Update from Democrats Abroad FBAR/FATCA task force

As reported on April 9th, Democrats Abroad Canada held its annual general meeting on March 25th in Toronto. The minutes provided a very brief mention about DA’s FBAR/FATCA task force. Today, a new communiqué was released detailing the task force’s recent and upcoming activities. We are now heading into lobbying season, it appears, with both DA and ACA poised to make their annual pilgrimages to D.C. to plead our case – particularly interesting in an election year.

Here’s the new message:

FBAR/FATCA Task Force Update

Dear Democrats Abroad member,
Democrats Abroad’s FBAR/FATCA Task Force has been working consistently to develop an effective strategy to alleviate the burdens placed by new and newly-enforced tax legislation on US citizens abroad. The specific legislation we are focusing on is FATCA and the FBAR.
The Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) requires U.S. taxpayers with specified foreign financial assets that exceed certain thresholds to report those assets to the IRS. In addition, FATCA will require foreign financial institutions to report directly to the IRS information about financial accounts held by U.S. taxpayers, or held by foreign entities in which U.S. taxpayers hold a substantial ownership interest.
The Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) must be submitted if you have a financial interest in or signature authority over a foreign financial account, including a bank account, brokerage account, mutual fund, trust, or other type of foreign financial account. FBAR legislation has been in place since the 1970’s but only recently has the IRS begun to enforce this ruling. The threshold is currently set at $10,000 and the penalties for not filing can be considerable.
We are fortunate in having well-placed contacts in strategic government positions, and have made some headway in our efforts. In point form; here is the latest update on our activities:
* We have been in regular contact with senior staff at both the IRS and the Treasury Department, who have been receptive to our concerns.
* We have developed a strong and sympathetic working relationship with members of the Senate Finance Committee responsible for the FATCA legislation.
* We have shared with our contacts at the IRS, Treasury and Senate individual stories illustrating the stress and challenges placed on ordinary overseas Americans. These stories appear to have made a significant impact.
* Our former DA International Secretary, Amanda Klekowski von Koppenfels, a scholar in the field of politics and demographics, has compiled a detailed stratification of Americans abroad, which clearly refutes any imputation of tax evasion as a general motive for living overseas. The statistical breakdown has been of great interest to the Senate Finance Committee, and may figure prominently as supporting material to our upcoming requests and submissions.
* We helped facilitate a letter from Carol Maloney, Chair of the Americans Abroad Caucus, to Treasury Secretary Geithner requesting congressional hearings. Secretary Geithner himself has acknowledged there are concerns with FATCA and we have recently learned that Treasury will host later this month a meeting of groups representing overseas Americans, including Democrats Abroad.
* We are reaching out to senators who have been major promoters of FATCA to bring to their notice that the anti-tax laundering legislation they introduced will have disastrous, unintended consequence for millions of law-abiding overseas Americans, as well as serious implications on foreign investment in the US.
* We are requesting inclusion in an IRS hearing on FATCA in Washington, DC on May 15.
* We are arranging a meeting with Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olsen Olson, whose 2011 report to Congress is highly critical of IRS handling of overseas tax filers.
* We are preparing resolutions to present to the DPCA Resolutions Committee at the May global meeting in Mexico. If passed, Democrats Abroad will then submit those resolutions to be considered for inclusion in the Democratic Party 2012 Platform.
We remind our members once again that Democrats Abroad and its FBAR/FATCA Task Force cannot and does not offer tax advice. All those facing problems or having specific questions are urged to seek professional tax and/or legal counsel.
Respectfully submitted to the DA Membership,
Your DPCA FBAR/FATCA Task Force,
Joe Green (Canada) Chair (demcan@sympatico.ca)
Stanley Grossman (UK), Maureen Harwood (Canada), Carmelan Polce (Australia), Maya Samara (Switzerland) and Joe Smallhoover (France)


70 thoughts on “Update from Democrats Abroad FBAR/FATCA task force

  1. This is encouraging to read. I hope they are coordinating their activities with ACA, as there is more strength in numbers. Now, where are the Republicans abroad?

  2. Maya Samara was the person at the party who told me that she was “not a tax expert” and had no idea what FATCA. She said that these issues are only problems for people who never plan to go back.

  3. Democrats Abroad and President Obama should read this. Because they are going to lose the votes of six million Americans Abroad. Although I am a Democrat if they will support FATCA and they harassment of Americans Abroad I am going to vote Republican.

  4. What I was told by DA here in France a few months ago was that they were “working in it” behind the scenes. I believed them but I didn’t see enough action nor a real willingness to take a strong public stand. Understandable – they have to support the President and senators from their party who after all signed this monstrosity. I see their limitations and I’m sympathetic. However, it wasn’t enough for me and I decided to throw my support and my vote elsewhere.

  5. The problem I see is that the parties are whispering good intentions to us in hopes of roping in our donations and votes, but… there is no action. How different is all of this from nobledreamer’s very excellent post?


    I am practically a life-long Democrat, but I have such disdain for them now.

    It is encouraging that the chairmanship f the Dems Abroad has moved from Switzerland to Canada. The Dems Abroad, under Caitlin was cliquish, superficial and effete, much like the UN and NGO culture. They were also from a different era, where the tragedy of the Bush presidency was playing out to different priorities. The only focus tax issues for USPA’s got was when it was a GOP led attack, like TIPRA.

    When the Democrats got the House, Senate and Presidency, the Dems Abroad went mute on tax issues for Americans Abroad while their party, who portrayed themselves as our rescuer before he election, became our tormenter afterwards and inflicted far more damage than anything the GOP has ever done.

    Under a Canadian chairmanship, we can hope that the focus will change to a more pragmatic view of our issues. Their leadership is now surrounded by angry USPA’s who would never tolerate the silence that was previously allowed on tax issues.

    However, the new leadership should have a stronger challenge. The promises and nice talk mean nothing and should mean nothing unless urgent action is taken to effect law BEFORE THE ELECTION. Once the election is done, it’s over.

    The worst thing we can do, right now, is to prove the parties right when they say that we do not matter.

    One final point. No matter what actions they take right now, it is unlikely that the Democrats would be our advocates. The Democrats fundamentally believe that global taxation is rational, fair and manageable. The GOP don’t believe this. Only a few of the senior GOP , like Grassley, push for taxation on Americans Abroad, but he does this in order to rally our anger against tax rates, very much like his perennial patch job on AMT without eliminating it. AMT is a way to get middle-class Americans to demand lower tax rates. Eliminating FEIE achieves the same pressure.

    If the Democrats ever get full power again, it will be bad news for us.

  6. @Everyone

    I feel as if we are spinning our wheels on this issue over the past few weeks. Any suggestions for new strategies. I have a few ideas but would like to hear from other people first.

  7. More from Lawyer in Detroit…

    Jim Canadian said…
    7,000,000+ disgruntled and annoyed expatriates will simply further fuel the profound anti-Americanism that is so prevalent in the world.

    Does it mean nothing to you that the US and Eritrea are the only two nations on the planet with citizen-based taxation?

    Reply April 12, 2012 at 10:37 AM

    LindaMBeale said in reply to Jim Canadian…
    TypePad HTML Email
    Jim One of the issues in determining appropriate tax policy in the US is this country’s idiosyncratic notions about individuals and social justice and the other is the power of money—especially after Citizens United. A considerable part of the developed world recognizes that taxes should be sufficient to cover important societal needs, and that programs to address those needs should not be cut back because some rich persons or companies don’t want to pay tax. The US has had forty years of anti-tax sloganeering paid for by some of the richest people and most powerful corporations in the world, and that has made it very hard to have wise legislators or to enact wise legislation. So the push for territorial taxation has to be considered in that context. It ultimately amounts to just another way to argue for the reduction in the already extraordinarily low tax burden on US multinational corporations and to push the tax burden down, regressively, on the lower income distribution. I can’t in good conscience support that. So while a full range discussion of tax systems and tax policies could lead to different conclusions in a different context, in today’s context I am not supportive of moving to a territorial system. It would amount to more tax relief for the richest, and higher taxes, with fewer benefits, for ordinary Americans. What expats think is, to be honest, not of the greatest interest to me. As expatriates, they are already likely to be less loyal to, and enamored of, the US as a country. I’d like us to be a country that people around the world respected, but even more, I’d like us to be a country that I respect…..

    Reply April 12, 2012 at 01:05 PM

    Jim Canadian said in reply to LindaMBeale…
    You are not going to get the money from them in any event and all this does is make the USA more hated (not just by these expatriates but by all of their neighbours, friends, and yes, fellow citizens of these other nations). Quite frankly, I am happy with this, as anything that reduces US hegemony in the world is good for the world!

  8. One of my “ideas” is a letter writing campaign to get Ms. Beale fired from Wayne University. Although I still consider this a relative waste of time compared to other methods. It would I suspect shake her up a little bit.

  9. Rather than do that which smacks of McCarthyism :-), why not just keep annoying her about living in such a class-ridden, rich-dominated, unequal, violent, decaying society that is increasingly hated around the world!

