Category Archives: Land of the free

#Americansabroad: “Ask NOT what the Homeland can do for you! Ask what you can do for the Homeland!

What follows is the full text of the Facebook post referenced in the above link. Really now, it’s time to understand that taxation is NOT the price you pay for Government services (or certainly not civilization). It’s something you are required to pay to support the Homeland. Homelanders abroad, Accidental Americans and other dual citizens, academics, and those opposing FATCA, FBAR, PFIC, CBT and other forms of U.S. extra-territorial harassment should really be asking:

“Ask not what the Homeland can do for you! Ask what you can do for the Homeland?”
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#FEARBar (“Foreign Email Account Report”) update – All indications lead to reporting

The above tweet references a post written four years ago in June of 2013. The post predicted that at some point the United States would require disclosure (in addition to FATCA (Form 8938) and FBAR (FinCen 114) and other forms) of the email accounts used by Americans abroad.


That post concluded with my prediction:

The purpose of FBAR and FATCA is to …

Provide the U.S. with information that is outside of its jurisdiction. In other words, the U.S. has no legal right to the information. Therefore, by threatening “life altering” penalties, the U.S. forces its citizens to provide this information to the U.S. government.

If the contents of bank accounts is important, then the contents of an email account would be even more valuable.

You heard it here first:

The next information return that the U.S. will require is the:

Foreign Email Account Report” – FEARBar for short!

Congress will (like FATCA) unknowingly pass the general legislation (slipped in as part of a Hiring Act) and authorize the IRS to specify the contents of the return. What an Orwellian World!

FEARBar coming to an information return near you!

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Cook v. Tait 42 – “The shot heard round the deck. We are free at last!” The CLN has arrived

This post is a reproduces a comment by Pilgrim 7 which appeared at the Isaac Brock Society. Because of its reference to Cook v. Tait, I thought it would be worth adding to the Cook v. Tait book of posts. This is the second comment by Pilgrim7 that I have turned into a separate post at this Renounce US citizenship blog.

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In a #CookvTait world of “Taxation Based Citizenship”, should the right to vote depend ONLY on whether one files taxes?

In the finest of American traditions and mythology:

The summary statement of the Samuel Adams instructions, written to the representatives of the Massachusetts House, approved May 24, 1764:

“If Taxes are laid upon us in any shape without our having a legal Representation where they are laid, are we not reduced from the Character of free Subjects to the miserable State of tributary Slaves?”

But yet,

Never resided in the U.S.? As of this writing, 37 states* allow U.S. citizens, 18 years or older, who were born abroad, but have never resided in the United States to be eligible to vote absentee. Voting address in the United States will be the last U.S. residence of a U.S. citizen parent. States vary in their voter registration identification requirements, however, most commonly you can use either: 1) the last 4 digits of your Social Security Number (SSN); or 2) a valid state driver’s license.

*Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Colombia, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington (State), West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Voting may or may not be based on citizenship …

For example:

  1. The Government of Canada has tried to prevent certain Canadian citizens from voting if they live outside of Canada.
  2. An issue in certain Municipal Elections (example Toronto) has been whether non-citizens should have the right to vote.

What does citizenship have to do with it anyway?

It appears to be neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for voting.

The question …

Given that there is NO PRESUMPTIVE connection between citizenship and voting rights, perhaps the United States should consider/reconsider what the right to vote should be based on. We know that U.S. citizenship is about and ONLY about taxation. That’s why U.S. citizenship is properly understood to be:

“Taxation Based Citizenship”

Should the right to vote in the United States be based on whether you file and pay U.S. taxes?

Two polls – Two different questions

Poll 1 – Filing U.S. taxes as a NECESSARY condition for voting

Poll 2 – Filing U.S. taxes as a SUFFICIENT condition for voting

 

 

 

Part 1 – Congressional and administrative barriers to exercising the right of expatriation – the relinquishment fee

The election of Barack Obama ushered in the era of “Change you can believe in”. For Americans abroad it is has resulted in the need to relinquish U.S. citizenship. Although the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that there is a constitutional right to relinquish U.S. citizenship and the 1868 “Right to Expatriate” statute is still on the books, the United States continues to impose barriers to relinquishing U.S. citizenship.

