The mentality of Mordor : Montreal couple Jack and Jill belong to the UNITED STATES / Jack et Jill, un couple montréalais, appartiennent aux ETATS UNIS

Petros responds to Steven J. Mopsick, 30-year IRS veteran latest comment, that some Canadians have probably found that the Overseas Voluntary Disclosure Initiative penalty of 27.5% is actually quite a good deal, since these Canadians are tax cheats and frauds. UPDATE:  Steven J. Mopsick responds with a Jack and Jill scenario of a wealthy montréalais couple with a Swiss Bank account.

Are you planning to buy that condo in Florida?  Don’t. If you have one already, sell it, even if you have to take a loss.

Are you planning on taking that company transfer to the United States? Politely tell your boss, thanks, but no thanks.

Steven J. Mopsick explains to us why certain Canadians would gladly hand 27.5% of their wealth, including real estate, over to the IRS, who obviously needs the money more than us filthy rich Canadian tax cheats:

To all. I would respectfully ask that you read my post today on the 2% Payroll Tax and what I wrote about the IRS Manual and penalty administration particularly, the duty the IRS has to administer the FBAR penalties in a reasonable manner.
@Petros: may I suggest a change of perspective. You don’t know every Canadian who may have entered into one of the OVDI programs. In fact for some of them, and some Canadians who may be signing up to make one right now, would be embarrassed to talk to you about it because FOR THEM IT WAS A GOOD DEAL! THEY HAD BEEN FILING FALSE TAX RETURNS. In some cases, they would have done jail time had the IRS come to them first. Again, OVDI is not for everyone. Sadly, some people receivd bad advice about OVDI and did not properly weigh their options. I guess some tried to do it themselves. That said,
It’s one thing to be listed in a computer data base. It’s quite another for a government program to hunt for your name and spit it out for special abuse.
If you haven’t had any reason to think of the IRS for a period of the recent ten or twenty past years, you probably don’t have anything to worry about..
Respectfully submitted,
30 Year IRS Vet

If the IRS thinks it is ok to raid the RRSPs of Canadians, the War of 2012 really has begun.  I think these two paragraphs tell us more about what is going on inside of the heads of the IRS than anything I’ve ever read; it reveals the mentality of Mordor.

Our Canadian friend, IJ, who made the mistake of moving to the states a few years ago, asks for clarification:

@Steven,
“FOR THEM IT WAS A GOOD DEAL! THEY HAD BEEN FILING FALSE TAX RETURNS. In some cases, they would have done jail time had the IRS come to them first.”

Can you be more specific what facts would lead to jail time ?

Filing incorrect return with incorrect perception is not filing false return which IRS has to prove 1. affirmative act, 2. tax due, 3. acting willfully.

Did Tim Geithner file false return ? And so did Charles Rangel ?

IJ, is a Canadian in the 2011 OVDI, and he doesn’t think its a good deal at all.  He is a minnow.

Unfortunately, there may be some other Canadians who live in the United States that have taken US citizenship there, but who find the OVDI a good deal.  That I may grant.  But they live in the jurisdiction of the United States.  I just don’t know anyone like that.  I don’t frequent the same country clubs.

As for those of us who are actually living in Canada, I can’t think of anyone who would see it as a good deal.  I hate the extra-territorial tax reach of the United States. I believe its is evil and wrong.  I believe any Canadian resident who pays an FBAR fine is inadvertently weakening the Canadian economy, and that it is a casus belli (Steven, casus belli is Latin for, “a reason to go to war”).  Last I checked, Canada was a much needed ally of the United States:  so why the hell are you raiding our retirement accounts?  That is not the act of a friend but of an enemy.

I have much more to say to Steven, but I am absolutely tongue-tied, because the fury that I feel is keeping me from thinking straight.  So I am going to take this to the Isaac Brock readership.  Does anyone out there know of any Canadian residents and/or Canadian citizens, who think that the OVDI is actually a good deal because they are tax cheats and they have been filing fraudulent returns?

Originally published 7:33 am February 20, 2012

149 thoughts on “The mentality of Mordor : Montreal couple Jack and Jill belong to the UNITED STATES / Jack et Jill, un couple montréalais, appartiennent aux ETATS UNIS

  1. There are often loud cries from the legislators in Congress about foreigners in the US who are sending remittances to their familiy members back where they came from so they can survive. But then they turn around and support legislation that obligates US citizens who live in foreign countries to send remittances from the fruits of their labors in foreign countries to the IRS to support the profligate spending of the US Government.

    You see what that really matters is whose ox is being gored.

  2. @ Brash This is true. But the thing I am trying to think of is what sort of people could potentially get into such a mess, and that the IRS actually has a right to bash them over the head in the first place? Imagine a rich Canadian/US dual citizen, who has all investment income, and therefore, owes money in the United States according to US law. But that person pays all his/her tax in Canada. Is that the person that Steven is talking about? He files fraudulent US returns because he wants to be able to visit the US? Such a person shouldn’t owe any tax in the first place: if we had moral laws based on international law. But the US citizens abroad aren’t dealing with moral laws, but the laws of thugs and demagogues–extra-territorial taxation laws that unjustly mistreat US expats abroad, and pay no attention to international doctrines of dual citizenship such as dominant nationality.

  3. @Petros, “Dominant Nationality?” You are using a term which has absolutely no meaning when dealing with the IRS or the US Congress. If you hold US citizenship then whatever other nationality you may hold or where you live in this universe, is totally irrelevant to US authoriies. If you have dual natonality in another nation that is of absolutely no concern to the US. The fact that you have US citizenship means that even though you live in a different country you are subject to US tax laws on your world wide income. in exactly the same manner as the person who is born and has never stepped outside of the US in his whole life.

  4. @ Petros, I can’t speak to the legality of the extraterritorial reach of the IRS. But I do think I can express my outrage at what I deeply feel to be its profound unfairness. It seems to stem from a fundamental problem in the American justice tradition that favors “process” over “fairness.” When it comes to the expat community, the IRS is a procedural monster devouring everything in its grasp, without consideration to fairness, circumstance, international laws or decency. It is centered only on its own voracious appetite. You use Mordor as a metaphor; I often think of Goya’s “Saturn Devouring his Son.”

    There’s a fascinating article in a recent New Yorker magazine (Jan. 30) by Adam Gopnik about the accelerating rate of incarcerations in the US–the highest per capita incarceration rate in the world. Gopnick cites the late Harvard Professor William Stutz’s seminal study, “The Collapse of American Criminal Justice,” who wrote that the problem with the American criminal justice system goes as far back to the Bill of Rights. To quote a couple of sentences:

    “The trouble with the Bill of Rights, he argues, is that it emphasizes process and procedure rather than principles. The Declaration of the Rights of Man says, Be just! The Bill of Rights says, Be fair! Instead of announcing general principles—no one should be accused of something that wasn’t a crime when he did it; cruel punishments are always wrong; the goal of justice is, above all, that justice be done—it talks procedurally. You can’t search someone without a reason; you can’t accuse him without allowing him to see the evidence; and so on. This emphasis, Stuntz thinks, has led to the current mess, where accused criminals get laboriously articulated protection against procedural errors and no protection at all against outrageous and obvious violations of simple justice. You can get off if the cops looked in the wrong car with the wrong warrant when they found your joint, but you have no recourse if owning the joint gets you locked up for life. You may be spared the death penalty if you can show a problem with your appointed defender, but it is much harder if there is merely enormous accumulated evidence that you weren’t guilty in the first place and the jury got it.”

    I know this isn’t directly material to our concerns, but the general issues are. Thus my citing.

    Read more http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/atlarge/2012/01/30/120130crat_atlarge_gopnik#ixzz1mvgJCeCC

  5. @ Roger Everything you say is true.

    Yet, the official position of the Obama administration is a desire to come into line with international law. This is why my portrayal of the United States as Mordor is entirely fair. A liar/smooth talker says that he will do one thing and then does the opposite. The Obama administration prides itself in being better than Bush on international law regarding war, then violates it on the tax front and on the banking front, offending allies.

    The problems that we have today with the super aggressive tactics towards expats, particularly FBAR and FATCA, are a direct result of the Obama administration. This is exactly what President Obama, wants to happen, and he doesn’t care how many allies he offends. Sure the ground work was laid before by Congress, but the asinine manner of implementing very bad law, I lay that one at the feet of the current administration where it belongs.

  6. @Petros
    @Steven

    I cannot believe that Steven is referring to any resident of Canada who is tax compliant in Canada. He is simply saying that that “tax cheats” do exist. And interestingly his comment confirms what we all know: that OVDI was/is a fantastic deal for criminals.

    But, what Steven’s comment also confirms is that if your are NOT a tax cheat then you should not be entering OVDI (unless a consultation with extremely competent counsel who analyzes your situation suggests otherwise and even then I would get a second opinion). Frankly: that is the message from his comment and I think it is worth a separate post which would be titled:

    “30 Year IRS Vet Confirms OVDI A Great Deal For Criminals – But Otherwise Stay Away”.

    Personally, I think a lot of people would take comfort in this headline.

    I think that Brash is “right on the money” here when he talks about the difference between process and fairness. His point being (and he is correct) that there is a difference between a fair process and an unjust result. For example, even if citizenship based taxation is unjust, as long as it applies to everybody and everybody is treated unjustly then it is okay.

    On at least once occasion, Steven has commented that “has no opinion on citizenship-based taxation”. Well okay, let’s have no opinion on the most unjust aspect to the situation. But, as long as everybody in OVDI is treated in exactly the same unfair way (nobody can raise reasonable cause arguments unless they opt out), then it is okay.

    Steven’s comments are interesting and valuable. Furthermore, I thank him for his generous participation on this blog. But, the time has come for the IRS to make a distinction between even application of process and the justice of the objective.

    But, hold on a moment here. I believe that it is an established fact that Mr. Geithner and Mr. Rangel are tax cheats. Why don’t the rules of punishment apply to them? Well the answer is simple:

    The law doesn’t apply to them.

    @Steven would you care to comment on this?

  7. @Brash

    Actually I think your comment was the most relevant comment. Thank’s for sharing the link to the New Yorker article.

    The U.S prides itself on being a nation of laws. The Goddess of Justice is blind (winking only with Geithner and Rangel are in the room). The law in its majesty prohibits both the rich and the poor from sleeping on the park bench.

    Your comments are “bang on”. There is a distinction between the “even handed application of the law” and the justice of the law. In other words, who cares how stupid the law is. The more important issue is that it must be obeyed because IT IS THE LAW. Who cares if anybody knows that the law exists? The law must be obeyed because IT IS THE LAW. Who cares if nobody would even have a reason to suspect that such a law exists? The law must be obeyed because IT IS THE LAW. Who cares if the government has ample opportunity to alert people to a law that they don’t know about (FBAR for example). It doesn’t matter, IT IS THE LAW and the law must be obeyed.

    The rate of incarceration in the U.S. is not a national scandal. It is an international scandal. The U.S. has completely lost its moral compass (if it ever had one).
    “America is in danger, I think, of becoming something of a legal backwater,” Justice Michael Kirby of the High Court of Australia said in a 2001 interview. He said that he looked instead to India, South Africa and New Zealand.

    Thanks for an excellent comment/thought. You have hit the nail on the head.

    I refer you to the following article in the New York Times:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/07/us/we-the-people-loses-appeal-with-people-around-the-world.html?_r=2&emc=eta1

    Although the main point of the article is that the U.S. constitution is not seen as a document with emulating (and to be fair this is the problem of being first). The article opines that (at the risk of oversimplification):

    “There are lots of possible reasons. The United States Constitution is terse and old, and it guarantees relatively few rights.

    In a television interview during a visit to Egypt last week, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the Supreme Court seemed to agree. “I would not look to the United States Constitution if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012,” she said. She recommended, instead, the South African Constitution, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms or the European Convention on Human Rights.

    The rights guaranteed by the American Constitution are parsimonious by international standards, and they are frozen in amber.

    “America is in danger, I think, of becoming something of a legal backwater,” Justice Michael Kirby of the High Court of Australia said in a 2001 interview. He said that he looked instead to India, South Africa and New Zealand. “

