Tag Archives: Jim Bopp

Statement from @AARO (unlike @DEMSabroad) supports Bopp #FATCA lawsuit

https://www.facebook.com/groups/AmericanExpatriates/permalink/492020850963992/

Official statement from AARO on the FATCA Lawsuit filed last Tuesday.

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eliminate or alleviate the damaging effects of FATCA, including this constitutional challenge that would have the law repealed.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.

First @DemsAbroad CONDEMN Bopp lawsuit. Their defence – #youcantmakethisup

 

 

Cautiously optimistic about the @SenMikeLee and Jim Bopp #FATCA Legal Action initiative

The following tweets reference two great summaries of the AARO FATCA meeting on October 6, 2014 in Paris:

This is excellent and welcome news. What I particularly like are the specific reasons given for his opposition to FATCA and making his thinking the juridical basis for Jim Bopp’s FATCA Legal Action lawsuit.

As an aside – could it really be true that Senator Lee is the only “Constitutional Scholar” in the Senate? Also of note, is that Senator Lee’s father Rex Lee, served as Solicitor General under President Reagen.

It appears that Senator Lee has joined Senator Rand Paul as the first American politicians to actively oppose FATCA.

Welcome news indeed!

I take the Liberty of quoting from Victoria Ferauge’s superb account of the meeting:

Senator Lee spoke first and he began with some anecdotes from the time when he was first elected to the Senate. He’s a young man with a quiet and modest demeanour. He recounted how in the very beginning he had moments where because of his youth and appearance he was taken for something other than a member of that august body, the US Senate, and how he finally had to quietly but firmly assert himself as the elected-by-the-people junior Senator from Utah. He invited us to laugh with him and we did. But the funny stories took a very serious turn when he shared the lesson he drew from that experience: “We must assert what is rightfully ours,” he said, “if it is to have any meaning.”

US citizens wherever they live, he said, have constitutional rights that cannot be taken away by anyone.

And how can the Senator say such a thing with so much conviction? Because he was an American abroad himself. Because his mother was born in Europe to two expatriate American citizens. Because he has a son abroad today.

With great candour he explained that FATCA was part of a larger bill that most US lawmakers probably didn’t read and surely barely understood before they voted on it. Furthermore, there was no real political risk to them – no chance that they would lose their seats by attacking Americans abroad, a population little-known and slightly threatening to people in the American homeland. In light of what has happened since it was passed (the citizenship renunciations and the widespread discrimination it has brought to US citizens abroad), it should be repealed, he said, and that’s not a liberal versus conservative, or republicans versus democrats issue; it’s an American issue. “I will fight until it’s done,” he assured us, and, “While you can’t vote for me, I can vote for you.”

Mr. Bopp then took the floor and with quiet precision he laid out the case he is preparing against FATCA and the hated FBAR (renamed the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network Form 114), the latter of which he rightly noted, is based on the assumption that Americans abroad are all tax cheats and simply can’t be trusted. FATCA, too, is all about stopping the, as John McCain said, “illegal activities” of the American population abroad. The fines for non-compliance are clearly excessive, he said, and noted one case where an individual caught in the dragnet ended up paying 150% of the value of the non-reported account.

Americans have rights, he noted, under the US Constitution. Government must make an “individualized determination and (have) probable cause” to go after people it believes are violating the law. FATCA and FBAR are nothing more than “fishing expeditions” and while the US IRS does have some leniency in this area, this is “off the scale” and he believes that US courts will strike them down. And all this, he said, to enforce a system of citizenship (not residence)-based taxation which results in “adverse and differential treatment” against Americans abroad.

Edward Karr explains US constitutional challenge to #FATCA and renunciations of US citizenshp

 

This is a very interesting discussion of a number of things including:

1. Jim Bopp and Republicans Overseas challenge to the constitutionality of FATCA. Nice outline of the grounds including subjecting Americans abroad to cruel and unusual punishment. FATCA is sure to exacerbate the tensions between Homelanders and Americans abroad.

2. Statement that Americans abroad are being forced to renounce U.S. citizenship.

As I watch this video, I ponder the question:

How can the United States be so stupid?