I.) THE FAIRNESS ARGUMENT

 

Individual taxpayers’ obligations to file Foreign Bank Account Reports (FBAR) or report under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) are not seriously onerous. The fact that citizenship taxation along with FBAR and FATCA enhances global transparency further supports the case for citizenship taxation……..because the rules have been improved through various exceptions and substantially high reporting threshold amounts.

Ms. Kim asserts that the obligation to file FBARS is not “seriously onerous.” The very real threat of a non-willful penalty of $10,000 per account per year (or worse for “willful) is certainly enough to strike the fear of God in even the most reticent individual. The idea that this reality is not considered when evaluating FBAR is beyond reasonable. Articles about FATCA often cover only the reporting done by the FFI’s. However, the other component is the requirement to file 8938’s which duplicate information from the FBAR and can incur serious penalties. The average person is not able to complete an 8938 and will have to pay to have a professional do it. Nowhere in this article does the author address the issue of compliance costs for individuals which can easily be $2500 a year for someone owing no tax and involve 50 or more pages of returns. Not onerous? Furthermore, there are simply NO FIGURES yet, to make any claim that FATCA “enhances global transparency.” Professor William Byrnes describes
the oft-quoted figure of $10 billion. This amount has absolutely NOTHING to do with FATCA; it is largely comprised of penalties and interest collected through the OVDI programs (and does not even represent actual tax recovered). While the FATCA thresholds are higher, please, the threshold for FBAR remains at $10,000, the same figure when the Act was created in 1970 – 47 YEARS AGO!
 

FOCUSING ON THE ABILITY TO PAY PRINCIPLE

First, consent theory argues that taxing nonresident citizens is justified because retaining citizenship represents consent to such taxation.

 
One cannot consent to something one doesn’t even know about. Is the author completely unaware of the history underlying the persecution of expats once Treasury/Justice went after the Swiss banks in 2008? There are still likely more Americans abroad who remain unaware of the obligation to file taxes and worse yet, the oppressive information returns with penalties simply for not filing a piece of paper (i.e. no tax due). For those who do know and who retain citizenship, keeping it is much a matter of confusion and fear and could hardly be described as “consenting to taxation.”

 

Second, benefit theory attempts to justify citizenship taxation as an obligation of nonresident citizens in return for the benefits they receive from the government.

This argument is so ridiculous at this point it is hard to believe it remains part of the discussion. Cook v Tait is nearly 100 years old and does not address the large changes globalization has produced. There is the endless  nonsense of hearing how “The Marines will come to rescue you,” after which you receive a full bill. How many living in first-world countries have any need for “rescue?” And last but not least we “owe” the U.S. for consular services (for which we pay, dearly in the case of renouncing – $2350 or $50 USD to notarize a single page). All tiresome and nowhere near justifiable for being taxed “the same” as Homelanders.

 

Third, social obligation theory

the underlying assumption of this theory is that people have an obligation to pay taxes to support the members of the society to which they belong in accordance with their ability to pay taxes, which should be measured by their worldwide income.

I remember my reaction to Prof Michael Kirsch’s comments (at the ACA Program in Toronto, May 2014, “CBT vs RBT”)regarding polity and such. It seemed ridiculous to me to consider those of us living outside the United States as being a member of that society in any meaningful way. In my own life, now 35 years outside the U.S.(over half my life), the only times I identified as a “member ” of U.S. society was when defending against strong anti-American sentiment (the first few years away) and national tragedies such as 911. I cannot see any way that those infrequent occurrences defined me as being an American more than being a Canadian.  I would say a more meaningful and valid way to apply the social obligation theory is whether or not I support policies that promote the social welfare of those around me, whether or not I give the homeless guy I see everytime I go to the bank, a bit of money so he can buy some lunch. IOW, except in an idealistic or nostalgic way, one can really only measure his/her “social obligation” based upon what they come face-to-face with, i.e., where they live.

 

Due to the different factors affecting the ability to pay, such as difference in the standard of living or amenities between places, “it would be fairer to calculate a person’s ability to pay by reference to the place where she lives rather than to the place where she holds her citizenship.”