  8. @Petros and @ij and all the other good people of Canada who are trying to understand our complex Federal tax system.
    This post will give an example of a person or family who still might think a voluntary disclosure is a really good deal and it might serve as a response to @ij who was looking for an example of a situation where making a voluntary disclosure might avoid a jail sentence. Consider Jack and Jill , who are a composite of some of my clients, some of my colleagues’ clients, and perhaps a couple the drafters of FATCA might have had in mind when they drafted this legislation.
    Jack and his wife Jill are dual nationals. They were both born in Detroit of Canadian parents but their principal residence is in Montreal and they consider themselves proud Canadians.
    Jack has a very lucrative import/export business in Montreal which has offices all over the world. Jack has been filing US tax returns for his entire adult life and he started filing FBARs in 2004 when he first found out about them. Jack uses a big name accounting firm in Montreal to do his family’s taxes. Each year since the 1980’s, Jack would meet with his accountant to give him the information he needed to fill out his Canadian and his American tax returns but each year Jack purposefully fails to disclose to his accountant, the following facts about his financial affairs.
    When Jack’s father died in the 70’s, he inherited a Swiss bank account from his father worth $15,000,000. The account was never reported on Jack’s father’s estate tax return and the principle has grown to $30,000,000 as of 2012. During the years, Jack diversified his inherited account by opening new investment accounts in the Cayman Islands, the Channel Islands, Liechtenstein, and Panama. He picked these places on the advice of his private banker who told him that these jurisdictions laugh up their sleeves at the IRS whenever the IRS tries to get the names of their American depositors.
    Jack and Jill also have a home in the Hamptons on Long Island, New York but he put the title to the house and another cozy “get away house” on Vancouver Island in the name of a Liechtenstein trust Jack set up for his children. None of this has been disclosed to his CPA in Montreal. In 2011 they bought another home in Malibu California because their daughter was accepted to study at the University of Southern California and Jack and Jill thought it would be nice if she and her friends had place to get away on weekends to party and escape the rigors of academic life in sunny southern California.
    Jack’s worldwide investments are managed by a suave and cultured Swiss banker named William. William, Jack and Jill become good friends. Every summer, Jack and Jill go to Switzerland where they stay at their banker’s lovely home on Lake Geneva. Jack had previously made it clear to William that he wanted no mail whatsoever to be sent to him from Switzerland with bank statements or anything else. Jack didn’t even trust the internet or e mail so the annual visits to Switzerland served as an opportunity for Jack and William to review his vast portfolio and make decisions about what to sell and where to invest next.
    In the year 2002, William, the Swiss banker, offers Jack a deal. He says, “bring me other clients like you and I will cut my commissions on all the stock trades I do for year each year and I will also give you a kick back on the fees I collect from the new client’s accounts.” These extra bonuses will be paid to you by way of deposits into your Cayman Islands account. Jack takes his banker up on the offer and for the past ten years he has helped a large group of Canadian friends and his cool American friends he met at the Hamptons, to open their own secret accounts abroad. Over the years, his Canadian and American buddies earn small fortunes just from the taxes they are saving from the interest and dividends on their secret overseas accounts which William set up for them just he did for Jack and Jill.
    In April of 2012, Jack learns from his accountant that starting with the 2011 tax year he is going to have to file a new form 8938 with the IRS which requires that he disclose all of his foreign assets to the IRS. At the same time William, his foreign banker, calls him up and says his best friend who is also a private banker was just arrested in Switzerland for doing the same thing he did and he is afraid that he might be next!
    Jack, almost in a panic, tells his accountant that he has been lying to him for decades, that he has millions of dollars in unreported income and assets all over the world and he is fed up with his own lying, deception, and cheating on his taxes. He cannot sleep at night and wants to know what he should do.
    His CPA has a heart attack with this news but from his hospital bed he calls Jack and gives him the name of a reputable Toronto tax law firm and Jack makes an appointment.
    His Canadian tax lawyer tells him the IRS may not accept a voluntary disclosure because Jack knew it was just a matter of time before his Swiss banker was arrested and therefore he may not qualify for a voluntary disclosure.
    They apply under the 2012 voluntary disclosure program and miraculously, the IRS agrees to accept him into the program as long as he cooperates and gives up the names of his friends and other Swiss bankers he knew were traveling to the Hamptons, Vancouver, Malibu, and Toronto to line up clients who might be interested in getting on the same gravy train Jack has been enjoying for decades.
    His lawyer tells him there is only one hitch: Jack has to disclose everything for the past eight years, pay the tax due plus interest and a penalty equal to 27.5 per cent of the highest aggregate balance of his hidden accounts and investment assets for the past eight years. The IRS agent assigned to the case also says, there will be no 75% civil fraud penalty and that the agent doesn’t care about the unreported income he earned from the 70’s to today as long as Jack files truthful and correct amended tax returns for only the past eight years.
    Jack and Jill are elated and can hardly contain their glee! They try to figure out how much money they saved in unpaid taxes for all those years but they give up because their calculator doesn’t go that high.
    Jack and Jill file the correct amended returns, pay the tax, interest and penalties and are now resolved to file honest tax returns and FBAR’s forever!
    Jack gets a call from @Petros who heard he might have gone through a voluntary disclosure and he wants to know if Jack and Jill are willing to get involved in the Isaac Brock Society and help publicize the inequities and absurdity of making a voluntary disclosure.
    Jack and Jill are polite and don’t laugh out loud at Petros’ request but they respectfully decline to talk about their tax ordeal preferring to remain quiet about it.
    Respectfully submitted,
    30 Year IRS Vet

  9. The comment about Canadian “tax cheats” is open to a lot of interpretation The accountant I talked to said “anything you do to decrease Canadian taxes” will get you into trouble with the US.

    For example, there are lots of Canadian physicians (but not me) who are incorporated, which saves a bit on Canadian tax. I know one who turns out to be an “accidental” American. As far as I know he hasn’t yet figured out if he owes US tax, but he may, in which case he is “non-compliant” He certainly hasn’t been filling out US tax forms. Does this make him a “tax evader” Maybe by Steven’s definition? He is not up to date with his FBAR’s having just found out about them. Has he been “hiding” his “undisclosed accounts” from the IRS? Is this the sort of person Steven is talking about?

    There are all sorts of clever things used by people living (Mitt Romney for one) in the US to save on taxes. .My friend’s “crime” is to structure his finances to comply with the local (Canadian) tax conditions rather then the US tax conditions, (which he probably couldn’t do anyway, not that it would do him any good, since it wouldn’t work for Canada)..
    So if this is the sort of people to whom Steven is referring, yes there may be quite a few, but is the description of them as “evading tax” fair? It really seems to be more about technicalities than fairness. Is this the sort of person for whom OVDI is a “good deal”?

    I can’t see how anyone living in Canada and complying with the CRA can be worthy of the labels that have been tossed around. There may be Canadians who are “hiding” their money from the CRA and then if they are dual nationals .and hiding from the IRS too, it might fit.

    The rest of us are just trying to live normal lives and no amount of talk of “undisclosed accounts” is going to turn us into criminals.

  10. @Steven,

    Many thanks for the Jack & Jill story. I would be happy to get a job from Jack/Jill as handyman, and as a maid for my wife -:)

  11. @CanuckDoc: In theory your MD friend should be filing Form 5471, which the IRS itself estimates takes 38 hours to complete – though tax experts say it could take far longer. Failure to file it comes attached to a $10,000 fine – per year the form should have been filed. 5471 is an informational return, not connected with actual taxes.

  12. Jack and Jill are not representative of the majority of Canadians. .They are “whales” and they are non-compliant with the CRA as well, and they would have been caught by criminal investigations. There are criminals in Canada, but that doesn’t justify a policy that threatens to punish large numbers of us who are “technically” guilty of “non-compliance” with the IRS, but otherwise completely compliant with the local rules.

    So now that Jack and Jill (whose principle residence is Montreal) have declared their money and paid their penalties to the IRS, they will be taxed on the income by the CRA, and get tax credit with the IRS for doing so. They will just be more careful how they set up their accounts so they can avoid tax legally now!

  13. @ Steve,

    Your story about Jack and Jill is quite amusing. But comparing them to most folks posting on this site, is a bit like comparing Watermelons to gogi berries. I think we all get that the disclosure programs were a good deal for the Jack’s and the Jill’s – not so much for the rest of us.

    Also, Steve still waiting to hear your response to Hijacked on your blogspot re pre-1994 expatriation!

  14. @ Steven: Why is it that Jack and Jill owe anything to the IRS? They are dual citizens and as you said, they live in Canada. I disagree with the extra-territorality of the USA taxation.

    This is a casus belli. I want the IRS out of my country.

  15. @Petros,

    Not that I support taxation on citizenship, here is an argument

    Jack’s daughter went to LA for college. I would assume that she is also treated as a US citizen. That means there could be some advantage over non US citizen and non-resident aliens. Having been non-resident alien myself for long time, I know the difference. For example, I would have to pay double tuition to take a class at a local University simply because I had non-resident visa even in fact I had paid the same tax as US citizen/green card holders.

  16. I don’t know about LA, but my daughter who is also a UK citizen (through her father) moved from Canada to Wales to go to graduate school. She paid foreign student tuition, despite her UK passport, because the tuition is based on residency, not citizenship, and I’m pretty sure that applies in most places. The benefit of the UK passport is that she can stay and work in the UK, but it didn’t save her any money!

  17. Steven:
    For every “Jack and Jill” who deserve what they get, there are probably 1000 “Dick and Janes” whose only crime is that they thought they were done with America and were loyally paying their taxes to their new government in Canada. No Swiss accounts, no mansions in several countries, and certainly nothing like $30 million in a bank account anywhere.

    So the question for you is, do you think that 1000 people as collateral damage is a legitimate sacrifice in order to nail Jack and Jill to the wall — never m ind that they richly deserve that nailing?

    That’s the issue — and I know it doesn’t relate directly to OVDI. All these attempts to nail Jack and Jill, whether it’s through FATCA, citizenship-based taxation, or whatever, is creating an explosion of collateral damage that is ruining ordinary peoples lives.

  18. @CanuckDoc,

    I remember it very well even in Canada there was a differential fee for international students. I paid double when I was in Nova Scotia.

    Same, when I was in US, I worked for a college where they would let me to take 2 credits course a year for free. When I went to register, I was told that I still had to pay as international fee. I was considered as resident only on tax purpose, not on immigration paper.

  19. @IJ The scenario above says that Jack and Jill own a house in California, not that they are bonafide residents of the United States.

    @Arrow I agree that it is an issue of collateral damage. But it is also a question of Canadian sovereignty. We have to get that into our heads. Jack and Jill are Canadians and they live in Canada, meaning that they have dominant Canadian nationality. If they have to make amends to anyone it is not the United States, but Canada. The United States bashing Canadians over the heads with FBAR and FATCA is a serious casus belli, and we need to get our politicians to understand this. It does Canada no good at all for Jack and Jill to settle in an OVDI with the IRS, and yet, by all counts, they owe their taxes in Canada not in the United States.

  20. @Steven: IRS learned well from Bill Clinton: “It depends on what the meaning of is is.”

    With IRS, it seems to be “It depends on what the meaning of the word RENOUNCE is,” US Consulate said that word to many of us clearly, firmly and directly 20, 30, 40, or 50 years ago. Neither we nor the Consulate had any question about what the meaning of “renounce.” Suddenly, IRS doesn’t know the meaning of renounce if it happened decades ago.

    IRS seems to be clear about only four words in the English language: “We want your money.”

    Steven, you seem to be an intelligent fellow who understands the meaning of the words “Yes” or “No.” Like Tiger, Hijacked and many others, we’re still awaiting a simple “Yes” or “No” answer to this question: Do those of us who expatriated before 1995 have any obligation to the IRS. “Yes” or “No” should not be difficult.

  21. Petros said: “It does Canada no good at all for Jack and Jill to settle in an OVDI with the IRS, and yet, by all counts, they owe their taxes in Canada not in the United States.”

    And the Americans wonder why nobody wants to play their FATCA game. They’re so blind to their own greed and arrogance, they can’t see how the world sees them.

  22. Petros said: “If they have to make amends to anyone it is not the United States, but Canada.”

    You are right of course. For the US to automatically assume that these evaders belong to the IRS is arrogant in the extreme — and unfortunately typical of US behaviour on a number of fronts. It would never occur to the US that Canada is the aggrieved party here, and that the IRS has no claim at all to any taxes owing.

  23. The IRS is not fit to make decisions on something as complex as international tax evasion. That’s why the implementation of FATCA cannot be tolerated. The January 25, 2012 letter written by the Institute of International Finance stated as much.

    They also instructed the Financial Stability Board (FSB) to mandate the development of a global framework for addressing tax evasion which would avoid the pitfalls created by FATCA.

    The US has proven that they have a very self centered approach to combatting tax evasion and will not make a good partner to any country unless there is a global framework in place that would punish organizations like the IRS for acting against the interests of another country that has a legitimate right to go after a particular tax evader.

  24. @tiger: You asked: “still waiting to hear your response to Hijacked on your blogspot re pre-1994 expatriation!” I didnt see your reponse to my post on this asking for some more facts before I responded; I think I can give the anwser you are hoping for but I want to ask, what is going on between the taxpayer and the IRS between 94, and the present, if anything at all.

  25. @ Steven
    Absolutely nothing going on. The only time any tax forms were filed in the U.S were 1963 and 1964 for part-time work whille a student. Landed in Canada in 1964, have never had a U.S.passport, never filed a tax return since the 1964 tax year, never voted in a U.S.election (wasn’t old enough to vote prior to leaving the U.S.), never even had a bank account (I kept what little money I had in my mother’s freezer!).

  26. @Petros: “Why is it that Jack and Jill owe anything to the IRS? ” answer: they are US citizens and the law says they have to file.”
    You said: “I disagree with the extra-territorality of the USA taxation.” We know that. So….you need to get the law changed

    I am just trying to offer a different persective on what is going on before you. What is NOT happening is any concerted effort or pursposeful action on the part of the US government to make life miserable for millions of Canadians. The US Treasury Department and its partners in the European Union are not going to back off getting their hands on each other’s banks list of depositors. That train has left the station. Participating Financial Institutions have until January 1, 2013 to get their applications in the the IRS and learn how to be a withholding agent for the United States government.

    The US Congress passed a law with unitended collateral damage to innocent people.The next thing to do is fix that. I believe there are easy fixes which will relieve the uncertainty of many people.
    You said, “This is a casus belli. I want the IRS out of my country.” We all respect your views here. But I would respectfully submit it is not a causus belli. Right now it is a problem most people would rather not have to address.
    My only point is to ask if perhaps it might be best to concentrate efforts on advising the government how to make FATCA less burdensome on people who cannot afford a home in Malibu or the Hamptons. The IRS has to fix this in the regulations. The Congress is not going to repeal this law.
    The government is going to have to figure out how to find the Jacks and Jills of the world without bothering ordinary citizens who are not trying to get away with anything.
    The government does not have the money to torture 94 year olds in nursing homes. IRS special agents like to work on cases like Jack and Jill.
    Respectfully submitted,
    30 Year IRS Vet

  27. @steven mopsick\Blaze
    Nothing going on with me either with the IRS since 1994. No passport, no SCN, no voting. Nothing.
    The original answer to your question was on your Feb. 11 blogspot, copied here.
    Your question:
    “Do those “persons” who performed their expatriating act, pre 1994 have to file tax forms when applying for their CLN or are they exempt from the obligation?” I need a little more help from you here or any one who wants to chime in. I cannot give you any advice you can rely on because we do not have an attorney client relationship but my answer would depend on when was the last filing? Also without doing a bunch of research can someone take a crack at a little more of a write up on the issue? Please tell me exactly how you read section X of the referenced IRS revenue procedure?
    30 Year IRS Vet.
    My answer:
    I have never filed a US tax return.
    I came to Canada at the age of 7, became a Canadian citizen at the age of 20 in 1967 (expatriating act) and was told that by so doing I was giving up my American citizenship.
    I read Section X as stating that anyone who relinquished citizenship before Feb. 1994 and who has obtained a CLN backdated prior to 1994 would not be required to fill out Form 8854 and would thus not be required to swear that they have been compliant with federal tax obligations for the last 5 years. I am unclear about the reference to Form 1040NR.
    Thanks again for your time.

  28. @ Mr. Mopsick

    In other words, as stated on another thread:

    “There is a distinction between the “even handed application of the law” and the justice of the law.

    In other words, who cares how stupid the law is. The more important issue is that it must be obeyed because IT IS THE LAW.

    Who cares if anybody knows that the law exists? The law must be obeyed because IT IS THE LAW.

    Who cares if nobody would even have a reason to suspect that such a law exists? The law must be obeyed because IT IS THE LAW.

    Who cares if the government has ample opportunity to alert people to a law that they don’t know about (FBAR for example). It doesn’t matter, IT IS THE LAW

    … and the law must be obeyed

    … despite vast collateral damage.

  29. @highjacked2012: I do not think you have a filing obligation under your facts to file Form 8854. The form 1040 NR is a tax return for a non resident alien. The only reason you would file that would be to tell the IRS about something you thought you owed tax on. Hope this helps.

    30 Year IRS Vet

  30. @Steven,

    Thanks for your contribution from a very different perspective.

    Do you really believe IRS’s goal is to make people into filing compliance or they are taking advantage of the situation (most people were (are still) not aware of FBAR TD 90-22 form) and now it is big money time — I even believe that IRS does not really want taxpayers being in compliance — that would certainly a big loss for IRS to take their life time savings/retirement.

    Also, I wonder if IRS is the decency to publish the detail of billions they have collected

    How much of are tax related penalty and how much are indeed this FBAR related penalty.

    I am sure — what they have bragged the billions collection is from 20% (25%, 27.5%) penalty on taxpayers life time saving.

    In my case, I might have only $3K tax due, but they are about to impose $30K penalty –as they want to take on RRSP — that would be my 10 years bloody saving.

    Do you take comfort as 30 years IRS vet on this kind robbery ?

  31. @Steven: I filed US tax returns when I worked part time in high school and college in late 1960s. I filed tax returns for the two years I worked full time in 1970 (eight months) and 1971 (eight months again) in US. In 1972, I filed a return for the income I earned working eight months in US in 1971.

    I became a Canadian citizen in 1973 with clear direction from US Consulate I was renouncing US citizenship. I signed a document confirming my understanding. I was not given a copy of the document, did not receive a CLN and was never even told a CLN existed.

    I have been tax compliant in Canada every year since I began working here in early 1972. I have had no US income since then and have filed nothing with IRS . I have had no contact with IRS since I filed for 1971 tax year in 1972. In fact, I don’t even remember what my SSN was and I lost my card long ago.

    I have had no reason to file returns since 1971 tax year. I’ve certainly had no contact with IRS since 1994. I’ve never had a US passport (and don’t want one!) and never voted in a U.S. election.

  32. @ Calgary411: I am afraid you missed my point. @Petros asked why Jack and Jill owe tax to the IRS. I replied because they are American citizens and the law says they have to file. If you don’t like the law then try to get it changed. Or, you can excercise your free will to obey the law or not.
    30 Year IRS Vet

  33. @Steven: Re your answer to hijacked 2012.

    Are you stating that someone who performed the “expatriating act” prior to 1994 but has not yet informed the State Department of that act, because they always thought they had relinquished their citizenship , would not be obligated to file 5 years of 1040’s and a form 8854 when they notify the Consulate of their expatriating act and obtain a back-dated CLN?
    As I mentioned in my earlier post – absolutely nothing going on between the taxpayer and the IRS for 48 years.

  34. While this is getting to be a long winded thread there is an important point I think should be made. Since the early 1990s Canada has been sharing information on US “residents” with accounts in Canada. Thus if someone from Malibu or the Hamptons flies up to Toronto and opens an account the bank will file a non resident reporting form to the CRA listing their US address and indentification information that Canadian banks are required to collect under Canadian KYC/AML laws. In turn when CRA gets the information from the Canadian bank they send at electronically to the IRS International office. In fact when this agreement was implemented in 1995 CRA sent all the “back” non resident returns to the US going all the way back to 1988 and in fact several people in the US as I have heard were notably “busted” for not disclosing Canadian income to the US. In turn the IRS collects from US banks information on their Canadian resident account holders(Canada is the only country the US does this for at this point in time) and then automatically forwards that information to the CRA. This has been procedure going all the way back again to 1995. Why is there a need to change this arrangement if it already capturing people in the Hamptons and Malibu so to speak. If it was so important for the US to get information on US Citizens resident in Canada why didn’t they insist upon this back in 1995. I have absolutely no problem with the US trying to expand this arrangement to other countries beyond Canada but at this point Canada has done its part.

  35. @Tim,

    I was indeed told by TD bank and Scotiabank about CRA and IRS information sharing. And indeed that once I changed my mailing address to US address, Canadians banks put label on me — US resident — I was not allowed to trade mutual funds.

    In that respect, I was not hiding anything from IRS. I always thought that the banks would send T slips to CRA and then CRA would share it to IRS.

  36. @Steven: Might I add to Calgary411’s comment above. How does one comply with THE LAW when one lives in another country, is a citizen of another country, has minimal or no contact with the foreign country imposing THE LAW has made no effort whatsoever to communicate THE ARBITRARY LAW to those affected?

    Oh wait, this isn’t about THE LAW. This is about getting $$$$ from penalties and other tax grabs through bullying.

    It it was about THE LAW, the US would respect THE LAW they strongly and clearly communicated to those of us who “renounced” decades ago. If it was about THE LAW, your country would respect my country’s Privacy LAW, my country’s Charter or Rights LAW, my country’s Human Rights LAW, my country’s Bank LAW. and my country’s tax LAW.

    As you suggested to someone else, if you don’t like MY country’s LAW, you can try to change it. Oops, silly me, that’s exactly what IRS is trying to do, isn’t it?!? Because only the LAW of the Great United States matters anywhere in the world, right?

    Well, we’re not going to accept that LAW. That’s exactly why we’re trying to change YOUR country’s LAW as it affects us (and our children!) in OUR independent and sovereign nations.

  37. @IJ

    What is interesting IJ is not clear at this point that the reciprocality the US is offering to the five FATCA partners countries in terms of giving info on people in those countries that have US accounts is any better than what they have been giving Canada for years. Thus it is hard to see what incentive Canada has to be a FATCA “partner” country compared to what the US is giving the Europeans. There is an obscure set of IRS rules that dictates what US bank must collect from Canadian resident account holders again Canada is the only country they have information sharing with. I’ll try to link to is someday.

  38. @Blaze

    I agree with Steven that US tax law is validly enacted by Congress. I also agree although I might be in the minority here that the IRS is really not the problem so much as the US Treasury Department, Congress, OMB, and the Joint Taxation Committee is. I do believe though that cannot possibly have been enough discussion in the senior levels of the IRS and the Tax Policy Department of US Treasury as to all the implications of the current policy. I am not sure whether it was here or someplace else that Steven mentioned if you actually look at the FATCA regulations they are really based on a staff report of the Joint Taxation Committee back in 2009. So in some sense could the IRS implemented different rules yes, but in this political climate are they really going to against the JTC which is a branch of Congress No. At the end of the day this is a political problem that needs to be solved through political pressure and no don’t expect we will make too many “friends” in the US especially if we are sucessful.

  39. @ij

    I have seen that letter too. Clearly the Canadian implications were not really thought through. I don’t think the US really thinks of FATCA from a US Canada perspective. The problem with US Canada relations as a former top official in the Department of Finance commented is that Canada knows where all of the US’ bodies are burried in the way other countries. I do think politicians in Canada are starting to take note of this issues far more than in other countries but are unwilling yet to start a really big fight with the US.

  40. @Steven: In discussing the LAW, what happens when Douglas Shulman violates it? Apparently, not much. Here is a information Brock The Badger posted on another thread. I have taken the liberty of moving it here and asking for your comments as to how the LAW applies in this case:

    From Brock The Badger:

    I just saw this re: Shulman’s intention NOT to respond to the TAS Nina Olson; See: http://www.rothcpa.com/taxupdates.php
    at Roth & Company, P.C. Tax Update Blog
    “IRS Commissioner Shulman: you obey the law. Me, that’s different.” February 20, 2012
    ……’Tax Analysts reports that IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman will simply ignore his statutory duty to respond to a Taxpayer Advocate Directive on abuses of offshore taxpayers in the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure program..’……’From the (Tax Analysts) story ($link)’: “IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman has no plans to respond in writing to National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson’s taxpayer advocate directive (TAD) on the IRS offshore voluntary disclosure program (OVDP) despite a statutory requirement that taxpayer advocate recommendations be responded to within 90 days, Olson said February 17….”
    #

  41. @Steven So you see, you don’t think what is happening is a casus belli, but it hardly differs from the causes of the War of 1812 in severity. We called this website the Isaac Brock Society because Isaac Brock prepared Canadians for a war that the politicians believed could be stopped via diplomacy. But aggression cannot be appeased, it must be stopped by diligently fighting for the rights and sovereignty of one’s own country and that is what patriotism is about. I will fight for Canada. I will die for Canada if I have to. The great country to the North of you is your ally, for now. But if you continue in the way that you are going, it will not be long before everyone wakes up to the fact that the United States is desperate–you are debasing your currency so fast, and you are searching funding left right and centre to stop the bleeding. In a few months, if you don’t stop debasing the currency, you face the spectre of hyperinflation. And after that, riots. We know what’s going on and your desperate attempts to make US expats follow your laws will fail; fail they must, because even if you were able to collect, which you can’t, it would hardly stop the financial disaster but for a few hours; the US is spending over 9 billion dollars a day.

    When the end comes, you are going to need friends. Don’t burn your bridges today through your arrogance. You are going to need Canada, to keep from starving and to keep gas in your cars.

  42. Oh, and one more question: Was the IRS going to give Canada a share of the take from Jack and Jill? No? I didn’t think so.

    You should watch the Sopranos. Even Tony Soprano gets a piece of the action whenever the New York mob comes into New Jersey and does some extra-territorial business. The United States is a bully, believing that they own everything.

  43. @Mr. Mopsick

    DUPLICATE POST

    I guess we completely miss each other’s points. Is that called agreeing to disagree?

    I can see that your belief is THE LAW IS THE LAW, no matter the lack of common sense behind it. It appears to me that your belief is the same as Carl Levin, Douglas Shulman and so many others, including the media of the US – that expats around the world are in fact tax cheats. It is my perception from recent events that the puppets in power do not recognize that the US is following the path of other great nations in its blindness to the need for change ( such as citizenship taxation and of course the great military industrial complex warned about by President Eisenhower). It is my perception that the US, as other past great nations, will not learn from history.

    Do you have the inside answer – did the good IRS Commissioner thumb his nose at Nina Olson and the TAD he was to respond to? Has he stonewalled Nina, the mediator? Is there any way US persons abroad can respect his word or have any trust in what the IRS says they are trying to do? The Taxpayer Advocate Service was the voice of reason, our representation, but the IRS rules with an iron fist.

    Just as the law is the law is the law; I feel that a bully is a bully is a bully – whether it be a schoolmate, a marriage partner, a boss, a country or countries. It is all about control and dominance over another. When trust is gone, the relationship is dead.

    I thought it real when I was WARNED that I would relinquish my US citizenship upon becoming a Canadian citizen in 1975 – where is the US’s responsibility to have communicated to me that this was no longer true when the country changed its law? Where was my choice in the matter of retaining my US citizenship? I had made my choice – I took the Oath of Canadian Citizenship in 1975 because that is where I wanted to live, raise my family, work, pay my Canadian taxes, volunteer my time, be a contributing citizen. I liked what I experienced and what I saw for my life here in Canada.

    I foolishly thought I had no tax responsibility to the country which I had relinquished my citizenship. The US for decades turned a blind eye to me and to the estimated six million around the world regarding responsibility to file taxes. Did that not set some sort of precedent? Where was the US’s responsibility to absolutely communicate to us, all along, that we did have to file our taxes returns each year, no matter what the cost to us, no matter the little or zero revenue it brought in to the US? Where was our education on FBARs? Why does the US not even have a tax office of any kind in Canada? Why cannot we get answers to our tax questions from the various IRS phone numbers we are to call, usually with long distance charges? Why is the only advice I’ve received from the IRS is to consult cross-border accountants and US tax lawyers for my answers? Why are the regulations so complicated that my compliance depends on me being able to use my retirement savings for fees to cross-border accountants and US tax and immigration lawyers?

    I respect my heritage and also the many “good people” in the US just as you say you respect the “good people” of Canada. However, I want no more of my remaining energy to go to an unsustainable relationship. I want to regain the joy in life that I had before this tsunami hit. I want my energy to go to worthwhile endeavours in my family, my community, my country.

    It is disappointing; it is more than sad, but the marriage didn’t work.

  44. @ Stephen Mospick Feb 20 8:57pm

    THANK YOU for that reply. This confirms what I have believed for some weeks now, and also confirms what several friends I’ve been helping have been told in other consultations.

    It’s thin comfort for folks who expatriated after 1994, but good and important news for those who did so before 1994 (and who have done absolutely NOTHING to exercise or claim rights of US citizenship since committing their expatriating acts allegedly with the intent of relinquishing USC, which is a very important point for those folks to be aware of and be honest about — as highjacked2012 obviously has been). I think this is very good news for Blaze, Tiger, Johnnb and others I’m no doubt forgetting.

  45. Tim said: “While this is getting to be a long winded thread there is an important point I think should be made. Since the early 1990s Canada has been sharing information on US “residents” with accounts in Canada.”

    I didn’t know that, and thanks for pointing it out. It puts the lie to the argument that the IRS needs more tools (e.g. FATCA) to root out US citizens who are hiding money — at least in Canada. It makes it doubly clear that Congress and the authors of FATCA had no inkling that they already had an information-sharing agreement with Canada that would make it impossible for a resident American to hide money here.

    I fear we won’t hear much more from Steven (hopefully I’m wrong, but …) because I suspect he’s finally beginning to realize that his “red herring” definition of our extra-territoriality concerns was rash and ill-considered. When he constructs an elaborate “Jack and Jill” scenario to defend why the IRS needs FATCA, he completely ignores the fact that Jack and Jill are Canadian tax cheats, not American tax cheats — and the IRS’ determination to bring Jack and Jill to (US) justice is, well, an extraterritorial application of US law in Canada.

    I don’t think any of us can expect to be treated fairly by the IRS, because the law that the IRS must follow isn’t fair. I also don’t think the ACA’s vigourous campaign to convince Congress to abandon citizenship-based taxation has a snowball’s chance in hell of changing the mindset down there — at least not in our lifetimes. I think it’s far more likely that people like MA. Rep. John Tierney — who wants to take away the foreign tax credit for expats — will win the day. In a bizarre way that might not be so bad, because all those expats who cling to the hope that the US will come to its senses will suddenly realize that the price of their loyalty is going to be double taxation on every dollar they earn. That might produce a few long line-ups at the Consulate, and that might precipitate some change.

    For us — it’s make an appointment at the consulate for a relinquishment, get the CLN, and the IRS can go to hell. My wife has already calculated that no matter which path she takes, crossing the border will eventually be very dangerous. So she might as well get that CLN with the 1974 date of expatriation spelled out, and at least be able to prove to the bank (if necessary) that’s she is not a “US Person.”

    Steven — again, thanks for all your insights into the IRS — but I suspect now you are grasping that this isn’t really an IRS issue — it’s a US government wanting to control the world issue. The world doesn’t want to be controlled.

  46. @KalC Scroll back up to 8:57pm Feb 20, as I indicated in my reply header. highjacked2012’s post to which he replied is a couple of posts earlier. All posts on this thread appear in chronological order by date/time of posting, earliest one at the top of the page.

  47. @Schubert1975
    In reference to your post of earlier today(11:02A.M.), I have to admit that I am still confused regarding tax reporting obligations when obtaining a back-dated CLN. Do you interpret that those of us who performed the expatriating act prior to 1994, are not obligated to file 5 or 6 years of tax returns nor the 8854? And what about FBAR’s; is that required of us? If that is the case, it certainly makes my decision easier. Thanks for your input, Schubert. I appreciate any and all information.

  48. @steve Mopsick
    I thank you very much for your opinion that I would have no obligation to file form 8854. As queried by Tiger and Blaze, does this include filing the 5 years of back tax returns and FBAR’s after the CLN is issued? So no tax obligations with the IRS at all at that point?

    As others have said, we are struggling pretty much in the dark here, unable to get “official” information, and professional opinions vary greatly. I have talked to a bank manager who said to do nothing because I likely won’t show up when FATCA comes into effect; an accountant, who said file back taxes and FBAR’s because it is technically the law; and an immigration lawyer, who said go for the CLN because I probably won’t need to deal with tax issues. Meanwhile instructions for 8854 say nothing about the 1994 clause and that is worrisome – at least to me.
    So needless to say I really appreciate your generosity in responding to our concerns. I have a little more confidence in going ahead and relinquishing citizenship and obtaining the CLN.

  49. @hijacked 2012
    Thanks for putting our concerns to Steven in your post. Now if only he will answer. Good to know there are a few of us with the same concerns – believed we had relinquished years ago, only to be told Uncle Sam might be wanting a piece of our “retirement pie”.
    The immigration lawyer you spoke to – was he/she a Canadian immigration lawyer or a cross-border specialist?

  50. @tiger
    He is with an immigration law firm with offices in the US and Canada. He did stress that he is not a tax attorney but took the trouble to look into the 8854 dilemma and although he made no guarantees, it was his opinion that those expatriating pre-1994 would not have to deal with the IRS after relinquishing and obtaining a CLN.
    Unfortunately, I would like all this written in stone and we’re not likely to get that until someone actually goes through the process.

  51. @hijacked 2012

    If I were you, I’d go with the advice of your immigration lawyer. Especially if the immigration lawyer is cross-border (licensed to practice law both in a Canadian province and a US state) and specializes in this area or says he/she has handled other cases like yours. (There are such lawyers around.) Accountants aren’t qualified to advise you on citizenship law, nor are bankers. Nor am I for that matter, but I do know where to get advice if I need it for myself or on behalf of my wife or a friend.

    @Tiger I’m not about to express any opinion about FBAR or any other IRS form. See my reply to hijacked, or wait to see what Steven Mospick has to say, if he chooses to reply. Or get private legal advice.

    The key is to get a CLN based on your expatriating act years ago. Pay careful attention to the items listed under Question 13 on State Department Form 4079, and in particular the question “have you been filing US tax returns yes/no IF YES PLEASE EXPLAIN.” Read that carefully, think about it and the context in which the question is posed, and be sure you act accordingly.

    Only US citizens, green-card holders, and non-US persons with US-source income, have any need or requirement to file US tax returns. Filing a US tax return might (I say might) be interpreted as a claim to US citizenship, in a perverse way.

    But I repeat again and again, I am neither a lawyer nor an accountant. Get professional advice. That’s the best advice I can give you. Just be sure you pick a professional who is appropriate and qualified.

  52. @hijacked2012 didn’t see your reply until after I posted mine.

    If you want something written in stone, you won’t get it now as far as I can tell, and you may be waiting a while, as you say. If ever — I can’t recall ever having a lawyer tell me ANYTHING was written in stone, on any issue. Lawyers, accountants and auditors don’t make absolute statements like that, because there’s always the risk of some court judgment later or that no one every heard of coming back to bit them on the behind and leave them open to a liability suit. You won’t get certainty on much of anything of this nature, in my experience anyway.

    Weigh your options (all of them) and the odds, do what makes the most sense in your situation, and then get on with your life. That’s all anyone can do at this point.

  53. To All: Please be reminded that Jack and Jill have been filing US income tax returns for their entire adult lives and FBARs since 2004. False and fraudulent documents sent TO THE US GOVERNMENT over a period of years. Extraterritoriality?
    Now, as to the 8854 issue. Please re-read everything Schubert1975 wrote and think about it. The IRS hasnt hear from some of you since the 1960’s and you are worried about whether its a good idea to throw a bunch of delinquent returns at them? Talk about “Go ahead! Make my day!!”
    Respectfully submitted,
    30 Year IRS Vet

  54. @steven mopsick
    I’m not saying I want to throw delinquent returns at the IRS. I’m asking if, after coming to their attention after obtaining a backdated CLN, will I be REQUIRED to file delinquent returns.

  55. There is another big wrinkle in this black black curtain that we stare at so hard. That is (1) the apparent wide variance among consulates in how they handle application to liquidate US citizenship (2) the wavering line that is drawn between concerns/responsibilities of Dept. of State [citizenship] and Dept. of Treasury/IRS [taxes, FBAR] (3) the discretion of the local consular officer in assessing DS-4079 (4) the utter black hole where forwarded CLN paperwork languishes for many uncertain months (maybe years?) Is there anyone out there besides accidental schubert1975 who now possesses a precious CLN? This all so reminds me of a directly known graphic personal story of people who sought a departure permit from the Soviet Union in the late 1920s – making uncertain requests to fickle officials month after month after month.

  56. @usxcanada: “This all so reminds me of a directly known graphic personal story of people who sought a departure permit from the Soviet Union…”

    The US has one of these too, just not for citizens (yet):

    http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/international/article/0,,id=97256,00.html

    “Before leaving the United States, all aliens … must obtain a certificate of compliance. This document, also popularly known as the sailing permit or departure permit, must be secured from the IRS before leaving the U.S…”

  57. I sounds as though it may be easier for a Cuban to obtain an exit visa to emigrate to another country than it is for a US renunciant to receive his CLN.
    If Cubans applications for authorization to depart Cuba to live elsewhere are eventually approved, are required to leave all of their posessions behind and the key to their residence with the speciied government official. They are permitted to leave with the clothes they are wearing, but nothing else.That is somewhat like the Exit Tax the US imposes on persons who renounce their citizenship. The similarities between the US and Cuban policies are strikingly similar.

  58. @Steven: Your answer, while not the Yes or No that we would like is actually a touch of common sense. The dilemma, of course, is FATCA.

    If my bank has to demand where I was born under FATCA and report me my assets to IRS, that puts me in the sight lines of the IRS again. The alternative, of course, is I could refuse to confirm where I was born and then my bank must declare me a “recalcitrant” account holder and close my account.

    @Others: I’ve was out for most of the day. I just returned home to find a message from the President and CEO of the credit union which holds about 30% of my assets. He asked me to call him at his personal number as he did not want to leave confidential information on my voice mail or put confidential information in an e-mail.

    The credit union CEO’s call was in response to an e-mail I sent to him on Sunday. He apologized for not calling yesterday, but it was a holiday in Ontario. His message was left at 9:10 this morning. Now, that’s customer service!

    I have not yet contacted the President and CEO of my bank, but I doubt I would get such a quick and personal response from him.

    I know for certain I won’t get that kind of quick and prompt response from Canadian Bankers Association. Schubert and I sent an e-mail to them on Sunday. No reply yet (It would have been impractical to expect it this soon).

  59. @Watcher, Your comment with respect to the required sailing permit clearance that a resident alien must obtain before departing from the US is most interesting. I wonder what the permanent resident green card holder who resides abroad and therefore is not in the US has to do to comply with this requirement. There are good many such green card holders that have been deployed abroad, perhaps by their US employer and therefore do not actually reside within the US.

    Does he have to travel back to the US in order to obtain this sailing permit?

  60. @Steven,
    Thank you for participating in this blog.

    Like many of the others above, I have no plans to file past U.S.tax returns after having no contact with the IRS or any other U.S.Government agency for 50 years. However, like Blaze, I would like the peace of mind to be able to live out my remaining days in retirement and be able to have a bank who is able to provide financial services to me. Under FATCA, this could become difficult if the financial institution believes me to be American. Thus, I would like to be able to receive a back dated CLN from the State Department and not be “hounded” by the IRS to file 1040’s and other forms for the last 5 or 6 years. That makes no sense as I haven’t been filing for 50 years.

  61. @Schubert1975
    Thanks for all your input. I have read Form 4079 carefully and can answer Question 13 with emphatic NO to all parts of that question. Never voted, never filed tax returns (and no intention to start filing tax returns). My main concern is that when I file for the CLN (backdated to 1972), the IRS will start to hound me for tax returns.

  62. Pingback: OPT OUT OF YEAR 2012: Jack and Jill opt out and relinquish their US citizenship | The Isaac Brock Society

  63. @roger: “Does he have to travel back to the US in order to obtain this sailing permit?”

    No. He’s expected to have obtained it before ever leaving. It’s a report of any departure from the US. Deployment abroad, short business trip, vacation, returning to home country to visit family. Apparently they all count.

    For what it’s worth, practically nobody bothers with this at the moment. No one at the airport ever checks for sailing permits. It’s a law that for decades has sat on the books unenforced (so far, anyway). The name alone gives away its age.

  64. @Tiger: I’m going to make it easy. I’m not applying for CLN. We were told 40 years ago our decision was permanent and irreversible. If my bank kicks me out because I won’t tell t them where I was born, they will have a fight on their hands and a local credit union will have my business.

    Failing that, I think there is probably an opportunity for an entrepreneur to set up a secure storage facility with secure individual safes. They very thing IRS doesn’t want–people hiding $$$$ is exactly what is going to happen by IRS targeting assets earned, saved, invested and taxed honestly and responsibly.

  65. Roger, Watcher

    Thanks for raising this. I’ve been focussing on getting my wife into a position so she can go down and relinquish her US citizenship — and am just beginning to wonder if I need to do something.

    I had a green card (issued when I was 12), and blithely moved back to Canada in 1969 without doing anything in the US. I recall destroying the green card once I was satisfied that it had no value (that is, I had committed so many “sins” in the INA’s eyes that they’d snatch it from my hands anyway).

    So the question now is — do I need to formally relinquish the green card? Obviously they won’t give me a CLN, but what will they do? And will they sent a note on to the IRS when I do it?

    The lawyer we consulted with a few months ago indicated that I’d done so many nasty, permanent things so many years ago that the State Department would be very hard pressed to argue, 43 years later, that I was still a resident alien.

    Anyone else got this problem? Maybe I need to make an appointment for myself as well.

  66. @Everyone

    I would say that if you became a Canadian citizen back in the 1970s(with the assumption you were renouncing) and have done nothing since(apply for a US Passport, vote in a US election etc, file taxes) that would imply you consider yourself a US citizen I would not do anything now or in the future any different that would imply that you accept that you are a US citizen. If you travel anywhere use your Canadian passport. In terms of applying for a CLN I suppose there are reasons in favor and reasons against. One risk is your request is denied and you show back up on the US’ radar screen. I am not saying this is likely its just you never now.

  67. @ Tim The biggest risk is one of travel to the United States, since border guards have been, from time to time, insisting that people born in the United States travel on a US passport.

    For me, that means never travelling to the United States on pleasure or even business.

  68. @arrow, as I recall back in the “olden” days if you had a green card but left the US to live somewhere else and were absent from the US for, as I recall, a full year, then it was automatically recinded. But I am going by memory, so better check it out with somebody that knows.

    Maybe it is like losing your US citizenship. In the “olden” days you lost it if you did any one of several different things like voting in a foreign election, serving in a foreign military force, acceptiong employment with a foreign government without prior authorization from the US government, becoming a naturalized citizen of a foreign country, etc. But then the Supreme Court annuled all of these “lost” US citizenships retroactively by ruling that it was unconstitutional to be deprived of your US citizenship unless you formally renounced it.

    So I have no idea what the status is of green cards issued to children who left the US never to return to live 40 years ago.

  69. The border guard is doing his job, under US law, in requiring that US citizens, if they still are US citizens, use US passports to enter (and leave, if they check this) the US. This does not always happen but you have to be prepared just in case. And now that the border patrol and the IRS talk to each other per mandate of Congress, the next questions for US citizens living abroad may well be about compliance with US tax laws.

  70. @Petros

    I agree travel to the US is one of biggest complications in all of this. The whole situation is a huge mess. I think one of the biggest issues is there appears to be a huge backlog of CLN processing that seems to have no end in sight.

