Monthly Archives: July 2015

Few people believe either the form or the extent of the way USA abuses #Americansabroad

I came across an interesting discussion at Keith Redmond’s American Expatriates Facebook group.

The discussion starts here:

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.

Renounce and rejoice!

 

 

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‘I’m Canadian’: Expat actor Donald Sutherland blasts inability to vote in federal elections

National Post

Arguing he has a Canadian passport, an Order of Canada and a “maple leaf in my underwear,” expatriate screen legend Donald Sutherland publicly decried Tuesday his inability to vote in Canadian federal elections.

“Americans who live abroad can vote. They can vote because they’re citizens! Citizens! But I can’t,” he wrote.

Sutherland, 80, lives in the United States, but is exclusively a Canadian citizen.

Although his letter blames the “Harper government” for stripping him of the franchise, he is likely unable to vote because of a 22-year-old law enacted by the government of Brian Mulroney.

The letter, published in the Globe and Mail, does not specifically indicate why Sutherland won’t be able to cast a ballot, stating only  “if you don’t live here all the time you can’t vote.”

The actor is presumably referring to a long-standing law under which Canadian citizens lose their voting rights if they have lived…

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Cook v. Tait 29: “Citizenship-based taxation” or “Taxation-based citizenship” – From @IsaacBrockSoc

1. Citizenship-based taxation?

The above tweet references the following comment which is certainly “food for thought”.

A small change in vocabulary may be helpful. In point of fact, the US primarily practices RBT. More than 99.9% of tax returns are filed on by US residents. Within the US, the US tax net applies to RESIDENTS, both citizens and aliens and without distinction. It is meaningless to talk of taxing resident citizens based on citizenship when non-citizens are taxed on precisely the same basis. It is like saying we only tax people with blue eyes, but all people with eyes must pay the same tax. Within the US, it is meaningless to talk of CBT, since citizens and non-citizen residents are taxed on exactly the same basis.

The ONLY instance where the US practices CBT is in respect of NON-residents. That is a tiny fraction – fewer than a million filed returns from “compliant” non-resident citizens. With 7.6 million citizens outside the US and fewer than a million filed returns, one can only conclude that FATCA + CBT of non-residents has created is a situation of MILLIONS of US citizens hiding from the US government (7.6 million expats or duals can’t ALL be earning less than $2,500 per year…). The queue of renunciants is of course only the tip of the iceberg since almost all non-resident citizens are unquestionably non-compliant and simply live off the (US) grid and have ever done so.

Viewed in that light, the case for finding CBT to be discriminatory would seem to be a whole lot more evident since it ONLY applies to non-residents. A theoretical US resident who somehow renounced US citizenship would still be liable for precisely the same tax the next day as the day before. Citizenship is only a meaningful criterion for eligibility for taxation OUTSIDE the US; it is completely irrelevant within it. I’m sure someone who knows this better than I can check, but I’d be surprised if the domestic US tax return even asked if you are a citizen: why should they care?

2. If NOT “citizenship-based taxation”, then perhaps “taxation-based citizenship”?

The above tweet references the beginning of the discussion on whether the essence of U.S. citizenship really is just taxation. Remember that in 2004 the United States legislated a new kind of U.S. citizenship – that is the “U.S. Tax Citizen”.

Does the U.S. practice “citizenship-based taxation” or is it just “taxation-based citizenship”?

Bubblebustin suggests an answer.

We’ve had it all wrong! Unlike the rest of the world, the US practices taxation-based citizenship.

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Bubblebustin: “Taxation-based citizenship”. Wow! Why haven’t we noticed that before? Well done! Actually, this very morning I woke up with the realization that those expat Americans who are quoted in articles or surveys as being perfectly happy and willing to pay their U.S. taxes from “overseas” because “they’re American and they owe it” are actually filing and paying their U.S. taxes *in order to keep their American citizenship*. That is, indeed “taxation-based citizenship” …. which is about as un-American as it gets!

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Echoing MuzzledNoMore, great phrase you coined @Bubblebustin, re;
“… “Taxation-based citizenship”..”

Got to get that into common usage! Very insightful and useful turn of phrase.
Thanks!

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Leave it to you, dear bubblebustin, one among others of the most creative here, to come up with this descriptive term — CBT turned on its head.

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Taxation-Based Citizenship — TBC

Best one yet, Bubblebustin. It expresses perfectly the mindset of the U.S. government and those shadowy figures behind the U.S. government. Americans at home and abroad are nothing but tax fodder (some are both tax and cannon fodder). And they all thought they were being “loved” for their devotion to flag and country.

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Thanks everybody, but can we make the argument that Taxation-Based Citizenship is correct? I’ve struggled with the term CBT for quite some time and always thought there’s a better, less incriminating way to frame the issue. This all ties into the Human Rights Complaint that I’m actually just reading through now, which is very inspiring in terms of freedom, equality.

I think the argument here would be whether one can still enjoy US citizenship regardless of their personal tax situation. Can someone be denied certain benefits of US citizenship if they aren’t tax compliant?

Language matters. It’s important that we be clear in how we describe the taxation of U.S. citizens abroad.

“… living life as an American is all about living in fear, ALL THE FUCKING TIME!! Fear of the government…”

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.

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.

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Forcing #Americansabroad to renounce US citizenship is like #Civilforfeiture – Now “ain’t that America”

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.

 

Your property, your U.S. citizenship and the forcible taking of your U.S. citizenship

As I have pointed out time after time, after time ….

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:

Cook v. Tait 12: Afroyim v. Rusk, the 14th amendment, and the forcible destruction of citizenship

In Afroyim, Justice Black wrote:

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.

Hmm….

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.

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How a defector from North Korea realized almost everything she learned about her country was a lie

https://twitter.com/AD_Humphreys/status/622074692954902529

“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.”

National Post

“It is ridiculous, the hairstyle he has, everything,” says Hyeonseo Lee.

She is talking about Kim Jong-un, the supreme leader of North Korea and in her old life, before her defection from the tightly controlled regime, saying such a thing would condemn her and her family to prison or to death.

“I could kill three generations of my family,” she says.

Lee defected at 17, embarking on a perilous journey. Now 34, she has finally written her account of life and escape from the Hermit Kingdom in a new book, The Girl With Seven Names.

It is ridiculous, the hairstyle he has, everything

The woman was raised in a relatively privileged manner, a middle-class existence because of her stepfather’s job with the North Korean military, but even so she attended her first public execution at the age of seven — a stark lesson in obedience.

Seeing a man hanged under a railway…

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The American in Canada – Investor education from @TfRitchie interviewed by @rcarrick

In 2012 I did a post about Terry Ritchie’s book “The American in Canada“. It is referenced in the following tweet.

Mr. Ritchie is has done a series of interviews with the Globe and Mail’s Rob Carrick as follows:


A 2012 presentation by Mr. Ritchie: