Who is the other Peter Dunn: Survey

Peter Dunn, blogger, Canadian citizen, Petros, former US citizen

or

Peter Dunn, Pete the Planner

You decide.

I’ve been called a number of things: but this is the first time I’ve been called “the other Peter Dunn”.  I think that is just about the most hurtful thing of all.

Today, a certain Peter Dunn, a famous media figure who is both a comedian and financial adviser (isn’t that tautology?), wrote at his blog, A minor PR disaster for Pete the Planner (emphasis mine; hat tip Pacifica):

Things were going so great…until I was mistaken for another Peter Dunn.

While I try to help people take responsibility for their financial lives, the other Peter Dunn encourages people to leave the United States in order to avoid paying taxes. This mistake was originally brought to my attention by a Twitter follower, but then I noticed the increased web traffic on my website today. People have been Googling “Peter Dunn don’t pay taxes” all day. Ugh.

So for the record. I pay taxes. You should pay taxes, and the other Peter Dunn needs to stay out of the news. The world doesn’t need two Peter Dunns.

****Update: To be fair, I don’t know the ins and outs of the “other Peter Dunn’s” perspective. I’m not trying to insult him or his cause. I just wanted people to make sure they understood that we weren’t one in the same.

As far as I’m concerned, I am Peter Dunn, and he is the other Peter Dunn.  Here my reasons:

  1. I am older; so I have the prior claim to being Peter Dunn Prime.
  2. Being older, wiser and more experienced, I would not suddenly panic if people confused me with another Peter Dunn, seeing as it is a pretty common name.
  3. Age before beauty.  I am not sufficiently photogenic to be on TV.  (That’s why my gravatar is Tertia kitty, covering my face!)
  4. I am Canadian.
  5. William Shatner, Michael J. Fox, and Steve Nash are also Canadians.
  6. Canada is bigger than the United States.
  7. I grew up in Alaska, which is much larger and colder than any state that Pete the Planner ever lived in.
  8. I never use three dots … when I write.
  9. Last but not least:  my website has a better Alexa ranking.

Here is the poll.  (Hint:  the correct vote is for Pete the Planner).

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78 thoughts on “Who is the other Peter Dunn: Survey

  1. This is brilliant. A sincere hat tip to you. I admittedly overreacted when I discovered the odd coincidence yesterday. Don’t forget the Tim Hortons factor. BTW, I just emailed you to offer an appearance on my radio program. I want to hear your story.

  2. Fabulous! Pete the Planner and Peter the Petros on the radio. When?!?

    @Pete the Planner: We need all the attention we can get for this issue. Thank you!

    By the way, we all pay taxes too. Probably much higher than you do in our adopted countries. We just don’t think we should be forced to pay taxes or reveal all our life savings to a foreign country (USA) where we don’t live-and where many of us haven’t even been citizens for decades. In my case, that’s four decades as a non-US citizen, but the US is trying to reclaim me and my money as I’m nearing retirement. Many others are in a similar predicament.

    Even our Canadian born children and their education savings plans or disability savings plans are vulnerable to the attempted intrusion of the IRS into our normal everyday lives outside of the US.

    Thanks for joining us here. Have a Tim’s double double on me.

  3. @Peter, OMG you have to do it..Thanks Peter the Planner for offering OUR FAMOUS PETER DUNN the opportunity.. That’s wonderful!!

  4. @petetheplanner.

    We aim to educate. We’d love you to bring up the subject and tell the correct story to the US ‘homelanders’. The real tax evaders are resident in the US; for the most part, we are NOT them.

    Welcome and cheers!

  5. … perhaps that means others are coming to the Isaac Brock site from the “other’ Peter Dunn’s site. I hope they have a real good look at the content.

    Wait, we are supposed to voting for the ‘other’ guy?

  6. @Pete The Planner: I just saw your article: What Freaks You Out The Most. IRS is what freaks me out the most. Considering that I haven’t lived in the US for 44 years and I haven’t been a US citizen for almost 40 years, that gives you a hint of what this is like.

    I think almost everyone on Brock would agree IRS is the biggest Freak Show in their lives right now. Like me, most of us don’t live in the US. Some have never lived in the US. They just had the misfortune to be born to a parent who was born in the US or to be married to someone who was born in US. Some who do live in the US are relatively new immigrants who made the mistake of leaving some money in their home country and not knowing they were required to report that amount to IRS.

