How to join

Would you like to join this discussion?  There are two ways:

(1) To comment on a post, just use a unique alias and an e-mail address–the e-mail won’t be published; if you have a WordPress ID you can use that too.  Comments are welcome!!  If you use an alias, please use something that is unique and use the same one each time you comment.  We ask also not to use “Anon” or “Anonymous”, as these are too generic–those who comment under an alias are already indeed anonymous.

(2) If you want to be able to create new threads (posts) on subjects related to US persons living abroad,  please just make a comment below and you will be invited to become an “author” by an administrator.  You will need to create a WordPress ID (at ).  Aliases are also welcome by WordPress.  (Please note:  If you wish to cross post from your own blog to Isaac Brock, please cross post it:  “Reblogging” will not be permitted, and the editor will immediately take reblogs off the site).

(3) To subscribe to this blog, use the RSS option on the side bar, or enter your e-mail address (which will never be published) on the side bar where it says, “Follow this blog”.  Then you will receive an email everytime there is a new post.  To follow a comment stream use the RSS option or when making comment, tick the box for an e-mail notification when a new comment is made.

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207 thoughts on “How to join

  1. Re Canadian children and the US claim of citizenship

    As one of the thousands of new Canadians who discovered rather abruptly this past summer that the United States still claimed us as American citizens and required us to pay their taxes, I very reluctantly complied. But what I have great difficulty accepting is that our children–born, bred, raised, educated, living, working, voting, paying taxes, and raising their own families in Canada–are somehow Americans and liable to the same inane requirement to pay US taxes.*

    It appears that these Canadian children/citizens are being overlooked by their government in Ottawa and lack the protection of that government. Instead of ignoring this issue, the Canadian government should intervene on their behalf and suggest to the US authorities, politely or otherwise, to back off. “These children are our citizens, not yours. Leave them alone.”

    Mr. Harper, Mr. Flaherty, and the various Members of Parliament should acknowledge this as a matter of considerable important and act on behalf of our (and their) children. Unfortunately, at this point I can not get anyone interested in this issue. Suggestions?

    *According to United States legislation a child born anywhere in the world to American citizens is considered a US citizen. Conversely, a child born in the United States, regardless of the parent’s citizenship, is considered an American citizen even if the child eventually wants only the citizenship of the parents.

  2. Thanks for the info on children claimed by US. The problem is still that they must file last 5 years of taxes in order to “qualify” for reliquishing. If they have never lived, worked, et al in US, why is that necessary? There needs to be another approach, i.e., from the Canadian gov’t protecting its citizens.

  3. Peter, am I able to be considered here for the ability to begin new threads? As you know, I’ve commented on several others, but I still haven’t figured out how to do a new post.


  4. I was born in Yonkers, NY and moved to Canada with my family just after my 16th birthday. I am now 63 and have only recently learned about the IRS and FBAR reporting requirements for US citizens. How could I have known? Instructions were not stamped on my butt at birth and this isn’t something I could reasonably expect to learn through the media in Canada.

    I find it incredible that I am required to file a tax return on my Canadian income but cannot collect US Social Security because I have not paid into the system. Shouldn’t my “in kind” income relate to my “in kind” social contribution?

  5. First time visitor. US Born, chose to live in Canada for the past 18 years. Became a Canadian, now renouncing….

  6. Bruce Newman>/a>:

    Take as much as possible and give back as little as possible. That is how the United States treats citizens outside its borders.

    A useful listing of taxation mismatches is provided through

    Here is one symbolic ugly little detail I have experienced, reported on here for the first time. Since you are 63, you would also be eligible for a $10 lifetime senior pass to the US national park system – but only if you dwell within the United States. Citizenship counts for nothing.

    So you’ve been filing all that paper and maybe paying taxes too? That doesn’t matter. You don’t matter either. Welcome to a regime of taxation without representation … and without benefits.

  7. @usxcanada

    Actually, I have a $10 lifetime senior pass. Residency doesn’t matter, apparently, as I only produced my NB driver’s license and my NY birth certificate to get it.

  8. Bruce Newman:

    The info on the senior pass for national parks is about as woolly and contradictory as usual IRS instructions. The link above is filled with fuzz. And then there’s application of the “rules.” I was specifically told that US residence was required. Perhaps they thought New Brunswick was the state between New Jersey and New York?

  9. @usxcanada

    It seems clear enough on the NPS website: “Citizens or permanent residents of the United Sates age 62 or older”. I bought my pass at Acadia National Park which had the same requirements and I had no trouble at all. I will say, however, that having the pass is not the last hurdle. When you go through an entrance gate, you need to provide the pass AND a photo ID and an acceptable ID is a US driver’s license which, of course, I don’t have. My birth certificate did the trick, although I felt it was marginal and might not always work.

    I certainly do agree with you about the application of the rules. In phone calls I made to the IRS and re: FBAR as well as numerous reports of incidents at the border, there appears to be a lot of room for personal interpretation. No one, for example, could tell me how many years I had to go back regarding income tax and FBAR filings.

  10. @Petros
    I live in Vancouver B.C. What credit unions here would protect me from FATCA ?

    “JANUARY 21, 2012 AT 12:44 AM
    @tiger, You can protect yourself in the following ways. Tell your bank that you are not a US citizen and that if they give your info to the IRS, that you will take your funds out.

    When my bank (TD) gave me an ambivalent response, I moved my accounts to a credit union. If you move to Duca in Ontario, tell them I referred you.

    End all investments in US investment products, stocks or mutual funds. Sell your condo or other real estate in the US if you have any.

    When you go to a new institution, do not fill out any W9 forms or let them have your social security number if you have one.

    And last of all, political activism. We have to get the Canadian government end this FATCA nonsense.”

  11. I would like to ask a question regarding relinquishment of US citizenship and subsequent fallout under 8854 and the exit tax.

  12. @Incredulous

    As noted above,
    (1) To comment on a post, just use a unique alias and an e-mail address–the e-mail won’t be published; if you have a WordPress ID you can use that too. Comments are welcome!! If you use an alias, please use something that is unique and use the same one each time you comment.
    i.e., You can go to this section, upper right-hand corner and click on one of these if your question falls into any of these categories,

    Expat Taxes and FBAR
    Relinquishment and Renunciation of US citizenship

    then go down to the very bottom where there will be a “Leave a Reply” box.
    Just type your question in that box where it says “Enter your comment here…
    ” then click on “POST COMMENT”
    and someone who has an answer or suggestion for your question will reply when they see it. You will see the reply somewhere in the thread eventually, usually not long.

    You could also AUTHORS’ RECENT POSTS toward the end of the page and click on one of the posts, read the thread to see if that would be an appropriate place for your question, then follow the same procedure as above by typing your question in the “Leave a Reply” box.
    Hope that helps.

    (2) If you want to be able to create new threads (posts) on subjects related to US persons living abroad, please just make a comment below and you will be invited to become an “author” by an administrator. You will need to create a WordPress ID (at ). Aliases are also welcome by WordPress.

  13. How did everyone join this blog? I would be interested in posting something from time to time as well! Admin – please invite if this is still a possibility!

    Kind Regards

  14. @mauryw

    I would love to start some letters :Re Canadian children and the US claim of citizenship and get some attention and ACTION drawn here. If we don’t stand up and fight for this, more innocent people, thousands or even millions of CANADIAN citizens will be affected by this. I too am in the same boat and have children who I think COULD CLAIM Us Citizenship thanks to my birthplace, but they do not want it. They are born and raised in canada and choose to keep their sole citizenship and loyalty here, go figure. Now the US/IRS is saying they HAVE TO register as they are citizens whether they want it or not…..and why??…so they can be subject to their fees and reporting structure, I dont think so! I never registered them at a US consulate (thank god) and sure as heck dont plan too. It should be an option and a choice, isnt t his the land of the FREE?
    My fear is one day crossing the US border with them and with my soon to have CLN in hand, that my innocent children are then questioned and slaughterd basically on the spot for not having a US passport and reporting to the IRS. The Canadian government needs to stand up for this, to protect its citizens,people born in canada especially should not be dragged into this mess. This is just absolutely disgusting and disturbing how completely innocent children with just having a parent or grandparent are given the ball and chain to the US for life!!! For one to even register their kids or help them renouce, they have to first PROVE they are US Citizens, pay huge fees for forms….go to the US and get a SSN and then…after you file 5 years, you can renounce. Come on Canada, get some balls and help us all!!! Our children need you, this is canadas future and we are all law abiding citizens who have dedicated our life to Canada and sworn our allegiance!

    So, where should we start writing folks?

  15. Days 1-52
    ■83,030 hits on Isaac Brock Society in 52 days, Incredible!!
    Look at this Canada….There are MANY of us out there, and this is just the start!

  16. @Whowthissucks We’ve got to keep pushing. If Congress will not repeal double taxation, FBAR and FATCA, we need to get the governments in the countries where we live to declare these unconsitutional.

  17. @ Jefferson D. Thomas

    I agree!! Whom do we write our concerns too? Ill be 100% honest, before this went down, I have not followed politics at all….I do not have much knowledge when it comes to who does what and where.

