To Minister Of Finance: Canadians Are Desperate!

I’m increasingly concerned about how FATCA is affecting people on a personal level.  I’ve again written to Jim Flaherty to try to appeal to him to act now because of the toll this is taking on Canadian citizens and residents.

Here’s my e-mail Subject:  FATCA:  Canadians Are Desperate.  We Need Your Help Now!

Do you realize Canadian citizens and residents (who the US is trying to claim as “US persons”) are anxious, distraught and desperate about planned FATCA intrusion into their private financial affairs and lives in Canada?

My own personal experiences, conversations with others and social networking have shown me FATCA is seriously affecting finances, health, jobs, careers, marriages, family and personal relationships, businesses, and voluntarism of Canadians in Canada.

I very much appreciate your response to my letters to you and the fact you are “actively seeking a solution that both countries will find acceptable.”  In the meantime, Canadians of American origin are living this nightmare and need this resolved now..

I am contacting you on this more personal level because I am aware of two senior women who have recently reported suicidal thoughts due to IRS expectations.  I suspect they are not alone.

Many others are reporting sleepless nights, strained marriages, panic attacks, health challenges, worry about Canadian born children and difficulties at work or finding employment. .  .

I realize you may be making attempts through diplomatic channels to address this issue.  I also am aware you have said publicly that CRA will not collect any penalty owing by a Canadian citizen or resident for failure to file an FBAR.  You have also said CRA will not collect any tax liability for the IRS on a Canadian citizen if that person was Canadian at the time of the liability.

But, US attempts to bully Canadian financial institutions into reporting on savings and investments of “US persons” is causing phenomenal stress on myriad of Canadians who had the misfortune to be born in the US or to be born in Canada to a parent born in US.

Many of us were told decades ago that we were renouncing US citizenship by becoming Canadian.  I was personally told that four decades ago. Another woman was told that six decades ago.

Your efforts are respected and appreciated by Canadians of American origin or ancestry.

However, we need you to clearly, firmly and publicly tell both Canadian financial institutions and the US government that Canadian citizens and residents of US origin or ancestry have the same legal rights to privacy in financial matters as all other Canadians.   We need you to further strongly advise financial institutions they cannot violate Canadian law to satisfy the demands of a foreign government.

And, we need you to tell Canadians of American origin that Canadian government will not allow Canadian financial institutions to violate their rights to manage their financial affairs and investments in privacy and with confidence.

Finally, we need your assurance Canadian law will not be changed to accommodate the demands of a foreign government.

Our Canadian citizenship certificates say we are “entitled to all the rights and privileges and (are) subject to all the responsibilities, obligations and duties of a Canadian citizen.”

Most of us have worked, earned a living, saved, invested, raised families, owned homes, volunteered, contributed, been active in our communities, voted and paid taxes in Canada—many for decades.

I hope you will immediately see the urgency of this situation and make a public statement to ensure our rights as Canadians are protected and enforced.    .

The Americans are instilling terror in their former and present citizens living in Canada and around the world.  In this way, they are no different than Eritrea, which was sanctioned at the UN–including by the United States.

We need you to tell the Americans: “Canada does not negotiate with financial terrorists”

Mr. Flaherty, Please Act Now!

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71 thoughts on “To Minister Of Finance: Canadians Are Desperate!

  1. @Petros, very eloquent! Might I suggest you send it also to Leona Aglukkaq, minister of health? I am in the process of writing a similar letter to her, but focusing on the health and cost to our health system.

  2. @outragec: It was actually my letter, not Petros. Good suggestion about Leona Aglukkaq. I sent it to some of the NDP, Bob Rae and Elizabeth Mae.

    I will send it on to Aglukkaq, but my experience with her on another issue has not been impressive in the least.

  3. @Blaze, I apologize, wrote the wrong name! I’m sorry to hear about your prior experience. Although I didn’t have much hope she’d take a stand on our behalf, now my hopes are further reduced. However, I’m still going to write her. I’m still so darn mad about all this that I feel like I could/should write every darn member of our government!

  4. Citizenship based taxation should really be illegal internationally, that’s why almost no other country in the world does it but the United States.

    I’m wondering if Canada should issue a Cease and Desist letter to the United States on behalf of all Canadian citizens who are caught up in this mess.

    I had a person harrassing me a long time ago claiming he had a right to income from my business even though he had nothing to do with it. My lawyer said all I needed to do was get a Cease and Desist letter to make him stop. I decided to get call blocking instead.

    There are people out there who think they have a right to your money when morally they do not. The IRS is in this category and they need to be stopped the way you would any thug through the legal system.

    Is there such a thing as an international Cease and Desist Order?

  5. Saddened: Mr. Flaherty said the same thing to me in his March 6 reply as he has said elsewhere:
    _____________________________________________________________________
    “Please be aware, we have also been clear that penalties imposed by the IRS under FBAR will not be collected by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) on their behalf. While the Canada-United Sates Income Tax Convention contains a provision that allows for the collection by a country of taxes imposed by the other country, this does not apply to penalties imposed under laws that impose only a reporting requirement. Furthermore, the CRA does not and will not collect the US tax liability f a Canadian citizen if the individual was a Canadian citizen at the time the liability arose (whether or nor the individual was also a U.S, citizen at that time.”
    ___________________________________________________________________

    My understanding of this is that CRA will not collect penalties or fines owning for failure to file FBAR forms of either Canadian citizens or residents. They will not collect taxes owed for a Canadian citizen, but a resident may not have that latter protection.

    Saddened, before you panic, it,s probably unlikely that you owe any U.S. income tax, therefore, there would be nothing for CRA to collect. They will NOT collect penalties for failure to file FBARs, whether you are a citizen or resident.

    In terms of FATCA, Mr. Flaherty said
    _____________________________________________________________________
    “A related piece of U.S. legislation causing similar concern is FATCA, which is proposed to come into force on January 1, 2014.

