N.B.’s dual U.S., Canadian citizens stiffening opposition to tax penalty

Came across this great article and initiative:

FREDERICTON – Some American-born New Brunswickers are looking to bolster opposition to a threat of stiff penalties for dual citizens who didn’t know they had to file income tax returns to the United States.

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Marie Cashion and Robert Gerard are concerned about the effect a tax law in the United States may have on them. They are both dual citizens of the U.S. and Canada and could be affected by the law, which until recently, was not strictly enforced.

Though the U.S. Internal Revenue Service law has been on the books for decades, enforcement of the U.S. Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts filing requirements (FBAR) is relatively new. The requirement obligates people with American citizenship to report assets in foreign accounts that are worth more than US$10,000. It includes everything from pensions and registered retirement savings plans to stocks and bonds.

As it stands, those who made a voluntary disclosure to the IRS during a recent voluntary disclosure period could be subject to a penalty of between five and 25 per cent of their assets.

“I’m awake at night thinking about what we’re going to have to pay,” says Marie Cashion, a retired University of New Brunswick professor who is rallying fellow expatriates to voice their opposition to the move.

Adding to the concern is the looming implementation of the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act that takes effect in 2014 and will require foreign banks to disclose information about foreign accounts held by U.S. citizens.

“It’s outrageous and unjust. I think it’s a money grab. To me it’s unbelievable,” said Cashion, who is holding an information session at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 28 in Room 261 of D’Avray Hall at the University of New Brunswick. The meeting is meant to inform and marshal the thousands of New Brunswick residents who could be affected.

“I feel betrayed by my country. Although we’re U.S. citizens, we don’t really receive U.S. services and we pay taxes here,” Cashion said.

Read the complete article here:

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6 thoughts on “N.B.’s dual U.S., Canadian citizens stiffening opposition to tax penalty

  1. Petros

    Yes, well the Canadian government has to do something. You can’t simply allow another country to come in and pick your citizens’ and residents’ pockets. It is a theft and a threat to Canadian sovereignty. It is a casus belli.

    But furthermore, if the US were to go and occupy Canada and force its citizens to pay tribute, that would be one thing. That would be a consequence of losing a war to a hostile country. But I thought that the US and Canada are allies. You don’t treat your friends this way, only your conquered foes. Obama is a disgrace. I am utterly disgusted by this government.

    Reply
    1. renounceuscitizenship Post author

      Agreed. In addition, there is the issue of FATCA and the Canadian banks. The Canadian banks should take a principled stand and not comply with FATCA. Compliance with FATCA is completely optional. If the Canadian banks comply it is because they have made a decision that profits are more important than principles – unless of course the only principle is profit.

      To turn over client information to the IRS based on citizenship is arguably a violation of Canadian (Federal and provincial human rights legislation). The Ontario Human Rights codes prohibits discrimination based on citizenship.

      Here is what the Ontario Human Rights Code reads in relation to discrimination in relation to services:

      http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/statutes/english/elaws_statutes_90h19_e.htm

      Preamble

      Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world and is in accord with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as proclaimed by the United Nations;

      And Whereas it is public policy in Ontario to recognize the dignity and worth of every person and to provide for equal rights and opportunities without discrimination that is contrary to law, and having as its aim the creation of a climate of understanding and mutual respect for the dignity and worth of each person so that each person feels a part of the community and able to contribute fully to the development and well-being of the community and the Province;

      And Whereas these principles have been confirmed in Ontario by a number of enactments of the Legislature and it is desirable to revise and extend the protection of human rights in Ontario;

      Therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario, enacts as follows:

      PART I
      FREEDOM FROM DISCRIMINATION

      Services

      1. Every person has a right to equal treatment with respect to services, goods and facilities, without discrimination because of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family status or disability. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.19, s. 1; 1999, c. 6, s. 28 (1); 2001, c. 32, s. 27 (1); 2005, c. 5, s. 32 (1).