  18. @Wowthissucks @all
    You can get the name and address of your congressmen and senators here:

    If for some reason you are unable to vote because you don’t have a home state, I suppose you could write to the congressmen/senators in the state with which you feel that you have the most affinity. In that case, the Article 1, Section 2 argument that Congress does not have authority over you would be even more convincing.

    Most industrialised countries have the names of representatives/MP’s whatever on their websites.

  19. @Proud’; @All: I fully agree as to your evocation of the Univ. Decl. of Hum. Rights: Your post emphasized again to me that (correct me if I am wrong) renunciation should not be subject to approval of Dept. of State or IRS. If you haven’t already had the chance please see open letter from 2 weeks ago: (Search the text for: “renunciation is a violation of Article 15”).
    I think that those “US Persons” who are able to exercise their right to vote in the US (through absentee ballot) should continue to exercise their right to vote (hence reserving the right to petition their Representatives and Senators) from abroad if they are able without risk to themselves (or their families). Of course, one should avoid trips to the US if one thinks they might be at risk for detainment or other troubles. I would encourage everyone to develop their personal risk plan, and base their decision as to renunciation or relinquishment thereupon. If you must renounce or push for relinquishment, do as you feel necessary. Otherwise, remain in your country of residence and continue the fight by debate, petition, and voting. With time, I am confident that we will win.

  20. May I post articles on this group’s site?

    I’m a US native and multi-award winning entrepreneur living abroad. I love the expat experience. I’m head of a firm called Bright!Tax and we help the 6.4 million Americans living overseas with their US expat taxes . Our site is . My contact info is Thanks for allowing me to participate.

  21. Hi gjjd: this website is designed for peer-to-pear discussion–not a place where professionals drum up business. If you want to sumbit an article for discussion, please send it to me first. I will send you my e-mail address.

  22. Petros, Can you adise how to get a WordPress ID? I have gone to their site, but find the array of information overwhelming. Can you provide a sequence of links! Thanks, and keep up the good work.

  23. I would like to become an author on this blog. I have a WordPress ID. (Thank you, Eric, for the assistance.)

    NorthShrike (formerly NorthernShrike…someone already took that WordPress ID.)

    Many thanks!

  24. @avowd

    My favourite comment in this article comes from the US embassy spokesman in Bern: “In most places in the world, people are literally willing to die to become U.S. citizens…”

    Most? Really? A tiny handful of despotic third-world regimes perhaps. But most?

    It’s likely this spokesman commented in English, and maybe the article writer mangled the meaning somewhat when moving to French. Nevertheless, this comment appears to reveal a lot about the skew found in the general American view of the rest of the world.

  25. Watcher: I have my reasons to doubt that he mangled what the man said. He reflects how most Amercans think Stateside: the USA is so exceptional, why everyone, but everyone wants to live there. As you so correctly say, though, the main people who do want to go there today are from the most desititute places on earth. Not that this is a bad thing, because early on in U.S. history, the immigrants were usually the most destitute.

    What I’ve observed, in additon, over the past years, is that more and more Americans who come to work & live in Switzerland want to stay here–forever. And more and more of them are applying for Swiss citizenship. You didn’t see this 20 years ago. Back then, everybody couldn’t wait to get back home.

  26. @avowd

    Thank you for posting that. Very refreshing from the usual driven that English language press seems to produce on the issue. Somebody should reproduce this on the main page though in a post of its own.

    I personally find the most damning quote to be at the end when the head of the Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce openly advocates dual nationals to get rid of their passports due to the costs involved in keeping citizenship.

    @Watcher & Jefferson D. Thomas

    It really does seem like those in power in the US or even based at its consolates live in a very isolated world, even whilst abroad. I would venture that the majority of consular employees who are not locally contracted have only lived abroad in the employ of the US government, which probably means that they don’t even understand the fuss over FATCA or FBARs, since I bet that almost all of them do not bother to open any local accounts and have only limited contact with the countries that they live in.

    The comment about people dying to move to the US might apply to poorer parts of Central America (guessing here), but I’ve only met a single person in the last decade in the EU who wants to move to the US, and he was a doctor who stood to increase his salary by something like 400% if he did so. Everyone else that I know has absolutely no interest in moving there whatsoever.

  27. @avowd I agree with what you say about Switzerland. Switzerland has increasingly become a modern multicultural democracy, especially since the new constitution a decade ago. I hope Switzerland will still insist upon the integration of its population (so as not to find itself in a difficult form of multiculturalism like that of the UK). I hope that it will still defend the rights of its people and its legal residents, even with the Americal Elephant in the room.

  28. Hi everyone. I am new to FATCA and am trying to understand its implications fully. But I got this very trivial doubt about FATCA. It requires the FFIs to report to the IRS about its US accounts or be subject to withholding. What I have a doubt about is what if the FFI agrees to report but deliberately reports incorrectly (like leaves out some US accounts from its reports). How will the IRS be able to detect this, as they don’t have the info. about those accounts which is exactly why they have enacted FATCA? – Thanks

  29. I am not sure anyone knows the answer to all these questions but there does seem to be at least one way of verifying the bank’s acting in good faith: Those in an OVDI program must rat on the banks who held their offshore accounts. FATCA makes the banks rat on the client; OVDI makes the client rat on the bank. That’s how they were able to indict Wegelin, from what I understand.

  30. Well, I am about to give up. I got a WordPress ID. I have been accepted as an author. But the WordPress blog system is quite opaque to me. My thanks to you who are contributing. I would like to as well but cannot aside from adding comments. And maybe that’s all I will be able to do…

  31. Apologies for a grumpy post. In order to be more positive, may I make a suggestion? How about somewhere on this blog instructions that are simple, 1 2 3, about how to participate. I am afraid I am not going to spend an afternoon on the WordPress site in order to do so. Thanks to anyone out there willing to help out with such!

  32. Hi. If anyone wants to sign up for the forums, where I think you can go a bit off-topic (and have more comment editing features), all you need to do is:
    1- register – the system will send you an email confirmation.
    2- click the link you receive
    3- start posting

    The forum is semi-private because search-engine robots are not allowed. Whereas whatever you say on here, goes to the top of google in about 1 minute! 🙂

    There’s also no need to use the War of 1812 password anymore.

    Please don’t send emails asking how to join because we don’t have time to answer all requests.

  33. Holy cow.. this blog is off the charts!! Since I posted that, a lot of people started accessing the forum and now I have to contact the provider to add more connections! Stand by, I’m in a large queue!

  34. I’m a newbie at this whole blogging thing – I’m afraid I don’t understand the difference between and cross-posting. I do have my own blog (brand new) and I wanted to share an email I wrote to W5 asking them to do a story on this bizarre situation. I’m not sure of the best method to do so. To date, I’ve only commented on other peoples posts. If you can give me some guidance, that would be great, as I don’t want to do something I’m not supposed to.

  35. Petros, I will investigate the reblogging feature (didn’t know there was such a thing before! Thanks for taking the time to let me know.

  36. Is it possible that there are no entries on the forum???
    When I enter the forum with the password mentioned above all the topics are empty.

  37. Okay, I feel like a dummy here. I rec’d my invitation to author, but when I log into the forum I can’t do anything. Could be I’m blind and not seeing how to create new posts, but if someone has the time to give me a bit of guidance, I’d be very appreciative. I would like to know how many people are writing letters, and to whom, and who has responded and who has not. It would be interesting to know how many letters our various politicians (and media) are receiving, and see if we could even drive that upward. And this didn’t really seem to quite fit in to existing posts.

  38. I have commented on topics in the past. Today, I tried to comment and got the following message: “You must be logged in to comment with that email address.”
    I am logged in to WordPress and the Forum. Is there another place to login? If not, please investigate this problem and get back to me. I have sent this using a different email address.
    Thank you.

  39. Hi, greyowl.

    Sorry you’re having troubles. Several people seem to be. I’ve posted a note that we seem to be having technical difficulties. I, unfortunately, am not the one who can fix technical difficulties. (perhaps it is WordPress itself?) Apologies from this inept person answering your comment.

  40. When I was not logged in, I received the same message: “You must be logged in to comment with that email address.” But once I logged into WordPress I had no problem commenting.

  41. I have lived in Canada since 1987 and been a Canadian citizen since 1993. I have NOT held a U.S. passport since the only one I had expired which I only got when I moved to Canada in 1987. I have held a Canadian Passport since 1993, never voted in an election and as far as I was concerned wasn’t a U.S. citizen anymore because was always told they didn’t recognize dual citizenship. Funny how on/off again – whatever suits them best.

    Today I am no longer proud to say I was born there seeing tactics like this in place – this is criminal and if the world lets them get away and take the same freedoms that are now taking from their own citizens in the U.S. – then shame on us.

    I haven’t filed because I don’t trust them to not charge their fees of 10K a year for not filing – I have been told by an accountant – they “probably won’t” ….well I don’t have 60K to hand them just in case they don’t and it is insane if I even considered it. Why should I pay for a country that is a disgrace today. Their banking industry was corrupt and they let them off the hook, they are in debt to China and others and yet they want ex-pats to pay off their debt who have not taken a dime from them or gained a benefit from being born there since the day they left. Even if this wasn’t going on – I would never live there ever again – it is not the country I was born into and am no longer proud of my heritage. My own family believes who are Flag wavers believe it is my god given duty to pay what they think I owe just because – like they understand anything out of their little world – I pay 50% tax here for the benefit of living here – not paying a country so others can benefit from living there.