    @Roger

    One thing with green card holders is that if live in a tax treaty partner country of the US as a non citizen you are protected to some degree by your country’s applicable tax treaty. This is an even bigger grey area though as is the whole “sailing permit” issue regarding US resident aliens returning to their home countries as is whether Canadian truck drivers and other similar types of workers who cross the border as part of their Canadian employment for example have to file FBAR’s.

  71. @tim, all depends on the language of the tax treaty. There are significant differences between the different tax treaties signed by the US. Some countries negoitated much better deals for than their citizens than did others. But one thing they all provide is that the other country acknowledges the right of the US to collect taxes from US citizens who reside in the other country.

  72. @Roger

    Yes, Roger but others here have received letters at least from Canadian Finance Minister Flaherty that Canada at least won’t collect from Canadian Citizens even if that Canadian citizen was a US Citizen also or a green card holder.

    The part of tax treaty I was referring too was the so called “residency tie breaker” something that doesn’t apply to US citizens due to the savings clause but would apply to a foreign citizen green card holder in theory.

  73. @tim,
    I believe there are special provisions with respect to US taxation that apply to foreign citizen truck drivers, airline crew members, ship crew members that dock in US ports, etc. Offhand I don’t know what they are, but I suspect they are not subject to US taxation on the income they earn during these short stays in the US. But don’t take this for the Gospel truth.
    There may be international agreements.

    My daughter is a US citizen airline flight attendant who flies regularly to Brazil. Brazilian visas are required of US citizens in order to enter Brazil, but as an working airline crewmember she is admitted without a visa. So I suspect there may be similar arrangements with respect to taxes.

    I don’t know how it is now, but a few years back when I used travel there regularly, persons entering Venezuela on business (but not tourists) were required to pay Venezulan income tax on their earnings paid back home by their foreign employer for the wagest earned while in that country on business and you were not allowed to board a flight back home without the official receipt for having paid the tax. But it did not affect airline crew members even though they might stay overnight before their return flight left the next day.

    Being aware of this I always entered as a tourist. Once one of my Canadian co-workers from Montreal met me in Venezuela. I told him to be sure and enter as a tourist, but when we got to the Caracas airport on a Saturday morning and he handed his passport to the airline check in attendendant she asked for his tax clearance, which he did not have. He was not able to leave until the following Tuesday because the tax office was closed until Monday and the flights to Canada only left early in the morning. He was not a happy traveler. Not realizing the tax implications he had ignored my advice and gotten a business visas “because he was carrying in a slide projector to make a presentation.”

  74. What the Canadian Finance Minister has stated is perfecty normal. Tax treaties to not require that the foreign country collect taxes from the US citizen resident in that country. They only confirm that the US has the right to tax citizens who reside there. They usually contain a clause indicating that each country will “assist” the other in collecting taxes, but there is no obligation to do the actual collecting.

  75. @Roger

    Yes, I agree with your interpretation. I suspect we are causing the Canadian Department of Finance lawyers are lot a difficulty in determing for example as to what what the true definition of “assist” is.

    In terms of your point about air crew and truck driver taxation I believe foreign air crews and seaman are more protected from any issues regarding taxation due to international treaty. Truck drivers though I have heard are more vunerable in this regard. The problem is the FBAR is not part of the tax code but instead is an administrative requirement imposed on US Persons and anyone doing “business” in the US whatever that means. I do know for example that Florida was able to sucessfully impose a state tax on sales of jet fuel to foreign airlines despite treaties the US ratified prohibiting tax on jet fuel used in international air commerce. Another example I can think of is Air Canada is required to register as “foreign” corporation with the Florida Secretary of State’s office in Tallahassee if they want to do “business” in Florida despite their operations being governed by international agreement. I suspect the real issue might for these people might not be federal taxation but state taxation requirement.

  76. We do have an unresolved problem in the US with states not honoring international treaties signed by the US. In a recent case a Mexican citizens convicted of murder in Texas sought a reversal because Texas authorities failed to tell him he had a right, under international treaties, to contact Mexican consular officials. The Supreme Court upheld his conviction becase there is no Federal law obligating the states to respect international treaty obligations accepted by the US Government. So he was executed. Congress has still not taken action to correct this legal oversight. I guess they are too busy with legislation directing the IRS to hunt down American citizens living abroad.

  77. @arrow: “So the question now is — do I need to formally relinquish the green card?”

    Here the US employs a legal concept known as “having your cake and eating it”. From

    http://www.irs.gov/instructions/i1040nre/ch01.html#d0e252

    “Until you have proof your letter was received, you remain a resident for tax purposes even if the USCIS would not recognize the validity of your green card because it is more than ten years old or because you have been absent from the United States for a period of time. ”

    So you can be “resident for tax purposes” but with no right of, you know, actual residency in the US. Surprising? This is questionable to say the least, both constitutionally and in terms of customary international law.

    In practice, if this were me I’d just forget about it. Especially after 40 odd years. But strictly you’re supposed to affirmatively surrender a green card. Form I-407. Remember, this is the LAW we’re talking about here. (As distinct from, say, JUSTICE.)

  78. Watcher:

    Thanks for that. At this point I’m going to stay off the radar screen. What’s that old saying about sleeping dogs?

  79. @Arrow, I would say you are both prrudent and wise. There is no doubt that the tourist industry in the US is going to say “What happened to all those Canadian toruists? There are far fewer this year.”

    Answer, Answer: They are being priudent and wise, lest they get nailed by immigration at the border and turned over to the IRS becase they discover they descended from an America citizen and therefore have got to pay a huge ransom in penaties to the IRS for failing to file US tax returns.

    A lot more Canadians will be traveling to Cuba and enjoing the beautiful sandy beaches at Veradero rather than risk being taken to the cleaners if they drive across the border into the US. So thanks to the US Congress, Canadian tourism in Cuba will surge while it declines in the US.

    Could it be that Cuba is secretly contriuting funds to US Congressional camapgns given the tremendous favors some have been doing through these tax actions which are driving Canadians with US roots to spend their vacations in Cuba rather than in the US.

    Maybe this merits a investigation by the FBI and the Justice Department.

  80. Just a couple of slightly off-topic comments prompted by reading this thread

    1) The recently released draft regulations do not obligate the Financial Institution to insist on knowing your place of birth, just if they happen to find it in the documentation you provide they must get a CLN or reasonable explanation why you didn’t take up your citizenship (their vague words)
    2) Reciprocal agreements with other governments are all very well, but since US is NOT a tax haven, and no other state around the world taxes on citizenship, the information that US banks can offer is pretty useless to other tax authorities. Why would any other country waste it’s own moeny setting up reporting infrastructure for no return?

  81. @P33t, But in one sense the US is a tax haven because interest earned by deposits in accounts owned by non-resident foreign citizens is not taxed by the IRS. There are several trillion dollars of such funds in Florida banks, much of it from depositors who live in Latin America with the earnings therefrom likely not being reported by most of their owners to the tax authorities of the countries where they live. Why do you suppose that every member of the Florida Congressional Delegation, both Democrats and Republicans, signed a letter to President Obama and Treasury Secretary Geithner loudly protesting the IRS proposal that banks provide this information so that it could be forwarded to those governments? I recall having read that the Mexican Government has requested this information from the US Government in the past, but this request has been denied because, among other things, the IRS does not have it.

    Bear in mind that it is a violation of US law for foreign bankers to encourage US citizens or foreign green card permanent US residents to “hide” funds and income abroad, and more than a few Swiss bankers, and Swiss banks have paid huge fines when they were caught. But there is no US law that prohibits US bankers from soliciting funds from non-resident foreign citizens to be hidden in tax free accounts in US banks.

    Some might even be so bold as to say that this constitutes a double standard. What is a crime for Swiss banks to do in soliciting funds from Americans for their banks to hold is not a crime for US banks to do when they solicit funds from non-resident foreigners for their banks.

    With a real threat that these accounts might be reported to foreign authorities this would likely lead to such massive withdrawals than more than just a few Florida Banks would collapse financially. I suspect, however, that the prime reason the IRS is pressing so hard to obtain this information is so that offer it to foreign governments in hope that this action will mitigate the objections of foreign governments in urging their banks to provide the same information on accounts held by US persons as they are required to do by FATCA.

  82. @petros. Indeed you are bold. How could the US ever be accused of such a thing? If other nations were to adopt the US standard then no US banker would ever be able to travel abroad since he would be subject to arrest by the authorities of every foreign country immediately upon deplaining. Presumably foreign immigration authorities receive passenger lists electronically before incoming flights even land, so they would be able to have their immigration officers ready with handcuffs in hand. That is pretty much the way it works today with US immigration.

  83. In Vance v. Terrazas, 444 U.S. 252 (1980), the U.S. Supreme Court held that “Congress does not have any general power to take away an American citizen’s citizenship without his ‘assent,’ which means an intent to relinquish citizenship whether the intent is expressed in … words or is found as a fair inference from his conduct.” The Court held that an expatriating act such as taking out citizenship in a foreign country cannot be treated as conclusive evidence of the indispensable voluntary assent of the citizen. The Court held further, “The trier of fact must in the end conclude that the citizen not only voluntarily committed the expatiating act prescribed in the statute, but also intended to relinquish his citizenship.”

  84. TomOn:

    And that’s why doing things like obtaining a US passport, or voting in US elections, tends to destroy any argument that you did indeed intend to relinquish — as Calgary411 found out to her sorrow. Your only option with that as a track record is to renounce.

    I also thought the operative date for this “switch” in the US approach was 1973, not 1980. Before 1973 it was a slam dunk that your US citizenship was gone once you took out citizenship in another country. Now it’s a matter for the State Department to decide. Fortunately — the form you have to fill out was designed at a time when the goal of the state department was to rip that citizenship away from you at the slightest provocation. That makes it a lot easier for someone whose intention it is to get rid of the US citizenship albatross — the questions inexorably lead you in that direction.

    Roger said: “Some might even be so bold as to say that this constitutes a double standard.”

    Thanks for my laugh of the day.

  85. @Arrow, I think the 1980s date is probably right, as I seem to recall that is when I first learned about it. You are so correct, howeveer, that before that US citizens living abroad were scared to even look crosseyed because the guillotine of citizenship loss was suspended by only a fragile thread.

    My old US passport issued in March 1981 contains this “IMPORTANT INFORMATION” statement:

    LOSS OF NATIONALITY: You may loose your US nationality by being naturalized in, or by taking an oath or making a declaration of allegiance to, a foreign state; or by serving in the armed forces or accepting employment under the government of a foreign state. For detailed information consult the nearest American consulate.

    It uses the word “may” rather than “will,” but the threat is crystal clear. Don’t do any of these things or else.

  86. @Roger and others: There was no “may” about it when I, Tiger and others became citizens of Canada in 1970s. The Consulate was very clear, firm and direct-we were definitely losing our US citizenship by becoming Canadian. Unfortunately, Schubert was the only one fortunate enough to get a CLN–because he wrote to Henry Kissinger. The rest of us had no idea there even was such a thing!

    Based on what we were told, we made the step with the very clear intent and understanding that we were no longer US citizens. It never occurred to us that decades later we might be considered “US persons” instead.

    Perhaps clarity changed when a certain US President asked what the meaning of the word is is.

  87. @Blaze, I totally agree with you. But confusion goes back even further than when the former president pretended that a certain word didn’t really mean what it said.

    The US Constitution states that the US President must be a “natural born” US citizen, but nowhere does it define what “natural born” means. When I was growing up this was always interpreted as meaning that he/she was born in the United States, but few today “think” that is what it means. Most accept that it means ” a US citizen by birth,” which would include persons born outside of the US to a US citizen parent. Others insist that it means that both parents were born in the United States while even others insists that it means born naturally through a vaginal delivery as proposed to a Ceserian section. Others insist that it means a person who is not a dual citizen of any other country. Some day the Supreme Court may be called upon to rule what Natural Born really means in the Constitutional context, but so far this has not happened.

  88. As an addendum to what Blaze says above, when I took my oath of Canadian citizenship in October, 1972, in addition to the oath of allegiance to the Queen and her heirs etc., I also had to swear the following Renunciation Oath “I hereby renounce all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign sovereign or state of whom or which I may at this time be a subject or citizen”. Now I was brought up to believe that swearing on a bible before God was sacred and I see no reason why that is no longer the case!

  89. @tiger, I presume your Renunciation Oath, as quoted in your post, was also to the Queen and her heirs, correct? If so, even if sworn on a stack of Bibles, the US does not recognize this oath. The onlly “valid” Oath of Renunciation recognized by the US Government is the oath made before and in the presence of a US consular or Embassy official located outside of the United States.

    I’ve never done it since I was born a US citizen, but foreign nationals are required to make a similar oath when they become naturalized citizens of the United States. But generally the foreign governments of the countries from which such new US citizens came from likewise do not recognize that a renunciation oath made to a “foreign” government (the US) has any legal effect as far as that foreign government is concerned. There may be some exceptions which deprive you of citizenship with the slightest hint that you have or intend to become a citizen of another country. There is no world-wide uniformity.

    If you are a citizen of Argentina, for example, the Renunciation Oath must be made before the specifically-designated Argentine official in Buenos Aires. Argentina does not recognize a renunciation oath made anywhere else. And it is only relatively recently that Argentina had any provisons for renuncing Argentine citizenship. It used to be that if you were an Argentine citizen you could never lose your Argentine citizenship until dead and buried.

  90. @ Blaze Feb 22 2:24pm

    Just to make the record crystal clear — Schubert didn’t know about CLNs back then either; until mine arrived in the mail, I’d never heard of such a thing. I vaguely recall thinking “oh isn’t this cute, the US bureaucracy issues me a certificate to attest that I actually did what I told Kissinger in my letter that I’d done. So what? One for the eventual grandkids, I guess” and tossed in a folder where I completely forgot about it for nearly 35 years, until I stumbled over it last Fall when I was searching for something else. It made no impression on me at the time I got it, though of course now it does (it’s in my safe deposit box and I have several copies elsewhere including one now permanently travelling with my Canadian passport).

