— U.S. Citizen Abroad (@USCitizenAbroad) September 13, 2015
Very nice collection of comments from StudentAdvocate including:
Our neighbour just got more dysfunctional
US dysfunction affects all Canadians. Due to US law the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), the world’s banks and financial institutions are now agents of the US Treasury Department, and are on a witch-hunt for so-called US persons – basically anyone with a US place of birth. FATCA is one of the most arrogant and dysfunctional laws to ever pass Congress, and was passed as an add-on rider, with little debate or consideration for consequence. In Canada, the Harper Conservatives capitulated to the US law FATCA, and made history by making banking and financial discrimination against any Canadian with a US birthplace mandatory. Embedded in omnibus budget bill C31 was an an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) to embody the dysfunctional US law FATCA into Canadian law. This was largely covert and under-reported, the US demanded FATCA compliance and the Canadian government – at the behest of Canada’s banks – pushed it through, despite unanimous opposition from NDP, LIberal and Green Party. Now, the hunt is on for so-called US persons in Canada. All banks, financial institutions and insurers must search their customers records for indications of a US place of birth. They must ask all new customers if they have a US birthplace or similar connection. If found, the confidential bank records will be forwarded to the US IRS – via compliant poodles at CRA. The US considers the local and legal Canadian financial accounts of any Canadian with a tie of so-called US person-hood to be a potential undeclared and illicit “offshore account” – and the penalties are draconian. Because so many Canadians were either born in the US or immigrated from the US, the effect is profound. This may effect up to one million Canadians, many of whom have only a tenuous tie to the US (including border babies: Canadians incidentally born in the US due to happenstance or medical referral). Because the Canadian FATCA IGA in Bill C31 violates the Charter by making “place of birth” discrimination mandatory, it is being legally challenged. A small grassroots organization – The Alliance for Defense of Canadian Sovereignty – has raised almost $300,000 through crowdfunding and hired leading Constitutional advocate Joe Arvay to challenge this in court. All Canadians should oppose the shameful embedding of dysfunctional US law in Canadian law, because it has created a new class of 2nd class Canadians: any Canadian with a US place of birth now has significantly reduced financial
This following comment appeared at the Isaac Brock Society.
Dash, a minor point on US CBT compliance and a comment on dual citizenship:
—USCitizenAbroad suggests that you might be one of the few who are capable of preparing a US return. I don’t believe that this is an accurate statement if, for example, you live overseas, are subject to the Obamacare surtax on investment income and wonder simply whether foreign tax credits can be used to offset this tax:
Last week, as part of doing my weekly IRS compliance homework for overseas US persons, I had a long conversation with the IRS International tax branch on this question in which we read together the final regulations on the surtax issue. IRS confirmed that the definitive answer will not be provided to US persons overseas as it now depends on the interpretation of the US tax treaty with each foreign country. I explained to IRS that I do not have the expertise to interpret the tax treaty and anyway it is only the IRS interpretation that counts (the fellow was sympathetic to my argument). IRS however refuses to interpret the US treaty with Canada and provide me with a straight answer and suggested only that I could take a chance in using foreign tax credits to offset the income– but I would have to somehow defend my position on treaty grounds if IRS challenged me and pay penalties etc if I were incorrect.
I am going to “appeal” to IRS in writing this lack of “guidance”, but my minor point here is only that the US does not make it easy to comply with CBT as the rules are often not even disclosed.
—You suggest that dual citizenship is/can be part of the problem. I agree. A practical issue however as others have mentioned is that terminating toxic US citizenship is difficult or practically impossible because of IRS penalties involved and the Reed Amendment nonsense. My recent submissions to the House W&M committee have mentioned RBT but are much more focused on changing US laws to let us leave the country humanely.
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