“actually tax them alike,” which would require the repeal of the foreign-earned income exclusion and the allowance of unlimited foreign tax credits, including foreign consumption taxes, as well as the implicit taxes and subsidies to compensate the differences.

 

While all expats readily understand the reality that they are NOT “taxed the same” as Homelanders, the idea of being able to adjust all these factors to the number of foreign countries with all the differences in structure etc., absolutely discourages any realistic notion that this could ever be accomplished. Current retirement-oriented plans such as the Australian Super; the lack of recognition of tax-deferred vehicles registered by governments being treated the same as their US equivalents; requiring capital gains tax on the sale of principle residences which are tax-free in the countries where they are located ; and above all else, the obscene “savings clause,” all speak to the built-in bias the US has for anything “foreign” and its pronounced tendency to punish people for making use of non-US instruments. Add the effect of the Patriot Act, which makes it impossible to even open a US account with a foreign address and a non-resident American understandably lacks the will to try and weave one’s way through all these complicated, impossible-to-delineate requirements and procedures. The fact that the IRS does not clarify ambivalent sections such as §877A as well as the fact that no two compliance professionals can be counted on to give the same opinion is proof positive that disparate tax systems simply cannot be adjusted “fairly.”
 

when its critics condemned the new obligations to file FBARs and FATCA as an excessive compliance burden for nonresident citizens created by the Bank Secrecy Act.

There are no “new” obligations to file FBARs; they have been required (and unenforced) since 1970 and are part of Title 31. FATCA was NOT created by the Bank Secrecy Act. It comprises part of the H.I.R.E. Act (2010) and is part of 26 U.S.C. § 1471–1474, § 6038D.

II.) THE EFFICIENCY ARGUMENT

citizenship taxation may distort both Americans’ and non-Americans’ citizenship decisions, is not convincing

American citizenship renunciation rate is not particularly serious compared to other countries

residence-based taxation confronts an additional hurdle on top of enforcement difficulties: determining the residence of the individuals. Determining residence by considering all facts and circumstances creates problems beyond enforcement difficulties. The facts-and-circumstances test itself contains inherent problems when compared to a bright-line test

….and to what extent renunciation is treated as immoral and/or illegal, and so on.

The idea that citizenship taxation does not affect the decisions of Americans abroad concerning their citizenship is patently absurd. Without question, citizenship taxation IS THE MAIN REASON anyone renounces. Not because of tax per sé (don’t even think of trying to scare with the Reed Amendment) but rather, due to all the complications of trying to match two different tax systems. Add the non-financial issues such as the stress on marriages (to “aliens”), passing U.S. citizenship on one’s children, etc. etc. It has become a nightmare not worth living and something to escape if one can.

Ms. Kim devotes a long section to establishing the idea that the renunciation rate of U.S. citizens is “not particularly serious.” Again, we have someone indicating that unless the numbers are large, whether compared to that of other countries, the proportion of renunciations to the numbers of those abroad or to the number of entering immigrants, there is nothing being lost here. If that is the case, then the U.S. has virtually nothing to lose by simply letting these people go without all the forms, swearing under penalty of perjury and so on. One might occasionally consider that Americans abroad were once the best ambassadors the country could have. Now those tables are turned and some are more anti-American than any “alien” could ever be. Nothing like betrayal to warm the heart.

Regarding determination of residency, it is interesting that all 191 other countries of the world are able to surmount this difficult obstacle, which will be even more pronounced once CRS is operative. The “bright line test” which I presume means using citizenship rather than residency to base reporting on, is not truly useful given the fact that only the U.S. (Eritrea does not count) does this. When a U.S. citizen is living abroad with dual citizenship, with no determinant indicia, ask any bank how easy it is to establish whether or not one is a U.S. citizen. If it were clear, one would not see so many institutions refusing to serve Americans.

The Expatriation Act of 1868 gives all Americans the right to give up their citizenship if they so desire. It is not an issue of illegality. When a country treats its own citizens in the manner we have experienced from 2009 onwards (particularly the Accidental Americans who are not American in any normal understanding of the term), who is there to even suggest renunciation is immoral?