    I don’t think anyone in Canada knew anything about CLNs until quite recently, never mind in the 1960s and 1970s, or of any need to notify the US government about relinquishing. If anyone did know, I’ve yet to meet, correspond with, or even hear about him/her. The only reason I know about Section 349 (which sets out the expatriating acts in US law) is because my CLN has a printed reference to it, and I looked it up on the internet after I re-discovered the CLN.

  91. @ Roger Conklin

    The US may not recognize the renunciation oath some Canadians took before April 1973, but I’d say a copy of that oath with a signature on it is prima facie legal evidence of intent to relinquish US citizenship at the time. I’d love to hear a US lawyer try to spin his/her way out of that interpretation … And how could any person who swore that oath be reasonably expected to know the US didn’t recognize it, and how can anyone claim that person is still a US citizen if that person has done absolutely nothing to assert or exercise US citizenship since then, never mind claim they owe “delinquent” tax returns? The whole thing utterly defies logic, and if US law says it’s a legal interpretation, then I’d say that’s just one more example of the truth of the old saying “the law is a ass, a idiot.”

  92. @sxhubert1975, I’n not a lawyer either, but I totally agree that a signed oath like you have ought to be indesputable evidence that you clearlhy intended to five up your US citizenship.

  93. @Roger: LOL at “while even others insists that it means born naturally through a vaginal delivery as proposed to a Ceserian section.”

    Unfortunately, I suspect some may actually believe that. A prominent Republican candidate is currently talking about allowing states to ban contraception, so there are probably those who believe the above as well.

    @Schubert: I was aware you didn’t know what a CLN was. I just wish I had written to Kissinger as well. Silly me, I simply believed then (and continued to believe for almost 40 years!) that the clear information the US Consulate gave me was honest and accurate. That’s part of the reason I don’t want to go anywhere near them to get a CLN now. History has shown me they can’t be trusted.

  94. @Blaze, I haven’t heard any Republican candidate suggesting the states ought to be able to ban conraception. That would like banning water from flowing down hill. But what I have heard several mentioning is the Federal Government should not be able to force health insurance companies insuring employees of religious organizations that frown on contraception to provide contraceptives at no charge to their employees. You have a very different health care system in Canada. This is a freedom of religion issue rather than a health care issue.

  95. @ Tiger: “I also had to swear the following Renunciation Oath ‘I hereby renounce all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign sovereign or state of whom or which I may at this time be a subject or citizen’. Now I was brought up to believe that swearing on a bible before God was sacred and I see no reason why that is no longer the case!”

    Your comment brought to mind lyrics from an old Phil Ochs protest song, (paraphrasing the US motto), “And heaven only knows in which God they can trust!”

  96. @ Roger Conklin @ pacifica777 and @ Schubert1975

    The renunciation Oath followed the Oath of Allegiance to the Queen and her heirs. I agree with Schubert and pacifica, putting a hand on bible and renouncing any allegiance to a foreign sovereign, certainly should prove your intent was to give up your prior citizenship.
    I have applied through the “Access to Information and Privacy Commissioner” for a copy to that oath which will bear my signature.
    Having said all of the above, like Blaze, I don’t trust the Americans anymore and I don’t plan on going anywhere near them to obtain a CLN.

  97. I’ve been an avid fan of this blog for the past several weeks, gleaning much from your very astute observations and lively conversations, but hesitant to add my own 2 cents’ worth which so far seems not as valuable as many of yours. When I read usxcanada’s question “Is there anyone out there besides accidental Schubert1975 who now possesses a precious CLN?” I knew I needed to share my husband’s experience.

    We came to Canada in the mid-70s and very soon realized that this would be our lifetime home. As soon as he was eligible, my hubby, Mr. Ladybug, applied for Canadian citizenship and achieved it in early 1979. As the U.S. didn’t allow dual citizenship at that time, he KNEW that he was no longer a U.S. citizen. A few weeks ago when the IRS’ latest intentions became news around here, we began to look for a letter we knew he had received back then from the U.S. Govt. but weren’t sure was still around. In fact, we thought it had probably been lost in the shuffle many years ago. We both could remember his receiving it, although much of what was in it was pretty fuzzy in our minds after more than 30 years. However, our recollection was that it gave him a certain amount of time to respond if he did not want to lose his U.S. citizenship and if he did not respond they would “lose it for him.”

    A couple of weeks ago Mr. LB brought up from the storeroom many boxes of files from the past and placed them all in the living room, saying that he was going to look through these reams of paper and find that document if, indeed, it still existed. Well, would you believe it, the first file that he took out of the first box was titled “U.S. Citizenship Relinquishment Docs – Very Important.” That looked promising! Inside were letters, documents and the much desired CLN (which we didn’t even remember he had received). And I thought I’d outgrown believing in guardian angels!

    Here’s the sequence of events: Exactly a year after becoming a Canadian citizen, he received a letter from the U.S. Consulate in our province stating that “information available to this office indicates that you were naturalized as a citizen of Canada on —- 1979 upon your own application.” It went on to say that he may thereby have lost U.S. citizenship. A form was attached that Mr. LB could complete regarding his “possible loss” of U.S. nationality. It went on to state that “if we have not received a reply from you within 60 days we will assume that you do not wish to submit any information or evidence for consideration in making a decision regarding the loss of your United States nationality.” Mr. LB did nothing as he considered himself no longer a U.S. citizen and he did not wish to regain his citizenship. Four months later another letter came (both letters were double registered) and this one informed him once again that it appeared he was giving up his U.S. citizenship and stated “If you fail to reply to this letter within sixty days of the date of this letter your silence will be considered to mean that you intended to relinquish your United States Citizenship by your action in obtaining voluntary naturalization in Canada. In that event a final determination will be made that you voluntarily expatriated yourself under the provisions of Section 349(a)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act with the intention to relinquish your United States citizenship.”

    In June, 1981 (a full two years after he actually relinquished and more than a year after the Consulate’s first letter) Mr. LB received his official Certificate of Loss of Nationality of the United States complete with an official seal (does yours have a seal on it, Schubert?). It also had a form attached which the Consulate had sent a year earlier to the Canadian Citizenship Registration Branch requesting information on the granting of his citizenship.

    I know this doesn’t help those who are wondering if they can get a backdated CLN now but it does answer the question, “Is there another CLN out there anywhere?” I’m so happy to report that my guy has one and is sitting in the catbird seat!

    Meantime, I’m still a dual citizen pondering my options, but that’s a story for another time. This is a bit of a long introduction but I thought you would be interested in some of the details of our excellent adventure into outdated, but thankfully preserved, files. Just wish it had taken him a little longer to find his CLN and he might have cleaned out a few of those files!

  98. @ Ladybug,

    Actually, I believe it does help people like myself, Blaze and others who have this clear recollection that when we became Canadians back in the 70’s, 80’s or earlier, we were relinquishing our U.S. citizenship. I myself feel it is more proof that the Americans really believe we did give up our citizenship because we did nothing or filed nothing with a consulate to retain the citizenship of the u.s. I for one plan on printing out your post as possible proof, should I need it that I am truly NOT AN AMERICAN.
    Thanks for joining our post, Ladybug. And luck Mr. Ladybug!

  99. @All and @Lady Bug
    Today, throughout most of the world including parts of North America, “show me your papers” is considered a minor inconvenience of modern life. I certainly don’t speak for the government, and I know the US Immigration and Naturalization Service is perhaps the number one US agency which has the reputation for being the most obnoxious and difficult to deal with but very, very few Canadians will ever get a request from the Internal Revenue Service asking where your tax return is now that we have FATCA. Why would they write to you?
    There is probably going to be a ground swell of political support against the FATCA idea of your local Canadian bank becoming a withholding agent for the IRS. Whether you win that battle will depend on how well your government leaders represent you in their talks in Washington. Do the people representing you now have the strength to tell the Treasury Department “hell no” on the names of our “American” depositors!!? I have no idea and will admit to a common American habit of not paying attention to the government and politics of our neighboring nations.
    If your government cannot reach an accord on the Canadian privacy issue, then probably sometime in 2016 or 2017, after all the FATCA bells and whistles are installed in the new banking FATCA computers, your private bank information is going to get mixed up with some US Treasury /IRS computer program and data base. If there is something in this cross checked program which causes the machine to blow a fuse when it comes to your name, a few months later a person will review what the government has and then decide if he wants to send you an invitation to chat about your taxes, and if appropriate, file a return. Or if there are a lot of fuse blowers, more than the IRS can handle with a person on the job, a Canadian could get a computer generated letter asking if you think you should file a return under our voluntary self reporting system please do so. If not,”if our phone still ain’t ringin we’ll assume it still ain’t you”
    Respectfully submitted,
    30 Year IRS Vet

  100. @ Steven
    I personally would like to thank you for your contributions to the IBS. You have been amazing resilient under alot of pressure from most of the members of this blog. At times, I have to admit that I have thought “we are shooting the messenger”.
    I hope your observations above prove to be true and I hope that the FATCA regulations get either changed or go away completely. However, I am not an optimist that they will “go away”. I also hope and pray that our government will protect all of us who are citizens of this land. As I still have siblings in the United States, I also hope that I will be able to cross the border to visit them, since my plan is to do nothing as I have considered myself to be only a Canadian for 40 years.

    Your ambassador to Canada, Mr. Jacobson, stated some time ago, that the IRS did not plan on going after the “grandmas and grandpas” of the world. Well, I am one of those grandmas and I have not had alot of good sleeps in the last few months.As “Just Me” has said in many of his posts “This really does use up too many LCUs”.
    I do thank you again. We all have had alot of fun with “Jack and Jill”. I really wouldn’t mind meeting them someday. I think even after paying all their penalties to the IRS (and of course we know they must owe penalties also to the CRA), they certainly have alot more money than I have ever seen.

  101. @Roger your post back at 6:10am 02/22 says

    But in one sense the US is a tax haven because interest earned by deposits in accounts owned by non-resident foreign citizens is not taxed by the IRS.

    You have missed an important point – this interest is NOT TAXABLE anywhere else in the world. Whilst it may be interesting to know of large offshore accounts, it is not for income tax purposes

  102. Ladybug – Thanks so much for sharing your story. Interesting and useful. The narrative shows astounding zeal and tenacity on the part of some consular agent. Like schubert1975, this is another case of a successful rummaging through happily preserved detritus producing an ancient CLN.

    Petros has been waiting almost a year now, I think. Various others have logged onto the CLN queue. Somewhere nobledreamer took a shot at producing a list of waiters. When will IBrockers see a first report of a modern CLN in hand?

    Is getting CLN an antidote to the spread of VD?

  103. @P33t, Is the US the only country in the world that taxes interest income? I confess to not being an expert on this, but I believe it is taxed in Brazil, including interest earned abroad by residents of Brazil. I know that both domestic and foreign interest income was taxed when I lived there 36+ years back. Please enlighten me further on this.

  104. @ Canada taxes interest income. Also Canada has a the lowest interest rate in the world that I know of, intentionally lower than the United States. This is creating a housing bubble here. A couple of years ago, Canada created a TFSA so that you can invest in a savings account and not be taxed on it. But who can afford to have a “high interest” savings account at 2% when the annual rate of inflation is probably around 10%?

  105. My experience similar to Mr. Ladybug’s: I became a Canadian citizen in 1973. In 1976 I received two registered letters, seven months apart, from the embassy, telling me that if I did not respond within 60 days my silence would be considered to mean that I intended to relinquish my U.S. citizenship. I did not respond. In 1977 I received a CLN, which like Mr. Ladybug I put away and forgot about, not realizing until recently its value. Mine too is now is a safety deposit box. Over the years people who should have known better demeaned its value by saying things like, “Oh, they just wanted to make you feel bad.” “What did you do to p*** them off?” “Oh, they handed those things out like candy.” I find it interesting that the letters, written in 1976, used the phrase “intended to relinquish,” which anticipates the Supreme Court decision Vance v. Terrazas in 1980. It was this decision that established guidelines for the State Department in the matter of taking away a citizen’s citizenship. Prior to 1980 State presumed that anyone taking out citizenship in another country intended to lose their U.S. citizenship. The Court ruling – that they had to presume that citizens wanted to keep their citizenship – led Congress to change the Immigration and Nationality Act in 1986 and State to change its policy regarding loss of nationality in 1990. I don’t think it can be said that U.S. consulates lied when they told those who became Canadian citizens in the 1970s that they had thereby lost their U.S. citizenship. Such a statement was lawful up until the Court ruling in 1980. However, that doesn’t mean they are now U.S. citizens, in my view. The Court found that intent to relinquish can be expressed in words or can be found as a fair inference from conduct. Many contributors to this website have mentioned actions such as believing they gave up their U.S. citizenship on becoming Canadian, not filing U.S. taxes, not having a U.S. passport, working and paying taxes in Canada for many years, and so on. It is surely a “fair inference” from these beliefs and actions to say that these people are not U.S. citizens.

  106. @TomOn

    I totally agree with you. My research also showed up the 1980 Supreme Court ruling and the 1986 Amendment to the INA (Immigration and Nationality Act). Many of us posting on this site (and we now number quite a few), have believed for 40 years that we are not U.S. citizens and none of our actions speak otherwise. I really don’t believe the IRS wants to end up in court over this and it is perhaps why Steven in an earlier post indicated to all of us “Don’t make the day of the IRS” by throwing a bunch of late returns at them.

  107. @TomOn and Ladybug

    WELCOME! I was beginning to wonder if I were the only person in Canada who stumbled onto a long-forgotten and long-ignored CLN in a panic when I first heard about OVDI and all that jazz in August. (Thank God my wife and I, unlike some others, decided not to “come forward” under OVDI, on the grounds that, if it’s an amnesty, it’s for criminals and coming forward is a tacit admission you’re a criminal, and we’re not criminals and have done nothing wrong, so why would we apply for this nightmare? Not on your sweet Nelly.)

    Yes my CLN does have an embossed seal of the Vice-Consul of the US Embassy in Ottawa, plus his signature plus the signature of the Director of the Passport Office in Washington. The seal doesn’t photocopy at all, as it’s embossed and not printed, but it’s still visible on the original. Unlike the snazzy new CLNs, mine doesn’t have the “great seal of the US” (the eagle with the arrows in the claws and the shield over its chest) at the top, but it’s still very official. The blanks are all filled out by typewriter (remember typewriters?).