      Obviously a competent lawyer is required to frame the arguments, but I would expect any Canadian bank that starts reporting information to the IRS based on the citizenship of an individual, would and should be hauled in front of the Human Rights Commission to seek a remedy. What remedy? This seems to be in S. 46

      Civil remedy

      46.1 (1) If, in a civil proceeding in a court, the court finds that a party to the proceeding has infringed a right under Part I of another party to the proceeding, the court may make either of the following orders, or both:

      1. An order directing the party who infringed the right to pay monetary compensation to the party whose right was infringed for loss arising out of the infringement, including compensation for injury to dignity, feelings and self-respect.

      2. An order directing the party who infringed the right to make restitution to the party whose right was infringed, other than through monetary compensation, for loss arising out of the infringement, including restitution for injury to dignity, feelings and self-respect. 2006, c. 30, s. 8.

      The banks will have to choose between obeying a U.S. law (and kowtowing to the IRS) or obeying the law of Ontario. They are caught between a rock and a hard place. Surely, it should be made more expensive for the banks to violate the rights of Canadians than to disobey an attempt to by the U.S. government to extend its law into other countries.

      Yes, I agree that it is time for the Government of Canada to get involved and put its foot down. The fact is that: nothing less than Canadian sovereignty is at stake here!

      Reply
      1. Petros

        Hi excellent points; I’m going to blog on this. My article on FATCA will be showing up hopefully at the American Thinker soon (so says the editor). I want a good post or two at the beginning of my blog when that comes out, because I imagine that I will get a fair number of hits that day.

      2. renounceuscitizenship Post author

        Again I emphasize that compliance with FATCA is optional for the banks. In addition, to hauling them in front of the Human Rights Commission (which is probably more likely to make a political point), I would also argue that:

        The blatant violation of the rights of a specific group of Canadians (based on citizenship) may give rise to a massive class action lawsuit against any bank and/or financial institution or other entity that complies with FATCA. The goal of this should be to serve notice to these banks that:

        It is going to cost them mightily if they comply with this. That Canadians are not going to just roll over and die. You should have a look at the Class Action Proceedings Act in Ontario (and possibly other provinces). The great thing is that no money is required to proceed. If it is a good case, the lawyers fees are paid out of the settlement. A class action needs to be organized to go begin the moment the banks indicate they are going to roll over and do what the IRS says.

        Furthermore, (when considering a lawsuit) as a general consideration. there are two kinds of damages. The first is actual and second is punitive. Now, I don’t know what the test is for punitive damages – but it would seem to me that if the banks are going to attack one group of people, based on a ground that is discriminatory under the Ontario Human Rights Code, with full knowledge that they are doing this, because they want to get comply with a law of a foreign (and to be honest completely hostile and untrustworthy government), then they may have major legal problems at home.

        The goal should be to make it massively costly, embaressing and humiliating for the banks to simply roll over to a bunch of thugs. Under the BNA Act, banks are under the jurisdiction of the Federal Government. This problem could be solved if the Federal Government would simply pass a law prohibiting the banks to comply with FATCA.

        At this stage the question is simple:

        Does the government want to protect Canadian Sovereignty or does the Government want a climate where the banks can make maximum profits? This is about Canadian sovereignty.

        It may be convenient for the Government of Canada to see this as a small issue affecting only a small number of Canadian citizens, who are toxic only because of their U.S. citizenship. But, if the U.S. government is allowed to get away with this, I assure you that the next step will be to ask the banks to report on other things and other people.

        What this is really about is, whether Canada should abide by the laws of another country.

        The longer I write, the angrier I am getting, so I will end with this:

        “First they came for the Jews
        and I did not speak out – because I was not a Jew.

        Then they came for the communists
        and I did not speak out – because I was not a communist.

        Then they came for the trade unionists
        and I did not speak out – because I was not a trade unionist.

        Then they came for me –
        and by then there was no one left to speak out for me.

        The German anti-Nazi activist,
        Pastor Martin Niemöller”

        http://www.dpjs.co.uk/litanies/theycameforme.html

        And for those who prefer video to words:

        All countries of the world need to come together and put an end to this NOW!

  2. Pingback: FATCA will violate the Ontario Human Rights Code | The Righteous Investor

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