  10. Linda Beale said, ‘What expats think is, to be honest, not of the greatest interest to me.’ Yep, that is the truth for her, and for the US politicians and for 95% of regular US folks. If we don’t want to live in the US then we don’t matter and we deserve whatever evil falls us. There is that insularity again, glaring bright and clear.

  11. Sadly, I have to agree with you. We have escaped from America and those who have not are envious of us. As many have commented, we should spend time influencing our own reps, PCs. Libs, and New Democrats. We are Canadian (or Swiss, or New Zealanders). This is what we have going for us and we should use this tool to secure our futures.

  12. @Tim she’s not worth our time. I don’t know why anybody bothers with her.

    We have had intelligent people with opposing views come here and engage in civilized conversation with us. We’ve learned from them and they have learned from us.

    Ms. Beale belongs in a category all her own. I don’t doubt people who actually know her find her a waste of time as well.

  13. @Tim, I have been thinking of this as well, as have probably others. I mean we’ve written all of our politicians, we’re commenting on posts such as Beale’s, keeping an eye out for opportunities… What I don’t know is how to get this to the attention of regular people. I am convinced that if more non-US related Canadians were aware of what the US is trying to do they would be outraged, as well, particularly regarding FATCA. There is already a general feeling of resentment against US meddling in our affairs, and suspicion of our government’s perhaps-too-close ties to US big business. BUT how does one tap into that? When you look at how videos go viral, or tweets make the news, and oftentimes on pretty trivial matters, there has got to be a way. However, I’m not willing to make a fool of myself to get attention and I’m sure no one else on here is either. So, how does one do something that gets noticed? I just don’t know, personally. Someone suggested a petition (sorry, just don’t remember who, don’t know if it was you or not), but how do you get attention to the petition to get people to sign. I’m convinced that until we get some media to start reporting on our story we can’t get the attention we need. I wrote W5 but they’ve never bothered to respond. Others have had talked to newspapers, journalists, etc, but it’s all stayed fairly local, and hasn’t even caused a blip on the radar for people not involved personally. After I did a radio interview on CBC, I did have a handful of co-workers come up and offer sympathy and they did express outrage at the US, but that’s been it…..

  14. It is hard for us to be heard. It hard for us to be understood. But for either to happen we need to be able to communicate.

    Reagan once said:

    “When you can’t make them see the light, make them feel the heat.”

    To use an Obamaism:

    “The pundits like to slice and dice our country into red states and blue states; red states for Republicans, blue states for Democrats, but I’ve got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the blue states, and we don’t like federal agents poking around our libraries in the red states. We coach Little League in the blue states and have gay friends in the red states. There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq and patriots who supported it. We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the Stars and Stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.”

    –Barack Obama, July 27, Democratic National Convention Keynote Speech

    We need to bring all groups together (Repulicans, Democrats, the works) together to defeat Barack Obama. Create a ‘Citizens of the World Against Obama coaltion”. Could include the FATCA haters as well. We must find a way to make Obama feel the heat. He has had the ability to stop this, but has declined to do so. Therefore, he must pay a price – he must not be reelected.

    I don’t believe that citizenship-based taxation will be the issue that will bring him down. But, it can be included with other issues.

    Not sure how to do this, but I believe it can be done. I don’t even believe that there is a single member of “Democrats Abroad” who would vote for this guy. There is no U.S. citizen living abroad who would vote for Obama.

    On this note, consider the following. It is stupid to consider this to be a Republican vs. Democrat issue. Obama is not a Democrat and Romeney is not a Republican. They are both “Independents” who simply latched on to those two parties to promote their own interests. The independents elected Obama and the independents will elect the next President. The mainstream parties do NOT have enough support to, without more, elect the next president. So, all U.S. citizens abroad need to think of themselves as independents and forget this party crap.

    Also, once had another thought that was quickly dismissed. But, I will offer it again. We need publicity. Why not get a U.S. citizen abroad to run for President. It will generate some media attention. We would only need to get the person on the ballot in one or two states to accomplish this. We would then have a central command.

    It’s too bad that Petros has renounced. He would have been the perfect candidate for president of the United States. Perhaps JustMe?

    The above is not so much a suggestion as just some thoughts.

  15. @outragedcanadian, when I first read about this taxing expats business I ignored it too as something that was insane and not worth wasting my time.

    If it wasn’t for the fact that my husband was born in the US and the issue kept coming up in my Google news searches, I would’ve just forgotten about it. There are more important things in life like survival.

    Our neighbors may care, but there’s really nothing they can do about it. In fact it would even be hard for them to empathize because the concept is so insane it’s difficult for them to imagine it.