    The IRS not only wants to know about our finances, but those of our spouses and children. If we have financial signing authority at work or in volunteer work, IRS even wants to know about the finances of our employers or charitable organizations. IRS and Congress seem to think we’re tax cheats, tax evaders, traitors or money launderers because we choose to live outside USA.

    You will have a steep learning curve to understand it all before Peter Dunn (the real tax-paying Peter Dunn) comes on your show. Thanks so much for being willing to learn and to invite Peter to tell his and our story.

  7. @Petros: Oops. I blew it. I voted for you. I was thinking I was voting for the Real Peter Dunn, not for the Other Peter Dunn. Can I vote twice? I’ll see if it works.

    If I can’t figure out something that simple, how can I possibly be expected to understand the 72,500 page IRS tax code?!?

  8. Ok, this site has been officially hijacked. I thought that if I put it here, on home court, you guys would all vote Pete the Planner as the other Peter Dunn. I’m losing this hands down: 23 to 17.

  9. @Blaze, Shame on you. You can’t figure out the IRS tax code. Perhaps you could spend your retirement years working on that. You know those years you thought you could enjoy after all the hard years of work. Oh, I forgot the IRS wants to lay claim to your retirement dollars. Perhaps you can find a freight car you could bunk in after you have to sell your residence to pay them off. I am looking for one for myself.

  10. @Blaze: What do you put on the question, Do you have any foreign accounts? No right? Because all your accounts are in Canada, and therefore none are foreign.

  11. Welcome Pete!

    Since I obviously take this issue very seriously, it’s nice to get a (rare) chuckle when following it on the internet!

    I got a good chuckle out of your blog comment about the other Peter Dunn (and figured he would too). (I sensed where you were coming from; mainly you just didn’t want people to mix the two of you up.) I did also want to pass to you on some info about the other (or the real?) Peter Dunn and about the issue itself. And I was hoping you’d stop by. Glad you did and I hope we’ll be hearing more from you!

    @all. I wrote about one or the other Peter Dunns earlier today in a comment on a different post, so I’m going to paste it here.
    *******
    “It’s been fun watching this article move around the world these past two days.
    Googling for it led me to discover the other Peter Dunn. Well, this one thinks Petros is the other Peter Dunn. But you get the idea.

    http://petetheplanner.com/2012/04/17/a-minor-pr-disaster-for-pete-the-planner/

    “Things were going so great…until I was mistaken for another Peter Dunn While I try to help people take responsibility for their financial lives, the other Peter Dunn encourages people to leave the United States in order to avoid paying taxes. This mistake was originally brought to my attention by a Twitter follower, but then I noticed the increased web traffic on my website today. People have been Googling “Peter Dunn don’t pay taxes” all day. Ugh.

    So for the record. I pay taxes. You should pay taxes, and the other Peter Dunn needs to stay out of the news. The world doesn’t need two Peter Dunns.”

    Pacifica on April 18, 2012 at 1:34 pm said:

    For sure, the world has plenty of room for two Peter Dunns … but I can see it must have been kind of startling for you to discover another one in this tax context!

    However, it seems both you Peter Dunns have more than a name in common. You both pay taxes.

    I know the other Peter from the Isaac Brock Society. I’ve never heard him recommend anyone should leave the United States or do anything else to avoid paying taxes. As stated in the Reuters article, he has always complied with IRS during his many years as a US citizen, and with Revenue Canada as well … it was the complexity of tracking US tax law changes (and they’re complex) and ancillary matters such as FBAR that caused him concern.

    People relinquish their US citizenship for a variety of reasons. I did it decades ago. I just personally did not like the idea of being a citizen of two countries at the same time. Taxes were not an issue at all in those days, it was a much simpler era.

    Taxes are a big issue today, however, for US persons abroad. But it’s not tax avoidance that’s pushing these people to renounce. In fact, with the Tax Treaty, FEIE, and the US having such low tax rates, most US persons living and paying tax abroad end up not owing one red cent to the IRS,

    It’s the unbelievably (and increasingly) complicated paperwork, along with increasing US restrictions on a US-person-abroad’s ability to live like a normal person (US restrictions on retirement savings accounts where you live, banks refusing to do business with US persons because the banks don’t want to run afoul of incredibly complex US tax law, etc.) that is fueling this rise in relinquishment of US citizenship.

