This is simply one of the best descriptions of the problem I have seen anywhere. Although a comment at the Isaac Brock Society, it needs to be a separate post.
Here it is:
It is hard to respond to you with any patience or forbearance. We have been hashing all this out for more than a year now, and some of us, like Roger Conklin, are longtime steadfast members of the ACA and other non-partisan international associations representing those deemed US citizens abroad – and through their testimony, we know that many of the things we’re angry about have their roots in decades past – and continue to be unjust decades later.
But Obama and the Democrats have gone far, far beyond all the already existing – with the HIRE Act, and FATCA, and the manner in which they continue to criminalize us and through the manner their appointees choose to interpret, administer and enforce Treasury and IRS policies.
The only ‘inclusiveness‘ we’ve experienced from the US in general, and
Obama and the Democrats in particular is that we’re ‘included‘ in the
broad general category of criminals, ‘tax cheats’ and shirkers ‘not
paying our fair share’, and ‘hiding’ our ‘foreign’ bank accounts.
despite the full knowledge that many of us owe zero US tax. Many others
are subjected to US tax on things that are not taxable (ex. principal residence,
government registered savings plans) where we were actually born, or
live and work – permanently. AND we have paid up our taxes where we live – in full. AND we pay other substantial taxes like our HST and GST and property taxes, that the IRS and US refuse to acknowledge and give us tax credits for. Many of us live and so pay taxes, in countries with a higher effective tax rate than the US.
But despite having already paid one country’s tax bill in full, and generally owing no tax to the US, that is not sufficient. No, we must prove every year for life that we’re not criminals hiding ‘foreign’ assets – abroad. But, the catch is that ALL our accounts and assets are deemed ‘foreign’ – because we were born, and/or our permanent home is a ‘foreign’ country – outside the US. We must even report on our non-US employer’s accounts if we have a co-signatory power as part of our job. Or on our child’s local sports team fundraising account. Or our church if we’re a volunteer treasurer. And it goes much farther than that, but that is more than enough proof of US abuse and irrationality vis a vis those whose only ‘crime’ is being born and/or living a normal life outside the US.
We’re forced to prove under the Bank
Secrecy Act FBAR that we’re not terrorist funders, money launderers,
drug lords, and criminal tax evaders – annually – forever and ever. That
was a law very rarely used in the past, and in past practice, not applied to ordinary
citizens on a proactively annual basis. But that is what governs the
treatment of our legal local savings and accounts – only on the basis
that they are ‘foreign’ – because they are outside the US. But, so are
we – permanently, for life. We have no reason or opportunity to ‘hide’ anything where we live – because our accounts are all registered with our home country tax number and reported to the government here. We are automatically assessed and pay tax on it, now or when we earn anything on it. The banks issue notices to the tax agency automatically, and we must report it on our returns. But the US is not satisfied with the oversight of only the government where we live. Or to see those slips and those returns. No, that isn’t good enough. We are such criminals in waiting that we need the oversight of TWO governments – the one where we actually live, AND the US. And, we are all so immoral and so guilty, that fines and penalties must be all of huge size in multiples of ten thousand – assessed on legal post-tax accounts.
I e-mailed my local Democrats Abroad about this – and got no reply. I attended a meeting – and listened to the lame and disingenuous claims that if we waited for an Obama and Democrat response until after the election, we’d surely be heard when a better time came, but that the election was the priority, and it was a bad time to raise our concerns.
The US is persecuting us, and it has become very clear that things are only getting worse. We have no choice – the US is forcing us to renounce or relinquish if/and as soon as we can.
And it is claiming our dual born children – who were born citizens of a non-US country, and have never set foot in the US. And also those deemed incompetent. They are effectively economic ‘taxable’ hostages – since they are not allowed to renounce, and we are not allowed to do it on their behalf. We are punished for contributing to their education savings plans, and they cannot get the grants that our home country would give them – because the US not only taxes it, it attaches punitive penalties and reporting to their very existence.
We’re being savagely threatened and abused, and the Democrats are primarily to blame – currently they are at the helm, designing, implementing and steering so much of what we are presently suffering from. Obama appointed the “TurboTax did it” Geithner, and allowed him to stonewall the Taxpayer Advocate. Congress did not respond to her reports regarding the problems and injustices we are experiencing – which she flagged as of special concern. Geithner owed thousands, yet got off lightly – his tax omissions were deemed to be excusable – and he is a banker and worked for the IMF http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2009/jan/16/your-guide-geithner-tax-controversy/. Yet, an ordinary grandmother born and living ‘abroad’ where she is a Canadian citizen, who has already paid taxes to her home government in full – in Canada – with a little bank account in Canada, has to pay thousands in fees to satisfy the IRS that she owes zero – which is already obvioushttp://business.financialpost.com/2011/09/24/u-s-campaign-to-catch-tax-cheats-snaring-canadians/
What good would ‘inclusiveness’ do us? I am non-partisan – I am not a member of any US party. At first I thought they just didn’t understand how we were effected. Then, I had to face the facts – that the US just wants our assets, and the assets of our children – though they were born abroad and only inherited the status via parentage. The US wants our entirely non-US created estates – and discriminates against the inheritance rights of our non-US spouses and children. The list of problems with the way the US treats us for extraterritorial citizenship-based tax and reporting burdens is too long to get into here.
I now despise the US government and will shed my unwanted (and unsought) US citizenship status as soon as possible. It refuses to allow us any meaningful representation, cancelled any IRS services in our consulates and embassies. Provides no services to us abroad. Does nothing to make it simpler and easier to be and remain ‘in compliance’, and prevents us from having any normal banking and savings where we live. Deems all of our registered savings options to be ‘foreign trusts’. Refuses to make any same country exceptions. It interferes in all of our normal household financial planning with our non-US family, and seeks to gather revenues for the US domestic debt by any means possible – sucked out of us through penalties (ex. FBAR) that even the TAS has warned could possibly be open to a constitutional challenge (so disproportionate to the amounts in question, to be deemed ‘confiscatory’).
IRS ‘education’ consists of threatening us in public statements, applying draconian laws and producing ever more complex and onerous reporting obligations – and adding new fines and penalties, eroding any protections re Statute of Limitations, etc.
There are regular participants here who tended to be lifelong Democrats or most often Dem supporters, and who voted for Obama the first time. And some who would have voted for him in the last election. We tried to get our stateside representatives to respond on these issues – to no avail.
But, Obama remained steadfastly silent on the issues we raised re FATCA, and problems we faced banking and saving local to where we live. While allowing all our legal, local, post-tax accounts to be treated by the US as if we were criminals. Though some of the roots of this came from the prior Republican administrations, Obama and the Democrats created the HIRE Act, and have continued to pile on the penalties and obligations – while not supporting Carolyn Maloney’s call for a Presidential Commission to look into our concerns.
We were told that we had to wait until after the election to raise any concerns, that it was a bad time to be heard. And now, we’re after the election, and NOTHING. The Democrats even dropped those “abroad” as a ‘group of interest’ from their campaign platform from 2008 to the latest one – why? Obama pledged to be open to listen to our concerns. But then, NOTHING.
Obama answered none of our letters and e-mails.
We barely escaped paying the full Obamacare price – exempted at the last minute due to lobbying by ACA and others, but now find there is an adjunct tax to it – that is not exempt or offset by our tax treaty with the US, or our ‘foreign’ tax credits.
I can’t swallow Joe Green’s (Democrats Abroad) recent claim that FATCA and the high cost of complying with the US tax and financial reporting laws for those ‘abroad’ is just the price we’ll have to continue to pay for the ‘privilege‘ of being US citizens.
FYI: I think that was the end of Michael.