    The best use of our time is to keep encouraging our politicians to find a solution. You can bet that if Flaherty doesn’t solve this, the opposition parties will make it an issue all Canadians will hear about.

  16. I think Barrie McKenna or Donald Cayo would be the media people we would need.

    The angle: “American xenophobia makes life miserable for millions abroad.”

  17. I am cautiously optimistic on where things stand in Canada. The challenge I keep coming across and this relates to Democrats Abroad is who exactly is the “decisionmaker” on FATCA in Washington and no I don’t think it is Obama. ACA and Democrats Abroad I think know who it is but are not sharing that information with us which I find immensely frustrating. If I knew for sure that person was Geithner, Carl Levin, Max Baucus, Charlie Rangel etc I would suggest focusing a huge portion of our energies at targeting that person specifically and making that person’s life miserable. Its also interesting after of the hoopla about offshore accounts back in 2007 and 2008 there has not been a single congressional hearing on the matter since 2009 which ACA could genuinely make a claim to attend.

  18. @all

    A couple of times I have suggested organizing a major live conference on these topics in Toronto (or somewhere else). Certainly with something like that we would have a better chance of getting the important Canadian media people to attend. We might also be able to get some exposure from foreigh media.

    We could also attract people by including topical seminars on citizenship renunciations, etc.

    A conference would also make it clear that we are a well organized, well educated and vocal group. It would be a learning experience.

    We should also invite the U.S tax types like Linda Beale, Mospick, and others. Get them to really understand the problem.

    Do you remember the scene from the Billy Jack movie from the 70s when they invite the town people to the school? Could be a bit like that.

    Sure, we need to be heard. But, we must define ourselves ad educators. A couple of weeks ago, members of the Isaac Brock Society did a fantastic job educating WhoaitsSteve.

    Your thoughts on a live conference? (We can also nominate our candidate for president – only half serious about that).

  19. What concerns me from reading the original memo from Democrats Abroad is it does not appear that any of Flaherty’s previous intervention on the matter has caused any concern on the part of whoever is the FATCA “decision maker” in Washington. Thus my feeling is we have to find out whoever this person is and as CANADIANS target our country’s outrage towards that person. If it really is Carl Level that means Michigan tourism and business boycotts. If it is someone else it means targeted actions by Canadians against their state’s businesses and citizens.

  20. renounceuscitizenship said “A couple of weeks ago, members of the Isaac Brock Society did a fantastic job educating WhoaitsSteve.”

    We do well with intelligent, open minded people. Not everybody is going to be like that.

    In my opinion, Obama is one of those closed minded people who cannot overcome this even when it means helping US residents. We’re not the only people suffering because of Obama’s extreme way of thinking. Problem solving requires you to see all sides, not just your own.

    The only thing we have control over is our own politicians. We have to leave American politicians to the Americans. I would like to think that their suffering over the last 3 years has caused them to rethink their choice of leadership.

  21. What does concern me is the fact that at least three Massachusetts politicians Tierney, Richard Neal, and John Kerry have played roles in anti expat and anti Canada legislation. If this is the generally held view of the Massachusetts political establishment it is outrageous. Canada does a LOT for Massachusetts like supply it with most of their gasoline and Jet Fuel for Logan Airport. A huge chunk of their electricity comes from Hydro Quebec and it is a pretty big tourism destination for Canadians during the summer. In general Canada actually gives a shit about Massachusetts and New England which in general the rest of the United States doesn’t. I actually know I thing or two about the place through my business travels to the Bay State(To be honest I don’t go to Michigan that much if ever).

  22. @Tim, hopefully some of them are anti-Canada enough to ask that citizenship be revoked for those also holding Canadian citizenship. I’m counting the days …

  23. I always was a Democrat. Now it is becoming clear that being an American Abroad ir is impossible to remain one.

  24. The government of Canada cannot be happy about U.S. citizens in Canada.The problem is that many of them are also Canadian.

    Why not begin lobbying the Government of Canada to try to negotiate a one time reununciation for all U.S. citizens who are also Canadian. It could be some sort of simplified process without the exit tax.

  25. @renounceuscitizenship, I think there has already been an effort underway to do just that. But so far no result from the US side.

  26. Keep in mind Canadians that what we are discussing is very pertinent to all Americans Living Abroad who are thankful for your initiative creating this Society.

  27. Of the four original cosponsors of the FATCA two of them were from Massachusetts John Kerry and Richard Neal. I actually have a few ideas about getting back at Massachusetts however, if ACA or Democrats Abroad can confirm that John Kerry(whom I suspect ACA might have some ties to more than other Senators) is being helpful on the issue I’ll hold off.