    I have NEVER filed since becoming a citizen and my bank and investment companies have me down as a Canadian citizen – so good luck – I am not filing.

    I have been told by my accountant that I should never cross a U.S. border again and as sad as that is – I can live with that – at least now I can go to Cuba:-) I am not going to be held hostage by Obama and his band of Merry Idiots. I will admit I am afraid to take the risk even though I have family there.

    I was told in order to renounce I would have to file and pay the taxes that I would owe and that an IRS agent is sitting there at the consulate. So I feel this is no win.

    I have friends that made the mistake of just being born there and being pulled into this mess as well – but seem to have faith that everything will be ok and they are going to take the chance to cross. I know people that were turned back because some aggressive customs agent asked if they had filed their U.S. taxes at a U.S. border in Ontario.

    Will be interested in those that moved here (Canada) or elsewhere over 20 years ago and what they have found out about their situation and what they have found out / know to be true versus scare tactics of the U.S. government. I hope Flaherty and others stick to their guns and don’t back down because the U.S. decides to pull trade or some other silly tactic to hold them hostage.

    So for now….laying low, not going to file and not crossing a border and I thank the people who started this blog to give people a voice. The one thing left in me that is American is the desire to fight for injustice of liberties and freedoms and this mess sure is.

  42. @Proud Canada

    Becoming a Canadian in 1993 before the 1995 expatriation tax law came means as long as you haven’t done anything as a US citizen you are probably okay and could get a CLN back dated to 1993 on the basis of relinquishment. However you are probably best to lay low and let other people with more money fight this out in court.

  43. Thanks Tim – I totally agree with you. It is pretty sad when your lack of trust in government gets so low. I was in shock for months, then anger and now my god given stubborn southern rebel dissidence has taken over They wouldn’t really care that my husband lost his job and took a lower paying one and I started a business and am making 1/4 of what I was. I have read articles on here where they are going after people’s handicapped children – so I don’t think anyone is safe. Then there are the tax accountants and lawyers who are making a killing on people’s miseries convincing them to file – so they do and now they are stuck the rest of their life because they have now admitted – I am American because I complied. Of course they want you to file and want to scare you that you can be found……they then get paid – but where are they when you are now in the cross hairs of the IRS … where to be found.

    I am sticking to my guns. Don’t consider myself a U.S. citizen so am not admitting to being one by compliance because once you comply with bullying and scare tactics to meet their goals – you are giving up your rights and freedoms in a free society and not standing up. My husband says I am a better and truer Canadian than a lot born here as I moved here out of choice and had no intention of going back. He wanted to move there when we got married and for me – that would have been a deal breaker. I like walking on the street of my town and feel safe and I will pay 50% tax for that right if I have to.

    I truly believe that someone will eventually squash them like a bug or some “new” politician will want to get favour by fixing this or making Obama look worse…..whatever the case …I will vacation here and abroad and see more of Canada and the world. I think when they realize they will lose more in tourism from ex-pats and friends/family coming to spend in the U.S. versus what it costs them to collect and enforce their strong arm tactics of innocent people…..things will change – money talks. Here is the best part……the average American in the U.S. has NO IDEA this is going on. When I tell friends and family – they are either shocked or think I am making it up.

    Of course the U.S. still believes Cuba is a dictatorship communist country that U.S. citizens shouldn’t go or they are committing treason – maybe they should look in the mirror. Maybe other countries should ban people from going to the U.S. over trying to do this – see how they like them cookies.

  44. @ProudCanadian

    You are quite right that if you do start filing you are now essentially giving up your relinquishment back in 1993. There are people out there with lots of money in your situation that do have lawyers and are working on the issue.

  45. First, as a newbie to the Isaac Brock Society site, I’d like to thank the founders and all of the contributors to the IBS. The perspectives from all of the participants are extremely helpful. I find the comments and blogs from most of the professionals very helpful as well. Along with many others I am in a world of hurt, but it would be far worse without the Isaac Brock Society.

    I am two years into retirement, having lived and worked more than 60 years in Canada. About a month ago, quite by accident, I tripped over the “Time is Running Out” Globe article and subsequently found the IBS. Before that momentous day in my life, I had never heard of 1040, FBAR, FACTA, OVDI, OVDP. I don’t know what the 5th Amendment is, I don’t have a clue about the US Constitution. I can name the current president.

    I was born in the USA which I now know under US law constitutes a serious birth defect. I have never lived nor worked in the US. I have no financial ties to the US whatsoever. I vacation in the US for 2-3 weeks each year with my spouse and neighbours. We really like the US people we meet on each visit. But it seems their government does not represent them.

    I am Canadian to the core of my being. I am a patriotic Canadian citizen. While in Canada, I am subject only to the laws of Canada, my province and of course nature. I have never been arrested. I pay my taxes in Canada as all Canadian residents should. I am not a “US person”. I am not an “US ex-patriot” — I never was a “US patriot”. I don’t hold “foreign” accounts. None of my accounts are “offshore”. My bank is Canadian, not an “Foreign Financial Institution”. If I have to fight this act financial terrorism in any legal way, my battle will be on Canadian soil using Canadian resources.

    My general questions for your comments:
    1. I’ve decided that I can avoid going to the US forever. Are there any *Canadian* legal implications to this strategy? e.g. Tax Treaty? I understand that banking might get more difficult *if* FATCA moves forward. But that’s only if banks know -or suspect- that I am a US person.
    2. Assuming that I might want to comply with the IRS, why would I ever hire a professional lawyer or accountant from the offshore foreign government that is attacking me and many other Canadians?

  46. @canadianpat

    Unlike you, I was born on U.S. soil, but became Canadian in in early 90’s so believed I was done with the U.S. from any obligation as voted, paid taxes here, had kids, never had U.S. holdings…..etc.

    The Canadian government said it WILL not collect any taxes from Canadian citizens who the U.S. has decided to grab and screw. The tax treaties are for those that are U.S. citizens like landed immigrants and those on work permits who have ties to the U.S. and have bank accounts here or are “hiding” money here. There are also there to protect people from double tax if you did have to pay both places.

    Like you – I wonder how the Canadian banks will determine who they think has American blood which is about the test or made the mistake that their parent went into labour there. I opened my account with a SIN and driver’s license so no one asked me where I was born, but I still do worry. The government won’t do anything, but the bank could tell you take your money out of their bank if you don’t pay the U.S. My husband and I are considering credit unions like many here and am skipping down the street to visit one this week that is around the corner from my house. Credit Unions do not have holdings in foreign countries I think by the nature of them being credit unions so are not obligated to FATCA. I think the decision to comply is theirs/their members. So if considering one …..ask the CEO. Someone on here did and said Alterna does not plan to comply.

    Like you I can live just fine with never going back there and in fact even if I do decide to deal with this when I believe the facts are all out and in writing ….as I don’t trust they “probably” will not fine. As for lawyers and accountants on the other side of border – you need to worry about the accountants here as well who file U.S. tax and see big $$ signs for getting you to do 7 or so years worth as they will tell you “NEED” to file. It was going to cost me $3200.00. Then since I never filed since I became Canadian I could get 70K fine as for a few years I would owe. As for the tax treaty which would allow credit back from Canada – my accountant implied they would only go back 3 years, so I would owe U.S. could get fines, and not get money back from CRA. Somehow didn’t see that as a win anyway I looked at it. I don’t have 100K tucked away to pay even if I wanted to – which I don’t.

    So for now I am sitting tight and you should probably consider it too – they are going after RRSPs as well. I do worry and am angry that this could affect my kids and husband as well and because I have no faith in the U.S. to be fair – I worry what pressure they have on the Canadian banks and when I will get some letter from them saying confess your sins of whether you are American – but for me if the worse thing that happens is I move my money to a credit union – then so be it. Even if this got straight – I will never go back and spend a dime in a country that would do this to innocent people because the “WHALES” figured out long ago how to beat the system and they never will land them so us Minnows who would probably spend more in tourism – I hope people decide to never travel there. For me I am waiting to see if I can relinquish since there are many fighting that became foreign citizens that felt they did so I am not considered a “criminal” to them – but will never spend a dime there again.

    I am a Flaherty fan and he is sticking tough …so hopefully our own government will be our saviours from the Big Bad Wolf. Canada is really the only country that has stood up to them and am proud to be CANADIAN. So am hanging tough, having some faith in Flaherty and government here, and watching the U.S. election as this is an Obama tactic to make people believe he did something. Let’s see if he gets back in and whether Romney can figure out he could be a hero abroad and gain favour by revising this to truly only go after those that it was suppose to.

    Keep the faith.

  47. @canadianpat,
    Welcome! We feel your pain, anger, confusion and sadness. I am sorry that you have to face this horrible mess. We are all here to help each other in trying to determine the best solution. It is surely a hard one.

    I was awake most of the night (AGAIN) trying to decide what is best. Damned if you do the right thing and Damned if you don’t. I think it is a gamble either way. We all here at IBS just want it to JUST GO AWAY!!

    Believe me we feel your pain! and are sorry that you have been dragged in this sickening, horrible, confusing mess of a ordeal.. There are some wonderful people on this site that will try to help you as much as they can, but like I have been told many many times, it will be your decision right or wrong.. and it is a bitch trying to figure it out..

