New WSJ article on FATCA

Tax Rule Provokes Foreign Banks’ Ire

Takeways:

Whatever lobbying Democrats Abroad and ACA is basically completely ineffective and disregarded if you believe what is said in this article. I might send an email to Joe Green himself to get his reaction. An unnamed Treasury Department official appears to view the Democrats Abroad FBAR/FATCA survey as a “joke” because its anonymous. It appears Treasury has very much made up its mind on this issue prior to next weeks hearing.

If this is a the general attitude the US is going to take the odds of an intergovernmental agreement with Canada are low. In fact there is a pattern here of whenever Ottawa makes noises as in the Barrie McKenna piece a few days ago in the Globe and Mail of some type of compromise the civil service at US Treasury pours cold water over it.

Credit to Steven Mopsick. He has said all along they will push this as long as hard as possible even to the point of this ending up in an absolute legal mess with court fights all over the world.

What is the why?

Treasury believes most individuals will comply and not want to risk never being able to enter the US. I don’t think they really understand the political dimensions of this in Canada yet.

Questions:

At one point the term “Administration official” is used at another “Treasury official” does “Administration official” mean the White House and Obama himself.

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47 thoughts on “New WSJ article on FATCA

  1. In another comment, American Citizens Abroad, a group representing expatriates, provided testimonials, many unsigned, from people saying some European banks have refused to open accounts for them, citing FATCA compliance burdens.
    Treasury officials are aware of anecdotal complaints about FATCA affecting U.S. citizens abroad, but they don’t see a systemic problem, the Treasury official said.

  2. A catch-22 situation. People are afraid to be cited by name lest they attract the attention of the gov. But without names and stories the gov can blow off the information as “anecdotal” and therefore not worthy of their notice.

    And in defense of Democrats abroad (which I feel compelled to offer since I’ve said some mean-spirited things about them) they have a president to re-elect and they don’t want to do anything that will harm his chances. So if this can be quietly managed behind the scenes with a minimum of fuss that would be their preferred method for effecting change. But again all this very polite persistent political maneuvering just isn’t cutting it. There needs to be a fuss, a bit of embarrassment and even, dare I say it, some nastiness. My .02

  3. @Tim…

    It just goes to show that you can’t deal with these DC types. I am beginning to think that ACA and Dems Abroad time and lobby efforts might be better place lobbying other governments not to comply with FATCA so there is indeed a legal mess.

    Since there was only 3 comments, thought I would add mine…

    Thanks for this article John. It is the most under reported financial story in America, and you do right to shed some light on it. If only more American homelanders would take an interest and read it. You have given us a lot to ponder about Treasury attitudes on the impacts of FATCA they want to ignore as they press on. They would deny their mother was dying if she was gasping for her last breath in their arms. “Oh, that is just anecdotal gasp”, they would say. No systemic problem here.

    This is the US approach. Unilateral imposition of its incredibly complex Citizenship based tax regime on the entire world. No thought for the fact that the rest of the world only taxes on a territorial basis, but that is not good enough for our dwindling financial empire.

    They are attempting to create a Global Tax Data reporting regime, (GATCA) and offering up faux domestic reciprocity (DATCA) deal by forcing US banks to report on non residents interests back to the IRS. This is the trade off to force recalcitrant governments and foreign financial institutions to go along with FATCA. But what if a significant percentage do not? The Congress and the IRS have no idea of what that might mean for the global financial system. It is a high stakes game they are playing, while denying any potential systemic risk issues. These are probably the same guys that didn’t think that the credit default swaps had any risk either.

    What started out as a reasonable search to find US homeland residents who were engaging in off shore UBS tax evasion schemes has turned into a world wide jihad that is altering the face of tax compliance and financial reporting everywhere on the globe. It is having unintended consequences the world over, but denial is the IRS strategy. It is basically saying to the world, “just do what the U.S. Government wants.” It does not care about the collateral damage. That is the American way. We do it with our drones, and we do it with our laws. If a few U.S. Expats get shut out of banking where they live, well they can just move back to America. If you have to ignore your own countries constitution, privacy or human rights laws to be compliant with Congresses desires, so be it. They knows best. What you say, “they didn’t read the Hire Act and know FATCA was buried in there?” Oh, never mind.

  4. @Just Me

    Exactly. I gave up long ago on the US government, but the dismissive attitude shown of the surveys mentioned annoys me still. What I would like to see is indeed for ACA and others to start lobbying the EU, Canada, etc through their own internal channels. Here in the EU the entire issue of citizenship-based taxation and the violation of our data protections laws due to FATCA need to be brought before the European Court of Justice asap.