    @Ladybug VERY IMPORTANT PLEASE. You would do many persons on this website a HUGE service if you could have your husband make a photocopy of the letter he got from State telling him “if we don’t hear a compelling reason otherwise from you by X date, zap you’re no longer American.” Have him blank out on the copy with black marker pen his name and address, but please leave the date of the letter visible. Then scan or photograph the document (with a digital camera) and post the resulting JPG as an attachment to a post in this thread or, much preferably, start a new thread titled something like “proof that in the 1970s you automatically lost your US citizenship on becoming a foreign national as standard practice” and post the attachment there.

    I never got that notice, but then I triggered my CLN by writing a snarky letter to the Secretary of State which made it very clear what I thought of my former US citizenship and what Kissinger could do with it. But that notice is potentially VERY important evidence to support a whole lot of relinquishment cases, especially those going back before about 1980 or whenever the US changed its tune. This reinforces in print, on an official government letterhead, the “common understanding” that we all had back then about all this.

    If you don’t know how to do attach a JPG to a post, register on the Brock forum (upper right side of home page for link) and send Schubert1975 a private email and either I’ll explain in detail or tell you how to get the attachment to me and I’ll post it for you.

  108. @Schubert1975 and @ Ladybug

    Thanks you Schubert for suggesting this to Ladybug. I would so love to have that “blacked out” copy and I have no doubt Blaze and others would also appreciate it. I wish we did not need all this proof but as FATCA evolves and regulations become final, I fear we will need the proof of loss of citizenship for our Financial Institutions. So Ladybug, please do scan, photograph and post the document.

  109. @ Ladybug Hi rather than deface the document itself, send the scan in jpg format and I can “photoshop” it (I actually use Corel Paint, Canadian software).

  110. @ladybug
    @TomOn

    I would be interested in knowing how those letters came to be spit out. When you became Canadian citizens did you yourselves inform the American government or was Canada sending out some paperwork to inform the US that “Mr. Ladybug” and “TomOn” have become Canadian citizens and have therefore expatriated themselves.

  111. @TomOn: Thanks for posting. I agree with you, but I suspect at least part of the reason the Embassy sent you a CLN was because they wanted to “punish” you for the audacity of becoming a citizen of another country.

    Little did they know today that CLN would be like Gold. Just don’t tell Doug Shulman–He will declare you a “US Person” (not citizen!) and demand the gold back at 2012 value.

    How did US Embassy know you had you had become Canadian? Was there someone from Consulate or Embassy at your ceremony? Did you contact them? Did CIC contact them?

    I recall someone from Consulate at my 1973 ceremony. I signed a document with that man (Of course it was a man, women weren’t hired in responsible positions then). I was certain I recalled the words “permanent and irrevocable.” Sure enough, in information Tiger sent me, those exact words are used.

    TomOn, based on your experience, I may finally have a clue why I didn’t get a CLN. You received two registered letters in 1976, three years after your 1973 ceremony. By 1976, I had moved twice. In fact, the apartment building where I lived in 1973 was torn down for a parking lot (“They took Paradise and turned it into a parking lot”–Joni Mitchell, Big Yellow Taxi–I digress). So, if US Embassy sent a letter to that address, neither I nor the building were still there. The letter may have been returned No Such Address or Addressee Unknown. By 1977, when you received your CLN, I had moved a third time (I really am a stable person–very few moves since then!). I never reported a change of address to US Consulate. I didn’t even think of it–I wasn’t a US citizen.

    Were you at the same address in 1976 as you were in 1973?

    Information Tiger uncovered on DOS website is complex, but intriguing. Tiger, I hope you don’t mind, I’m posting a link to that information:

    Click to access 109065.pdf

  112. @Ladybug: Are you kidding me?!? You didn’t think your contributions were as “valuable as many” of us?!? You have no idea how valuable your contributions are (But like TomOn’s CLN turning into gold, we won’t report your worth to IRS!)

    As you may know, I am the casting director for War of 1812: The Movie. You have just been cast as Head of CSIS. Mr LB is Lead Investigator. I hope you will both accept the roles.

    @Steven: You ask “Why would they write” to us after FATCA. Again, I ask Are you kidding me?!? Because they want to charge us massive penalties for not reporting our earnings, savings and investments for the last 40 or more years, which have already been taxed in our country of residence. Otherwise, why are they demanding the information?

    IRS didn’t care about us 40 years ago. We didn’t have any money then. Of course, we didn’t–We were young. Now that we’re near or in retirement, we have retirement savings, homes with mortgagees paid off (and not subject to capital gains because interest on our mortgages was not deductible from our Canadian income), investments, etc.

    We have these assets because, as responsible Canadians, we did exactly what our Canadian government asked us to: We planned for our retirements with income earned, saved and taxed in Canada.

    In terms of blowing a fuse, I will admit that’s something the US has always been good at. Unfortunately, it’s others who end up in the dark when the lights go off out in the cold when the heat goes off.

    Unlike, California, it gets pretty cold in Canada in the winter. We’re a hardy bunch! .But, we still wish our American neighbours would stop blowing fuses!

  113. @Blaze and for other information:

    Much as I’d like to believe that CLNs were issued as a form of punishment, I don’t think that’s strictly the case. It is my understanding that once, for whatever reason and by whatever means, a consular official or maybe someone else in DOS learns that you’ve committed a potentially expatriating act, the law and department procedure requires that they attempt to contact you to ascertain whether it was voluntary and with intent to relinquish. Prior to a Supreme Court decision in the 1980s, your burden of proof was that it wasn’t voluntary or intentional of reqlinquishment, if you said yes to both, they accepted that and you got a CLN. After the Supreme Court, the burden is now on you to prove it was intentional to relinquish, or at least to swear to that effect under oath and to substantiate per Question 13 on Form 2079. If you say “no it wasn’t voluntary” or “no that wasn’t my intent” they now accept that without question and issue some sort of confirmation that you still are a US citizen (which in this case presumably is what you want, if you said “no” to either or both questions).

    But I don’t think punishment enters into the DOS actions, though arguably that was the intent of the legislators who passed the provisions of Section 349. I’d love to believe that Kissinger wanted to punish me and now it’s backfired on him or whoever at State, but I honestly don’t believe that is likely what happened.

    And yes Blaze, I think your address changes might very well be a factor in your lack of a CLN, especially if the address change occurred soon after your citizenship ceremony and encounter with the US consular official at that event. Given what you’ve said, you definitely should have received a CLN or at least one of the letters that Ladybug’s husband and TomOn got. Either that, or the official was abjectly derelict in his duty if he didn’t report you as having committed an expatriating act. That was his job, and if he went out of his way to caution you about what you were about to do, he should also have reported you to higher authority or recommended preparation of a CLN once he was aware (if he was aware) that you’d ignored his advice and proceeded. In any case someone at DOS should have contacted you afterward for clarification.

    I’ve never worked in the US government, but I did work in the Government of Canada. Bureaucracies tend to function much the same in any country, and I think my interpretation is correct.

    Will be interesting whether your ATI request for your citizenship file unearths any reference to the consular officer or correspondence with DOS (though in the latter case, intergovernmental communication is usually not included in ATI reports but is blanked out under the legislation protecting intergovernmental correspondence).

    If there were some way of querying at State or at the Embassy whether in fact a CLN ever was issued to you but you never got it, that might be interesting, but I can’t think how you could do that without “outing” yourself to them, and I’m not recommending you try. (Yet another nasty Catch-22, there are lots of those floating around here, aren’t there?)

  114. @schubert1975
    Our reasoning too: OVDI was administered through the Criminal Justice Department. We weren’t criminals, so OVDI wasn’t for us.

    @hijacked2012
    After becoming Canadian citizens, in 1973, we sent a note in 1974 to the IRS informing them that as Canadian citizens we were no longer U.S. citizens and would therefore no longer be filing 1040s. If we were mistaken, we continued, please let us know. Never heard from them again. They had been sending us tax forms each year. They sent no tax forms for 1974 or for any year thereafter.

    @Blaze
    I agree re the punish angle. At the time I wrote to State to point out the vindictive appearance of their actions…. I don’t know how the embassy knew I’d become Canadian. There was no one from the embassy at the ceremony (that I know of). Nobody approached me with a document to sign…. Not having received a CLN, my wife called the embassy after I got mine to clarify her status. She was told, as you and many others were, that she was definitely not a U.S. citizen. As I recall, I also complained in my letter to State about the hostility she encountered at the embassy…. Lest you think that only men received CLNs, which we thought for a very long time, we know of a woman who received one. To please her mother, she returned her CLN to the embassy (or did they snatch it back?) and then went through the restore process to get her U.S. citizenship back. Her unfortunate experience makes a point: If those without CLNs are still U.S. citizens, why the need to go through a restore process to get the U.S. citizenship back? As I understand it, the restore process requires, among other things, signing that you did not intend to relinquish U.S. citizenship on becoming Canadian…. Your frequent moves in 1973 may be the reason you didn’t get the two registered letters that Mr. Ladybug and I got followed by a CLN (over a two-year period by the way). We were at the same address from 1973 on. Before that, we moved frequently, and they never had any trouble getting through to us.

  115. @ Blaze, @Ladybug, @TomOn, @Tiger, @Shubert, etc.

    Regarding CLN’s and some receiving registered letters regarding losing US citizenship if not heard advising otherwise, sounds right on to me. I can actually remember the day my then-husband and I went to take our Oaths of Canadian Citizenship, the woman who we had babysit our two young kids, where we lived, etc.

    I believe that Registered Mail from the US would be marked “Do Not Forward — Return to Sender” if someone had moved. I know that our family moved several times in the not too many years after we became Canadian citizens, eventually ending up in another small town north of Calgary.

    If the mail intended to inform us was sent back to the US as perhaps a resultant CLN, where did that leave us who had moved? It makes sense to me — and I can see it happening to a lot of us during those times.

  116. @Blaze
    Happy to have you post the link I sent. I am not computer literate enough to do it myself so thank you.
    @ all of the above
    After becoming a Canadian citizen in 1972(October), I remained at that address for 3 1/4 years. I have no recollection of receiving any document from the U.S.Consulate. As mentioned previously my Canadian citizenship oath included an oath of renunciation. Perhaps U.S.consulate took that to mean difinitely that I relinquished my U.S. citizenship. I can only hope so!
    One more thing re all of the above, it was in 1993 that my late husband read to me an article, published in the Globe that the U.S.was “offering to give back” the citizenship of those people who might have previously relinquished. But you did have to apply through the Consulate and prove your intent had never been to give up your U.S. citizenship. This after their own 9th Circuit Court ruled in 1986 in a case called Richards vs Secretary of State, that Mr. Richards had in fact given up his U.S. citizenship when he became a Canadian in 1971.
    I know perhaps logic doesn’t enter into these laws but how could any court in the land (either their land or our land) not see that the preponderance of evidence supports the fact that our expatriating acts resulted in a relinquishment of U.S. citizenship.

  117. @Schubert, et. al: My first move was about 15 months after my 1973 citizenship ceremony. TomOn’s timelines, (three years after his 1973 ceremony), that would be after my first two moves. Based on Mr. LB’s time lines (one year after ceremony), I should have received my first letter before I moved. I’m trying to think back now to whether I did. It seems weird, but something may have been awakened in the back of my mind that I did receive a letter just before I moved, but tossed it aside because it was so insignficant to me. I already knew I was no longer US citizen. By the time the second letter would have come, I had moved to another province. By the time CLN would have been mailed, I had move again.

    That may be wishful thinking on my part. It may also be irrelevant because I do not personally have a CLN–and don’t want to come out of the closet to get one.

    Maybe, on the other hand, they didn’t begin sending those letters until 1976, which is when TomOn received his–three years after his and my ceremony. I am crystal clear that: 1. US Consulate told me, in a call I made to them that I was renouncing US citizenship by becoming a Canadian citizen. 2. I signed a document just before ceremony with a Consular official that contained the word “permanent and irrevocable.”

    I also received an Award at a 25 year high school class reunion: Only Non-US Citizen. (Great claim to fame!). I’ll have to see if I can find that. Do you think IRS would accept that instead of a CLN? I know American high school classmates would testify I did not consider myself a US citizen then–or now (including the Vietnam vets who never understood why I, a woman, moved to Canada and stayed). Too bad none of them work for IRS!

  118. @All

    Re tiger’s: “…it was in 1993 that my late husband read to me an article, published in the Globe that the U.S.was “offering to give back” the citizenship of those people who might have previously relinquished. But you did have to apply through the Consulate and prove your intent had never been to give up your U.S. citizenship. This after their own 9th Circuit Court ruled in 1986 in a case called Richards vs Secretary of State, that Mr. Richards had in fact given up his U.S. citizenship when he became a Canadian in 1971.”

    We should try to find that article and like information from that year.

  119. @Tiger: I don’t recall the article, but I do remember that in 1994, a colleague and his wife finally became Canadian citizens after more than 20 years in Canada They had waited that long because up until then, they knew they would be renouncing their US citizenship by becoming Canadian.

    I remember it well because we had an office gathering for them afterward with a Canadian flag cake from Tim Horton’s and everyone singing “Oh Canada.” Everyone else in the office was asking “What took you so long?” Instead, I asked “Does that mean you’ve had to file US income tax all these years?” Their answer was “Yes.” Hearing that, our colleagues were even more stunned it took them so long!

    I also remember around that time a friend asked me if I could get my US citizenship back. I replied “Maybe, but I don’t want it back.” I asked him recently if he remembered the conversation and my response. With no prompting from me, he remembered exactly what I said and where we were when I said it. No other family or friend on either side of the border has ever asked me that question (probably because they already know the answer).

    I’m glad to hear others moved a lot when they were young. Isn’t that what young people do?

