Interesting observation for the week. I have had the opportunity to explain to my fellow Australians the dire situation we face as US expats at the hands of the US government. I get the impression that the people I have told are doubting my facts because they find the unfairness of CBT so frigging unbelievable, the intrusiveness of FATCA so arrogant it couldn’t possibly be true. The shock on their faces is somewhat gratifying. So this is the type of “ambassadors” the US has made of 8.7 million expats.
I encourage you to read the comments. I agree with this. In my experience the reality of the abusiveness of the U.S. government towards it’s citizens abroad that many people do NOT even believe it’s possible.
Confession: I didn’t think it was possible either.
Americans who self-identify as expats as opposed to citizens of other countries seem to believe that the solution to their problems related to the USA lies in Washington DC. But DC is the source of the problem, and its functional purpose is to serve Homelanders not expats.
A lot of the 8.5 trillion so-called Americans abroad do not self-identify as Americans but as citizens of their country of residence. Hence, they are not lobbying Congress or the POTUS, because these branches of government represent not the expat but the Homelander.
This post ushers in one of the most interesting discussions among non-U.S. residents who are deemed to be U.S. citizens. Truly fascinating. This discussion should be sent to Washington, DC (let’ pretend that they care).
U.S. residents do NOT experience the United States (and the world) the way non-U.S. residents experience it. We have just passed the 4th of July.
"To be frank, and speaking from my own life experience, living life as an American is all about living in fear" https://t.co/0nisFaqpXd
The above tweet references a comment from the Facebook discussion that should be required reading for all. Many of those trying to navigate the new FATCA and FBAR world often wonder whether they are “really American”. Does this really apply to them? I have often jokingly (or maybe not) suggested that:
“If you are terrified of the U.S. Government then you are truly American”.
Consider the following comment from the Facebook discussion.
Introduction – The general principles of Civil Forfeiture Reexamined
Civil forfeiture is becoming increasingly prevalent in the United States and in Western democracies. In it’s simplest form, Civil Forfeiture is a process where governments seize your property without going through the judicial process. Governments love it. It’s efficient, profitable and risk free. It’s on the rise in both Canada and the United States. It has been the subject of numerous posts at the Isaac Brock Society. Certainly, FBAR penalties and other penalties for “Form Crime” are instances of civil forfeiture. I have argued that OVDP is a form of Civil Forfeiture.
The Supreme Court of the United States has made it clear that those born or naturalized in the United States have a constitutional right to NOT have their citizenship “stripped from them”. I explored this in:
Citizenship is no light trifle 268*268 to be jeopardized any moment Congress decides to do so under the name of one of its general or implied grants of power. In some instances, loss of citizenship can mean that a man is left without the protection of citizenship in any country in the world—as a man without a country. 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.
If U.S. citizenship belongs to the individual, and the Obama administration is forcing people to renounce their citizenship, is this not a form of “Civil Forfeiture”?
The following posts and comments bear on this question.
“All her education and the propaganda told her North Korea was the greatest country on Earth, its leader could change the weather and her homeland was a beacon of light in a world immersed in darkness.”
The filing of the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of FATCA is one more development in the history of a law that AARO has always felt was crafted hastily without thinking of its repercussions on the estimated 8.7 million Americans living and working around the globe, the vast majority of whom are law-abiding citizens who strive, even when it is difficult overseas, to comply with their country’s tax laws.
As a non-partisan organization representing the interests of all overseas Americans, AARO supports all efforts to eliminate or alleviate the damaging effects of FATCA, including this constitutional challenge that would have the law repealed. Likewise, since the very early days of FATCA, we have supported the “safe harbor” concept that would eliminate from FATCA reporting the accounts held by overseas taxpayers in the country where they are fiscally domiciled. In that connection, we are grateful for the efforts of the Co-chairs of the Congressional Americans Abroad Caucus to convince Treasury Secretary Lew and IRS Chairman Koskinen of its merits.
Both approaches appear to us to pose problems – in the case of the constitutional challenge, probable litigation that could take months if not years to resolve, and in the case of the “same country exception”, probable difficulties in satisfying banks and the IRS of a taxpayer’s legitimate status abroad. However, we support any effort to alleviate the negative effects of FATCA on Americans abroad. AARO’s sole concern is the financial, professional, domestic and personal well-being of people abroad who are being treated like “tax cheats” because of financial accounts they must maintain in their countries of residence.
Note that the statement from Democrats Abroad condemning the Bopp/Republicans Overseas FATCA lawsuit is here.