    This whole tax thing not being an issue 40 years ago, it played no role at all in my decision to relinquish. But I do respect the personal decision a person today makes if they feel US tax law in 2012 is making them unable to live a normal life outside the US. These people are not trying to play it both ways and/or choosing to play games with the tax code. They are choosing to give up their rights as well as their responsibilities as a US citizen … end of contract … sounds fair to me.

    Please do check out isaacbrocksociety.com We post several articles daily on new developments in US tax law for US persons abroad, FATCA, etc, from contributors around the world with a variety of viewpoints. Your posting or commenting, too, would be most welcome!”

  12. @ tiger who wrote: “Perhaps you can find a freight car you could bunk in after you have to sell your residence to pay them off. I am looking for one for myself.”
    We have an 8ftx8ft bunkie we could let you use. No rent accepted though because if we took even a penny for it our 1040 would get even more complicated. Ask Just Me about that.
    @ Petros: I voted correctly. Probably the first thing I’ve done right since my kryptonite card debacle began. No, second thing right. I found IBS.

  13. One of the Peters was reporting (and possibly paying) to TWO tax agencies. Will the ‘other’ Peter Dunn cheerfully and wholeheartedly volunteer to do the same – to “help people take responsibility for their financial lives..” ?

  14. ‘Our’ Peter;
    perhaps its now very confusing re which ‘other’ Peter we were voting for or against?

  15. Here are some another reason why HE is the other Peter Dunn:
    1. I was featured in the Reuters article. I guess that makes me the most famous person to renounce my US citizenship, well, after superman.
    2. I’ve learned that Pete the Planner’s program is in WIBC Indianapolis. I think that makes him a Hoosier.

    Voting is now a dead heat: 25-23; but I’m still think I can influence people. Had my good friend Dan in Indianapolis vote for the other guy. So even his hometown people are voting for against him.

  16. Petros, Please take him up on the offer! Even though that poll was very confusing 🙂 , I do think I managed to vote for you.

  17. @Petros: It turns out I did vote for the other Peter Dunn as the Other Peter Dunn after all the first time. But, to be sure, I voted for the other Peter Dunn as the Other Peter Dunn a second time. Confused? So am I!

    I don’t tick off any boxes about foreign accounts because I haven’t filed with IRS for 38 years and despite their draconian expectation, I’m not about to start now! I do pay taxes in Canada, file my CRA return and tick No to the question do I own any foreign property.

    @Tiger: I don’t dare sell my home. IRS will want most of that too.

  18. Petros, I believe I voted correctly… Please, please, if he’s serious about this, please do the radio show. You are a wonderful spokesperson for those of us caught in this nightmare. You know your stuff, but you also have a sense of humour!
    @the other Peter Dunn, I hope you are serious and do bring ‘our’ Peter Dunn on your show. I think it’s hard for mainstream Americans to understand the nightmare we’re caught in. If you can help publicize that we are not tax evaders, that we are not criminals, that we are law abiding folks caught in an unfair and simply ridiculous IRS trap, it would help our cause a great deal.

  19. The offer is real, and as of about a half hour ago, I believe the real Peter Dunn has agreed to come on the show. It will air at 7pm est on 93 WIBC FM Indianapolis. You can listen online at WIBC.com. It will also air on Sunday morning at 10am in Indianapolis. The good news is this: people listen to the show, and well, they listen to me too. In January of 2012, I was named the fourth most influential personal finance broadcaster in the United States. Mainstream America is about to hear you loud and clear.

  20. Hey all, I just found this text on taxation. Can you help me understand how it does/doesn’t apply to your problems?

    “However if you are a US citizen that lives in Canada either part time or full time for the purposes of employment then you are considered a resident of Canada..Then you must file two returns each year: a Canadian return because you live there full or part time, and a U.S. return because you are a U.S. citizen. Fortunately, this does not necessarily mean you’ll have to pay taxes to both countries but depending on your income you may be required to pay taxes in both countries..

    You may be able to exclude up to $85,700 from income for US tax purposes by completing Form 2555 and attaching it to your return. Form 2555 is a special form excluding foreign earned income from taxation in the United States. To claim this exclusion you must be a bona fide resident of Canada or must have been living in Canada as a aprt time resident for at least 330 days out of the last 12 months.

    You are also allowed to claim a foreign tax credit on your U.S. return for taxes you are required to pay to Canada. To claim the credit, you must complete Form 1116 and attach it to your U.S. return. Alternatively, you can claim the Canadian taxes you paid as an itemized deduction. Both the deduction and credit are limited to foreign income that is subject to U.S. tax, so neither can be claimed for income excluded on Form 2555.