    Notice every year Halifax and the province of Nova Scotia send a free Christmas tree to the city of Boston to be displayed on Boston Common(not that far away from John Kerry’s house on Louisburg Square). It would be an awful shame if grassroots efforts in Canada got Halifax not send a tree to Boston due to Senator’s Kerry’s policy views related to Canada. Ah ha ha ha


  28. It gets worse Jean Shaheen of New Hampshire was a later co-sponsor. That’s it the Boston Common Christmas Tree is being taken “hostage”.

  29. There were several additional co-sponsors in the House to including Peter Welch(the at large member representing all of Vermont) and Rose DeLaura of Connecticut.

  30. @ renouncecitizenship, OMG, All…

    Yes, give a one-time renunciation for ALL who want that in Canada (and other countries), including ALL Accidental Americans;

    then US ensure, going forward, there is adequate continuing education about consequences of US citizenship, to all those who have perception of some value in obtaining or retaining US citizenship. If those persons concur they want to obtain or retain US citizenship, they are responsible for all consequences of same, including income taxes and loss of any financial privacy by reporting responsibility to the US. Stop the present entrapment, USA.

    AMNESTY seems to have its own US definition as does US interpretation of their own as well as other Oaths of Citizenships around the world where it “appears” the former citizenship is being relinquished.

    am·nes·ty   [am-nuh-stee] Show IPA noun, plural am·nes·ties, verb, am·nes·tied, am·nes·ty·ing.
    1. a general pardon for offenses, especially political offenses, against a government, often granted before any trial or conviction.
    2. Law . an act of forgiveness for past offenses, especially to a class of persons as a whole.
    3. a forgetting or overlooking of any past offense.
    verb (used with object)
    4. to grant amnesty to; pardon.

    Also, the US definition of CITIZENSHIP, the US ‘massages’ any way it wants to:


    “Biological or Adopted Children Residing Outside the United States

    Biological or adopted children who regularly reside outside of the United States MAY qualify for naturalization under section 322 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as amended by the Child Citizenship Act (CCA). In general, to be eligible for citizenship under section 322 of the INA, a child must meet the following requirements…”

    What if that adult child was never registered with the US, does not have a social security number, has never lived in the US, has never had any “benefit” of US citizenship?

  31. @ Joe Smith
    I just finished reading that entire article and all the comments. That Linda Beale is one hard-hearted woman for sure.
    @ renounceuscitizenship
    “Why not begin lobbying the Government of Canada to try to negotiate a one time renunciation for all U.S. citizens who are also Canadian. It could be some sort of simplified process without the exit tax.” — I like that idea but why negotiate with the USA? And why just a one time renunciation? Why can’t Canada simply make it the law of our land (providing 5 years residency has been established) that once a year Canadian/American citizens are allowed to do a “mass renunciation” of the USA, swearing their allegiance to Canada alone? I like the phrase “mass renunciation” so much I’ll say it again “mass renunciation”. And if it works in Canada we could be the example for other countries to follow suit. We are all subject to the laws of the land we are living on so I see no reason why Canada and other countries could not pass a “mass renunciation” law and I don’t think there would be much the USA could do except bluster and threaten. After the “mass renunciation”, the new Canadian only citizens would simply inform the USA that they can no longer maintain a tax connection with it because it would be a violation of Canadian law to do so. Well, I’m not a lawyer so maybe this is all pie in the sky but in my simple little brain it does seem doable and I like the idea of post “mass renunciation” parties.

  32. Re a previous post about organizing a conference/event for publicity: (sorry, am lost in the threads to give proper attribution to the author of the idea – or related suggestions?@ renouncecitizenship?).
    Wondering whether the ACA, Democrats abroad Canada and Republicans abroad Canada would agree to help organize a news conference or
    event in order to publicize the legitimate concerns of those of us ‘abroad’. If it caught on after being done in Canada – it might spread to other countries.
    Particularly highlighting the plight of the children actually born here in Canada (and underscore that is the case for all those in other countries too) that have inherited this unjust burden – through the citizenship of a US parent. Plus the ‘grandma’/grandpa/seniors-retirement-at-risk issue, and the small business/entrepreneur-at risk, the volunteer soccer mom soccer-team-charitable-treasurer-at-risk-of-FBAR fines issue, etc. If all three groups were involved, it could be non-partisan, which would increase the likilhood that the Dems might see fit to participate publicly. The Republicans couldn’t let the Dems participate without them, and it might be of interest to Canadian politicians to attend. Perhaps held in Toronto? (Not to be province centric, but it is the home of a US consulate, and no doubt has a big population of US expats) – Or alternatively – in BC – since the NDP caucus there has been active publicly on the issue?

