Jackie Bugnion explains the problems of citizenship taxation for #Americansabroad https://t.co/XHBJ2kDbml
— John Richardson – lawyer for "U.S. persons" abroad (@ExpatriationLaw) September 13, 2015
This post is to:
- announce the “roll out” of a lawsuit filed in the United States
- against the Government of the United States
- to strike down the most egregious aspects of U.S. “place of birth taxation”
- and provide relief for those who reside outside the United States and are unjustly, unfairly and unlawfully burdened by the attempt of the United States to impose its laws on the residents and/or citizens of other nations.
The lawsuit will require a large amount of funding including an immediate injection of $25,000.
For those who only want to contribute the funding are invited to go here. Those who want to understand what we are doing read on.
By way of background:
One more U.S. citizen abroad is forced to renounce her U.S. citizenship:
My comment on the renunciation of @annesmoedern https://t.co/ZaOp1Qkl4e … – She WANTED to renounce, but she wasn't happy about doing it.
— John Richardson – lawyer for "U.S. persons" abroad (@ExpatriationLaw) November 19, 2015
Congratulations for taking this difficult step. Thank you for your willingness to be interviewed and to write about this experience. Your writing and interview will help raise awareness of the reality of what the U.S. Government is doing to Americans abroad. To put it simply: Americans abroad are being forced – by the laws enacted by Congress and the enforcement of these laws by the Obama administration – to renounce their U.S. citizenship.
The specific reasons for this are discussed day in and day out on blogs, Facebook groups and pages, Twitter handles, and more. So, I won’t repeat them here.
The 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, as interpreted by the Supreme Court of the United States, in the cases of Afroyim v. Rusk and Vance v. Terrazas makes it clear (as per Justice Black in Afroyim) that:
“Citizenship in this Nation is a part of a co-operative affair. Its citizenry is the country and the country is its citizenry. The very nature of our free government makes it completely incongruous to have a rule of law under which a group of citizens temporarily in office can deprive another group of citizens of their citizenship. We hold that the Fourteenth Amendment was designed to, and does, protect every citizen of this Nation against a congressional forcible destruction of his citizenship, whatever his creed, color, or race. Our holding does no more than to give to this citizen that which is his own, a constitutional right to remain a citizen in a free country unless he voluntarily relinquishes that citizenship.”
The time has come to use the courts to remind the U.S. Government that:
“Its citizenry is the country and the country is its citizenry.”
The U.S. Government cannot engage in laws and policies that are “forcing Americans abroad to renounce THEIR U.S. citizenship”.
Rachel, I admire your common sense, courage and generosity in sharing. Americans abroad owe you a great debt for having the courage to write about this experience.
The simple truth is that the U.S. Government is forcing Americans who live outside the United States to renounce their U.S. citizenship.
On July 8, 2015 I posted on the ADCS-ADSC blog that:
There will (in the very near future) be a lawsuit launched in the United States against the most egregious aspects of U.S. TAX policy, as they relate to ALL PEOPLE said to be “U.S. persons” who reside outside the United States.
The lawsuit will explore the following issues:
Can the United States Define its tax base so broadly that it includes people with little or no connection to the United States?
The lawsuit is likely to include issues related to the “forced imposition of U.S. citizenship” on people (“accidentals”) who do NOT and have never had, a meaningful connection to the United States. Can the United States impose taxation on people, and otherwise control the lives of people, who do not live in the United States, and are often citizens of other nations, simply because they were born in the United States?
Can the United States impose taxation and reporting requirements on:
- income not connected to the United States which is earned by
- those who are residents and citizens of other nations?
Can the United States impose rules of taxation that limit the opportunities for Americans abroad from participating in:
- pension and retirement plans in their country of residence
- the benefits of mutual funds that are located outside of the United States and in the country where they reside?
Can the United States impose rules of taxation that:
- subject the distributions of Registered Retirement Savings Plans (“RRSPs”) of Canadian citizens to the U.S. Obamacare surtax,
- but exempt the earnings from U.S. 401K plans from the Obamacare surtax?