    If you live outside the U.S., you have an automatic extension of two months to file your U.S. tax return. In other words, your U.S. return is due on June 15 each year, rather than April 15. This provides time for you to complete your Canadian return and determine your Canadian tax liability. This is needed in case you have to claim the foreign tax credit on your U.S. return. Note that while you have until June 15 to file your US tax return if you live in Canada, the IRS will begin assessing interest on any unpaid balances on April 15th.”

  21. @the other Peter Dunn : That’s wonderful. I did agree and it is confirmed. And the fourth most influential financial broadcaster is pretty great. I look forward to it. But it puts a kink in things for me. I don’t think I’m nearly as famous as you, so may be you do have a claim to be Peter Dunn Prime. (better stop the poll while I’m ahead).

  22. @petetheplanner;
    : )
    Oh no, there goes another chance to close that storied ‘taxgap’ then!

    Don’t want to wear you out when we’ve just met, but thought that I might chime in to clarify the US ‘tax’ issue vs. the IRS ‘reporting’ and penalty burdens.

    It has already been established that the vast majority of those reporting from ‘abroad’ don’t actually end up owing any US tax. Canada and the US already have a longstanding tax treaty in force. So it is not as if those of us born in the US, or born in Canada with a US parent are escaping taxes. Often, we pay more in Canada.

    We don’t want to ‘volunteer’ to pay tax twice though – or to report once to Canada, then twice or more again to the US (FATCA plus FBARs plus all the other incidental IRS forms depending on the type of account, plus the actual tax return).

    The reporting burden for those outside the US is vastly more complex and elaborate than for those in the US – even in the absence of any actual US tax owed – which is the case for the vast majority filing from abroad. See the 2011 IRS Taxpayer Advocate report to Congress for corroboration http://www.irs.gov/advocate/article/0,,id=252216,00.html .

    Our TFSAs alone (taxfree saving accounts) require a 6 page IRS form 3520? – and two (or is it 3 now?) kinds of reporting deadlines and forms annually. Here they’re just a kind of innocuous term deposit – registered with our tax number, government regulated, approved, and highly recommended by the Canadian government. The IRS however, in it’s wisdom, has declared them to be ‘foreign’ ‘trusts’, so the reporting is labyrinthine – even without any distributions. The potential penalties exponentially exceed the amounts in the accounts, (again, even in the complete absence of US tax owed, and on entirely legal assets – already post-tax or post-reporting and post-registration with the Canadian Revenue Agency. According to the IRS website, the estimated time to complete form 3520A: “The time needed to complete and file the form will vary depending on individual circumstances. The estimated average time is:
    Recordkeeping . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 hr., 18 min.
    Learning about the law or the form . . . . . . 2 hr., 40 min.
    Preparing and sending the form to the IRS 3 hr., 24 min.
    the matching Form 3520 is:
    Recordkeeping 42 hr., 48 min.
    Learning about the law or the form 4 hr., 50 min.
    Preparing the form 6 hr., 40 min.
    Sending the form to the IRS 16 min. ”

    Paying someone knowledgeable to do the form would wipe out the actual asset. Doing it yourself correctly would be a nightmare. Making a mistake earns you a huge penalty. “Penalties if not timely filed or incomplete or incorrect is up to 35% of the value of the property”. That applies to our RESPs too – the Canadian government regulated and registered education savings – our children’s college fund. This ain’t the Caymans.

    Now add FATCA, to FBARs, and the other form penalties, and two or more penalty structures are to apply to the same asset.

    FATCA estimated time to complete:
    “Asked how long it would take the average filer to complete the Fatca form, Mr. Ruchelman laughed. “Forever,” he said.” (“tax lawyer in New York who once worked at the I.R.S. helping to negotiate international tax agreements.”).
    and,
    “Mr. Horton, who has already helped a few clients fill out Form 8938, said that for most individual filers, “even if we’re talking about a modest set of accounts, it’s going to take a full Saturday to do it.”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/16/business/global/for-americans-abroad-taxes-just-got-more-complicated.html?_r=1

    And, remember – all that reporting is not about calculating any actual tax owing.

    But, the US Treasury says: “When taxpayers overseas avoid paying what they owe, other Americans have to bear a disproportionate share of the tax burden,” Emily McMahon, the Treasury’s acting assistant secretary for tax policy, said in the press release. “FATCA is an important part of the U.S. government’s effort to address that issue and these regulations implement FATCA in a way that is TARGETED AND EFFICIENT.”