III.) THE ADMINISTRATIVE ARGUMENT

ENFORCEMENT DIFFICULTIES

Citizenship taxation has been criticized as difficult to enforce on nonresident citizens abroad….Determining residence by considering all facts and circumstances creates problems beyond enforcement difficulties

Next to failing to point out the outrageous 30% withholding “sanction” inflicted on every other country of the world, this has to be the weakest argument in this paper. The fact that the U.S. cannot effectively collect anything outside of the country is the number one reason people feel safe in remaining “under the radar.” After the initial scare of 2009/2011 seeing that the people hurt the worst were those who tried to do the right thing, people started considering the reality that being identified (“caught”) may amount to virtually nothing for a number of reasons. First of all, the majority of expats who are not compliant are NOT wealthy tax cheats with foreign accounts in order to deprive the U.S. of tax revenue. They are first of all, compliant where they live, which speaks volumes. Secondly, they have these “foreign” accounts in order to live their lives. This is in no way comparable to Homelanders who are guilty of tax evasion when they stash money in tax havens (and let’s not forget Delaware, Nevada, South Dakota and Wyoming, shall we?). The Revenue Rule still stands; even the 5 countries with Mutual Collection Agreements (Canada, Denmark, Sweden, France and the Netherlands)WILL NOT collect on those who were citizens of their countries at the time the tax was incurred. Canada WILL NOT collect FBAR penalties. With regard to fear about crossing the border, if one is not in the U.S. system, there is nothing for the IRS to report to DHS or CBP etc. All these things may change over time but as it stands now, the most IRS can do to most people, is send them a letter asking them to pay. EXACTLY WHAT IS THE POINT OF HOLDING ON TO CBT IF THERE IS NO WAY TO COLLECT?

Is the Compliance Burden Actually Onerous?

the IRS has provided the OVDI that a U.S. taxpayer can utilize to avoid criminal sanctions for the failure to report the existence of, and income earned on, a foreign account on tax returns as well as for the non-filing of the FBAR. In exchange for avoiding criminal sanctions, taxpayers will generally be subject to a 27.5% penalty on the highest aggregate value of their undisclosed offshore assets.86 In addition, for non-willful violators, IRS provides Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedures (SFCP), a program that was expanded in 2014 to cover a broader spectrum of U.S. taxpayers residing abroad and to provide penalty relief. Therefore, nonresident citizens who no longer have a strong economic and social connection with the United States or happenstance Americans are no longer likely to be subject to the severe FBAR penalties.

To suggest that OVDI and Streamlined “make everything alright” is to avoid the real issue altogether which is that citizenship taxation is simply wrong. No other country on earth “claims” its citizens for life. (Eritrea does not count). No other country on earth taxes its citizens after they abandon residence. No other country on earth applies an Exit Tax on assets that were acquired prior to obtaining residence in that country. There are reasons why no other countries do any of the things associated with citizenship taxation. It’s high time the United States stop this appalling abuse of human rights.

THIS ARTICLE FURTHER AIMS TO DEFEND the administrability of citizenship taxation in conjunction with the Foreign Bank Account Reports (FBARs) and the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).

FBAR-absolutely not the way it is being conceived of now. FBAR, created in 1970 was aimed at uncovering money being laundered in smuggling, the drug trade and terrorism. It also was not originally conceived of being applied to those outside the U.S. Once the DOJ/Treasury departments went after the Swiss banks, they realized they could stretch the intent of FBAR to apply to non-resident Americans and the penalty regime thickened.

The criticism… has continued even after the U.S. government committed to enter into Intergovernmental Agreements (IGAs) in an attempt to address those concerns

A huge oversight on the part of the author. FATCA was without question an extraterritorial imposition on other countries. Only the United States would be as uncivil as to suggest imposing a 30% withholding charge on their allies and trading partners. The U.S. appeared not to understand that other countries could not comply even if they wanted to as privacy laws prevented the level of reporting required by FATCA. Banks would be sued were they to comply. To suggest that the US committing to the IGAs was a gracious act is revolting. Under the guise of being rooted in tax treaties, the IGAs simply bypassed what should have been required; that Congress ratify such agreements and implement legislation to do so. There is nothing in FATCA that warrants the creation of the IGAs. The U.S. downloaded ALL of the costs of compliance to the other countries. There is no mention of any penalties for the U.S. failing to comply. The U.S. made only the vaguest promises of reciprocity. It is simply unbelievable that the immorality of taking capital out of other nations is considered acceptable by the United States.