    “To be clear, Canada respects the sovereign right of the U.S. to determine its own tax legislation and its efforts to combat tax evasion–the underlying objective of FATCA. In fact, our two jurisdictions co-operate to prevent tax evasion.

    But FATCA has far-reaching extraterritorial implications, as it would turn Canadian banks into extensions of the IRS and would raise significant privacy concerns for Canadians.

    We strongly believe this is unwarranted. Canada is not a tax haven and people do not flock to Canada to avoid paying taxes. In addition, we have existing ways of addressing these issues with the U.S. through our bilateral Tax Information Exchange Agreement. We strongly believe that to impose FATCA on our citizens and financial institutions would not accomplish anything except waste resources on all sides.

    As such, the Government of Canada has and will continue to express its strong concerns relating to FATCA with the U.S. government. We are actively seeking a solution that both countries will find agreeable.”
    _____________________________________________________________________

    Saddened: Presently Canada’s Bank Act does not allow Canadian financial institutions to request information about citizenship or place of birth. Therefore, there is no reason for your bank (or anyone else’s Canadian bank!) to be aware that you were born in U.S. In addition, current privacy laws prevent them from releasing personal financial information to a foreign government (or anyone else!) without your consent. The one exception, of course, is they report on money you contribute to registered plans (RRSPs, RESPs, TFSAs, RDSPs) and income you earn to CRA.

    No one in the government has indicated they have any interest in changing Canadian law to allow banks to gather information about place of birth and report to a foreign government. Considering the large number of Canadians of American origin throughout Canada and how Canadians of all backgrounds love politicians who stand up to Americans, I personally think it would be political suicide for the government to change the law to make the Americans happy.

    If, however, the government does change Canada Bank Act and Privacy Act, we may then have grounds for a lawsuit, depending on what the change is. If government doesn’t change the law, but banks decide to comply with FATCA in contravention of Canada’s Bank Act and Privacy Act, that is when we may have grounds for a lawsuit against the banks.

    The huge issue will be if Canadian government agrees with US suggestion that our banks report to CRA, which in return would report to IRS. So far, we haven’t seen much interest from Flaherty in that arrangement, but we have no way of knowing what “seeking a solution” means.

    Even so, CRA gathering and reporting such information, would require a change in law to allow banks to ask for place of birth. Otherwise, as I understand it, they would be violating existing law to ask for that information.

    Saddened, do you have reason to travel to U.S.? If not, I would just stay on this side of the borders, remain calm and enjoy life in Canada. If you do travel to U.S., is it likely the border official is going to pull over a senior woman and demand to see your tax returns and FBAR?

    I know you have applied for Canadian citizenship and you should have it by the time banks are required to report (January 1, 2014). Even if you don’t have citizenship by then, as a permanent resident of Canada, you have the same rights and protection under Canada’s Bank Act and Privacy Act as other Canadians.

    Whew! That’s a very long answer to what was a Yes or No question! I hope all of the information I have given is accurate. If anyone thinks it’s wrong or incomplete, please feel free to correct or add whatever information you may have.

  6. @Blaze, Bless your Heart I didn’t mean for you to have to write such a long reply..Thank you very much!!

    I am always in a Panic lately it seems!! I got to calm down I know..Thanks for your time Blaze!!

  7. I agree. On this side of the border, its like being in Australia. Nobody is going to come after you, arrest you, or take your money.

  8. @Blaze

    Wonderful letter to James Flaherty, Blaze. We all want answers sooner rather than later and of course, we want the “right” answers. At least we know that Mr. Flaherty, at this point, is not just “rolling over” for the Americans. I suspect the 5 EU countries did “roll over”.

  9. @saddened123 – my personal experience is that it’s going to take some time, and I still have days when I swing from panic to being fine. When I start getting anxious I come on here and start re-reading these heartfelt letters and posts and rediscover those nuggets of information that ease my panic. I’ve been dealing with this only for about 6 weeks, unlike some people who have lived with this for years, but every day I get a bit better. Personally, for me, what helps is to do what I can – writing letters, trying to educate anyone who shows any interest in the situation, trying to get Canadians who don’t have to deal with this to write letters in support and to bolster our case. Hang in there, calm is attainable, I truly believe that. Yes, it’s a nightmare, but you are absolutely not alone and there are a lot of people working on this.

  10. @outragec: You’re Canadian, right? Based on that, CRA won’t collect any tax liability that you may have. Nor will they collect FBAR penalties for simply not filing a form.

    Is it you who has a mother who was a Justice of the Peace in Canada? How is she doing now? Do you personally have a need to go across the border?

  11. @Blaze, yes not only did she become a citizen in the 70’s but also took the oath again to become a justice of the peace a year later. That should put her solidly into the Canadian-only category – however, she is still filing because it’s the LAW. We just can’t get her to listen to us. She lives in a constant state of near panic because of the potential penalties, and frankly, her already poor health is failing much faster than it was before all of this. Her only way to deal with it, for her, is to become compliant immediately and just not talk about it. Me, I was born in the states to US parents, we moved up here when I was 6, and I became a Canadian citizen at 16 as a minor (hence my ongoing bit anxiety that my relinquishment won’t count, but I’m working on that). I am absolutely counting on no collection by the CRA. My biggest fear is down the road, what could potentially happen to us non-compliant people. I worry about my credit rating and ability to keep my house, for example. Or how all of this is going to play out with the huge intermingling of Canadian banks and US bullying. My fear is that FATCA is just step 1. Anyway, they’re not HUGE fears, but just a constant niggling that I just don’t know what the repercussions may be…

  12. @Outragec, Thank you for the kind words. I have always been the type that worries about every little thing. It is a terrible way to be, but it is just the way I am.. But this stuff puts me over the top, I guess because of the unknown, not knowing what will happen next. I have bad days, and sleepless nite’s. It has gotten alittle easier but such a pain in A@@!!