    See what even the GAO has to say about the problems they already foresee with FATCA and FBAR duplicative and confusing reporting: http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-403
    “Reporting Foreign Accounts to IRS
    Extent of Duplication Not Currently Known, but Requirements Can Be Clarified”
    GAO-12-403, Feb 28, 2012

    “What GAO Found”:
    “Some of the information requested on the Form 8938 and FBAR is duplicative. Both forms ask for the same or similar information on the filer, foreign financial accounts, and financial institutions where accounts are held. Form 8938 asks for additional information not required by the FBAR, such as other foreign financial assets and income. 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.”

    “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. When Form 8938 filing data becomes 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.”

    So, they’re going to implement it first, with the draconian fines for even accidental errors, and then maybe decide whether it’s ‘cost effective’ for them to do anything to make it easier for us to ‘comply’. If they get around to it. But it will probably be considered more cost effective to do nothing – just let us struggle with it – as we already do with FBARs, and the other forms (again, see 3520 and 3520A), or pay a US tax expert (multiply the hourly fee times the estimated time to complete = ?). Plus, as a bonus, the more mistakes we make, the more penalties will accrue – even in the absence of any US tax owed.

    The duplicate overlaid penalty chart for FATCA and FBARs is a ‘must-see’ – but only if you’re in robust health and have nerves of steel.

    That’s all in the absence of any US tax owed. Zero. Nada.
    So, yeah, we don’t want to volunteer to pay taxes twice, but the real issue is the useless, duplicative, fraught-with-dangerous-penalties account and assets reporting.

    Wherein every year is an adventure in a minefield. With no US tax owing. As my dad liked to say about things like this, (profanity warning) ‘it don’t make no t–d”
    What’s not to like?

  23. The $85,700 is adjusted for inflation so it is more like $92,000 now. It is for wages from an employer or self employed income, good for a working person like me, but not so good for a retired person. The foreign tax credit works hand in hand with the FEIE, you can not claim a tax credit for Canadian taxed paid on income that is excluded by the FEIE. The deductions also differ, I can not deduct contributions to my Canadian Retirement Account as I do in Canada, but I think I can claim my mortgage interest. I pay lots of taxes I pay Canadian Federal Tax, I pay a provincial tax, and I pay property taxes that I think also my be claimed. All at a higher rate than equivalent US taxes. When I file US taxes I will calculate only federal taxes as I don’t live in any of the 50 states. I have done some quick calculations, Canadian Federal plus my Provincial taxes are far and away higher than US federal taxes, for the sake of simplicity I will probably claim my Canadian taxes as a credit, and not even bother with any of the deductions I am entitled to and still owe zero.

  24. @PetethePlanner, okay, I have to chime in, just can’t keep my mouth… and then there are those people who left the US decades ago, became citizens of other countries and thought they were done with the US, only to find the IRS wants to claw the back in order to penalize them for reporting penalties that can take their entire retirement savings (and more) and leave them destitute in their old age – and therefore a burden on the country they actually live in.

  25. Even if this Peter the Planner is famouser than me, I have confirmed that he is younger. He is a gen-y, according to this website: http://petetheplanner.com/meet-pete/ Which says, “He has suffered through many of the challenges that other Gen Y-ers have.” Peter Dunn Prime (moi) is a late baby-boomer. So objectively speaking, he is the other Peter Dunn.

  26. Well, it’s official; Karma is capable of a sense of humour! I’m really looking forward to the radio show – gonna’ make some popcorn!

  27. @ the other Peter Dunn – Thank you for inviting the original Peter Dunn on your program. Perhaps more people in America will learn that taxpaying US citizens who were proud to be Americans are being forced to give up their citizenship to survive.

    As an American residing overseas who has elected to maintain US citizenship in spite of the business case against it, I would like to advise you to please, please, never give financial planning advice to an American who is planning a move overseas or resides overseas. You will have to relearn almost everything that you knew about financial planning advice.

    The rules for overseas Americans are unnecessarily different and cumbersome. It is expensive to comply with them. Penalties for innocent errors are life altering. The rules have been designed to prevent high net worth US residents from hiding their wealth overseas. The rules have also been designed as tax concessions for particular US industries. The interests and realities of the average American who lives overseas has never been considered.