IV>) FATCA:MERITS AND CONCERNS

The OECD’s AEOI and the U.S. FATCA are two important developments, but FATCA plays a more important role.
First, FATCA provided critical momentum
Second, FATCA facilitates multilateral implementation of AEOI by creating an extensive network with more than 100 countries in the world, at the center of which is the United States.

This is unsubstantiated nonsense. First of all, it is bizarre to say FATCA “plays a more important role” Who gains from FATCA other than the United States? So far, nobody. The United States is at the Center of AEOI/CRS? The US has not even signed on to CRS. There are huge differences that matter greatly. The OECD AEOI/CRS agreements are determined by the countries involved; the terms of residency are established by those exchanging the information. FATCA is vastly different in that the United States alone determines who is/is not a “US Person” “US Citizen” irrespective of the status of such a person to the other country. And so far, the U.S. is not “paying its fair share” by requiring its banks to implement the same systems and legislation required (imposed) by FATCA. The IGAs do not constitute “acceptance” by other countries. To think otherwise is ridiculous. One could not possibly view such stipulations as reasonable.

criticism that…. FATCA exposes taxpayers’ private information to potential abusive use by foreign tax authorities.

This is a matter of real concern to Americans abroad living in some of the more troubled areas of the world-or those living Colombia in South America and particularly in some of the Middle East countries. Ironically enough, the U.S. has had some of the worst breaches of security and leakage of private information; certainly this is disturbing and worrisome.

Ms. Kim’s discussion of the Bopp FATCA lawsuit I will leave to someone else.

Second, opponents of FATCA and EOI argue that an EOI system removes a country’s unilateral control over its own tax policy, resulting in the forfeiture of sovereign autonomy. Although such argument has withered since the U.S. government entered into IGAs with other countries, it was strongly asserted by Canadian opponents of FATCA when the IGA Implementation Act included in Bill-31 was debated in Canadian Parliament.

How outrageous to suggest a foreign country does not have the right to have unilateral control over its own tax policy. The proof is in the pudding. The U.S. would never allow the equivalent. The IGA’s are the proof.
I have watched the video of the Canadian FINA hearings on FATCA many, many times. It is not possible to convey the absolute disgust we have for the majority Conservative government which minimized completely, the capitulation that occurred with the implementation of the IGA. It was nothing more than protecting the banks, without any regard to the effect it would have on Canadian citizens resident in Canada.

However, a government’s control over its tax policy is more severely harmed when a country segregates itself from the global community and loses the ability to enforce effectively its own tax laws against its taxpayers with interests in foreign jurisdictions

More unsubstantiated nonsense. This is an opinion completely unsupported up by any facts.

A Case for American Exceptionalism

conclusion, if FATCA makes the world better off by enhancing global transparency on tax information, then this may serve as another support for citizenship taxation, as well as an example of constructive exceptionalism.

While all of us raised in America understand unconsciously what exceptionalism is, it truly takes living outside the country to appreciate how incredibly arrogant and offensive it is. It is questionable whether FATCA “makes the world better off….” that a questionable tenet should “serve as a support for the imposition of citizenship taxation.” It is nothing short of reprehensible that the author should suggest what the U.S. has done is “constructive” or in any way justifies the gross aberration of power demonstrated by the creation of FATCA.

Whether through regulation or legislation #FATCA Same Country Exemption won’t work

J-bnn
Reposted from the citizenshipsolutions blog
“Guest post by
John Richardson
– “Citizenship Solutions”
 
 
 
 
 

In the beginning there was Facebook …


 

and from a second Facebook group:

 

Introduction: If you were to REPEAL FATCA

A previous post discussing the what exactly is meant by FATCA
and the Mark Meadows “Repeal FATCA” bill
, described:

FATCA is the collective effect of a number of specific amendments to the
Internal Revenue Code which are designed to target both (1) Foreign
Financial Institutions and (2) Those “U.S. Persons” who are their
customers.