  13. Outragec, I think our mother is safely out of the US system. The huge mistake she’s making is by filing she’s bringing herself back into the system when there is absolutely no need. By filing she’s actually reclaiming her US citizenship when it is likely already lost. Any competent and ethical lawyer would tell her not to do it.

  14. @omg.. it pains me beyond belief that she’s doing this, but really it comes down to which has the most negative impact on her health – filing and hoping for the best re: penalties, or having her children tell her she’s no longer competent to handle her own affairs which is likely what it would come down to. I never thought about the lawyer angle though, maybe I can jump on that, it would absolutely be worth the money to get a legal opinion if I can get it before her files actually get submitted

    @Blaze – oh, and I forgot to say – I have no reason to ever go to the US again, nor do I ever intend to, no matter how this turns out. I used to take an occasional vacation down there, but no longer. I’m also trying to winnow out the US companies that I was unthinkingly supporting. I choose local coffee shops now (Second Cup, not Starbucks). I know it’s a pathetically tiny protest, but it FEELS good to do it….

  15. Outragec said: “She lives in a constant state of near panic because of the potential penalties, and frankly, her already poor health is failing much faster than it was before all of this. Her only way to deal with it, for her, is to become compliant immediately and just not talk about it.”

    I think she’s suffering from panic attacks. When I was having them I tried to do all sorts of stupid things like redo my will etc. After I got medicated I realized what a dumb idea that was. Maybe she needs to see a doctor and get medication for anxiety before she ruins her life by filing US tax returns.

  16. @omg… believe it or not she IS on anti-anxiety medication, it’s the only way she makes it through the day. Thank you for your support and comments in this, it gives me renewed energy for trying to convince her that it will, indeed ruin her life, if she files. She is of another generation and mind-set, gov’t is always right! It’s hard to fight.

  17. When I went on anti-anxiety meds they worked fine for a while but later they had the opposite effect and I became even more anxious.

    Boy I’m going to get real personal here… but I want to try to help.

    My psychiatrist decided that in addition to Ativan I also needed an anti-depressant that really helped with anxiety as well. Having taken anti-depressants in the past with no success I was hesitant but took them because I had alot of faith in this particular psychiatrist. He put me on a mild dose of Ativan (1 mg a day) and 30mg a day of Remeron. Remeron is a very cool anti-depressant, it really helps with anxiety and makes it easy to get to sleep at night.

    I’ve offered way too much personal info here but I wanted to let you know that your mother can find peace if she has the right meds. Her personality sounds alot like mine.

    I think your mother sounds like a normally intelligent person whose anxiety has got her into overdrive and she is about to do some things she will really regret.

    You should try to find an experienced (preferably older) lawyer who she will listen to. It’s probably also a good idea to see if she needs a different type of medication than what she is taking.

    Do whatever you can to keep her from filing those tax returns because if she is in fact not a US citizen, it’s the worst thing she can do.

  18. @outrage: She’s can show she is not still a US citizen based on when she became Canadian and probably based on her position as J.P!!! Is there anything I can do to help? Would it help that I am closer in age to her than you are? I’m sure Tiger would be willing to help too (I missed my calling–I should have been a Volunteer Coordinator. I’m really good at volunteering other people for things!)

    If she files, she is reclaiming her U.S. citizenship and then she may be caught up in the nightmare Calgary411 is in.

    Would it help her if she formally relinquished and got a CLN backdated to the date she expatriated? Would she feel more comfortable about the IRS then? If she files income tax returns, she will have to renounce rather than relinquish.

    Is she planning to file FBARs? That could be a disaster. I hope she’s not planning to go into OVDP.

    CRA will not collect anything for IRS on her behalf. Does she have a need to go to U.S.?

    As much as we worry about FATCA, reporting is still two years away and I don’t see any sign that Flaherty is going to capitulate easily. (I hope I’m right about that!).

  19. @/Blaze: Excellent letter. I hope you get an appropriate response.
    @omghe’sstillanamerican: I agree totally. Citizenship based taxation should be illegal. The cease and desist letter is a great idea. I don’t understand why the rest of the world is not pressuring the US to put a stop to this ridiculous US law.
    My husband was born in Denmark, but has been a Canadian citizen for decades. if Denmark was like the USA, my Canadian- born daughters would have to file Danish, US and Canadian income taxes (There was a post about this on this site with they mythical guy who had to file with several countries if all countries had citizenship based taxation.)

  20. @omg, thank you so much for sharing your personal story so openly, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. I will raise this with her (delicately – doctors are also demi-gods, you know :)). Perhaps her anxiety has gotten worse but she’s not mentioning it, and perhaps a change of medication would help. And I really like the idea of an older lawyer. And yes, she is a very intelligent person, which is why we’re maybe a little frustrated in dealing with her on this.
    @Blaze, oh yes, the full meal deal. fbar’s as well. I know, I know. I am going to cut and paste all of your comments into an email to my brother, he’s the only one, I think, that has a chance to get her to listen, because he’s the male and his opinion carries a bit more weight. With her poor health she couldn’t go down to the US again anyway. I so very much appreciate your offer of help, I’m going to get a confab going with my siblings to see if we can find a way to get her to listen (if it’s not too late).
    Again, thank you Blaze and OMG, I can’t say that enough.

  21. Well done, Blaze! I believe your subject line goes right to the heart of the matter: “Canadians are desperate!” I’m sure Mr. Flaherty has received many letters by now, including my own (written over a month ago) making respectful pleas for him and the Canadian government to do the right thing about FATCA and the other related issues we’re dealing with. I am still waiting for a response to my letter and am hoping that the time lag in receiving a response means that he has been inundated with similar letters and he and his staff are giving thoughtful consideration not only to what to say to us, but to what stand they must take with the U.S. on this issue. I do hope and suspect that there are serious negotiations going on now behind the scenes.

    Your letter points out some of the raw details of how U.S./Canadian citizens and residents are being affected on a very personal, daily basis and it should help clarify to our government that it is time to focus on the immediacy of the problems that are taking their toll on those affected and that there is no time to waste.

    In fact, our government may be talking to the wrong people. Perhaps Canada and all the rest of the governments of the world should be conferring right now about how they as a solid force should be responding to the U.S. Government on the FATCA issue. If they all agreed, they could provide a powerful message in one loud and clear voice, “No thank you!”

  22. @ Blaze & Outragec
    Don’t worry about “volunteering” me. I would be happy to help convince your mom that the best thing she should do is not renounce but prove to the consulate that she “relinquished” years ago when she became Canadian. It just seems such a shame that she is possibly being advised by some lawyer that filing tax returns is her only route to go. I wonder how many “tax lawyers” and accountants there are out there, advising their clients they have no choice but to go through either voluntary or quiet disclosure.

  23. @Tiger – thank you!!! From my mother’s experience, it seems that a very effective tactic is to press upon potential clients how they could be bankrupted with hundreds of thousands of dollars in penalties, but how that firm has a good success in either reducing those penalties or getting them waived. Sure worked on my mom! I may come back to all of you for support on this, I’ll try to find out how far along her file is and if it’s possible to put a stop to it. THANK YOU

  24. Outragec said: “Perhaps her anxiety has gotten worse but she’s not mentioning it, and perhaps a change of medication would help.”

    It’s very hard to admit that your anxiety is getting worse even after you’ve been put on medication. You kind of feel like you’re losing your mind and want to do anything you can to get control over your life (even filing unnecessary US tax returns!).

    I’m blessed with a psychiatrist who is one of the best in his field. He can tell within the first 5 minutes of our appointment exactly how I’m doing and whether the medication is working or not.

    Another thing he told me is that due to the slowness of my business I have way too much time on my hands and this breeds more anxiety.

    I find communicating with people on this forum to be a big help. We’re not just chatting, we’ve actually uncovered some things that will help us to make a legal case if required and that does help ease my anxiety.

  25. @Ladybug: Welcome Back! It’s been a little while since we heard from you.

    @outrage: I think you mentioned your mother is in her 70s. I’m 61, but maybe being closer to her age would help if she’s willing to talk to me. Tiger also has a wealth of information that should help convince her she’s not still a US citizen. If she is not going to US again, IRS has no way of touching her. She’s a Canadian citizen, so CRA won’t collect anything on behalf of IRS. And, IRS isn’t going to come across the border and arrest her!

    In terms of her speaking with an older lawyer, it is critical that it is one who can advise her if she is or isn’t a US citizen, rather than just one who is going to spout US tax laws at her.

    @OMG: Thanks for sharing.

    @IRS or DOS Lurkers Who May Be Monitoring Us: Do you care what your financial terrorism is doing to someone like Saddened or Full Turtle or Outrage’s mother?!?. Outrage’s mother spent her life upholding and administering the law. She’s now falling into your snare because she believes in “The Law”–even though it probably doesn’t even apply to her! Why don’t you reassure her and other former American seniors who relinquished before 1986 that they have nothing to fear because they have not been US citizens since they expatriated. Would it be so hard for you to do that?!? Oh wait, I think I know the answer to that.

    @Ambassador Jacobsen: What happened to the IRS isn’t after Canadian Grandmas? That’s exactly who you’re after (along with Grandpas) because they’re the ones who are most likely to have the retirement savings and homes with mortgages paid off. They’re also the ones most likely to be terrorized into filing FBARs and giving up much of their life savings because they–like Outrage’s mother and others–believe in obeying the law even when it doesn’t apply to them and even when it’s just a form of theft.

    Rosa Parks once asked “You can arrest me for sitting on a bus?” She also asked “Why do you all want to push us around?” Well, Ambassador, just like Rosa, we’re not going to be pushed around. And, look what a difference Rosa made. We’re going to do exactly the same.

    Don’t Mess With Granny! Or Grandpa! Or Our Children! Or Our Friends!

  26. If she is not going to US again, IRS has no way of touching her. She’s a Canadian citizen, so CRA won’t collect anything on behalf of IRS. And, IRS isn’t going to come across the border and arrest her!

    BRAVO!

  27. @Outragec

    I am aware of a cross-border tax attorney, here in Vancouver (through a friend who works for him), that when a perspective client comes into the office, he “advises” different potential options to follow and in some cases (particularly those who took out Canadian citizenship years ago) to “sit tight” and do nothing just yet. Also, please remember when Steven Mospick was still posting on IBS, his suggestion to those of us who became citizens of Canada years ago (his words: in the 60’s,70’s,early 80’s” were don’t start throwing a bunch of back tax returns at the IRS.
    Perhaps your mother needs to see an Immigration Lawyer. The tax lawyers are specialists in taxes and may not be aware of the pre 1986 amendment – an immigration lawyer should be aware of what constitutes U.S. citizenship and what does not.

  28. Thank you Tiger. I believe I will pursue the immigration lawyer angle, for her sake, and also because I also want to clear up my situation, becoming a Canadian in 76, as a minor. My sister is in the same situation as me, so I might be able to clear up three for one.

  29. Outragec, I’d be interested to hear what the immigration lawyer says about you and your sister as well since my husband also expatriated as a minor in 1980 (he was 15). I’m pretty sure he’s not a US citizen since he never returned to the US after that to live.

  30. OMG.. That’s my hope, as well. My actions, I think, clearly show that I have considered myself a Canadian citizen (only). I don’t have my citizenship file yet, I don’t know if it’s worth contacting a lawyer until I do have it in my hands. I just have no idea what’s in it, frankly, as a 16 year old, I didn’t pay much attention to any of it. As I get further, I will absolutely keep posting, bad or good… I’m going to start looking for a lawyer and then probably my first question is if I will need my citizenship file first. It may take a while, but I’m going to get going on it.

  31. @Tiger, Outrage, OMG, Others: As you can see from my posting above, Rosa Parks has been on my mind today. Ambassador Jacobsen advised us a few months ago to “sit tight.” Tiger says another lawyer suggests the same.