    While you mention the Foreign Earned Income Exemption (FEIE) of USD 92,500 that probably makes US resident Americans salivate and wish they could get something like that, realize we need this because we are taxed in our countries of residence already. It is a way of preventing us from being taxed twice. If taxes are lower than in the US, it is likely there is some kind of consumption tax in that country (which we do not have in the US) and overseas US citizens need this exemption to be able to live at the same standard their local counterparts do.

    The FEIE only applies to earned income. When it comes to investments, here is where many Americans who were residing overseas following the financial advice that was ingrained into them from their time in America have been creamed. Just a few of the ways are (and I repeat, these are only a few):

    • Mutual funds – never ever invest in a foreign mutual fund as an overseas resident. It is not illegal, but in a 1986 concession to the US mutual fund industry, the paperwork was made so complex that it is difficult to do the calculations yourself. The IRS estimates that per mutual fund, the time needed is: Recordkeeping: 13 hrs., 37 min; learning about the law or the form: 8 hrs., 38 min; preparing and sending the form to the IRS: 9 hrs., 14 min. So you run up expensive accounting fees. Additionally, the mutual fund needs to be taxed as if you sold it each year which can mean that you pay tax on phantom gains.

    • Forget about retirement planning by joining a tax free retirement plan in your country of residence. The US does not recognize the tax free nature of foreign IRAs. So you get taxed on it every year by the US and taxed on it when you finally take the distribution by the country you reside in.

    • So now you say, well then just invest your money in the US. Thanks to the Patriot Act and Know Your Customer rules, many overseas Americans are having their US bank accounts closed because they have a foreign address. Being a US citizen does not help you to obtain or keep a bank account in the US.

    • Report every foreign bank account, life insurance policy, debit card (including foreign pre-paid phone cards and supermarket customer cards) and its highest balance to the IRS. This will also eat up your time in record keeping.

    • If you make a reporting error with respect to your bank accounts and do like many hapless overseas US citizens did during 2010 and 2011 and follow the recommended procedures for correcting the omission, you will be told that the current policy is to treat anyone who makes this kind of mistake as the equivalent of a US resident tax evader and you will be expected to pay 5% to 25% of your overseas assets (and an overseas US citizen may only have foreign assets) – even when there is no tax loss or minimal tax associated with the error.

    To add insult to injury, due to citizenship taxation, many foreign citizens who find that they have a US parent or even grandparent, even though they have never lived in America and have never requested any of the services supplied to US citizens, are now being told by the IRS that they are considered US citizens and their penalty for not knowing this will be to give the IRS 5% of all their life savings and all will be fine and good.

    Amanda Klekowski von Koppenfels from the University of Kent, Brussels, has recently done a study of overseas Americans to find out more about them. She surveryed over 800 overseas Americans and found that the main reason they are overseas is because of their partner or their family. The second reason is employment. Americans overseas are mostly overseas because of family or work, not to evade taxation.

    Citizenship taxation is bad policy. It is hurting decent tax paying law abiding US citizens who happen to reside overseas. It if forcing many to take actions they never thought they would take. As one recent renounciant told the State Department official when he told her she was no longer American, “I will always be American. I will always carry that with me. I am just no longer an American citizen.”

  28. @petetheplanner
    Thanks for interest in these issues! It’s a big story – and mostly ignored by mainstream media. For background, it’s important to note:

    1) This is not about tax planning for Americans temporally residing in Canada! Many of the more than 600,000 US-born Canadians have been Canadian citizens for decades, and are deeply rooted in Canada, a nation of immigrants.Their only relationship to the US is birthplace; most have no US economic ties, income, residence, or assets. Under US law, many lost their US citizenship by swearing an oath of citizenship to Canada, only to be covertly “reclaimed” by the US decades later ex post facto. Many are also Canadians who were simply born in the US while their parents were visiting, or because of cross-boarder maternity hospital arrangements.

    2) Through aggressive application of obscure US anti-money laundering laws, these Canadians awoke to find their everyday (and totally legitimate) Canadian banking, investment , education and retirement accounts were suddenly illegal “undisclosed offshore accounts” to the US.

    3) While this has stirred up fear among hundreds of thousands of US-born Canadians, the Canadian government has assured them it will not assist in collecting any US taxes or penalties from Canadian citizens. The US has no actual power to collect tax in Canada, and Canadian courts will not enforce any foreign tax claims. However, the ill will and distress is vivid and growing.

    Good luck and thanks for listening!