    The US is also dreaming if they think that the threat to not be able to visit would truly scare as many as they believe into complacence. I believe that the Reed Amendment will start to be enforced if a few more billionaire entrepreneurs start to renounce, and that threat won’t sway me at all if the choice is keep my bank accounts or be forced to move back to the US!

  5. So far we have debunked the myths to US Citizenship:
    1- NO HELP OVERSEAS – if they help you, they will send you a massive bill to pay.
    2- SOCIAL SECURITY – if you earned it, you keep it.

    What else do they try to use as a “benefit”?
    +1 You can go to the US whenever you want to with a US passport.
    +2 You can go to the US and collect welfare like so many oher people do.

    So far, here are my negatives on my scorecard:

    -1 No social healthcare program. Maybe VA Hospitals for veterans.
    -2 You can’t open financial accounts abroad, even if you live abroad;
    -3 You have to keep track of 2 sets of laws because breaking either can get you in trouble, especially in the US;
    -4 You have to file taxes, even if you don’t owe anything;
    -5 You are a potential target for violence in many areas of the globe due to US “interventions”.
    -6 You pay reciprocal visa fees to travel to many countries, more than many other nationalities.
    -7 You are “associated with” (guilt by association) a country that uses military force excessively. Where were those WMDs?
    -8 If you go overseas, you are treated like a piggy bank to the IRS, even if your money was acquired legally and taxes paid where you are a resident.
    -9 You have to subject yourself to X-rated scanning machines and “massages” in the name of fighting terrorism.
    -10 You have to deal with an organisation that deliberately leaves wording vague so that they can charge higher penalities for errors. The same organisation uses bait-and-switch tactics that are illegal in most countries.
    -11 You have to deal with a country full of arrogant people that are very near sighted — they can’t see beyond the US borders. They think the US is the only place someone can make money and anyone who lives abroad is a “traitor”.
    -12 The US is the highest “regulated” country in the world, passing tens of thousands of laws every year. But laws that are really needed to protect people, like segregation of customer funds, never get passed.

    Hmm.. out of 12, only 3 were even tax-related. There’re many reasons for not wanting to be US citizen anymore. I don’t hear anyone grumbling in Brazil that Eduardo didn’t want to come to Brazil to share his wealth.

  6. Don, the US is the LAST place I want to go. My wife keeps telling me that in a couple of years I have to go say goodbye to everyone. My grandparents are VERY old. The older I get, and the more settled I am here, the less I want to travel. 11 hours on a cramped plane is not fun.

    Add to that the tasering, the violence, the arrogance, everything they say is a vicious threat, the excessive use of force…

    An American could say, “Well you live in Brazil, and according to the very “reliable” statistics of the US Dept. of State, the murder rate is twice in Brazil what it is in the US. Maybe so, but I don’t live in a big urban center.

  7. The ACA needs to change track. On Phil’s blog the lady from the ACA was asked whether they were engaging the EU and the Swiss government to protest against FATCA. Her response was it was against the ACA’s charter to work against the American government’s interests and basically any change has to come from Washington (ie: waste your time lobbying a bunch of prats in Congress who couldn’t give a monkey for its ex-pats). The charter is admirable, but it doesn’t take into account when the American government tries to export US law and itself becomes the problem.

    The charter is fine for issues like “little Johnny” being denied citizenship, or some other civic right because he was born abroad and potentially will be cheated out of all the glorious benefits that US citizenship has to offer.

    I suppose that’s why the Facebook kid handed is blue book in. If the US ran the resident-based citizenship model at least if the tide ever turned, he may return the US to live because running US company from Singapore is a lot harder than living in the US – at least the US still has a future chance to tax him.

    Because of Levin, and his “all or nothing” citizenship-based model harking back from the world of 1950, the kid will never ever pay the US a dime in future. You have to ask yourself who has really lost out in the world of 2012? Answer: not the kid.

  8. @ John, yesterday, I explained to two journalists (including Enjoli Francis) the significance of Isaac Brock. The name itself, if anyone bothers to look it up, means that we are much more edgy. I like the work that ACA is doing. We however are aware that they been doing this work for going on four decades with little successes (yeah, except the ability to gain US citizenship from a grandparent). Those of us who have chosen to renounce do not see it as “extreme” as Phil Hodgen suggested, but as the natural conclusion of having gone native in our host countries and having the US now hound us for filings, taxes and penalties. So we want to leave, pure and simple, and we want the IRS to leave us alone.