    Stay with us here, we are all in it together!! We need each others support!

  48. @Proud Canadian
    Thanks. Your comments are helpful. A few words about Canadian Banks: The major banks spent minimum $100 million each for Basel II compliance, which is just one piece of the whole compliance puzzle. They also each have significant investments in Anti Money Laundering (AML), Patriot Act, etc.. They won’t say it in public but compliance is already hurting them badly in terms of money and focus on their customers. And now comes another US F-Bomb: FATCA. I predict the CDN banks will gladly and quietly drive US accounts/customers to alternative FI’s like Credit Unions, possibly via a different fee structure. They won’t care where you go as long as its not with them. Another thought. All of the computer hardware, the FATCA software and the consulting services to help CDN banks will come from the US. The IRS will collect taxes from all of these US providers. The CDN banks will write-off all of these expenses against the Canadian taxpayer base. And they’ll increase fees and lower rates of return to cover all of these costs. So ALL Canadians are now paying to support arcane US laws and with FATCA we’ll all pay more. The US has started a really big fire so they can firetrucks to the victims. Never waste a crisis.

  49. Canadian pat. Welcome. You are somewhat lucky in that you can forget about the whole thing. Remember what Steven Mopsick said. ‘Why Oh why would you do anything to bring yourself to the US’s attention?’ and google Monty Python’s ‘how not to be seen’. As a Canadian you have absolutely no obligation to the US and Jim Flaherty has stated publicly that the can gov is on your side.

  50. @Chester, you and Joe Smith seem to be very certain that we’ll be able to just say I’m Canadian and leave it at that. And I think you’re right to start with. But I have a sneaking suspicion that at some point we will need some sort of document acceptable to the banks for proof (as identified by the IRS). I think that people like me, who don’t have much in the bank are years off the radar, not having $50k+ sitting in a bank account, however, I have no faith that the rules won’t change specifically to catch us little minnows. We that don’t have the money in our accounts also don’t have the money to pay for expensive consultants, and could be considered easy pickin’s. However, I’m certainly not panicking over this, I just wish I shared your faith that the banks will just take us at a our word. My investment firm has already asked me if I was a US citizen, and it’s early days…. Unless you’ve read or seen something I’ve missed, that reassures you? If so, I would love to know as it would take another weight of my shoulders…

  51. I’ve read the latest draft of the Fatca regs . Accounts under 50 k are exempt. Accounts between 50k and 1 mm are to be checked ‘electronically’ for ‘us indicia’ Looking mainly for a US address. They don’t know and don’t have a right to know where you were born. Over 1 mm your private investment advisor is supposed to vouch for you. RRSPs, TFSAs, RRIFs are probably exempt. I am not a lawyer.

    For new accounts, the rules will be in the future , more strict. They may ask your citizenship. You are canadian. Full stop.

  52. PS they don’t have time for minnows let alone little minnows but if you want to clog the system, feel free.

  53. Chester12:

    ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. For twenty years I have been aware of all this and my solution was to 1) ask my Credit Union what my citizenship was and they said Canadian. 2) to move all my checking account funds from a chartered bank to this credit union; and 3) to resolve NEVER to cross the border again and 4) assure that my adopted daughter is free of all this by virtue of not having a “biological link” to me as the US regulations put it.

    I sleep well and am so chagrined to see so many people suffering over this at the Isaac Brock Society.

  54. @Chester & Joe, just to be clear, personally, I am no longer losing sleep over this, however, I am trying to decide if I need to try and get a CLN or not, for down the road. I am not volunteering for ovdi, or filing any taxes or fbars and do not see how I could do much to clog the system. I’m just trying to think proactively here for when FATCA is implemented. I mean, I hope it gets stopped but I think it’s a forelorn hope. Maybe one day I will come to have the certainty of you two, I certainly hope so, as I do envy it! It’s in my nature to be a worrier, I’m afraid, and that’s hard to turn off.

  55. @outragec, I think the process of trying to get a CLN may put you on the IRS radar, it could be the beginning of a new nightmare. Probably best to just lay low and watch how things play out. The Canadian government may negotiate something on everybody’s behalf. If not then well we could all be exiles in Canada. There are worse places to hide out.

  56. There are one million of us here in Canada. Margaret Wente, Jeffrey Simpson, Elizabeth May, and many more people in responsible and highly visible positions that I care to mention. And Canadians — luckily — do NOT like the USA and this extends to NDPers, Conservatives, Liberals and just about everybody else.

  57. @OMG, I think you’re probably right. I’m certainly NOT going to rush into anything. I can absolutely live with being an exile in Canada, zero reason for me ever to go to the US again. I’m more concerned about how my mother will react, being the law abiding person she is, and it was a hard fought battle to stop her from filing. That’s mainly where the CLN was going to come in. However, she certainly isn’t aware of any of this, and while I don’t want to keep her in the dark, I’m also trying to calm her down, which I think I’ve done. At any rate, a CLN would probably be the one thing that would allow her to rest easy. However, not going to worry about that for a while.
    @Saddened, I think you’re probably right too. Right or wrong, and only time will tell, I think there are more people worried than not.

  58. @Joe, that actually is one of the things that helps give me comfort. I’m a little tiny fish, but there are some high profile and powerful people in this situation that hopefully will refuse to roll over and show their bellies to the IRS….

  59. @saddened123
    Thanks very much for your kind words

    Your blog has been very helpful. I think that there is a link to the Letter that TD Compliance sent to US Treasury. I read that letter carefully. Twice.

    TD recommended (last year) to the US Treasury various manual and electronic means to satisfy the US Treasury requirements. All of this aimed at cost reduction, and compliance with PIPEDA and other CDN banking “rules”. One of the manual procedures that TD recommends is that they will request a passport (I *assume* on Account Open). *If* that procedure is ever put in place, then your birthplace on your CDN Passport will be obvious. And the Bank did not, in the literal sense, ask for your birthplace.

    At this stage I think that there is some justifiable cause for concern. However I am personally not losing sleep over this aspect of the smouldering turd that has been laid on our doorsteps.

  60. Here is something funny among our dissatisfaction with our place of birth. If the banks are complying by asking for a passport when you open an account – then this might ensure that they don’t lose customers as you will never change. My concern has been dragging my family members into this with my name on joint accounts – but do I believe that the charter banks want to lose 1M accounts in Canada to credit unions. They cannot afford to send every person that has an account a note that says send me your passport and prove your birth. I know for a fact where my investment are I show Canadian – the only thing I am going to do now not out of fear but out of protest is take any of my RRSP that is invested in Obamaworld and invest it elsewhere.

    I am hoping that some constitutional lawyer who wants to make a name for him/herself gets off their behinds and takes this up as a cause because I think it has unconstitutional all over it. I agree that there are a lot of people that have deep pockets that are in this mess too and I doubt are going to roll over and play dead.

    As for people worried about their kids because they were born to you ….think about it. They have a Canadian passport saying born in Canada – do we really give the U.S. credit for searching out your children and their names if you don’t go forward and comply – which is why I never will unless they come up with a blanket amnesty for those of us who had no idea we were American ever or still.

    The people I feel for are those that have to do something because they have close family members there. My parents are gone and my other family members I find think I am some kind of subversive for moving out of the country by choice , then I married a Catholic, and think Canada has turned me into a Socialist. They spend most of their time sending me emails on political things about the U.S. that my husband has to take the keyboard away from me not to rip a strip off of them and tell them to get a brain and think for themselves and stop drinking the koolaid – so can definitely live without seeing them again.

    I think that though we are angry – a lot more of it is hurt and disbelief that things are this bad in the U.S. that they stoop to these levels and worse no one is stopping them. I think anyone who has lived there knows we should be a little worried as it is the unknown we always fear – but I am not going to let them ruin my life. I am done with them and will never go back even if I could. I think the only thing they will eventually understand is if this affects their pocketbooks adversely by countries standing up – I hope someone does.

  61. And BMO, and Scotiabank. Are all already preparing for fatca, some even hiring new people to deal with it. found on plain old google search…

  62. @Proud Canadian
    I can certainly relate to ‘the only thing I am going to do now, not out of fear but out of protest, is take any of my RRSP that is invested in Obamaworld and invest it elsewhere’. I mentioned this to several friends and family members. A couple of people said to me that is a ‘bit like shooting yourself in the foot – just compare the market of Canada to the DOW of the last year’. That is true – ours’ lost money big time, theirs made big gains. That ticks me off – not what I want to happen. So if I pull all investments out of the US, I am such ‘small potatoes’, I don’t hurt them much but do I hurt myself because as the saying goes ‘don’t put all your eggs in one basket’.

  63. @tiger
    U.S. and Canada aren’t the only places you can invest. There are other countries that are doing better than us. I lost a LOT in my U.S. investments – moreso than the ones I had in Canada and elsewhere – just have to look at the mix.

  64. @CanadianPat, thanks for your kind words on my blog. It’s my escape valve… I have been compiling a list of various banks and firms letters and FAQs on FATCA, and have finally combined and posted the links on my blog.
    There’s a very interesting one that lists the various banks & institutions and law firm comments on FATCA, from around the world. I’ll add the link here, in case anyone is interested:
    There must be over 50 letters posted….