  29. @Pete the Planner: One more point you want to consider. Only two countries in the world have citizenship based taxation. United States and Eritrea. (Well, maybe Eritrea too, but they don’t let anyone leave

    USA joined with other countries at the UN in condeming Eritrea for their efforts.

    Other countries have residence based taxation– i.e. one pays tax where they live, often based on worldwide income. Why doesn’t USA do that?

  30. Oops! That should have been (well maybe NORTH KOREA, too, but they don’t people leave.) Sorry. I didn’t mean to confuse further.

    It really is just USA and Eritrea that tax based on citizenship.

  31. @ Lisa,

    If I may, I would like to make one small correction to your final quote. It should read:

    “I will always be American. Nobody can take that away from me. I am just no longer a US citizen.”

  32. @PTP: I know I said just one more point above, but you also need to know about the FATCA monster which is looming in our futures.

    FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compiance Act) requires banks around the world to report on all of the financial holdings of any “U.S. person” customer with more than $50,000 in a financial institution. If the customer does not give information or consent, IRS expects the “foreign financial institution” to close the account of the “recalcitrant” account holder. If the FFI does not comply, IRS is threatening severe financial penalties on US based holdings.

    Some banks in Europe and South America are already closing accounts or refusing to open new accounts for anyone born in U.S.

    Canadian banks would have to violate Canada’s Bank Act, Human Rights Code, Charter of Rights and privacy laws to comply. But, if they don’t comply, IRS will hit them with their financial bully club. In addition, that financial institution’s debit cards credit cards will not be accepted in the U.S.

    Can you imagine if China, Russia, Iran or Eritrea were demanding this of US banks and other banks around the world? “US person” has no more legal meaning in Canada than “Chinese person,” Russian person,” “Iranian person,” or “Eritrean person.” We all are simply Canadian citizens or residents trying to make a life for ourselves without interference of a foreign government.

    I hope Roger Conklin will share with you how US citizenship based taxation is contributing to the huge US trade deficit, while countries which encourage their citizens to live abroad have trade surpluses.

    Plus, many former US citizens have vowed to never again return to US because of this issue. That doesn’t help your economy, but that’s not our problem.

  33. Pingback: Message to financial planners: The rules are NOT the same for U.S. citizens living abroad | The Isaac Brock Society

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  35. @PTP: Just in case you don’t have enough to do before the Real Peter Dunn airs on your show, here is some reading material.

    The first two are articles from Globe and Mail which alerted many of us to this issue last summer. The third is a letter from Canada’s Minister of Finance (like US Secretary of Treasury) about the impact of this on honest law-abiding Canadians.
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/personal-finance/us-tax-amnesty-not-cheap-or-popular/article2159537/

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/personal-finance/tax-centre/us-tax-crackdown-hits-canadian-residents/article2067393/

    http://business.financialpost.com/2011/09/16/read-jim-flahertys-letter-on-americans-in-canada/iti

    And, here is a position paper from Association of Americans Resident Overseas which shows differential treatment between American citizens in USA and those outside USA. http://aaro.org/position-papers-2011?start=1

  36. Pingback: Message to financial planners: The rules are NOT the same for U.S. citizens living abroad « Renounce U.S. Citizenship – Be Free

  37. @Pete the Planner
    Liza, Wondering, Blaze and others have given you good information above to prepare for your interview with ‘our Peter Dunn’.

    I would like to stress a few things based on my own case. Some of us have no ‘foreign earned income’ to exclude. I am well past retirement age and my income is either Canadian ‘Old Age Security’ – this is excluded, or investment income. My investment income is ‘modest’ and thus I am in a very low Canadian income tax bracket. Therefore, I do not have Foreign Tax Credits that could be used on a U.S. tax return. So it is very likely that I would, in fact, owe taxes to the U.S. Plus, I would have exhorbitant costs to comply.

    I certainly can not understand why after 50 years, living in Canada, a citizen of Canada , I might be expected to pay Uncle Sam a dime of my late husband’s hard earned money. Yet not only does the IRS expect that but they also believe that my three sons (all Canadian born) , should also start to comply with American tax laws, file 1040s and also let the IRS know what their assets are (including their retirement accounts).

    If you are able to explain either the logic of this or even the fairness of this, I am willing to listen.

    I really look forward to your radio broadcast and thank you again for joining this site, listening to our ‘ramblings’ and for the upcoming interview with Petros.

    And please post the time, place where we can listen to your show.