1. There are “Three Faces To FATCA” which include:

– Face 1: Legislation targeting Foreign Financial
Institutions (Internal Revenue Code Chapter
4
)

– Face 2: The FATCA IGAs (which for practical purposes
have replaced Chapter 4)

– Face 3: Legislation targeting individuals (primarily
Americans abroad who commit “Personal Finance Abroad – While Living
Abroad” – Internal Revenue Code 6038D which mandates Form 8938)

2. The amendments to the Internal Revenue Code that would be
necessary to reverse the sections of the Internal Revenue that created
FATCA.

Legislative FATCA vs. Regulatory FATCA

The sections of the Internal Revenue Code that comprise “FATCA” are
surprisingly few.

FATCA Face 1: Internal Revenue Code S. 1474(f) gives
Treasury broad authority to make “FATCA regulations”.
Continue reading “Whether through regulation or legislation #FATCA Same Country Exemption won’t work”

The Idea that the SCE would encourage FFIs to change their stance is laughable

Edelweiss writes:

To me, the idea that the SCE would encourage FFIs currently not doing business with US citizens to change their stance is laughable. In the UK, about 40-50% of online brokers have blanket bans on US citizens. If the real issue was the reportability of the account, you would see at least some online brokers refusing to offer reportable accounts but offering non-reportable accounts (eg ISAs). I didn’t find any online brokers that offered non-reportable accounts when they didn’t offer reportable accounts. To me this suggests that the issue driving whether or not they service US citizen customers is not the reportability per se, but rather the risk that a single incorrectly reported account can put them on the non-compliant list.

That risk is not insignificant and for most FFIs would be devastating. Through FATCA, the US has given itself enormous power over the global financial system and the US has the “right” and the ability to inflict, at a minimum, grave financial harm if not bankruptcy if they so desire on any FFI in the world if they serve US citizen customers. FFIs are generally investing customer assets not their own and “withholding” 30% of the interest income, dividend income, proceeds of sale or redemption of principal on their customer assets will create an enormous liability vis a vis their customers that the FFI’s equity will be unable to cover or only temporarily. Furthermore, FATCA is designed to isolate any FFI deemed non-compliant by forcing all compliant FFIs to report every transaction with a non-compliant FFI. A non-compliant FFI is likely to see a) no compliant FFI willing to do business with them b) all customers with US invested assets leave them for a compliant FFI and c) an enormous liability to replace “withheld” customer income and assets. I’m also not aware of any mechanism whereby the FFI can reclaim the “withholding”. If true, then it’s a system to steal the underlying customer assets of non-compliant FFIs.

Now, which FFI having previously decided the systemic risk of having US citizen customers was too great and having seen the US treat FFIs like piggy banks to break in case of emergency, would like to place their neck in the guillotine and offer same country exception accounts by introducing new procedures to verify customer residency? Anyone? Bueller? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Those @Demsabroad reiterate their support of #FATCA! Tune in April 26/17 to see how!

Updates April 23, 2017!!

First, here is the link to the live feed of the FATCA hearing on April 26, 2017:

Second the Democrats have selected Carl Levin Protege, Professor Elise Bean, as their witness in support of FATCA. Professor Bean is an interesting choice given that the focus of the hearing, in its plain terms is:

REVIEWING THE UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES OF THE FOREIGN ACCOUNT TAX COMPLIANCE ACT

It seems to me that Professor Bean might be a much better witness if the hearing were for the purpose of:

CELEBRATING THE INTENDED CONSEQUENCES OF THE FOREIGN ACCOUNT TAX COMPLIANCE ACT

To glean some insight into the perspective of Professor Bean, read the account of her March 30 meeting in Washington with PANA committee of the European Parliament. In explaining the superiority of the U.S. approach to penalties and enforcement she noted:

Bean agreed with MEPs that the US is in a more advanced position than the EU when it comes to penalties and enforcement.