    That’s exactly what Rosa Parks did over 50 years ago in Montgomery Alabama when she refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white man. By “sitting tight,” Rosa was arrested– but she changed history.

    Some people thought Rosa wouldn’t give up her seat because she was old and tired. She definitely wasn’t old (42). Rosa said “The only tired I was was tired of giving in.” We won’t give in either–and hopefully we can convince Outrage’s mother not to give in.

    In her biography, Rosa wrote: “I would have to know for once and for all what rights I had as a human being and a citizen.” We all want to know the same–what rights we have as human beings, as citizens (and non-citizens!) of the United States, and as citizens of Canada and other countries. Together, we’re going to find out. I like to think Rosa would cheer us on.

  32. @outragec

    I received my citizenship file by email in just over one month. I believe Blaze received her’s through Canada Post, in perhaps 5 – 6 weeks. We both wrote a letter to the Access to Information and Privacy Dept. (The application form online is almost impossible to interpret). When I phoned them last week to thank them for processing mine so quickly, they told me it is faster for them to email the file as an attachment. It was 8 pages long and I actually did a dance around my office chair when I read it.

    Good luck with everything. I would hope that the fact you became a citizen pre-1986, would bode well for you.

  33. @outragec
    I don’t know your whole story but I wonder if any of your family member ever got a SSN and passport after obtaining their Canadaian citizenship. ?
    I’m a «border baby» from canadian parents, have my canadaian citizenship but got later on a SSN and passport. I still cannot decide as of now if I must file or not. I’ve never lived in the US and will never again cross the border.

  34. @ Blaze – another great comparison – Rosa Parks

    @ Joe Smith
    Interesting letter from Elizabeth May, dated last September. I can’t help but wonder why she has been so silent since then. Also, if she became a Canadian in 1980, (pre 1986) then perhaps she should be coming forward to reassure Canadians that they have in fact already relinquished their U.S. citizenship.

  35. Thanks everyone. I want to say a couple more things before I sign off for the evening and get back to ‘real’ life.
    Blaze, I love your example of Rosa Parks. I also have found her story and her courage inspiring, an average person, who found the internal courage that can be so awfully hard to find sometimes.
    Tiger, that’s good news. I haven’t been able to interpret the form and called them but haven’t heard back from them (a month ago). I will keep trying and if I have to, I will fill it out, submit, and hope for the best.
    OMG, I should have said earlier that I, also, have considered medical relief from this. Right now I’m holding it at bay by posting here, on my blog, writing letters, etc. If it becomes too much, I will certainly seek help, because I firmly believe that we all need help at times and there is no shame in doing so.
    One of the reasons I want to get my status cleared up (hopefully in the positive) is so that I can start agitating under my real name instead of being fearful of repercussions. Yes, I’ve been accused of being paranoid, but this is what works for me right now. I’m not comfortable writing the US state dept or any politicians or even having my name published in newspapers. If I can show I’m a Canadian only, then that will change.
    Good night all, and a very heartfelt thank you to everyone.

  36. @ Greenwood — I’m “sitting tight,” mainly because I deny strongly that I’m anything but Canadian. I was born in Canada with one American / one Canadian parent but lived in the U.S. for a few years as a teenager, at which time I had a social security number and a passport. I came back to Canada as soon as I moved out of my parents’ house, after having been warned that I would lose any claims to U.S. citizenship by doing so. I now realize that that might or might not have been true — that was in 1986, after the U.S. loosened its rules for maintaining citizenship for duals by birth, but before officially accepting dual citizenship. But I have lived my entire adult life in the good faith belief that I have only Canadian citizenship — and at this point, having long since lost any record of the social security number (and the passport that I held as a minor vanished years ago) I couldn’t establish claims to U.S. citizenship even if I wanted to. (I don’t!) It’s outrageous that people who have lived, in good faith, as single-citizenship Canadians for decades should now be forced into debating whether or not we should establish ties to the U.S. — precisely in order to prove that we have no ties to it.

  37. I wish the Isaac Brock Society would change its name to Americans Abroad Society. Because the issues that Canadians are trying to face apply to all Americans Abroad regardless of where they are living and working. I am pleased that you are accepting Americans who live in countries other than Canada to share common problems. We live in fear that is affecting our lives, well being and even work,

  38. Greenwood. DON’T FILE!!!!!! 1. No need to-you’re Canadian. 2. They don’t know or care about you but if you file they will. See Monty Python ‘How not to be seen’ on Youtube.

  39. @outragec

    Just a note to say good luck in the delicate balance I know you and your siblings are facing in trying to make sure your mom is treated fairly and not exploited. I hope your brother and sister see that this is doable.

    Now to develop and carry out a plan that will have your mom not feeling she is losing her any amount of her independence or dignity. She should actually gain in both of those areas if she can be convinced she is in no way at fault in any of this and has no responsibility to the USA.

    It will be a great day when you can report here that your mom’s health is improving and she is no longer in anxiety about all of this.

    I’m glad you’ve found so much support here on the Isaac Brock site!

  40. @ Tiger
    I read with interest and a lot of comfort your previous post about the seminar at UBC by Davis & Co. in which the presenter stated that anyone who had become a Canadian prior to 1986 had relinquished their U.S. citizenship.

    Re intent: The letters that both Mr. Ladybug and I received from, variously, a consulate, the embassy, and the State Department, all warned that “naturalization in a foreign state constitutes highly persuasive evidence that you intended to relinquish your United States citizenship by such action.” The “intent to relinquish” phrase harkens back to Afroyim v. Rusk, 387 U.S. 253 (1967), in which the Supreme Court said that a loss of citizenship requires a judgment as to whether a person intended to relinquish U.S. citizenship at the time of committing the potentially expatriating act. In updating the INA in 1986 Congress was simply bringing the INA in line with the 1967 Court decision.