  65. I would like to start a compilation of letters or comments on the subject of our value as non-resident Americans to the US and the rest of the world. It is becoming increasingly more and more obvious that the government of the United States of America does not consider its citizen’s living abroad to be of value, in fact, evidence shows that we are considered to be more of a liability. I’m not yet sure how we can use these personal thoughts and opinions, but it may at least be cathartic for some.
    My question to everyone is: What is the loss to America when an American renounces his or hers United States citizenship?

  66. @bubblebustin. I think this would make for a very interesting read, but I personally don’t have anything to contribute. I left the US when I was 6 and have really only ever considered myself Canadian. I haven’t thought of the US much at all and until now being born there has had no impact on my life. However, I look forward to reading it!

  67. CanadianPat That’s not exactly what TD recommended and they were ignored in any case. What TD suggested was that they would ask for a passport of those account holders who were not residents of ‘the local tax country’ i.e. for Canadian branches, non residents of Canada.

    Since they were ignored, it is moot.

  68. @Chester12
    Thanks very much for that clarification. I was unaware that TD was ignored. But maybe I should have expected that given the aggressive nature of the US.

    Regardless I appreciate your clarification and I think that it is important for readers of TD’s letter to understand that is now irrelevant.

  69. @bubblebustin

    You asked what is the loss to the U.S. when an American renounces their citizenship. It is evident that all the loss is in tax dollars to them nothing else. What they should understand is what is should mean to them. It means that someone that grew up with the beliefs in America and freedom and those that would have gone to battle at what ever cost for them would not any more. When I became Canadian I thought I did give up my citizenship and I took that very seriously and thought hard about it. I still loved the country I grew up in and took pride in my heritage and it had nothing to do with being “upset” at the U.S. It had to do with moving here and believing you can truly only serve one master. If I am going to live in a country, pay taxes and reap the benefits of the social system. If I am going to have a voice I need to vote and be a part of the country I live.

    I voted here, I raised my family here, and I have truly become Canadian and if I was required just as I would have when I was American – I would do anything for my country. Though it wasn’t something I didn’t take lightly I didn’t feel I was renouncing or relinquishing my citizenship out of lack of caring about my homeland – it was I just wasn’t living there now. Now I find out I am still considered American by the U.S. and when all of this is settled I am sure I will have to relinquish/renounce most likely and that will have a very different meaning to me. I am doing it because I want nothing more to do with a country that would treat people who were born and proud to be American and what that used to stand for versus just leaving. This is like some bad nightmare. I feel like I am in an espionage movie …. if you read everything on here that people have said, what they have been through…etc. – did anyone really believe something like this was possible?

    I guess each generation experiences something they can’t explain and have no control. My in-laws lived through Nazi Germany and for a long time were oblivious to what was really going on. It wasn’t until things were bad that the average citizen knew. I am not comparing in anyway that to this – but it is about a world power using their power how they see fit without any regard for who they hurt. I paid my taxes in the U.S. was a law abiding citizen and if I had known I was not relinquishing/renouncing when I became Canadian – I would have either decided to go through some formal process then or made the decision to remain dual and do what I was suppose to. While I was living here prior to being a citizen, I filed and paid my U.S. tax.

    So I am not sure this answered your question of how America feels – I don’t think they care because if they did instead of treating us like criminals they would work through this with us to do what is right for both parties. To make someone who had no idea they were in violation of anything who has paid taxes to a foreign country basically bankrupt themselves and their family and affect their retirement without being reasonable is unconscionable – so I think that really does tell you how it affects them – it doesn’t. It is about dollars and cents and not how hard it is for that person to have to renounce/relinquish .

  70. @ Proud Canadian

    I became Canadian for the same reasons you di. Like you, I thought long and hard about it before I took that step. At the time I became a Canadian (1972) there was a renunciatory oath that one had to swear. My late husband knew this and insisted I be very, very sure that it was what I wanted to do. But like you, I felt such a big part of Canadian society; my family was growing up here; I needed to be able to vote in order to contribute wholly in Canadian life.
    Like you, I now find that because the US may still consider me an American, I might have to go through a formal process of ‘relinquishment’. Like you my feelings about my former country have changed. I liken it in many ways to a grieving process and I am at the ‘anger’ stage. I feel so angry that my former country is causing me to have these horrendous feelings.

  71. @Canadianpat & Chester12,
    I’ve split the links on my blog to separate comment letters from actual IRS regulations. It’s been difficult to find anything on the IRS site itself regarding their response to all of those comment letters, but I’ll keep looking.

  72. Well, I’m finally out…or nearly so anyway. I renounced today in Halifax and will now wait impatiently for the best part of a year for my CLN. I’m free!!!

  73. @Bruce Newman

    Congratulatons. Did they give you any idea of how long you might have to wait for the CLN. You said that you had ‘renounced’. Does this mean that you are already compliant with any tax or FBAR obligations, or do you do that going forward?

  74. That’s great, Bruce Newman.

    We are compiling a database to track differences among Consulates and would like to include your information if you’ll let us (statistics only, no names) If you are OK with this, please let me know the following:

    When was your first contact with the Halifax consulate and time wait until first appointment?
    I see you are renouncing (vs relinquishing). Were you able to do that with one appointment only vs two appointments at some Consulates?
    Did you come away with any copy of what you had signed for your renunciation?
    Was it indicated how long you would have to wait for your CLN?

    Again, congratulations!!

  75. @tiger. I’m up to date on taxes and FBARs after being shocked out of my mind last August. I tried to relinquish but had to renounce, along with the $450 fee. I’ve kept good notes and will post all the details of the entire process when I can. Until then…I’M FREE!

  76. @tiger. I’m up to date on taxes and FBARs after being shocked out of my mind last August. I tried to relinquish but had to renounce, along with the $450 fee. I’ve kept good notes and will post all the details of the entire process when I can. Until then…I’M FREE!

    I forgot to mention that I was told that a CLN will take nearly a year. Today, I was told that because of the increase in US citizens expatriating, they “have made some changes” and it should be somewhat faster, whatever that means.

  77. @calgary411. I’d be happy to post that info but can’t get at it until tomorrow night. Actually, I was going to post details of the whole process for anyone interested.

  78. Thanks for the information you’ve given so far and I’ll update the database with your statistics when you have them. Thanks once again!!

  79. @Bruce.

    In my view, it is a positive thing that people at the Halifax Consulate have offered information that more US citizens are expatriating — and that ‘they have made some changes’. I think one of the changes might be that some Consulates are requiring just one appointment, when it makes sense, instead of staying with prior absurdity of sending us away to think about it then having us come back for the second appointment at which time we could actually renounce.

  80. Hi,

    It would be nice if posting to the blog was not at the bottom of the page way down here.

    I have been documenting my experience as a US citizen who has returned to Canada.

    I just finished a writeup on preparing my US taxes with all of the ugly details.

    I also did a writeup on preparing my Canadian taxes.

    I hope you can add this to your steam. It really is a hinderance to quality of life.



    P.S. I am in Calgary and looking for a job. I am a CPA well versed in tax complexity.

  81. does anyone have an experience that the us govt felt renuciation was for tax purposes and banned entry to the USA? I spoke with a lawyer in calgary who said that he had seen a few cases, but not sure if it is a common thing? After the first meeting, what usually happens in the second meeting? is there always a second meeting?


  82. Hi, Mike. Calgary seems to be doing it in one meeting. Check out the boxes at the top of the main page for the link to renunciation statistics/timeline, arranged by consulate, and also for the link to consulate visit reports, arranged by consulate, where people have written about their renunciation meetings.

    s 1813 rollcall–50 democrats yes, zero no. Half of the republicans voted yes.
    S 1813 “Transportation Act” revokes the passport and denies entry for anyone owing 50,000 in taxes. Is this also targeting US residents hiding their money in foreign bank accounts? (no, this targets US citizens living in Canada, Sweden, New Zealand and all of those other abusive tax havens).
    Passed by Senate, ready for vote by House of Reps.

  84. @Ovid, I’m positive by now you know who I am in another virtual world. I enjoy your sarcasm (being sarcastic myself), indignation and clever comments. And although we don’t know each other at all really, I think of you as a true rebel! I look forward to reading more from you in the future.

  85. I’m a US citizen and I live in the US, but I am outraged by what this country is doing to its own citizens who live abroad. Thank you for telling your stories and exposing this horrible mess. I completely support your quest for repealing citizenship-based taxation, FATCA and the like. I may have to move to another country for personal reasons someday and I don’t want to be trapped like many of you are right now. As I live in the US, I have the ability to contact my representatives, while most of you cannot, so I feel almost obligated to help my fellow citizens this way. I’m writing a letter to send to my representatives and candidates about all this, and I’d like to join this blog to post about any responses that I receive. You can consider me as your friend back in the US.

