Congratulations to France/Canada dual citizen Thomas Mulcair – What if he had been a Canada/U.S. dual citizen?

Cross posted from RenounceUScitizenship

An introductory comment …

It is true that I have taken the steps to renounce, so my feeling is I’m done. However, my task now is to make sure Canadians know they should not put anyone with Dual US citizenship in a position of signing authority or any kind of business partnership. As we both know this exposes Canadians to the IRS through FBAR reporting. Also, I am concerned about Canadian politicians who hold dual US citizenship. I think this should be an issue in any upcoming provincial and federal election.

Congratulations to Thomas Mulcair

He is now the leader of the NDP which is Canada’s Official Opposition. Also, thanks to the NDP for their attention and support on FATCA, FBAR and the IRS assault on dual citizens in Canada. Mr. Mulcair is a patriotic Canadian citizen. He is also a citizen of France. This fact was well known. It did not prevent him from becoming leader of the NDP. But, what if Mr. Mulcair had been a dual U.S./Canada citizen? Or more specifically: what if Mr. Mulcair had been  a U.S. citizen? Should this have made a difference? I believe this answer is yes. Here is why.

U.S. citizens living in Canada  are like the soldiers left in the Trojan Horse:

For those who don’t know the myth about the Trojan Horse:

Trojan horse,  huge, hollow wooden horse constructed by the Greeks to gain entrance into Troy during the Trojan War. The horse was built by Epeius, master carpenter and pugilist. The Greeks, pretending to desert the war, sailed to the nearby island of Tenedos, leaving behind Sinon, who persuaded the Trojans that the horse was an offering to Athena that would make Troy impregnable. Despite the warnings of Laocoon and Cassandra, the horse was taken inside. That night warriors emerged from it and opened the city’s gates to the returned Greek army. The story is told at length in Book II of the Aeneid and is touched upon in the Odyssey. The term Trojan horse has come to refer to subversion introduced from the outside.

Mr. FBAR is versatile. He operates in unexpected and nasty ways. He has the potential to turn U.S. citizens abroad into “night warriors”. These “night warriors” allow the U.S. to wage war on the sovereignty of other nations.  He unleashes clear privacy issues. How can this be? A U.S. citizen is required to report all his foreign financial accounts and keep those records for five years.  This responsibility is triggered by a U.S. citizen having  “signing authority” over a bank account (including the Trust Accounts of professionals). This is a very dangerous situation. The “record keeping” requirement forces U.S. citizens to (upon demand) turn over to the U.S. government complete banking records for certain accounts. For example, what if a U.S. citizen were the financial agent for a Canadian politician in an election campaign? The U.S. government could demand access to the account information which would identify contributors.

You can learn a lot about a person by looking at their bank and financial accounts!

Mr. FBAR is the Trojan horse of ancient times!

The requirement to keep records is described as follows:

Records of accounts required by § 103.24 to be reported to the Commissioner of Internal Revenue shall be retained by each person having a financial interest in or signature or other authority over any such account. Such records shall contain the name in which each such account is maintained, the number or other designation of such account, the name and address of the foreign bank or other person with whom such account is maintained, the type of such account, and the maximum value of each such account during the reporting period. Such records shall be retained for a period of 5 years and shall be kept at all times available for inspection as authorized by law.

In terms of Canadian politics consider that …

There are some Canadian politicians who are U.S. citizens. In fact rumor has it that New Brunswick Premier David Alward was caught in the IRS shake down. The time has come for Canada (and all other countries) to NOT allow U.S. citizens to hold public office, to run for public office or to be involved in the political campaigns of those who do run. U.S. citizens living outside the United States are subject to the FBAR reporting and record keeping requirements. Once a U.S. citizen resides in another country, he is obligated to report on all his financial accounts to the U.S. government. The FBAR rules also include a requirement to retain those records for five years.  Those who see this as alarmist or who think this is not true, do NOT understand the FBAR rules. Again: it is the FBAR requirement to keep banking records available for inspection that creates the problem.

This state of affairs  is INTOLERABLE to any sovereign nation.  U.S. citizens must be banned from the political process in Canada. This  is essential to maintain Canadian Sovereignty. Does the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms allow this? Interestingly, the are two sections of the Canadian Charter of Rights that speak to this issue.