  38. @Petetheplanner
    Bless your heart for having “our Peter” on your radio show. Just an aside, life in Canada becomes more complicated for the dual citizen (who was born in Canada to an American parent) who has a disability and starts to accumulate TFSA and RDSP (registered disability savings plans.) In Alberta, the province gives these individuals $1588 per month for assured income for the severely handicapped. These individuals are NOT allowed to renounce U.S. citizenship due to their mental disability, and not fully understanding “what they are giving up.” Although, in my family’s case, the legal guardian and alternate legal guardian had just renounced! Now, the person with the disability is not able to file his/her own IRS tax filing. Someone must do this as long as the disabled person lives, or hire a tax person (using disabily funding!) The funds also begin to accumulate, with interest, and even the government contributes on a yearly basis for up to 20 years, $4500 on the RDSP with the person only contributing $1500. At some point, the U.S. wants its fair share, and starts to take taxes from this person and these are funds needed for the financial security of the person with the disability. It is really a low blow for these families. And the sad part is, the legal guardian and in my case also the legal trustee, is not allowed to renounce for this person, even though in my country I make all of her decisions.

  39. @PTP: To add to Cecelia’s point, the legal guardian of a disabled male between the ages of 18 and 25 is also required to register that male (born and raised outside the US) for the US Selective Service or face a fine of up to $250,000 or 5 years in jail.

    I think perhaps you are beginning to get a sense at where the fury is coming from.

  40. Pingback: Who is the real Peter Dunn? | The Isaac Brock Society

  41. @all – The grandparent clause provides for fast-track naturalization (‘expeditious naturalization’) of grandchildren of USCs who meet a modest residency requirement. It doesn’t confer citizenship nonconsensually, as with the children of US parents.

  42. @All
    Reading about grandparent clauses (I believe Ireland also has a ‘grandparent’ clause in their citizenship regulations), I wish that Canada had a similar clause. My ancestors on my father’s side immigrated from France to Canada in 1695. My father’s parents immigrated from Canada to the U.S. almost 200 years later. I was born in the U.S. but moved to Canada as an 18 year old. I had to apply for Canadian citizenship as a 29 year old in 1972. Perhaps if Canada had had the ‘grandparent’s clause’, I would have been born ‘dual’ – U.S. and Canadian. Not sure but perhaps less grief for me today.

  43. @tiger
    Canada does have a grandfather clause, I nearly qualified when I applied for Canadian citizenship in 1979. The person at the office of Canadian citizenship spent nearly an hour researching the laws at the time. My mother was born in Québec and 3 of 4 grandparens born in Québec. However a citizenship distinct from being a British subject exists only since 1947, to qualify either of my parents would have needed some residency in Canada after that date. For the record my French ancesters came to Quebéc in the 1650`s, my great grandmother was Algonquin

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  45. @rivka88
    If I understand you correctly, to qualify under a ‘grandparents clause’, one of my parents would have had to live in Canada after 1947. So I would not have qualified.
    Your ancestors arrived even earlier here from France than mine (1695). Over the years that I have lived in Canada, I have on ocassion been teased by family/friends about not being a ‘true Canadian’, having immigrated from the United States, I remind them that there really are not alot of Canadians who can trace their heritage back to the 1600s. Nice to hear about another one who can.

  46. @tiger
    If in Montreal you can research your Québec roots at Société Généalogique Canadienne-Française.
    (sgcf.com) at 3440, rue Davidson

  47. @rivka88
    Thanks for that info. I have a niece (on my Cdn. husband’s side of the family) who has recently moved to Montreal. Now that I don’t plan on spending money on travel to the States to visit my family, I thought recently of going to Montreal to visit this niece. If I do, I might just trace those Quebec roots. I do know that both of my Dad’s parents came from St. Raymond and I even think that a couple of my dad’s older siblings might have been born there. Of course, when they immigrated to the U.S. in the late 1800’s, it was probably just a matter of stepping over the border – no Homeland Security or border guards, I am sure.

  48. @petetheplanner
    Thank you for your great interview with ‘our Peter Dunn’. Hopefully, between Atossa’s interview (now viral) and your show, the word will begin to reach mainland Americans. I know I have 4 well educated siblings living in various states between Washington DC and Chicago and they tell me that there is almost nothing in the American media about these issues. I think they believe I am dreaming all of this up, just to scare myself and give myself something to worry about. So thanks for helping to get the word out.

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