  86. i Notice that so many of the comment letters (from FFI’s and ACA and others) to the proposed rulemakings and their hearings begin with very positive tone and make very minimal demands–such as increasing the 8938 threshholds from $100,000 to $200,000.
    This resuts in results such as this from FinCen: “In response to the NPRM, FinCEN received a total of 42 timely filed comment letters from individuals, entities, and representatives of various groups and industries whose members are affected by FBAR requirements. The comments were generally supportive of the NPRM””

  87. I also note that these insane policies are initiated by expensive new programs (HEROES, HIRE acts). Apparently, these programs need to be presented as revenue-neutral in a time where raising taxes is impossible (politically & economically). Therefore, the money is pickpocketed from the easiest political sources–“tax cheaters”, öne-percenters”, and the “rich guys who are leaving the country in order to pay their fair share” These are extremely popular themes and we are the recipients of this hot air. (It’s an effective old political technique–Hitler also used it to wipe out a particular group of one-percenters)

  88. Note the cv of the USA ambassador to Sweden–it is very impressive. He has an extensive background in anti-corruption law. Simple decution shows that he is appointed for the number one goal of finding all of the US persons who have moved to Sweden in order to escape taxation.

  89. @Mark Twain

    Impressive of course…yet does he even speak Swedish? The US Ambassadors to Belgium and Switzerland, from what I have seen, also are monolingual. Do other countries send ambassadors with only a knowledge of French or German to represent themselves in Japan or Saudi Arabia? At the very least you would think that they would have a pool of some diplomats who could speak French for my two examples above. Disgraceful.

  90. @Shadow Raider, THANK YOU! We know that people like you exist, but we mostly hear from those who prefer to call us tax evading traitors. I’ve always felt that most Americans in the US would be appalled if they would only allow themselves to see beyond the stigma that the US government has created (intentionally and unintentionally) against us. Restrictions and impediments to being able to go out into the world strikes a blow at what Americans believe constitutes freedom. The best thing you could do is to support us among those you know in the US, representatives, and the media!

  91. @Shadow Raider, Thank you, we appreciate all the help we can get…nice to have your support. We are definetly Not Tax Cheats!

  92. Something strange has started happening with my incoming emails from this site today. Every time I post on a thread I get an email for every comment that somebody makes after. I want this to stop.

    When you enter a new message the Notify me of follow-up comments via email button is already checked off as a default. How do I make it unchecked as the default?

  93. Ok, I think I solved my problem by blocking all emails. Now the notify me thingie is unchecked.

  94. sorry if the sarcasm wasn’t self-evident. (speaking non-native Swedish would be counterproductive). The only reason that Barry and his merry men would send a guy like that would be to flush out all the US-person tax evaders and to dole out penalties. The other reason is that Sweden is very motivated to be reciprocal–although the banks said they can’t directly comply, but they asked the government to cave in for them. Since Anders Breivik’s mother kept his accounts in USA the popular opinion will be similarly antagonistic. Expect a similar narc-ing reciprocity in the Nordic countries shortly.…/nordic-banks-push-fatca-deal
    This ambassador is the perfect lacky for getting the Swedish to fall into line for FATCA.

  95. Just found this blog tonight looking for answers. I was born and raised here but married a sweet US gal 20yrs ago. We have lived in Canada the whole time but with aging parents etc it was always our intention to move closer to her family. What a nightmare it is getting to be. Where to start.
    Most are aware of the tax rules etc so we started filing returns for her quite a number of years ago to stay onside for her peace of mind.
    Since Canada generally has a higher tax rate it was a minor formallity and we live near the border etc so we just did it. We have had some luck due to hardwork etc and managed to sell a business for stock in a public company. We were minority owners but still as many could atest it was nice. She had never bought any RRSP’s due to her low income and I had bought spousal to keep us “even” for income splitting etc. Being responsible and frugal. Well she sold a portion of her shares to capture the gain and used her accumulated RRSP room to minmize the tax. Good in Canada but the US does not recognize the “tax break” so we had to pay tax in the US on the whole shot.
    I noticed this year we have US tax slips from her TFSA. My brokerage account sent me US tax slips.
    We have used some of our proceeds to invest in two startup business’s in the US as that is where we planned to move(also before this hitting the fan). We are minor investors but still looking to use our accumulated knowledge. I found out a few days ago the one venture is a total loss but I cannot claim the loss here nor her on her Canadian tax and the other venture is looking OK but that If it is profitable before we leave the Canada(if we do now) we would be hit with 88% tax because neither system acknowledges the other and we would pay full rate for the type of partnership on both sides.
    So I started making adjustments to our “plan” and thankfully she is the holder of the second venture and hopefully it is not profitable until we move(how absurd of a way to think).
    I got her life insurance policy statement the other day and realized it has a “cash” dividend component that we never see. It just buys more insurance etc. Not even thinking of that I never reported it. Then thinking further you are supposed to report “gifts”. So if I put money in her account from mine to buy a car will she have to pay on the “gift” and be penalized on the “highest balance”??????
    I have literally been sick the last few days after reading the fine print closer. I have thought of cashing out the policy and putting the cash on a credit card or something so it doesn’t show in the bank but ??????? Do I “ride it out” and “hope” or be upfront that I “forgot” about the cash value of the policy?
    We are far from 1%ers but have done ok and worked hard and risked what we had to try to get ahead and now it all seems at risk.
    Then to top it off reading through this I realized my Grandfather came from an orphanage stateside and I bet my elderly father is totally oblivious to what “could” happen although I know he would never comply or do anything to alert them. He is a patriotic Canadian to the core and will be PO’d when I tell him he could “technically” be caught up.
    Sorry for the long post. So much more but I am sure you can see my dilema.
    To top it off Canada does not make it easy to relocate but I am still looking into those details. Thanks for the blog.

  96. Sick Why tell your father? Let him be. He’s fine the way he is.

    Gifts from you to your wife are not reportable. Gifts from her to you would be although there are yearly and annual exemptions . The current exemption may be as much as 5 million. Due to expire at the end of 2012.

    I don’t know enough about life insurance to comment.

  97. Sick – Glad you found your way to Brock. Glad you’re starting from the Canadian side. It sounds like you are enmeshed in one humongous ratnest of no-win saw-offs and mismatches. If you do decide to relocate to the US, at the least you may encounter less exit crap than the Canadian residents who are currently trying to cut loose from the US parasite. The costs of health care insurance on the other side must be a huge disincentive, unless you’ve got one of those privileged jobs lined up.

  98. I have found this blog while looking for information that might help me decide to disclose my Canadian bank accounts. I have been living in Canada since l979 and have been a dual citizen for about 15 years. While I have not filed a US tax return every year, I have filed often. I have never had to pay US taxes except for the year in which I received an inheritance from a relative in the US. That year, I paid a good sized US tax bill (as well as Canadian) but I was not shocked about this. All of my working life has been in Canada and I have been putting money into RSP’s and investments etc. I have recently retired and thought I would be enjoying my first year in retirement but now this question of “do I or do I not disclose” my Canadian bank accounts to the IRS has been the cause of great concern. Since I have family in the US I do not want to renounce my US citizenship and for all of these years, I thought I was doing what was correct and filed my US tax return for most the time I have been living here. So, here I am..I have money in the bank, have reported earnings to the US on my 1040 form and could still be facing enormous penalties to the IRS if I don’t disclose personal financial information. All of the information I have read so far has been enlightening but I am still unsure as to what to do…FBAR or not? 8938 or not? I welcome your replies.

  99. “myhomeCanada”
    Since you know of your obligation, i think, i am not an attorney (not that they know any better), you should at the least comply from this day going forward

  100. @myHomeCanadian

    The form 8938 is a new requirement starting this filing year(June 15 2012) so there is not an issue there dealing with past years. I also believe if you file an extension you can hold off on this years form 8938 until the fall just like any other return.

    The FBAR is up to you. Many are filing back ones many are not.

  101. @myHomeCanadian

    I will also note the Government of Canada will not collect “FBAR” penalties under any circumstances.

  102. I was thinking of filing both the 8938 as well as the FBAR for this year. I hope that this does not open a “can of worms” and they will want me to file FBARs for past years. Any thoughts?

  103. @myhomeCanada
    I have several clients, resident in Canada, but U.S. citizens. Their decision (with the advice of different accountants) has been to file both 1040s and FBARs going forward. Two of these clients are not Canadian citizens but do plan on finally becoming Canadian. I do not think they wish to give up their U.S. citizenship. I have another client who is a dual Canadian/U.S. citizen. He has decided to try to ‘stay hidden’ at least for the present.
    It is such a personal decision and I am sure if you read this site, you will realize that each of us has a different story and a different attitude. My own is that the U.S., the place of my birth, has let me down. I am disappointed in them and almost feel that I have been stripped of ‘who I am’. I am afraid I have come to resent America. And I am very sad that I feel the way I do.

  104. I also feel saddened and so greatly disappointed in the US. From border guards that treat me like a traitor to this IRS situation, the US is driving more and more of us away. My husband who is Canadian born, feels as if I should stay hidden but I can’t live with this indecision year after year. So I am going to continue following this blog and getting as much input as I can so that I can feel satisfied with my decision.

  105. @myhomecanada, Sorry that you are having to deal with this intrusion in your life.. It really is aggravating, scary and nerve wrecking experience. But you will get through it, don’t worry. My husband (Canadian) was the same, told me don’t do anything.

    . He was totally against me filing. Oh Boy did we ever go around and around on the subject.. But finally I did file because I am just a nervous person, but I have to admit there are times that I wish I would not have got started. I am not yet a Canadian Citizen but have been in Canada for 35 years, now in the process of getting my Canadian Citizenship

    . A Big mistake not taking Citizenship years ago.. I love Canada. I am so sad what the US has done to it’s Expats.. I am planning on Renouncing my US Citizenship when I become a Canadian.. I hate it has come to this.. I am so disappointed in the US!!

  106. Have you been filing US tax returns for the past years? Are you having to pay any penalties?

    I shouldn’t have to renounce my US citizenship. I haven’t done anything wrong. I only just learned of the FBAR and I hope that in my attempt to comply, I am not penalized. This is very frustrating as I am a law abiding person and have done what I thought I was supposed to do. I would like the IRS to show me the communications that inform me of the FBAR. If is wasn’t for a short blurb in the Zoomer magazine, I would never have known anything about this.

  107. @myhomecanada, I have not been filing for 35 years that I have been in Canada, I knew nothing of it, I had no idea I was suppose to be filing. It is so frustrating, I heard about it on the evening news at the end of August 2011, I almost fell out of a chair.. I could not believe what I was hearing, then starting really looking into and got scared out of my mind..

    I am law abiding citizens also. We are not tax cheats. It is so ridculous how we are being treated.. Not Right, Not Fair !!

    I wish I didn’t have to renounce but I can’t do this year after year, too expensive for accountants.

  108. @myhomecanada, If there is anything I can help you with just let me know.. there are alot of great people on this site. You have definetly come to the right place.

  109. @bubblebustin, I have now filed 5 years, but did not file for 35 years.. I didn’t realize I had too..

  110. @myhomecanada, It has only been about 6 months since I filed, haven’t heard anything yet..They are probably so bogged down with paperwork. I am hoping this is a good sign.. but I have a feeling they have not even got to my return yet. Keeping fingers crossed..

  111. For anyone interested I’m in the same boat as saddened123. I’ve been a Canadian citizen since 1971 and lived in Canada since 1965, I only learned about 1040s and FBARs in August, 2011 and promptly file 7 years worth before the end of August, I haven’t heard a word back from the IRS…but I did renounce in March.

  112. Some would say that there are many shades of meaning in all of the negotiations about FATCA, FBAR, and Double Taxation. What is the middle ground? Is there a middle ground? Should we, after all we have seen of IRS bait and switch practices, search for a middle ground or look for a multi-tier approach in the application of FATCA, FBAR and Double Taxation? Or is the correct answer something like “None of the above”?

    Personally, I reject the US extraterritorial incursions at issue on Isaac Brock, and do reject such even more emphatically as to bone fide residents outside the United States of America. I think that the zero-tier approach is the only valid response to US attempts at imposing its bureaucratic imperialism. USA: get out of the lives of bone fide residents abroad!

    An open question as to shades of meaning in the current opaque business of negotiations around FATCA implementation: Imagine that a non-US institution has a theoretical depositor who is a non-US resident (USP recalcitrant, USP compliant, local citizen, 3rd country citizen, or any imaginable permutation of the above) what does the financial institution really risk if the depositor holds only basic accounts with the bank (no US investments)? Examples: current/salary accounts or savings accounts.

    If such a theoretical depositor receives no money from the US and sends no money to the US through their account, I would think that there would be no 30% withholding. Somebody correct me if I am wrong (please cite sources).

    US citizens resident abroad have already been barred from both foreign and US brokerage accounts for many years now. This was already a discriminatory denial of equal economic rights. We cannot allow things to get worse. Nay, we must turn back the tide.

  113. @grromit
    I landed in Canada in 1964 and became a citizen in 1972. At that time, the Canadian oath of citizenship required both an oath of allegiance to the Queen and her heirs and a ‘renunciatory oath’ renouncing any allegiance to any foreign sovereign or state.
    I have been doing lots of research on this blog and many other sites. My firm belief is that anyone in this situation, who has not done anything since becoming a Canadian to indicate that they wished to retain their U.S. citizenship, is, in fact, entitled to a CLN based on ‘relinquishment’, dated back to their expatriating act. There would be no need to file any back U.S. taxes. And certainly I have no intention of doing so.

  114. US citizen or not: in Canada, as a Canadian Citizen, your activities in Canada ARE NOT SUBJECT TO THE JURISDICTION OF THE UNITED STATES !!!

    When will the IRS and other Unca Sam federal administration people finally understand this? When will our governments in the countries where we live quit kneeling before Unca Sam and tell him to go back to the lower-48?

  115. @Jefferson D. Tomas
    The Breivik trial in Norway is being intensively covered front page throughout Scandinavia, with continous sidebars about the topic. About 2 weeks ago there were articles out that Breivik’s mother held his money in USA banks and it was labeled as money laundering in the press. I did not see followup articles—neither about a retraction nor about any police reaction. Scandinavian residents are expected to self-report their foreign assets for world-wide income taxation on interest. Norway has a wealth tax on worldwide assets whereas Sweden eliminated its wealth tax in 2005. Not reporting that income would have been a tax crime. That high-profile coverage would surely set a mood in Scandinavia to make the same reciprocity deal as the 5 FR/UK/D/S/i? made a few months ago. With the latest Obama add attacking Romney’s swiss bank account, the USA mood against us will also get worse.

  116. I finished writing a letter to my representatives (one in the House and two senators) about citizenship-based taxation, FATCA, FBAR, and the nightmare that people are reporting in this blog. I also thought about sending this letter to the current presidential candidates, so I searched about their opinion on the issue.

    Barack Obama, in his quest to tax the “rich” even more, is in part responsible for the financial mess that US citizens abroad are facing. Someone in this blog already sent a letter to him and received an automatic response that did not address the issue, so I thought that it would be useless to send him my letter now. I may send it to him later if he is re-elected.

    Mitt Romney is proposing territorial taxation for corporations, so I think he might agree with residency-based taxation for people. I’m sending my letter to him.

    Ron Paul has a much easier solution: abolish the entire income tax and eventually shut down the IRS. Doesn’t that sound nice? I guess I don’t even need to send him my letter. Too bad that he has a negligible chance of receiving the republican nomination, let alone being elected.

    I now have a WordPress ID, so I would appreciate if I could become an author in this blog, so I can post the responses that I receive from the politicians.

  117. I’ve also been talking about the issue to people I know. Most are surprised that US citizens abroad even have to pay taxes to the US, and are shocked when I mention all the rules, forms and penalties. I just hope that the politicians have some empathy too.

  118. @Shadow Raider
    Welcome to Isaac Brock Society. ‘Most are surprised that US citizens abroad even have to pay taxes to the US’. How true it is. Very few Americans seem to understand or have any clue at all what is happening to US persons abroad between taxation, FBAR forms and FATCA.
    Also, your comment regarding Obama being partly responsible. He is the person who appointed Timothy Geithner; he is responsible.


    “James George Jatras is a Principal of Squire Sanders Public Advocacy, a Washington-based government relations firm. He previously served as a policy analyst at U.S. Senate and as an American diplomat. He can be reached at”

    His article:

    FATCA’s “Vulnerabilities Evident,” Washington Expert Claims, Calls for Repeal

    WASHINGTON, May 10, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — The following is being released by Global Strategic Communications Group:

    The FATCA law should be scrapped, writes James George Jatras, a Washington-based legislative specialist and expert in international affairs, in a May 8 UPI commentary. Citing “untold costs” versus “trivial revenue recovery,” Jatras shatters the myth that FATCA (“Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act”) is a “done deal” and calls for “first rendering FATCA unenforceable, and then for its final repeal.”

    Twitter @repealfatca

    UPI: “Why ‘FATCA’ should be repealed”

    For further analysis: “Global Financial Information Regime Looms”

    Contact: Global Strategic Communications Group, Darren Spinck, 202-669-4418,

    SOURCE Global Strategic Communications Group

  120. @wondering, that Marketwatch article should really be on its own thread! Mr Jatras has clout in Washington an a voice of reason in the wilderness of Washington. Reading it would cheer a lot of us up!

  121. Hello. I’m a former born-in-U.S. American who “willfully committed and reported an expatriating act” to the Tokyo Embassy late last year by acquiring Japanese nationality. I run a blog about acquiring Japanese citizenship , but I’d like to post here about renouncing if that’s okay, as renouncing one particular country (U.S.) citizenship is a little out of scope for my main blog. May I have posting privileges?

  122. @Eido Inoue

    Thanks for coming over. We are keeping a directory of consular expatriation visits. We don’t have any entries for Tokyo yet.

  123. I’d be happy to write one up. The hardest part of it was getting the appointments. Only the top consular officer apparently could do it (not the low level people that do visas), and his golf schedule and my business travel schedule never seemed to sync up. 😉 (I kid, I kid. Sort of) Once the stars were aligned though they were very polite and courteous.

    It got so bad that I almost tried renouncing in Taiwan, which has no embassy (due to the U.S.’s political stance with the PRC) and the “non-profit ACS” (American Services Center) handles a lot of expatriations due to the politics of Taipei vs America vs One China.

    In Japan, it takes three appointments with the embassy. In Taiwan, it takes just two. And the ACS, unlike most embassies, does not feel like an impersonal fortress where you shout through holes in bulletproof glass to a clerk whose finger is near a red panic button under the desk which summons the on-duty Marines.

  124. I finally compelled myself to sign-up at wordpress 🙂
    Please allow me to to start creating threads.

  125. With this bill, they’re only trying to legalize what they’ve been doing all along anyway.

  126. @Uncletell – I love the little icon. I need one of those.

    That article in itself is propoganda. The message they are saying is that they haven’t been using propaganda, which is a complete and total lie. Let those sheeple be manipulated!

  127. @geeez
    I’ll make one for ya, but I think you’ll have to register with wordpress so you can use it as a gravatar. That’s the main reason I registered with them 🙂 Who knows maybe I’ll start to post every now nad then. I put up a picture on my blog page from a trip with took a few days ago,

  128. UncleTell – I’m registered with wordpress. That’s how I post here. I’m in Brazil though.. That will make a GREAT facebook icon too. People will think.. WTF is that!? Maybe I’ll get “UNfriended” by a lot of Americans. But my email is – just take out the “_at_” and substitute it for @. <– this way I don't get too many spammers sending me Viagra emails 🙂

  129. Hi there. I’m ‘Curtis “Ovid” Poe’ mentioned above. I write the moderately popular expat blog I often write about these awful issues that Americans abroad are facing and I would love to join this blog as a contributor. I realize that I probably should have signed up for this wordpress account *before* asking to join above 🙂

    Feel free to send email to ovid at overseas-exile dot com to verify. I think you’ll fine my FATCA posts ( very sympathetic to your viewpoint.

  130. @ outragedcanadian
    “US Government Fundraising Event!” — Very good! 🙂
    But as for that last line …
    “Contact the IRS today to start your donation process!” — The dog ate my paper work and there’s a huge hole in my pocket. Sorry I’ve got nothing to give. 😦

  131. Hello All,

    I’ve been enjoying the posts. I left the U.S. in 1995 and moved to Canada. I’ve been a Canadian citizen since 1990 (my mother’s family is from Ontario). I moved to Switzerland in 1999 and am now applying for Swiss citizenship. I’ve been filing U.S. tax returns all along and have also paid U.S. tax (as U.S. tax rates are higher than Swiss rates). When I get my Swiss citizenship, can I then just stop using my U.S. passport, let it expire and then stop filing U.S. tax returns? What happens to investments in the US? I have both IRA and non-IRA mutual fund investments. Do I have to pay an exit tax? I heard if you are “rich”, they want you to continue to file and pay tax for another 10 years after you renounce citizenship. Is this true? What is the definition of “rich”. I hope I’ve posted in the right place.

  132. @Mooley, you can find full answers to your questions by some googling drudgework. In brief…

    Until you take explicit steps to renounce US citizenship the US insists you file a tax return, pay US tax, report your account balances to the US, and so on. Even if your passport has expired. Or indeed if you never held one at all. You can probably leave your US investments where they are for now — no choice on the IRA anyway — but beware of new US laws, in particular FATCA that tries to apply what are in effect currency controls on payments made to non-US citizens. To the US, “rich” means assets worldwide over ~$2MM, something that reaches well into the middle class. The 10 years after renunciation tax law is the pre-2008 (HEART) treatment of covered expats and applied only to US source income. Post-2008 that almost completely went away (replaced by the “exit tax” on your investments, taxed as if sold the day you renounce). A couple of goons in the senate are however now trying to bring it back for “rich” renunciants with Ex-PATRIOT, along with a permanent bar on ever visiting the US. Nobody knows if they’ll succeed, but with the poisonous political climate in the US it’s quite possible.

    One final thought. You apparently already hold both Canadian and US citizenship. Why would you then need to wait for Swiss before giving up US? Can’t you drop it immediately?

  133. @Watcher, thanks. I’m registered in Switzerland as a U.S. not Canadian citizen. If I were to do everything over, I would have registered upon arrival here as a Canadian back in 1999. Since my Swiss citizenship application is pending, changing my registration here from U.S. to Canadian would be quite complicated. Both my Swiss foreigner-ID card and my Swiss drivers license say “American”.

    What I’m wondering about is the U.S. investments. It’s kind of a Catch 22.

    I can’t invest in non-US mutual funds since I’m a U.S. person. I therefore have to hold all assets in U.S.$ in the U.S. (Swiss brokerage firms won’t accept me).

    If I no longer am a U.S. citizen and I no longer have to pay U.S. tax, what will happen to my IRA? What will happen to shares I own in a U.S. partnership? I’ll google around. thanks!

  134. @Mooley, my sympathies on the investing catch-22. Because it cannot conceive of any reason not to live in the US apart from tax, the US has made it that way deliberately to discourage folk from either investing or relocating elsewhere. What you are experiencing is the direct, and intended, effect of this. Shaking off US citizenship is unfortunately the only remedy.

    On your IRA, if you renounce and are “covered”, that is rich or solidly middle class, your IRA balance will be taxed under the “exit tax” immediately as if you had withdrawn it all in the year you renounce. So that could wipe 30% or more off it. While some of the “exit tax” provisions might be somewhat defensible, its treatment of retirement accounts is outrageous. It often serves as a motivation to renounce early rather than late; presumably the precise opposite of what congress wanted to achieve with HEART. Also beware that this part of the exit tax can capture non-US retirement accounts, as well as plain IRAs.

    Your US partnership stuff would probably be treated just like any (appreciated?) share. Instant exit tax on the appreciation, but with a ~$600k exemption. The latter might protect you from the exit tax, depending on how much you own elsewhere. If you own your own home watch out for unrealized gains in it.

    Bottom line: It’s convoluted and affects different folk in lots of different ways. DYOR and if your situation is complex, consider professional advice also.

  135. @Mooley: Once you swear your oath to Switzerland, you may be able to relinquish, instead of renounce. See the threads on this topic. You can relinquish if you become a Swiss citizen with the intent of voluntarily expatriating from the US.

    You still need to do this as the Consulate. You would then turn in your US passport. You would eventually get a Certificate of Loss of Nationality (the time it takes seems to vary from country to country).

    The advantage of relinquishing instead of renouncing is it should only take one appointment, there is no $450 fee and the US is less hostile to those who relinquish rather than renounce (So far–It could be changing).

    I have no idea how the proposed EX-PATRIOT Act will affect relinquishment. My personal opinion is US would have a hard time claiming you expatriated for tax reasons if you simply relinquished because you became a citizen of Switzerland with the intent of giving up US citizenship. Even US Embassy website points to problems with dual citizenship. In your case, once you become Swiss, it would be triple citizenship. If I were in your position, I would go to Embassy to relinquish as soon as I became a Swiss citizen.

    Welcome aboard at Brock. It’s good to have you here. I hope you don’t find it necessary to give up Canadian citizenship. Unlike US, Canada thinks it enriches us as a nation to have citizens living elsewhere (and we don’t stalk our citizens living elsewhere for taxes!)

  136. @Mooley, by law US requires it’s citizens to use US passports to enter the US, but it seems border agents can use discretion in its enforcement, at least when entering form Canada. The last time I went through with a Canadian passport I was asked why I wasn’t using my US passport, but I explained that I was going to the SS office in WA State to a get a SS number so I could renew my US passport (not really necessary, I found out later). I have, however heard a story recently about a US born person who had attempted to enter the US on a Canadian passport and was denied entry after explaining that he/she had renounced US citizenship. I don’t have any details beyond that, but I assume they either didn’t have, or weren’t carrying a Certificate of Loss of Nationality to support their claim.

  137. @ All / bubblebustin,

    Re: I have, however heard a story recently about a US born person who had attempted to enter the US on a Canadian passport and was denied entry after explaining that he/she had renounced US citizenship. I don’t have any details beyond that, but I assume they either didn’t have, or weren’t carrying a Certificate of Loss of Nationality to support their claim.

    Which means we have to continue to monitor how long it takes to get our Certificate of Loss of Nationality from various US Consulates / countries. We also should leave the US Consulate with some kind of proof in hand of what we’ve signed for our Oath of Renunciation! Another blatant discrimination of some of us if we need to cross a border into the US.

  138. What if the person was denied entry not because they didn’t have a CLN but because they said they had renounced their US citizenship? Border guards can do whatever they want.

    Their security people harrass toddlers and grandmas, the guards certainly would have no problems justifying refusing entry to people who had renounced.

    I have a feeling every solution we find to the problem is just going to lead to a another problem. Like dealing with a person who is mentally ill.

  139. @omg, I once read (I think it was here) that someone was told by the border agent that “you’re American until we say you aren’t”, I guess that person had no proof that they expatriated.

  140. The threat and the uncertainty we all live under is scary and intimidating bullying. Bullying happens, among other places, in schools, on playgrounds, in workplaces, in marriages and in being able to cross the border as any other person who is not a US citizen. And, in situations as Eduardo Saverin’s who is a scapegoat because he is wealthy.

    We are told by inference that the laws can be changed to suit the situation. Or, “You’re American until we say you aren’t” Disgraceful bullying!

  141. I log in to the forum using the password created. The various forums ask for forum passwords. Should I ask here for them for each forum?

  142. I have called, written, emailed my Florida Representatives and Senators, 2 -5 times each and used varous styles. I find them quite uninterested in every shape and form. Any ideas on how to get any representative response?

  143. @Mark: I don’t have any suggestions for reaching them. Your predecessor, the other Mark Twain said: “Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.”

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