This will be a series of post designed to explain the administration (think Obama administration) and Congressional barriers (think laws) to relinquishing U.S. citizenship.

 

There are at least three categories of barriers. To be specific there are:

  1. Financial – Barriers imposed by the cost of relinquishing U.S. citizenship
  2. Mental – Barriers imposed by a requirement that that the potential renunciant “understand what he/she is renouncing”
  3. Physical – Barriers imposed by the requirement that the renunciation take place outside the United States and at a U.S. Consulate

Each of these barriers is deserving of a separate post.

Today, we will begin considering the financial barriers to renouncing U.S. citizenship.

To put it simply, it is far from “free” to relinquish the citizenship of the “Land of the Free”.

Although the administrative fee to relinquish U.S. citizenship is on only one (and for many the smallest) component of relinquishing U.S. citizenship, it imposes a barrier for many. The current fee for relinquishing U.S. citizenship is $2350 USD. As Robert Wood has discussed, the United States has the highest relinquishment of citizenship fee in the world. (Check out the comments to his article.) It is reasonable to conclude that the purpose of the fee is to discourage people from exercising their right to expatriate. It is clear, that many people Americans abroad have difficulty affording that fee. See this recent Facebook discussion at Keith Redmond’s American Expatriates group. It’s clear that many families are beginning to include “U.S. citizenship renunciation” in the family budget.

Renunciation Fund – “Put a little love in your heart” – A possible humanitarian gesture …

Next – tax compliance fees and the relinquishment of U.S. citizenship.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Both the Afghan hospital damage and the wounds of #Americansabroad are “self inflicted”

Why did the U.S. bomb the “Doctors Without Borders” Hospital? Is there any basis for the bombing being a war crime?

A fascinating interview …


The U.S. Justification – the Afghan Government asked us to do it making it a “self inflicted wound”

Watch the attempt to deflect blame to the Government of Afghanistan …

Although no reasonable person would believe that the U.S. deliberately targeted physicians and patients to be killed, the U.S. response is problematic. Nothing should be said until an investigation is complete.

The latest U.S. explanation is an attempt to say:

1. It’s not our fault (the Afghan Government asked us to do this); and

2. It’s the fault of the Afghan Government (they are responsible for the consequences of their action).

In other words, on the one hand it is NOT OUR FAULT (it was really the Afghan Government that did this) AND and the wounds are therefore (self-inflicted) the fault of the Afghan Government.

The uncomfortable commonality between the U.S. response to the bombing of the Afghan hospital and it’s response to the the FATCA induced banking problems of Americans abroad

Although I am NOT comparing the magnitude of what happened in Afghanistan to the FATCA war on Americans abroad, I note that the response of the U.S. government is exactly the same.

1. It’s not the fault of the U.S. that European banks are closing the accounts of Americans abroad. After all, it’s not the U.S. Government that is closing the bank accounts. It’s the banks that are doing this to Americans abroad.

2. It’s the fault of Americans abroad for wanting to have bank accounts with banks that would close their accounts.

The Americans of Barack Obama has no capacity to take responsibility for it’s actions …

Yes, those who are wounded because of U.S. extra-territorial overreach are experience “self-inflicted wounds”.

The long run question is …

Will the United States will be able to survive it’s own “self-inflicted” wounds – the hatred of American that is dramatically escalating?

Think of it …

In 2009 Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Who could have anticipated the destruction and havoc his administration would inflict on the world?

FATCA – FBAR – OVDP: Comparing inside looking out (Homelanders) to outside looking in

https://twitter.com/USCitizenAbroad/status/647391630773751808

This is really worth  a watch. By the way, the prevailing view is that the Homeland does NOT care about how FATCA affects Americans abroad.

 

 

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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Looks like the Revolution of #Americansabroad is almost here!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/AmericanExpatriates/permalink/474144512751626

The comments are simply amazing. A revolution is clearly coming! It’s amazing to me that there are still people who see this as a partisan issue.