On the one hand U.S./Canada dual citizens have Charter rights …

Democratic rights of citizens

3. Every citizen of Canada has the right to vote in an election of members of the House of Commons or of a legislative assembly and to be qualified for membership therein.

It is clear that any Canadian citizen has the right to run for public office.

Equality before and under law and equal protection and benefit of law

15. (1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.

There is no doubt that to restrict U.S. citizens from the political process in Canada violates both S. 3 and S. 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights.

On the other hand, Canada must protect its status as a “free and democratic society”  …

S. 1 of the Charter which reads:

1. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

In order to maintain Canada’s status as a “free and democratic” society, no person should be allowed to run for political office if he is a threat to Canada’s sovereignty and status as a free and democratic society. (Obviously this could include persons in addition to U.S. citizens.)

The FBAR requirement should disqualify U.S. citizens  from running for or serving in any public office outside the United States. Furthermore, U.S. citizens should be banned from serving as “Financial Agents” in Canadian elections. But, what about Mr. Mulcair? Is his status as a French citizen a threat to Canada? Well, France does not have an FBAR.

Some final thoughts …

U.S. citizenship-based taxation is bad for the e U.S., bad for U.S. citizens and (as you can see) bad for the world.

Stop citizenship-based taxation – Repeal FATCA.

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13 thoughts on “Congratulations to France/Canada dual citizen Thomas Mulcair – What if he had been a Canada/U.S. dual citizen?

  1. France has had a history of interference in Canadian internal politics. It was Charles de Gaulle who said “Vivre le québec libre“

  2. Incredible story about the Mayor of London England. Oh wait, this is the U.S. we’re dealing with. It’s not incredible at all.

    From this, I don’t think Mayor Johnson knows anything about the IRS, FBARs, FATCA or the European Five Agreement. If he was shocked about the passport, he’s may find out how much worse it can be if he tries to renounce.

    Monalisa, maybe you should try to make an appointment with him and fill him in.

  3. In my opinion the fine details of the European Five Agreement have not been announced which indicates there’s more to come.

    As the Americans are playing the game of using higher FATCA limits ($200,000 for an individual) for now only to lower this limit at a later date once all parties concerned have been “FATCAised”, the Europeans are probably going to play the same game but by limiting the scope of the information passed to the US.

    So in other words, I think FATCA in the EU will resemble something like this –

    A US only citizen residing in Europe (tough luck all data passed)

    What to do with US citizens married to EU citizens and resident in the EU? No data??

    A dual US/EU citizen resident in the EU (no EU data passed to the IRS) but US information passed back to the EU if they have US assets with a EU address

    And the opposite US/EU citizen resident in the US, but with EU assets with a US address (EU data passed to the US)

    I think I’ve gotten this right. It’s going to be interesting once someone starts legal action in the EU and how that plays out.

    Who knows someone in the US may decide to challenge FATCA in US courts, but I think an EU challenge is more likely to succeed

    There are serious citizenship issues on both sides to address. As for Carl Levin I wonder if his famlly came over on the Mayflower and have forgotten there’s a world beyond the US shores? Probably not his family probably made a trip from Europe at some point in time if you judge by his surname.

    Watch this space as they say………

  4. BTW… Like your tweet on Boris… There is a lot more to be said on this one, but have to run…

    This might be the high profile one we need to get attention on the issues…

  5. @John – my rationale is almost identical to yours in this respect.

    Levin – I don’t know his history, but I’ll bet that his family came to the US at the onset of WWII. If I’m wrong, I would personallly love to know his history. Based on his comments, the only thing he cares about is his **voters** and how much power he can “retain.” (period included in quotes to be correct to US standards.)

    Personally, I’m not much worried about FATCA, FBAR, or anything from the US anymore because I simply don’t make enough money.

  6. @geeez

    Carl Levin born Jun 28, 1934 in Detroit.
    Levin’s family has long been active in Michigan politics. His older brother, Sander M. Levin, has represented Michigan’s 12th congressional district in the House of Representatives since 1983. Sandy’s son (Carl’s nephew) Andy Levin was a policy analyst for the AFL-CIO and later ran unsuccessfully for the Michigan Senate. Carl’s uncle Theodore Levin, was a chief judge on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Carl’s first cousin Charles Levin was a Michigan Supreme Court judge; another, first cousin, Joseph Levin, was a candidate for the House.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_levin

  7. I am sure, he is not aware of Mr. FBAR and requirement that he must file US taxes. Mr. Boris said he has US passport once and he left the USA using the US passport. So there is no ambiguity in the law. He just won the US citizenship jackpot. Some one must send him a latter, educating him about responsibilities as a US citizen.