“On improving enforcement, there are three things you can do in the EU,” she said. “The first is to increase your fines – your fines at the moment are a fraction of what the banks are earning. Secondly, you should require that the company or bank admits liability. This opens the door for class action lawsuits. Thirdly, make sure that the fines are not tax-deductible. Taxpayers end up paying more than big banks when the fines are tax-deductible.

“In the US, we also use monitors on compliance. We have a monitor who will monitor the institution for a period of two years to ensure that the required changes are actually made. Make the banks pay for their own monitoring.”

Bean also informed the European delegation that there will be tax justice demonstrations taking place in Washington and 60 cities across the US on April 15. The protests will demand Trump releases his tax returns but will also call for ending deferral of corporate taxes and for action on shell companies, she said.

Professor Bean is a colleague of Professor Linda Beale of Wayne State Law School. Professor – through her own writings – is NOT sympathetic to problems of taxation-based citizenship and Americans abroad. She has distinguished herself as one who fundamentally believes that everybody with an undisclosed “offshore bank account” is (to use her words) a “scofflaw“. The professor, as well as a professor of tax law, is apparently also an expert in investing and diversification of assets as evidence by the following gem:

Now, there are at least two interesting things about the Romney’s stashing $3 million in a very low yield Swiss bank account.

1) There are better things to do with money. Even if you don’t mind a low return, you could hold that money in the US–helps the US economy more than in a Swiss bank, and is easily available without the transaction costs of getting it out of your secret Swiss bank account. Why would the Romney’s have a Swiss bank account with a very low yield? The Romney spokesperson says “diversification” but that doesn’t hold water. Makes one wonder where this money came from and certainly why it ended up in a Swiss bank.

________________________________________________________________________

And now back to our originally schedule broadcast …cross-posted from the Isaac Brock Society Those @Demsabroad reiterate their support of #FATCA! Tune in April 26/17 to see how!

Q. What do Ronald Reagan and Heidi have in common?

A. They both became disillusioned with the Democratic Party

When questioned about this, Mr. Reagan noted (referring to the period in his life when he was a Democrat) that:

1. He thought many foolish things in those days; and

2. In any case, he had not really left the Democratic Party. Rather the party had left him.
Heidi writes

“Speaking of which my personal politics are being completely turned on their head, and I am in danger of turning into a former Democrat even before I turn into a former American. Because even though most of what the Republicans stand for makes me shake my head, the only ones who have caused me harm personally are the Democrats.”

This is also the road I have travelled, from a liberal minded, east coast, physician to a renounced EX American who would rather see anyone in the White house rather than the likes of the Clinton democratic mindset.

But honestly , does it matter what the social policies of the US are anymore? We don’t live there, our concerns should be just about their fiscal policies and the effects on US citizens abroad.

I am no longer an American . My concerns now are for my own country and their policies. If you are settled abroad in your other citizenship, then does it matter if you have second thoughts about being ‘their form” of an American Democrat? You can still be a Democratic socialist or whatever in your resident country. Let America go, it is an abusive partner in your life. Hoping for it to change doesn’t work

And now, an advertisement from Democrats Abroad …

Sad but true. The Democrats Abroad AKA The Stepford Wives have once again conveyed the message (reminding me of a Democrat president):

“Let every Expat know, whether he wishes us well or ill, that Democrats shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of FATCA and Taxation-based citizenship.

Yup, #YouCantMakeThisUp

For years and years the Democrats have made it clear that they fully support FATCA and taxation-based citizenship. One would think that they would keep their sentiments quiet. Yet, once again they broadcasted their hatred of Americans abroad to the world.

It reminds me a bit of a teacher I once had who reminded me that:

“Sometimes it’s better to keep your mouth shut and let people think you are ignorant than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

Yet, that’s what those “Stepford Wives” have done yet again. Brace yourself, after publicly condemning the Bopp/Republicans Overseas FATCA lawsuit, after failing to directly call for a move to “residence-based taxation” in it’s submission to the Senate Finance Committee, after arguing for FATCA Same Country Exemption (which would benefit only tax compliant Homelanders Abroad and support a U.S. FATCA attack on their own countries of residence), on the eve of the April 26/17 FATCA hearings in Washington, DC, they have once again confirmed their total and absolute hatred of Americans abroad and their support of FATCA.