    Offering additional related activities – as someone said -(recalcitrantexpat?) would attract more interested expats, and educate those who don’t already know about the situation?

    Just some brainstorming. Sorry if I left anyone out and didn’t give credit to anyone – I’m increasingly finding it hard to locate things I read on the various threads and posts……so abject apology wherever needed.

  33. Should be of interest to fellow ‘Brockers’ that the number of hits has gone to: 410,307 hits – from 400,000. in just a few days – which could be interpreted as an encouraging sign of interest building momentum ? ….
    “Since December 12, 2011
    410,307 hits”

  34. I see with re-reading, that it was indeed the proposal by renounceuscitizenship that I refer to above:I
    April 15, 2012 at 11:20 am
    “A couple of times I have suggested organizing a major live conference on these topics in Toronto (or somewhere else). Certainly with something like that we would have a better chance of getting the important Canadian media people to attend. We might also be able to get some exposure from foreigh media.

    We could also attract people by including topical seminars on citizenship renunciations, etc.

    A conference would also make it clear that we are a well organized, well educated and vocal group. It would be a learning experience.”

    I think it is a very good idea – I don’t know how to do it, but I agree that we need to attract more publicity. The US tax session in Ottawa got good attendance. I haven’t seen any media followup about the nascent resistance in New Brunswick, but there were some professors involved in that one – and presumably they might be interested in joining in with this – and they might know possible speakers?

  35. Here’s a link re the NB group: http://www.newbrunswickbeacon.ca/2011/12/03/americans-living-in-canada-beware-of-the-irs/
    “…..Marie Cashion, a retired University of New Brunswick professor, is one of the organizers of the lobby group. She says this is a ridiculous amount of money to take from people when the U.S. failed to inform its citizens about this law.

    “I feel betrayed and I’m personally concerned,” she said.

    Cashion held a public meeting in Fredericton….”

    Wondering how that is going out in NB?

  36. How about in front of US Consulates on July 4 where we read our own Declaration of Independence?

    Considering it is the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, I think that would get the Canadian media’s attention–and maybe even some from the U.S.

    Making a mass renunciation on that date would have definite impact.

    People in other countries could do the same there.

  37. @Tim…
    We are going over the same ground a lot, and engaged in our own echo chamber of sorts. We do that I suppose, hoping new folks will venture onto our site and learn something useful no matter where they click into a thread.

    I spend a fair amount of time trying to get journalist and news organizations to pay attention to the story, but that is not too fruitful with the popular culture stories naturally more riveting for the populace attention and the 24 hr cable cycle. Reality sets in at times, and you realize that our effort is as tough as convincing “real Americans” that the U.S is not so exceptional, or convincing “true believers” that their religious, political or philosophical convictions and certainty may not be so rock solid as they think.

    Maybe I am wrong too, and listening to my own rhetoric which can be self re-enforcing and delusional if you aren’t careful. Maybe Citizenship taxation is a GREAT model. Don’t think so. I would like to hear a good argument why it is. I do envy my Kiwis friends who never have to give any of this a thought other than passing astonishment when you try to explain it.

    Open to hear any ideas you have.

  38. How about go in front of US Embassies, set up a little stand that says “Uncle Sam is Broke” or F*CK F*TCA etc. dressed as the man himself. Alert local papers and TV and hopefully get some PR.

    Message: Beware dual citizens, US citizens, green card holders, etc Uncle Sam wants to tax Americans Abroad – shame on him.

  39. @blaze, how about we all go dressed as Sir Isaac Brock? I am thinking that might work. Or would July 1st be more suitable?
    : )

  40. @Badger: I actually had a photo taken a couple of weeks ago of me in an Isaac Brock uniform (complete with sword!). A friend’s husband does historical reenactments, so he lent me his War of 1812 costume, then took my photo.

    I’m sure he would lend it to me again for a demonstration at US Consulate, but it would be way too hot for July. How did they stand it?!?

    I really think the Declaration of Independence on July 4 (or July 1) would get the media out. I’ve already tried my hand at the 2012 Declaration version. Anyone who wants to revise further is welcome to do so. http://isaacbrocksociety.com/2012/02/24/2012-declaration-of-independence/

    I think July 4 would have far more impact than July 1–especially if people from other countries join in. I think the media would love it..

    I also rewrote the lyrics to that old Guess Who song American Woman. It is now American Taxman Stay Away From Me. Maybe we could get Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings to belt it out for us.