    @Just me: This might be the high profile one we need to get attention on the issues…

    Isn’t it a juicy news item for the London tabloids? He just won 5 to 10 years prison term for not filing FBAR and fines up to 300% of his assets. Also back taxes for many years. Lifetime of tax filings to the USA.

  8. Surya, everywhere I have looked / every case I have seen, they prosecute MULTI-MILLIONAIRES that actually LIVE in US Territory, and they have ususally done something fraudulent to hide or conceal their assets. With all of these attacks on the “rich”, all of this seems to have a greater political purpose, more than just raising tax revenue.

    I don’t know about your case, but I don’t think that the the US could get any political credit for going after middle class folk, or people with the same or lesser lifestyle of the median American.

  9. If the US starts going after dual citizens it’ll stoke up the response in other countries as in Canada.

    Residence-based taxation countries’ politicians need to be reminded dual citizens have a say, and quite frankly FATCA benefits the US unproportionally – 90% US vs 10% Rest of the World.

    Why doesn’t everyone outside of Canada establish some facts in the country they live in:

    1. Whether the local tax authority is going to collect FBAR fines for the IRS? Hopefully lots of treaty dodges for the countries concern or they’ll just put their foot down.

    2. Your “local” citizenship will be used for bank records, therefore, your details won’t be passed to the IRS?

    3. The position of collecting taxes for the US and the process. In the UK I believe the US can possibly use MLAT, but they are demoted down the level of a credit card company as unsecured debt. They can’t put a lien on your assets etc. – I would have to research this more.

    At the end of day what are the ultimate powers of the IRS abroad, if they are very limited, tell the IRS, Carl Levin, Doug Shulman to screw.

    The IRS is going to hit a stonewall with this at some point particularly when the activity is one-sided.

    Also it’s not particularly worrying the 5 countries have gotten together, the US’s business is always going to be on the bottom of the pile.

    France, Germany, Spain, Italy, etc have their own taxes to collect first, and when push comes to shove if it’s a choice between allocating resources to the US vs collecting money from their own taxpayers which is going to win? A manager in the various tax collection agencies is never going to be sacked for putting the US’s business in the “someday” file vs carrying out the work for their own country first. If the US wants data let the countries concerned send the IRS a big fat invoice for services rendered so the IRS can process data which results in ZERO tax 99 times out of 100.

    Hey…..Carl why don’t you explain that to US taxpayers how their resources are going to waste chasing “tax ghosts.”

  10. sorry, I didn’t mean to say that you have a lesser lifestyle than the average American. I should have said “people with a lifestyle similar to the average American.”

  11. @John: Your predictions about how FATCA may work in EU are based on common sense (f there is such a thing relating to citizenship based taxation). Unfortunately, when dealing with US, common sense seldom works. They only understand aggressive bully tactics when dealing with others.

    @Others: It seems Mayor Boris Johnson has tried to do the right thing and renounce his US citizenship according to this information from The News (http://www.thenews.com.pk/PrintEdition.aspx?ID=83175&Cat=2&dt=3/3/2012

    “In 2006, the incumbent London Mayor Boris Johnson had renounced the US citizenship he had acquired on the basis of being born in New York. At the time, Boris was a Member of the British Parliament. Boris Johnson’s renunciation was actually prompted by US laws which required a US citizen entering the United States to use a US passport, rather than any other passport. According to UK’s “Daily Express” (August 11, 2006 edition), Boris had dramatically renounced his US citizenship after a heated clash with American immigration officials.”

    However, according to the referenced article in Daily Express, Boris Johnson may have done this publicly,but I’m not sure that he did it officially with the Consulate or Embassy based on this statement: “Formal, public and, I hope, legally valid renunciation… I hereby renounce my birthright. Strike me off the list.” Don’t we all wish it could be that easy?!?
    (http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/1102/Furious-Boris-renounces-his-US-citizenship

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