    Re intent at the time: I don’t know how a person relinquishing at the time of becoming a citizen can offer any proof beyond the statement “I intend to relinquish my U.S. citizenship.” I know of two people who became citizens in the 1970s, one receiving a CLN, one not. Many years later they both wanted to restore their U.S. citizenship. The process, the same for both, began with a statement that in taking out Canadian citizenship they had not intended to relinquish their U.S. citizenship. There was no further proof required.

    Re proving intent looking back: Easier to do. Now we can say that we’ve lived in our chosen country for 40 years, we’ve only voted in the chosen country’s elections, we’ve only travelled on the chosen country’s passport, we’ve only filed taxes in the chosen country, and so on.

    Re presumption of intent: Prior to 1990 the State Department presumed that a U.S. citizen taking out citizenship in another country did so intending to relinquish his U.S. citizenship. In 1990 the State Department reversed its presumption, so that now it was assumed that U.S. citizens taking out citizenship in another country intended to retain their U.S. citizenship. This change follows the decision in Vance v. Terrazas, 444 U.S. 252 (1980), that “Section 1481 (c) provides that any of the statutory expatriating acts, if proved, are presumed to have been committed voluntarily. It does not also direct a presumption that the act has been performed with the intent to relinquish United States citizenship. That matter remains the burden of the party claiming expatriation to prove by a preponderance of the evidence.”

    I’m not a lawyer either, but I don’t see why the IRS would expect 3-6 years of back tax returns if you applied for a CLN now, unless the CLN, when issued, shows the date of expatriation as the date of issue of the CLN, not the date of expatriation. In my own case, the CLN shows the same date for date of obtaining naturalization and date of expatriation. There are two more dates: one the date the vice consul affixed the office seal (years later) and a date later still (many months later) showing the stamp of the Department of State(?) [photocopy not clear].

    We all have certain questions that won’t go away. One of mine is this. Is there some provision of law that does not allow a new law to be applied retroactively to people who were happy with the old law and who will be harmed by the new one? By harm, I’m thinking of the penalties alone that would be slapped on those of us who were told we were not U.S. citizens but who now are coveted by a bankrupt country looking for new sources of revenue.

  41. @Greenwood: I agree with the advise not to file. You’re a Canadian citizen. CRA will not collect anything on behalf of IRS related to you.

    Have you considered renouncing? Because it seems you never performed an expatriating act because you had dual citizenship from birth, I don’t think you can relinquish.

    @Outragec: You don’t have to fill our the CIC Access to Info form. As Tiger said, you can just write to them and ask for the information in your file. Be sure to give them your e-mail address. I think mine took two weeks longer than Tiger because I didn’t give them my e-mail and because I asked for a copy of my landed immigrant application and approval (which Tiger did not).

    Does your mother have a copy of her original certificate with the date of her ceremony on it? It so, that should help her to show expatriated before 1986.

  42. @Blaze. Great letter, I hope you get a reasonable response.

    @others
    I hate to be the one to mention this, but Flaherty’s statement and the US-Canada Tax Treaty protection under Article XXVI A 8 (a) specifically say “citizen,” they do NOT say “resident.” Read both documents very carefully. CRA will not collect tax liabilities (taxes or penalties) for the IRS if the liabilities were incurred while the person was a Canadian CITIZEN. The treaty and Flaherty are both silent on the issue of residents, rather than citizens, and I’m afraid that if you’re a resident of Canada but not a citizen of Canada, you may be wide open to collection by CRA on IRS behalf, if IRS pursues the issue. Under the treaty, it would be difficult for CRA to turn down the request, perhaps impossible.

    I’m no lawyer, and you probably should confirm the above with a cross-border tax lawyer, but my understanding of legal documents is they say what they mean (precisely) and mean what they say, but they don’t mean what they don’t say. And judges or appeal tribunals pay careful attention both to what the law or a treaty says and what it doesn’t say, in my own experience (former union steward who got involved in numerous labour-law litigations and arbitrations, both on my own behalf and on behalf of other members).

    If you are a non-citizen resident of Canada or any other country that has a dual tax treaty with the US, don’t assume you have protection from collection unless you’ve got some very solid legal advice that says that. I’m not optimistic you’ll get such advice.

  43. @Schubert: Yes, but Flaherty has said CRA will not collect any penalties for failure to file FBARs for either citizens or residents.

    @outragec: That’s great news. That’s exactly what your mother needs to confirm when she expatriated–well before 1986.

    Please see if your mother would be willing to put in an application to CIC Access to Info for records in her citizenship file. It is possible she signed the renunciation oath with a Canadian official. My file showed I signed it–even though I understand my ceremony was after Canada required renunciation. I don’t know how that would apply to you because you were a minor at the time.

    I think Schubert’s wife’s file showed she signed the renunciation and I think their year was also 1975 (Is that correct, Schubert?)

    I think your mother would have signed another Oath of Allegiance to the Queen when she became a JP. You might be able to get a copy of that through her old personnel file with the provincial government where she worked. I asked for mine recently from the Ontario government and had clear, print copies of the Oaths I took in 1975 and 1985 within a couple of days. If your mother was a JP in Ontario, she would also have signed an Oath of Office when she began employment with OPS. (I don’t know if those Oaths are required in other provinces.) I don’t know if there is an additional oath for appointment to the judicial bench as a JP, but I suspect there may very well be.

  44. @Blaze, thanks for this. I am trying to get her to let me get her citizenship file as well. I do believe she signed another oath to become JP. However, since she doesn’t want to talk about this, it’s difficult to get the complete story, but I think the files would give that.

  45. @TomOn

    Thank you for your post of earlier today. You have done a great job showing the timeline of U.S. attitude toward expatriating acts and relinquishment.
    One thing re your statement that “I don’t know how a person relinquishing at the time of becoming a citizen can offer any proof beyond the statement”I intend to relinquish…….”, both Blaze (1973 citizenship) and myself(1972) received our citizenship files last week. At the time of our citizenship ceremonies, we had to swear an oath of allegiance to the Queen and a renunciatory oath of allegiance to a “foreign state”. Hopefully that will be further proof.
    Like you I also know someone who expatriated in 1974, received a CLN in 1982 and then restored her U.S.citizenship in the early 90’s. As you mentioned, in 1990, they again changed their attitude toward “intent” and that is perhaps why she was able to restore it. Because certainly in 1985 – 9th circuit court – Richards v Secretary of State. Richards tried to restore his citizenship (he had become a citizen of Canada in 1971) and his request was denied. He also would have sworn the “renunciatory oath”. So perhaps it depends on when in the 70’s, citizenship was taken out. The renunciatory oath was removed from the Cdn. citizen oath sometime in 1973, thus my friend did not swear it.

    Like you, I worry whether a “new law can be applied retroactively to people who were happy with the old law and who will be harmed by the new one”. Dealing with the U.S today is a bit like having to deal with a bi-polar friend or family member or worse yet, someone suffering borderline personality disorder.

  46. @TomOn

    One more thing I might mention. Last night I sent an email to Elizabeth May, Head of the Green Party. As you are probably aware she is an American-born Canadian citizen. I believe she took out Cdn. citizenship in 1980.
    I appealed to her as (American-born Canadian), to either make a statement herself or put pressure on our government, to perhaps inform those American-born Canadians, who did attain citizenship here in the 60,70’s, early 80’s, that they have in fact “relinquished” their U.S. citizenship. (Assuming they have not done anything since then to negate the relinquishment).
    I wonder if others, posting on this site, in similar circumstances, might also email/wrote Elizabeth May.

  47. @kcal, @outraged,@Blaze
    I thank you for your replies, but I’M scared stiff of all this, I’m spleeplest, very anxious and I’m not writing the rest. If I do nothing what might happen ?

  48. @kcal, @outraged,@Blaze
    I should have written that being a «border baby» from canadian parents and haven gotten my canadian citizenship 30 years later and then 12 years later got US SSN and passport. I still don’t know what to do. What happens if I do nothing. I’m sure that my SSN number is in their IRS computer. Furthermore, I cannot renounce if I don’t file from what I read on this blog possibly last friday.

  49. @Blaze No unfortunately my wife’s file doesn’t show she signed the renunciation in 1975. It was I who became a citizen in 1975; she was a couple of years later.

    The information we have from Library and Archives Canada says the renunciation oath was dropped as part of the Canadian citizenship process in April 1973 (I think it was April 3). However I’ve heard that a few citizenship courts didn’t get the message and kept using it for a few weeks or even months until that got straightened out.

    I haven’t seen my own citizenship file, there’s no particular reason why I’d want to (with a CLN there’s no need for me to have a copy of the renunciation oath even if one is in the file). But I don’t recall swearing a renunciation in 1975, and I think I’d remember that. My wife doesn’t recall swearing a renunciation a couple of years later, and her file definitely doesn’t have any evidence of one.

    I also have heard from one other member of this forum who became a Canadian citizen late in 1973, has received a copy of his file, and there’s no renunciation oath in it. So it’s unlikely that anyone who became Canadian after April 1973 is going to find a renunciation oath in their file. Unless maybe it was in May or perhaps June in a relatively remote area, probably worth checking just in case, but I wouldn’t want to bet the family farm on it.

    I forget the details in your case, Blaze, but my recollection is that you were only a couple of weeks past the “end date” for renunciations. Maybe your citizenship court hadn’t got the message yet, or maybe they had some extra forms left over and decided to use them up … (I’m half-joking on that; I’ve heard of and seen stranger things in bureaucracies).

  50. Greenwood. What is it about DON’T FILE that troubles you? Believe us-you are truly un petit poisson-they have much bigger fish to fry.

    Leave well enough alone- nothing ,absolutely nothing, will happen. I have learned that the lawyers and accountants are happy to take your money. Bad legal advice came within hours of costing us tens of thousands through the OVDI.

  51. @ Tiger
    Good point that signing an oath of allegiance to a foreign state also shows intent. We were late 1973 and neither one of us remembers signing anything. Thought of a few more things after I posted yesterday…

    In Vance v. Terrazas (1980) the Court concluded that “In the last analysis, expatriation depends on the will of the citizen rather than on the will of Congress and its assessment of his conduct.”

    Both people I know who restored their citizenship had only to say they had not intended to relinquish to get the ball rolling – no further proof of intent required. The burden of proof seems to shift depending on who bears the burden and what the U.S. wants to accomplish.

  52. @Greenwood: Do you have a need to go to U.S.? If not, I think you have very little reason to worry. You are a Canadian citizen and a Canadian resident. CRA will not collect anything on your behalf for IRS. IRS can’t come into Canada and drag you into court or arrest you.

    Even if you do have a need to go to U.S., travel on a Canadian passport. A few of us have been told we should get a U.S. passport, but that hasn’t happened to everyone. No one has been arrested at the border for traveling on a Canadian passport (to the best of my knowledge, anyway!) I have not and will not travel on a U.S. passport, so my test will be when I travel next month for my mother’s 89th birthday.

    The other alternative for travel is to get an Enhanced Driver’s License if your province offers one. In Ontario EDL does not show place of birth (but, of course, the border officer still has the right to ask). Nobledreamer posted significant info about the EDL somewhere.

    Under Canada Bank Act and Canada Privacy Act, your bank has no right to ask you about your place of birth. If they do that without the law being changed, we may have grounds together for a lawsuit. If the government changes the law to accommodate FATCA (and Flaherty has given no indication so far that he is interested in that!), we may have grounds together for a lawsuit against the government.

    Do you have any investments in the U.S? If so, I personally would get rid of them as soon as possible. If not, that’s one less thing to be concerned about. As I understand it from the most recent guidelines and from the reply Schubert and I had from Canadian Bankers Association, the 30% withholding banks may be required to make only applies to U.S. source income.