  41. @bubblebustin: Here are the revised lyrics. I posted them somewhere else a couple of months ago, but there have been a lot of new members since then. I would love to find someone to record this. I sent an e-mail to Randy Bachman, but I didn’t hear back.

    Changes from the original are in caps. Like the Declaration of Independence, I was stunned at how only a few changes were needed to make it relevant to our situation.
    Any musicians out there?

    American TAXMAN, stay away from me
    American TAXMAN, JUST let me be
    Don’t come a hangin’ around my door
    I don’t wanna see your face no more
    I got more important things to do
    Than spend my time MESSIN’ with you
    Now TAXMAN, I said stay away
    American TAXMAN, listen what I say-ay-ay-ay-ay-ay

    American TAXMAN, get away from me
    American TAXMAN, JUST let me be
    Don’t come a knockin’ around my door
    Don’t wanna see your shadow no more
    YOU MAY THINK YOU can hypnotize
    Now TAXMAN, I said get away
    American TAXMAN, listen what I say-ay-ay-ay
    Now TAXMAN, get away from me
    American TAXMAN, JUST let me be

    American TAXMAN, said get away
    American TAXMAN, listen what I say
    Don’t come a hangin’ around my door
    Don’t wanna see your face no more
    I don’t need your war machines
    I don’t need your ghetto scenes
    YOU MAY THINK YOU can hypnotize
    Now TAXMAN, get away from me
    American TAXMAN, JUST let me be

    Go, gotta get away, gotta get away now go, go, go
    Bye-bye Bye-bye Bye-bye Bye-bye
    You’re no good for me
    I’m no good for you


  42. @Blaze,OK since you have the costume, you will have to lead the march!! It has now been decided.. I bet you look great in that costume.. Ha!

  43. @ Blaze
    “I sent an e-mail to Randy Bachman, but I didn’t hear back.”
    Oh nuts, Randy would have been perfect to come aboard the expat express. His wife, Denise, is indeed an American woman. I wonder how that mixed nationality couple copes? I suppose they can afford the high priced tax attorneys. I’m glad you reposted those lyrics — found them before (loved ‘em BTW) and then couldn’t track them down again.

  44. @Em: I didn’t know Randy Bachman’s wife is an American Woman. I wonder how she feels about the song. I hope she wasn’t the inspiration!

    Calgary411 gave me a way to contact Randy through CBC Radio, where Randy has a show. I don’t know if he actually saw it.

    I pointed out to Randy he could be affected because of his Green Card.

  45. @blaze, I love it – the costume and the song.
    Speaking of Brock and his uniform – Brock University has a replica of his coat.

    http://www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/2012/01/17/city-and-brock-partner-on-large-1812-exhibit “Brock University has several significant artifacts in its collection, including a lock of Sir Isaac Brock’s hair, documents from that era and a replica of a coat worn by Brock when he died.”

    Then there is Brock day:

    “Therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario, enacts as follows:

    Major-General Sir Isaac Brock Day

    1. October 13 in each year is proclaimed as Major-General Sir Isaac Brock Day.


    2. This Act comes into force on the day it receives Royal Assent.

    Short title

    3. The short title of this Act is the Major-General Sir Isaac Brock Day Act, 2012.”

  46. Speaking of candidates for the expat express or US taxable ‘persons’ from Canada – (and FBARs and FATCA. Obama has Canadian-in-laws
    through his sister’s husband. Obama came up to S.Ontario to visit – (so he saw firsthand just how chockfull of suspicious hidden banking activity it is!). http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2008/06/18/f-ng.html
    His brother-in-law now works in the US – which would mean that his once ordinary daily Canadian bank accounts – post-tax, and duly reported to the CRA, have now magically transmogrified themselves into those mysterious and criminally suspect entities: “foreign” accounts – once he crossed the border and became transformed into a US person-taxpayer. I find myself wondering whether he complained about the incomprehensibility of FBAR reporting, and now FATCA – since, like all of us, it is unlikely that he had ever heard of, or experienced one. I can only hope that he nags Obama about it once he has to file his first ones.

  47. @Blaze, thanks! I actually saw Denise perform in the day. Living in Canada, you’d have to be living under a rock to not now know about having to pay US tax. Surprising how many people go into ostrich mode, or are we confusing tax defiance with that?

  48. @bubblebustin
    FWIW I did not know that I had to file US tax returns. I live in a rural part of Ontario, there has been not one word about any of this (taxes, FBAR, FATCA) in local papers. I do spend considerable time on the web, and that’s how I tripped across one of the Globe articles that sucked me into the vortex. Local lawyers and some accountants I have spoken with had no idea. I sincerely believe most US persons in Canada simply do not know.