Here it is, straight from the Donkey’s mouth :

In light of the annual IRS deadline, we’ve been receiving a lot of questions about DA’s advocacy on filing issues for overseas Americans. Why not support Rand Paul’s proposal to eliminate FATCA entirely?

From our late 2016 FATCA FAQs:

Republicans say they want to repeal FATCA. Why won’t Democrats Abroad join their campaign to repeal FATCA?

Democrats Abroad supports policy that cracks down on illegal tax avoidance. When some taxpayers break the law by hiding assessable earnings from the IRS in offshore accounts it increases the burden for the rest of us. For many decades those with access to elite financial structures and schemes have been using offshore accounts in bank/tax secrecy jurisdictions to become even richer. Nations throughout the world have determined to bring this practice to an end and Democrats Abroad believes that is a good thing. Democrats Abroad supports the policy initiative behind FATCA. We also think FATCA can be fixed to remove the unintended adverse impacts it has on law-abiding Americans abroad.

In January 2014 the Republican National Committee (RNC) passed a resolution calling for the repeal of FATCA. While the resolution made it look like repealing FATCA would be Republican Party policy, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives did not introduce a bill calling for FATCA to be repealed in all of 2014. A bill calling for the repeal of parts of FATCA was reintroduced in the Senate by Senator Rand Paul in March 2015. It has one co-sponsor and a 1% chance of being enacted.

The RNC and Republicans Overseas, the organization formed in 2013 by members of the RNC to cultivate the overseas vote for Republicans, has been very open about their strategy of exploiting the anger and upset around FATCA to raise money and build support for Republican candidates amongst Americans living abroad.

Republicans Overseas has admitted that it sees FATCA as a political tactic for activating a ground game to attract overseas voters. If FATCA had been repealed by Congress before 2016, the Republicans would lose this wedge issue in the 2016 campaign. Republicans ran in the 2014 midterm elections on a pledge to repeal FATCA as soon as they won control of the Senate. They
have had control of both houses for two years but a repeal bill to mirror Sen Paul’s bill has not as yet been introduced in the House. And why would it? The GOP can use the promise of a FATCA repeal to take into its campaigns for Congress and the White House. We understand that FATCA hearings may be planned for the months leading up to election day – an opportunity to make the case for repeal. We are putting ourselves forward for inclusion on the witness list for a House hearing on FATCA should one be scheduled for this year.

There is a global context for this question as well. By 2017 FATCA will have been in place for more than three years and be well entrenched in the compliance practices of international banks and brokerage houses. In addition, in 2017 the “global FATCA” will start to come online with the commencement of financial account reporting by at least 80 countries under the OECD Common Reporting Standards. By that time international financial account transparency and disclosure will be a given and the global crackdown on illegal tax avoidance will be very difficult for Republicans to arrest.

Is this for real? Rather than defend their FATCA Attack On Americans Abroad, they are attacking those Republicans who support FATCA repeal. Yes, yes, bring it on!!

Don’t forget that the Obama Treasury (you know the “Change You Can Believe In” – Hopey Changey Guy”) refused to to accept Same Country Exemption confirming its attack on Americans abroad.

Now, back to the April 26, 2017 FATCA hearings in Washington, DC (resulting from the FATCA repeal legislation proposed by Congressman Mark Meadows and Senator Rand Paul ). Although these were not organized by the Democrats, they apparently will have witnesses in attendance who will defend FATCA. This is good, because instead of attacking and condemning the Republicans, they will (presumably) be forced to explain why FATCA is so desirable. Rumour is that there will be a way to witness this spectacle live online!! Yes live online!!

Check back and the link to the link to the proceedings where there will be a hearing into FATCA (including the harm done to Americans abroad). This spectacle should NOT be missed. You will see that those who oppose FATCA (a broad range of people) and those who support FATCA (the Democrats) providing evidence and discussion.

But, the FATCA hearings aside …

Democrats Abroad is here to stay and here to continue one of the core missions of the Democratic Party, which is to destroy Americans abroad. And the lesson from this is: