Monthly Archives: August 2014

Americans Line Up to Renounce US Citizenship in Toronto

Multicultural Meanderings

More on the US FATCA and impact on Canadians:

Canada finalized its IGA earlier this year. It requires Canadian banks send the account information of customers with U.S. citizenship to the Canada Revenue Agency CRA. The CRA then forwards that information on to the IRS, a tidy workaround to Canadian laws forbidding banks from sending that information directly to a foreign government.

But attorney John Richardson calls the information-sharing deal a “mechanism for the United States to extract after-tax Canadian capital out of the country.”

“What the U.S. is really doing is claiming the right to levy taxes on people who don’t live in the United States on income that is in no way connected to the United States. It simply cannot be tolerated,” said Richardson.

Many Canadians don’t even realize that the U.S. considers them taxable citizens, nor do they want U.S. citizenship, he said. That’s because the U.S…

View original post 80 more words

Jack M. Mintz: A Whopper of a deal for Canada

Financial Post | Business

Canada would be a winner, along with Tim Hortons and Burger King shareholders, due to a boost in corporate revenue that would be taxed in Canadian government hands

The proposed corporate inversion by Burger King that involves moving its headquarters to Canada while taking over Tim Hortons has created a maelstrom in Washington.  Unlike U.S. Valeant’s takeover of Canada’s Biovail in 2010 with similar tax benefits, Burger King is a household name, putting the spotlight on Canada as a place to do business.

The Canadian reaction is mixed.  Industry Minister James Moore rightly crows that Canada’s competitive business tax system is attracting economic activity and profits to Canada.  The NDP asks whether any net benefits accrue from a foreign takeover of a Canadian icon when management could still remain in the United States, even though the new company will be headquartered in Canada.

[related_links /]

The NDP position, however, is…

View original post 719 more words

Washington likely to keep close watch on tax loophole as Burger King seeks to become Canadian

Once again President Obama demonstrates his contempt for the law by noting that if he doesn’t like the results of the law, he has no respect for the law.

And on the Levin front:

Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown urged people to boycott Burger King over its move to relocate to Canada and eat at rival Wendy’s or White Castle instead. Meanwhile, Senator Carl Levin said he believes Burger King risks a backlash from its customers that would outweigh any tax benefit.

Of course, the U.S. could simply amend it’s tax laws to make them compatible with the rest of the world (that is if there is world outside the U.S.)

Financial Post | Business

MONTREAL • Corporate America is making a mad rush to the exits in a bid to lower its tax bill. But experts say the odds of political intervention in the stampede have increased as a result of a U.S. burger icon’s plans to become Canadian.

U.S.-based Burger King Worldwide Inc. has confirmed it is in talks to take over Canadian doughnut and coffee maker Tim Hortons Inc. The new company would be headquartered in Canada, making Burger King the latest U.S. company wanting to relocate to a lower-tax jurisdiction through a so-called inversion strategy.

My attitude is, I don’t care if it’s legal. It’s wrong

It’s an issue that’s gotten enormous attention in the United States. “They’re declaring they’re based someplace else even though most of their operations are here,” U.S. President Barack Obama said of the trend in July. “My attitude is, I don’t care if it’s legal. It’s…

View original post 817 more words


Interesting thoughts on FATCA from Jamaica which include:

“Finally, anyone who contradicts this rule can be charged as a voice for Tax Evasion. Many Americans cannot open new accounts, for failure to close old ones. Americans and Expatriates face an impossible situation, as their mortgages are being called or denied. To the extent that an expatriate faces an obligation to IRS, the efforts of his local employer may come under scrutiny.

Do we now have a form of economic totalitarianism?”

You should also read about the FATCA costs imposed on the average Jamaican.


The fate of ‘”FATCA”” now hangs in the balance. Arranged to be a January 2014 regulation, it is now a July planned regulation, ostensibly to give the F.F.I’s (Foreign Financial Institutions) time to get their house in order and then register and be accepted.  Internal Revenue Service Notice 2013-14 authorizes the decision, and that is supported by the U.S. Treasury Dept., administered by Treasury Deputy Robert B. Stack.

The reason given for the delay is because the FFI’s are overwhelmed by closures of accounts by consumers and customers all over the world. Apparently FATCA is a law that everyone seems to dislike, and everyone needs the time to be compliant (ref: Forbes Mag., Dec 2013, and Jan 2014). In and out of the USA, Banks and other FFI’s must report account numbers, balances, names and addresses, US tax identification numbers and Jamaican of course, of any and every substantive owner…

View original post 403 more words

Has Burger King just issued a direct challenge to the White House with its plan to buy Tim Hortons?

Financial Post | Business

The big corporate news of the day is that Burger King is in talks to acquire Canadian coffee and doughnut chain Tim Hortons.

Besides the possible linking up of two iconic brands, each strongly associated with its home country, the deal is significant because it would be a tax inversion for Burger King. If the deal is consummated, Burger King would become a Canadian company and pay a lower tax rate.

Tax inversions have been a big theme of 2014, as several companies (largely in the pharmaceutical space) have acquired foreign rivals to move their tax base elsewhere.

Tax inversions have been soaring in 2014, prompting talk of new legislation.

These deals have infuriated some in Washington, and the loss of an iconic brand only adds fuel to the fire. There has been talk of legislation to limit tax inversions, but in this political climate, the idea of anything…

View original post 195 more words

William Watson: The only thing more Canadian than Tim Hortons is taxes, right? — Well, not any more
The above tweet references a post at the Isaac Brock Society which includes:

Obama: Corporate Deserters!
Posted on August 25, 2014 by usxcanada Posted in Issues regarding US persons abroad 7 Comments

So they’re technically renouncing their U.S. citizenship. They’re declaring they’re based someplace else even though most of their operations are here. Some people are calling these companies “corporate deserters.”

And it’s only a few big corporations so far. …

— Barack Obama (24 July 2014) White House Transcript

Post Tim Horton’s, Obama looks like he’s thinking about (1) Canada as haven (2) the individual lives worldwide that the U.S. has willfully been driving into the desperations of financial ruin, severe psychic stress, marital breakup, contemplation of suicide — and skyrocketing rates of renunciation.

What really ticks Obama off is those big corporations. He talks about them just like they were individuals. Oopsie. Category mistake!

Financial Post | Business

Will you have fries with that doughnut? So far most “corporate inversions,” which are causing a bit of a political frenzy in the U.S. at the moment, have involved the health sector. Confirmation that Burger King is trying to buy our very own Tim Hortons takes things in an entirely different direction. Which is not to disparage fries and doughnuts per se. Taken in moderation (as hard as that may be to do) I’m sure they can be part of a healthy, balanced diet.

[np_storybar title=”Why Tim Hortons may hold the ‘real power’ in possible Burger King takeover deal” link=””]‘Americans are so chauvinistic. They tend to think, Oh, an American company bought or is merging with a smaller Canadian company. The reverse is true here’

Actually, Burger King and Tim Hortons — market caps US$9.6-billion and US$8.4-billion, respectively — have indicated that if they do merge, they’ll pretty much…

View original post 806 more words

Billionaire Eugene Melnyk: I’m a ‘whistleblower’ on tax allegations against Valeant


This is just one more example of how U.S. tax law makes it difficult for U.S. corporations to compete in a global world. There is no other country in the world that penalizes its own citizens and corporations simply because they are U.S.
Imagine if the Canadian government gave preferential treatment to non-Canadian citizens and corporations.
The U.S. believes it can both have the highest corporate tax rates in the world and expect corporations/people to want to remain Americans. This is delusional.

Financial Post | Business

MONTREAL • Eugene Melnyk, the billionaire owner of the Ottawa Senators and founder of drug maker Biovail Corp., is waging war against the company that now controls his one-time business.

Mr. Melnyk alleges that Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. is masquerading as a Canadian company to make use of this country’s international fiscal treaties and dodge U.S. taxes. He predicts it will all eventually implode if American authorities claw back the taxes he believes Valeant may owe.

The Canadian businessman confirmed that he and three other individuals formed a group that made a formal presentation in 2012 to U.S. regulatory authorities, notably those in charge of taxation, denouncing Valeant’s tax strategy. In an interview this week, he called himself an “official whistleblower.”

The group alleges that Valeant’s merger with Canada’s Biovail in 2010 — which the group, among others, claim was more like California-based Valeant taking over Biovail — was a…

View original post 1,853 more words

#FATCA debate via Twitter – Defines some well articulated positions and provides structure for debate

This week the National Post published an article about the possible effects (suggesting it could be damaging to Canadians) of the FATCA lawsuit. The article is a report on an interview that the author had with Calgary based U.S. tax laywer Roy Berg.

The above tweet references an article, published by Moody’s in which there is a suggestion that by participating in this lawsuit, that the plaintiffs would incur further tax liability to the IRS. The article states:

As an aside, we acknowledge that the two Canadian plaintiffs are exposing themselves to tremendous tax and other legal risks. Sticking to what we know, the plaintiffs seem to have admitted that they willfully did not file FBARs and US tax returns, both of which are criminal acts. In addition, there might be US tax exposure to them personally because a Canadian non-profit organization is raising funds and paying their legal fees to fund the litigation. Even the most casual observer has to applaud the bravery of the plaintiffs and the not-so-subtle parallel to original signatories to the Declaration of Independence.

Since this “aside” is irrelevant to the issue, we can assume that this is an attempt by Moody’s to somehow intimidate the plaintiffs. (Or at least that’s how I view it.). The simple reality is that the compliance industry is the sole beneficiary of FATCA.

But, that “aside” aside,  the article generated a number of interesting comments. I suggest that the following stream of comments do a good job of framing the issues in the context of a broader FATCA debate.

Continue reading

Want to shed U.S. citizenship? Get in line

In the meantime, Nightingale warns, the tax side of renouncing U.S. citizenship can be expensive:

“If somebody comes to us and says, ‘I’m a U.S. citizen, I’ve never filed tax returns, I’ve got a pretty ordinary life, but I’ve got an RRSP, an RESP, a TFSA and some mutual funds, and can you prepare all my returns and get me ready for expatriation?’, by the time we do all that, it’s not hard to spend $15,000 or $20,000 for a fairly ordinary person.”

Global News

A controversial tax deal with the United States, under which Canadian banks agree to try to find U.S. citizen clients and report them to the IRS, using the CRA as an intermediary, took effect July 1.

But many dual citizens in southern Ontario aren’t waiting to be found – they’ve decided to shed U.S. citizenship. In the process, they’ve created a backlog at the U.S. consulate in Toronto that stretches into the third week of January 2015.

Dundas-based tax and immigration lawyer David Lesperance said on Twitter yesterday that he booked 2014’s last renunciation appointment at the Toronto consulate for a client on Tuesday.

In an e-mail Tuesday, the Toronto consulate said the earliest date they could book for a renunciation is January 22, 2015.

Until recently, appointments to renounce U.S. citizenship in Toronto could be made within three to six weeks, said Toronto-based cross-border tax accountant Kevyn Nightingale, who…

View original post 788 more words

Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary named among the best places to live in the world by The Economist
But, are they safe cities for Americans being subjected to FATCA Hunt?

Financial Post | Business

TORONTO — Three Canadian cities — Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary — have been named as some of the best places to live in the world, according to a report by The Economist.

[np_storybar title=”Top 10 Most Livable Cities” link=””]

1. Melbourne, Australia

2. Vienna, Austria

3. Vancouver, Canada

4. Toronto, Canada

5. Adelaide, Australia

6. Calgary, Canada

7. Sydney, Australia

8. Helsinki, Finland

9. Perth, Australia

10. Auckland, New Zealand

Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit

In the annual poll, the magazine’s Intelligence Unit ranked Vancouver as the third most livable city in the world; followed by Toronto at number four, and Calgary tied for fifth place with Adelaide, Australia.

Melbourne, Australia topped the list of 140 cities for the fourth year in a row, with Vienna, Austria coming in second overall.

The Economist ranks the cities on 30 factors across various categories, including stability, health care, culture…

View original post 256 more words