  49. @CanadianPat
    Sorry, I should have said “living under a rock if they haven’t heard about by now”. I was referring to Denise McCann, married to Randy Bachman. Pretty slim chance that they wouldn’t know about the requirement by now. Bad news travels fast especially to those who are somewhat in the limelight. I didn’t know about US tax obligations until last summer either…

  50. @ bubblebustin & Blaze
    According to Denise McCann’s bio she became a Canadian citizen in 1989 but we all know now that without renunciation of her US citizenship she is probably still vulnerable to IRS tyranny too and if Randy Bachman does indeed have a green card well that makes the two of them doubly vulnerable. I suppose if you can afford good tax attorneys it doesn’t bother you too much though. Anyway I adore both of them for their musical talent and song smithery and would love them to come out with some kind of support for those of us wallowing in the IRS morass.


  51. The great majority of Americans Abroad did and do not know about these incredible demands. So are dual citizens and greencarders.

  52. @thatisme, one wonders how many know about it going in. I have a friend who moved to the US and is planning to move back to Canada and had no idea about the filing requirement until I told her. I would like to see some of the documentation applicants see prior to obtaining US citizenship. I know it’s been in mouseprint on the last page of the US passport for about 10 years now. Maybe I’ll do some research…

  53. @ bubblebustin,
    Re: warning anyone leaving the US and not knowing what they face with reporting once outside it,
    (or those immigrating to the US, with pre-existing accounts ‘abroad’).

    Have a look at this GAO report “Reporting Foreign Accounts to IRS: Extent of Duplication Not Currently Known, but Requirements Can Be Clarified”
    GAO-12-403, Feb 28, 2012

    http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-403 : re duplicative reporting on FBARs and FATCA – very very interesting reading – they again admit that there are no good numbers on that so-called tax gap of ‘unreported income’

    “IRS does not have an estimate of the revenue loss due to offshore non-compliance, and estimates by others are unreliable. However, some international tax policy experts believe that the losses are in the billions of dollars annually.” No citation of those ‘international tax policy experts’ , or source/method of the estimates……………”

    “A variety of tax commentators, taxpayer representatives, and individuals stated that these duplicative reporting requirements have created confusion. They report being unclear about what and how information should be reported on both forms. Neither form provides filers any explanation as to why duplicative reporting is necessary, where the duplication occurs, or how the information being requested is the same or different.

    Without data on Form 8938 filers, the benefits and costs of taking actions to reduce duplicative reporting cannot be determined.”………………..

    “IRS does not have an estimate of the revenue loss due to offshore non-compliance, and estimates by others are unreliable. However, some international tax policy experts believe that the losses are in the billions of dollars annually.”…………..

    “This increases the compliance burden and adds complexity that can create confusion, potentially resulting in inaccurate or unnecessary reporting. Currently, the instructions and guidance for both forms lack any explanation of why and where duplication exists. Actions to reduce duplicate reporting requirements while maintaining the usefulness of the data for tax administration and law enforcement purposes would benefit filers. However, since the Form 8938 is a new requirement beginning after 2011, data are not yet available to determine the number of filers subject to these duplicative reporting requirements. Without these data, it is not known whether the benefits of reduced duplication would exceed the costs. When filing data become available, Treasury’s Office of Tax Policy, IRS, and FinCEN would have the information needed to assess whether cost-effective steps could be taken, including allowing filers who would normally have to submit both forms to substitute the information reported on one to meet the requirements of the other”…………….

    As we already know, they implement based on non-existent statistics – justifying their actions using imaginary numbers, citing nameless ‘experts’, knowing ahead of time that there will be problems with reporting and complying – borne totally by those they ‘enforce’ it on, and admitting they have no idea how many will be affected. We’ll bear the costs of compliance – through LCUs, or paying someone – or incurring penalties.

    They are willing to go ahead and impose it on individuals – with substantial knowledge that as designed : “This increases the compliance burden and adds complexity that can create confusion, potentially resulting in inaccurate or unnecessary reporting.” WITH THE HUGE FINES and NO STATUTE of LIMITATIONS.

    What an unjust and arbitrary basis for a law.

  54. Pingback: Democrats Abroad urgently requests “expat tax stories” for May 15th IRS hearing | The Isaac Brock Society

  55. @markpinetree I think I know what you mean. I was really disappointed in Democrats Abroad back when I was talking with them and had some hope that they would step up, grow a pair, take the issue to management. Didn’t happen then. Some movement now. Have become sadly cynical since.

Comments are closed.