  120. There’s a Toronto Star article from 1991 that is hidden behind a pay wall. Here is the abstract:

    “You may become Canadian and keep U.S. citizenship

    Here’s more good news. Those who lost U.S. citizenship under the previous law only because they took Canadian citizenship, may now regain it and become dual citizens. They may apply to have their cases reconsidered. Talk to the U.S. consul in charge of U.S. citizens’ services at the American consulate general in Toronto…”

    It looks like you can purchase the full article by paying $3.95

    http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/thestar/access/461832801.html?FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&type=current&date=Apr+27%2C+1991&author=Joe+Serge+TORONTO+STAR&pub=Toronto+Star&desc=You+may+become+Canadian+and+keep+U.S.+citizenship&pqatl=google

  121. Hello Everyone,
    Schubert – Thanks for your suggestion. I’ve scanned the letter re loss of nationality and it is in the capable hands of Petros who will post it later today.

    Steven – My husband is quite happy to have the minor inconvenience of “showing his papers” – I just wish it were not necessary since so many others don’t have those precious papers to show. A few years ago we were going through U.S. Customs in a Canadian airport and the officer kept insisting that Mr. LB was a U.S. citizen and should be using a U.S. passport due to his place of birth shown on his Canadian passport being in the U.S. Mr. LB kept insisting that he was not a U.S. citizen because the U.S. did not allow dual citizenship when he became a Canadian citizen and he intentionally relinquished US citizenship at that time. This discussion went on so long I thought we were going to miss our flight; but finally the officer let Mr. LB leave and as we left I could hear the officer muttering under his breath, “You are so a U.S. citizen.”

    TomOn & Blaze & Schubert – I agree with Schubert that receiving the CLN likely wasn’t a punishment although there seemed to be some strange system for issuing them. Just this morning someone who became a Canadian citizen a year before my husband let us know that he, too, had just found his CLN, and interestingly enough his CLN was sent a year after my husband’s was, but did show the correct date of relinquishment. Go figure.

    Hyjacked2012 – Mr. LB did not take any steps ahead of time to inform the U.S. Govt. that he was becoming a Canadian citizen. Since they contacted him I do wonder if there was an agreement between the U.S. and Canadian governments to provide this information.

    Blaze – I’d be honoured to take the part of Head of CSIS. With Mr. LB at my side as Lead Investigator it should go smoothly as we’ve been practicing our lines together for a long, long time.

    Cal411 – The registered mail Mr. LB received was sent from the consulate in Canada so it would not have gone back to the U.S. if it was undeliverable. If mail was sent to you it likely went back to the consulate. Perhaps they thought you got smart and moved back “home.”

  122. @Ladybug
    Thanks very much to you and Petros for arranging to have the copy posted on this website. I’m sure it will be downloaded multiple times and used to good effect, as and if needed!

    Interesting in re-reading your original post that your husband got the letter a year after becoming a Canadian. I wrote to Kissinger eight months after I took out my Canadian citizenship, and got the declaration form as a response about ten months after my citizenship. I’m now wondering what would have happened if I’d never written, whether I’d have received a letter a year later. It does make me wonder if there was some sort of information-sharing agreement on this between the two governments, Blaze’s experience supports that otherwise what was a US officer doing at her citizenship ceremony? (I certainly never had that experience.) There was nothing in my wife’s ATI package from Citizenship and Immigration Canada to suggest this, but there was an interesting mainly-blank page stating that something had been withheld from the request for reasons of exclusion (quoting a section of the Act). I asked the ATI supervisor on the phone about that, and he said it probably was something to do with third-party information. But it could also have been a copy of correspondence between CIC and DOS; I do know from my work in the government (for a time, I had an office next door to our Department’s ATI coordinator, with whom I had lunch and the odd card game from time to time and we did talk shop sometimes) that intergovernmental correspondence is excluded from ATI along with various other sensitive material, so it’s possible that’s what happened.

    I think I’ll submit a query to CIC on their contact us page about what their past practice was about this, and see what they say. Will report results on this forum if I get a clear answer to the question.

  123. @TomOn i would be interested in your wife’s current status. My wife also, unfortunately, went through the process of requiring her US citizenship.

  124. @Ladybug: Welcome to the growing cast of War of 2012! I love the fact your husband has taken your name (Mr. Ladybug) instead of the other way around.

    Was your husband’s letter from the Consulate and not the Canadian Embassy? Do you mind saying which Consulate it was? I was in Vancouver when I became a Canadian. As I stated above, they may have sent a letter which I did not receive because I had moved. Or, I may have received the first letter letter which I disregarded. I would have definitely moved by the time of the second letter or by the time of CLN. Darn, I wish I had stayed put, just to get the letter. But, I still may have tossed it aside, thinking it was irrelevant, because I already knew I was no longer a US citizen.

    You have no idea what this letter and TomOn’s posting means to those of us who relinquished in 1970s. This, combined with information Tiger sent to me from DOS and I posted above, confirms exactly what we have been saying. With full knowledge and intent, we relinquished our US citizenship in 1970s (or some even before that). It was “permanent and irrevocable.”

    So, why do we need to prove it four decades later? Shouldn’t the onus be the other way around?

    Based on fabulous info from Schubert, Tiger and I have requested information from our CIC file. I will wait and see what is in that file before deciding if I will contact Consulate or Embassy.

  125. This is really interesting. I never got such a letter back in the 70’s. I moved about a year-and-a-half after my citizenship (we all moved a lot in our 20s, eh) and it seems like these letters were sent as much as 2 or 3 years after the event.

    I recall having the impression that Canada notified the US about our new citieznships, but it was so long ago that it’s only vague in my mind. I remember clearly the CIC officer warning me at my pre-citizenship interview, “This will be a big step for you because you will lose your US citizenship” (which was my understanding all along and how I wanted it to be anyway). I think he said that CIC notifies Washington, but I just can’t remember for sure. (Like it wasn’t important for me to remember the modalities because I wasn’t told I had to do anything.)

    I do recall that the citizenship loss would be automatic … which does seem consistent with the administrative presumption of the time. I had no idea they sent out letters and I’d never heard of a CLN until a few months ago.

  126. @ everyone concerned re the State Department letter of 1980 mentioned by Ladybug:

    this is probably redundant, but in case there’s someone on this thread who hasn’t noticed by now, the full text of that letter is now on a separate thread started by Petros, headed “Letter from Consulate General July 25, 1980.” You can download each page as a separate JPG by just clicking on the page. Pass it on to your lawyer and to anyone else who needs it. Enjoy!

  127. Blaze, you asked about the origin of the letter to Mr. LB. It was from the Calgary Consulate.

    Several of you wondered if you might have received a similar letter and CLN if you hadn’t moved so much around the time of your relinquishment. We were lucky as we moved after our first year in Canada and then stayed put for a long while so had a permanent address when Mr. LB became a Canadian citizen and received this good stuff two years later.

    Schubert, you’re probably right about the third party information being for the DOS as the US Consulate requested information on my husband from Canadian Citizenship Registration Branch re date and place of birth, citizenship number, effective date, Section of Cdn. Citizenship Act, whether an oath of allegiance was taken, and date oath was taken. It’s included in the docs they sent him with his CLN.

    The brief covering letter that came with the CLN said simply, “I enclose a copy of the Certificate of Loss of Nationality of the United States, approved by the Department of State on June 4, 1981.” Signed by the Consul General. Short but sweet.

  128. @ Schubert
    You are just so clever. What a great idea submitting an inquiry to CIC re their past practice. Look forward to hearing what they have to say.

  129. Pierre Trudeau (Remember him?) compared Canada living next to USA to a Mouse sleeping next to an Elephant. “No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, if I can call it that, one is affected by every twitch and grunt.”

    The Elephant may be bigger,, stronger and more powerful, but the Mouse is smaller, smarter, faster and more flexible Pierre didn’t know about tiny Ladybug. While the beastly Elephant was snoozing and Mice were scurrying around trying to protect themselves, Ladybug and Mr. Ladybug quietly and discretely bugged their lives, seeking a remedy to keep the Elephant from stomping on all the Mice of a certain era.

    When she found the antidote, Ladybug gently crawled onto the Mouse’s face and whispered into Mouse’s ear: “Here’s a sleeping pill for the Elephant.”

    Even the Mice can sleep better now! .

  130. @Blaze, Keep hammering away! As an American I really appreciate what you Canadians are doing to wake up the Elephant which is sinking fast as our $730 billion trade deficit continues to skyrocket because, with its hypocritical extraterritorial policy seeks to crush its own citizens who bring home the export bacon by going abroad to sell them abroad.
    Keep up the good work, all of you!

  131. @ Blaze,
    I know you said in previous posts that you were now retired. I think you most definitely have a shot at a 2nd career if you want it. Screenwriter? Novelist? Short story writer? What fun you could have.

  132. @Blaze, Mr. Trudeau’s elephant quotation has also crossed my mind lately. But, boy, you’re good … what a delightful tale!

  133. @Roger, Tiger, Pacifica and Others: Thanks for your comments.

    Roger, I hope you saw that, in War of 2012: The Movie, I cast you in a cameo role as UN Secretary General. I hope you will accept.

    In that post, because you are such an esteemed international diplomat, Canadian Parliament unanimously makes you an “Honourary Canadian Citizen.” The honour is ours to have you among us. Only three others have ever become Honourary Canadian Citizens: Dalali Lama (2006–China was not happy!), Nelson Mandela (2001) and Raoul Wallenberg (1985).

    Our Minister of Citizenship and Immigration also declared Santa Claus a Canadian citizen a couple of years ago–but that was “real” citizenship, not honourary. Even Petros had to go through the normal channels to get his Canadian citizenship–the Canadian government didn’t know then that Petros was the reincarnated Isaac Brock.

    I spent the wee hours this morning rewriting the Declaration of Independence. I will post 2012 Declaration of Independence revisions in a separate post. I learned my American History well in high school to remember it. (Well, truthfully, I found the Declaration at http://www.ushistory.org!)mak

  134. @Everyone here:

    We all can agree — Blaze has found her calling and she has made us dream of greater things than the US IRS.

  135. @Ladybug Feb 23 11pm

    My CLN says there’s a copy attached of my original declaration form (there was) and the information sent to them by Citizenship Canada confirming my citizenship (there wasn’t, at least on my copy, maybe on their file copy it’s there). Not that it matters, I have my citizenship certificate and don’t need the confirmation …

    Does raise the question of why the Government of Canada was sending off our citizenship information to a foreign government without asking our permission first. I don’t recall when our current privacy legislation came into effect, but it seems to me that at least today under the Privacy Act that would be a huge no-no open to a nasty court challenge if they did it again now. Will be interesting to see what reply, if any, I get from Minister Kenny to my email on this yesterday …

    For the record, and after discussing the letter with my wife who, on reading it, noticed a remarkable concordance with the words I’ve always used in recounting the tale of how I got my CLN, I am now fairly sure (balance of probabilities but not beyond reasonable doubt, in legal terms) that I got the same or a similar letter with the declaration form. I didn’t keep the cover letter, but I have to say the phraseology (especially in the first paragraph, the “threat” that I’d lose my US citizenship if I didn’t reply within a time period, and the overall tenor of the wording) ring all sort of bells in my distant memory.

    I am sending copies of the letter and your original post explaining the context, to a few people (my MP, the NDP finance and foreign affairs critics, Flaherty, Denise Savoie of the NDP BC caucus, and my wife’s lawyer, plus anyone else I think of later). I encourage others to do likewise. One of the theme in the letter will be the hypocrisy (surprise suprise, again) of the United States in considering us all to have lost US citizenship by daring to become Canadian or whatever other nationality and then thirty and more years later saying ex post facto “oh now we think you’re still ours, you owe tax returns, and your banks have to report you under FATCA.” My, but I’ll bet the lawyers are salivating over the fun they’re going to have with the lawsuits once the banks start messing with this issue … If and when Canadian Bankers Association reply to me re the letter from Blaze that I sent them to protect her identity, I think I’ll hit them with this and explain to them how much fun they’ll have in court if they hand over financial information on anyone who became Canadian before 1980 with intent to relinquish (which is almost everyone who did that, I suspect), whether or not they have a CLN.

    “Let the Games begin,” as they say in the Olympics.

    By the way, for those of you who don’t reside in Canada — this policy and approach in the letter wasn’t limited to Canada, ANY American taking out nationality in ANY other country would have been affected by this. This letter is a boon beyond Canada’s borders. Thanks again to LB and Mr. LB!!!

  136. @Schubert, et. al.: I agree under Canada’s current privacy legislation, info could not be released to US without consent. If I recall, privacy legislation was passed or implemented in the 1980s. I wonder if Canada did it with other countries–or if they just had “reciprocity” with US. For our purposes, it’s great that info was reported,

    Like you, once I saw Mr. Ladybug’s letter, it twigged something in my mind. I had this flashback of reading a very similar letter after coming home for work and tossing it aside because it was irrelevant to me–I already knew I had lost my citizenship. I do admit that may be wishful thinking on my part. If the Consulate mailed the letter on the first anniversary of my ceremony–as they did with Mr. Ladybug–I was still at the same address, as I was when I became a citizen, so it would have reached me.

    After one year and two months (when the second letter would have come based on Mr. LB’s experience,) I had moved across the country, and Canada Post would likely not have forwarded a registered letter (if I even left a forwarding address!) By time of CLN would have been mailed, I had moved yet again–not unstable–great job opportunities!)

    I don’t think Consulates are going to make this easy for us (Surprise!). I e-mailed the Vancouver Consulate yesterday asking them if they retained records of former citizens who relinquished in 1973 and of correspondence they sent to those individuals. I did not ask for any personal info about myself or anyone else.

    Here’s the reply I received: “We are unable to provide such information which is protected by the Privacy Act.”

    I have e-mailed again advising I was only seeking general information, not personal information. I didn’t think what I asked would be highly classified like military or CIA records.

    In terms of the hypocrisy, I think it’s very simple. They didn’t care about the huge wave of boomers who expatriated then–We didn’t have any money. Now that we’re in or near retirement, and they’re broke, Guess What–They see a potential cash cow.

    If you have time, take a look at the revisions I made to the Declaration of Independence to adapt it to our needs. As I reviewed the original and began rewriting, I was absolutely blown away at how few minor changes needed to be made to reflect our needs today. .

Comments are closed.