    Although you were born as a border baby in U.S. I assume you have a Canadian citizenhip certificate. If not, get one! The wallet sized photo citizenship cards are no longer being issued. Since February 1, 2012, the Canadian citizenship certificate is letter size and has security features in it.

    For most of us, the larger copy is better for our purposes because it shows the date we became Canadian citizens. The photo wallet size only shows the date of issue.

    The certificate has the exact same statement as the old certificates: (Name) “is a Canadian citizen and, as such is entitled to all the rights and privileges and bears all the responsibilities, obligations and duties of a Canadian citizen.”

    The fee to get a new certificate is $75, but it’s money well spent! Here’s the link to an application for a new or replacement certificate: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/applications/certif.asp

    CIC indicated to me processing time was 10 months, but I had mine in less than two months. Another member of IBS told me she also only waited about two months.

    The most important thing I would advise is Stay Connected with us here at IBS. There is strength in numbers. Please try to stay calm–And get some sleep!

    @TomOn: I think it is likely you and your wife did sign an Oath as well as swearing it. You probably don’t need it because you have a CLN, but if your wife or anyone else wants to a copy of your citizenship file, here is a link to info on how to apply.
    http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/atip/index.asp

    You don’t have to use the form to apply. Instead, you can send them a letter with the details of your citizenship (i.e., where when, name at time of citizenship, name now, etc.). and specifically what you are requesting. I requested copy of my application, copy of the Oath I signed, any other information relating to my citizenship and any information about my landed immigrant. Send a cheque for $5.00 and you should have the information in a few weeks. I’s faster if you receive it by e-mail. It’s very difficult to read because it was stored on microfiche, but most is decipherable.

    I had a real chuckle when I saw my Landed Immigrant application. Under intended occupation, it said Housewife. I have no idea where that came from! Maybe the immigration officer saw I was a recently married woman, so he made an assumption without asking (perhaps typical for 1971!). Amount of money with me was $200. Amount to follow later was Nil. What were we thinking?!? We were driving across Canada with no jobs and no place to live when we eventually arrived in Vancouver and we had the grand sum of $200?!? My ex-husband was Canadian, so maybe he had a little bit of money that we didn’t have to report. Oh, to be young and carefree again!

    Of course, IRS wasn’t interested in me then–I didn’t have any money. Now that I have a lifetime of savings and a mortgage free home, they want to hook up again. No way!

  53. Extrapolate from current trends with border and passport and compliance and enforcement. At some future point the apprehension of an extraterritorial within U.S. jurisdiction seems likely.

    If the technicalities of registering offense and executing process mean that such an apprehension cannot happen, then Canadian citizens have no reason whatsoever to comply with any IRS requirement.

    It would be interesting to know if an offender could be taken into custody without having had prior notification of “wanted” status. If not, then feel free. The worst that could happen is turnback at the border. Turnback could also happen with complete compliance and a CLN in hand, since no alien has right of entry.

    If mass media were to carry a capture story, the IRS has obtains free advertising to coerce further compliance. If a story were to remain untold, the trapping of hapless individuals could continue. A win-win for the IRS.

  54. @KalC You wrote on March 12«Bad legal advice came within hours of costing us tens of thousands through the OVDI».
    Did you file and have you renouced ?

  55. @Blaze, OMG, Tiger, Calgary 411, thanks to all of you on Sunday giving me renewed energy. We have at least convinced my mother to ‘think about’ not filing yet. Believe it or not, that’s a huge step, for her! And OMG.. I think your diagnosis/analysis was pretty spot on about her extreme state of anxiety. We’re working on both of those. Just wanted to give you an update and to let you know that you helped tremendously.

  56. @Outragec

    First steps. I am so happy that your mom is at least considering not filing. Glad to hear you are also working on the anxiety issues. I suffer from more than a bit of that myself (panic attacks at time), so I know how debilitating it can be. Also, have both a sister and a daughter-in-law who need to take meds for clinical depression, so I see what a valuable tool they can be for people.

  57. That is wonderful news and we’ll look for further updates (as we will to the similar story of retired Esther Thompson and her sister from Saskatchewan story).

    You’re making good progress — congratulations.

  58. Thanks for the update Outragec … so glad to hear it. I know your mother is going to be fine once she gets the help she needs. You’re doing a great job.

  59. On March 12th, I posted here that I had sent a letter to Elizabeth May on the 11th of March via email. In today’s mail, I received a reply, written on the 12th. That is very responsive and I am quite appreciative. In her letter to me, she stresses that ‘I am dedicated to taking action on your behalf ‘. She speaks to having met with Ambassador Jacobson and has written to the Prime Minister on the issue. She states that ‘the government has taken the position I urged and is forcefully advocating that the US stop targeting law-abiding Canadians in pursuit of those US citizens hiding in the Cayman Islands.’ She goes on to say ‘many are seeking a solution to the problem….I will keep you posted as I work to find a sensible approach’. There is also a note added to the typed letter in her handwriting stating ‘ I think that the US is not interested in coming after average citizens – but we need to remove the threat’

    As I said, the letter has greatly impressed me. I read it to my oldest son on the phone tonight and as he said, it is a very thoughtful letter. And by that, he meant there was thought put into the letter. Both my son and I felt that this letter was personal, not a sort of “form” letter that so many of the offices of our political representatives are sending out.

    As I have mentioned previously, I sent a letter to Andrew Saxton many, many weeks ago. He is my MP. Although his constituency office phoned me on Feb. 8th, it was to tell me that I would be receiving a letter from Mr. Saxton. I am still waiting. Also, in that phone conversation, when I brought up FATCA to his office staff, they had no idea what I was speaking about although I had certainly mentioned it in my letter. Huge difference and it certainly might influence who I vote for in the next election.

  60. Pingback: The agony of U.S. citizenship for U.S. citizens living outside the U.S. « Renounce U.S. Citizenship – Be Free

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