Can the United States impose an “Exit Tax” on those who choose to relinquish U.S. citizenship? If so, can that “Exit Tax” be a tax on:
- the assets of residents and the residents and citizens of other nations,
- when those assets have no connection to the United States
- when those assets are NOT located in the United States
- when those assets were acquired after the person moved from the United States
- when those assets were acquired with money earned and taxed in other nations
- on the present value of non-U.S. pensions that were earned from employment and work outside the United States?
Can the United States impose laws on American citizens abroad, with compliance requirements that are so onerous, expensive, disabling and frightening that people feel they are forced to renounce U.S. citizenship?
People are NOT renouncing U.S. citizenship because the want to. They are renouncing U.S. citizenship because they feel they have to!
Who should support this lawsuit?
We hope for the support of individuals. We also hope for the support of all the various groups, whose members are claimed by the U.S. Government as “Americans abroad”. “If Americans abroad do NOT hang together, they will hang separately”.
I would add to the posting on July 8 that many of the issues we anticipate raising are NOT issues of taxation per se, but issues of “life control” under the guise of taxation.
In any event, what we are doing now is …
Working with our U.S. based law firm for the purpose of ensuring that our claims are provable. A great lawyer once remarked that:
A lawsuit and trial are NOT a search for truth. They are a search for proof!
Let’s face it. We know how horrible the situation is. We know that no American citizen, who obeys all relevant U.S. laws, can live the life that he or she wants outside the United States. We know and understand the “TERRORony” of forms and penalties. We know all about the restrictions on investments, financial planning, the expenses of compliance, the constant fear and anxiety, the bank account closures, the strains on marriages, the lost business opportunities, and more.
We know all about this. But our knowing is NOT good enough. We must begin by confirming that what we all know to be the truth, can be presented in such a way, that we can meet the burden of proof.
We must be confident that we:
- can prove the facts that
- will support the legal basis to
- secure us relief in the courts, from the most egregious aspects of life control based on circumstances of birth, that apply to those who were born in the United States and live outside the United States.
We need to be careful. We need to be prudent. The litigation in both the FATCA USA and the FATCA Canada lawsuits has taught us that this will NOT be an easy process. Nevertheless, I am confident of our position. This is about the extra-territorial application of U.S. law. It about “life control” based on the circumstance that you were born in the United States. It is unjust. It is unfair. It is immoral.
You did NOT choose the circumstances of your birth!
Prudence dictates that we begin by seeking a legal opinion that confirms that we can meet our burden of proof. Therefore, we will begin by securing this legal opinion. This will be our first step.
There are believed to be more than 8 million “U.S. persons” who are being hunted by FATCA. All of these people have an interest in this lawsuit. ALL of these people and their families are faced with compliance problems, the S. 877A Exit Tax, and more. Therefore, all affected persons should have an interest in funding this lawsuit. YOU are the affected persons. Therefore, YOU will be asked to contribute to the funding of this lawsuit. More information about the funding is here.
We will need an immediate injection of $25,000.
Who will be responsible for supervising the lawsuit?
The lawsuit will be run by a new non-profit group; The Alliance For The Defeat of Citizenship Taxation.
The real people interacting with the lawyers will include: John Richardson (me), Stephen Kish, Carol Tapanila and Patricia Moon.
Who will the lawyers be?
We have been in discussions with a large U.S. based law firm. We have confidence in this firm Once they confirm to us, after their own independent analysis that they believe that they can proved the relevant facts, they will be instructed to formally begin. We will introduce the firm at that time.
Have the plaintiffs been selected?
There are sufficient plaintiffs to begin the lawsuit. In order to seek a broad representation of the types of people that the United States claims to be “U.S. persons”, we will be seeking additional plaintiffs. Stay tuned.
What about the timing?
I do NOT want to and am NOT able to commit to a specific time frame. That said, it is our objective to launch the lawsuit in mid-2016.
Look to this blog, the Facebook pages https://www.facebook.com/CitizenshipTaxation, https://www.facebook.com/groups/citizenshiptaxation/, and the Twitter handle @CBTLawsuit for further developments.
In closing …
It’s hard to belief that the United States attempts to rely on Cook v. Tait as the justification for
place of birth citizenship-taxation. This lawsuit is long overdue. I am excited to be part of it! I am sure that you are excited to be notified of it!
P.S. In April of 2015, we submitted our report on U.S.
citizenship “place of birth” taxation to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee. Feel free to read the various components here.