    I told Enjoli that I wish I could have retained my birthright to take up residence in the United States, but with the money I save by renouncing, there will be few other countries in the world who won’t actually want me and my wife to buy a house and live there. So I’ve lost the US but gained the world. Saverin made the same choice. He now will be able to keep his fabulous wealth and live anywhere else in the world. See Phil Hodgen’s speculative explanation of the tax consequences of the timging of Saverin’s expatriation: http://hodgen.com/why-the-facebook-dude-expatriated/

  9. @geez

    All of your points are spot on. For me the main reason that I refuse to travel to the US is due to my last “enhanced putdown” experience by the US airport security staff. I haven’t been back since and I can’t say that I miss the crazy long flight either! Now I travel on the train or around Europe on budget airlines for a fraction of the cost, time and worry.

  10. @Petros – Please don’t get me wrong about the ACA, there’s a place for them and they should continue their good work as a conduit between ex-pats and Washington.

    However the ACA is a “loose coalition of ex-pats” who make an annual pilgrimage to Washington, meet a few politicians that find them interesting, hold their annual fundraiser in Switzerland complete with prizes, and an outlet for ex-pats who want to keep their finger in the US pie. The ACA is a sort of club. What they aren’t is a super PAC with the financial clout to incentivise policitians with $$$ into their way of thinking. Judging by the looks of their offices on Google Streetview in Geneva, it looks like don’t spend a lot on rent let alone give it away to politicians. When did the ACA last host a fund raiser for a US politican? That’s the kind of activity needed to repeal FATCA. I’m not trying to paint a negative picture of the ACA but be truthful and realistic about what the ACA is really up against in DC. The ACA knows deep down that wishful thinking and blogging is not going to repeal FATCA and so does Carl Levin The average representative in the House needs to raise $10,000 a week in order to have the required fire power to win every two years. Look at the Senate race in Massachusetts today, Brown vs Warren, it’s estimated they will spend $10M each which works out to $32,000 per week during a six year term To the politician the ACA offers no dinero so the consequence is a few brief conversations full of platitudes. It’s not the ACA’s fault they simply don’t have the tools for the job at hand.

    I’m sure the ACA are very nice people, but the it’s not the right type of organisation to repeal FATCA and protect ex-pat’s liberties from being eroded by the US government.

    I’m not convinced a fully funded PAC is even possible when if you can’t take the “heat in the kitchen” anymore then you can exercise your own escape clause and renounce. So how would such a PAC ever raise enough money to buy off politicans? Would’ve the Facebook guy cut a cheque for a cool $1M in PAC money to repeal FATCA probably not, he’s left the US club and doesn’t care what rules the US Congress lays down in future.

    This is why I think the fire break for ex-pats is hassle your local government (like the Canadians have) and at least limit the scope of FATCA to American-only passport holders who can’t swim through Carl Levin’s net.

    Interestingly enough US domestic banks are now kicking up a fuss about FATCA reporting, but I’m not hopeful they’ll gain much traction after all the bail outs.

  11. @John, the ACA is composed of some wonderful folks but the situation reminds me a bit of another expat group that I joined when I first moved to France in 1989. This group was for American women married to Europeans at a time when most women in that situation did not work. I remember that they held a lot of their events in the afternoons and I couldn’t attend because I had a job. They did change over time but I still have not re-upped my membership and most of the women I meet these days here aren’t members either. Times change. Organizations have to change too or become irrelevant.
    I’ve often wondered if it wouldn’t be better for ACA to pack up and move to Bruxelles – heart of the EU. In the migration equation there is the US but there is also our host countries. Any expat org needs to take both into account. Very recently here in France foreign students were being thrown out after they completed their studies here because of a new rule called the Circulaire Gueant. American kids were being tossed out on their ear and I thought it was fascinating that the not one US expat org (or the US gove) so much as said one word on their behalf. Other countries governments and expat orgs did. Very sad.

  12. This is all about money. Money buys everything.
    Phil Hodgen says on his blog that the people who have the power to change things care about one thing: to be reelected. If they can’t be bribed to support our cause, we’re out of luck. They don’t even hide that.

    Phil Hodgen says:

    May 10, 2012 at 8:09 am

    @Chris,

    The people with the power to change things care about one thing: getting re-elected. That means you must come in with more votes (or more money to buy votes) than the other side.

    This is not hidden. It is explicit in the conversations. One of the proposals from the State Bar of California quite clearly was something that is sane to everyone on the planet except the affected industry. We were asked — twice that I heard — who we could organize as a lobby to counteract the industry that would be put out of business by our proposal. Failing that, our efforts were pointless. Logic and sanity rarely prevail.

    If ACA, for instance, wants to push its views, they should pitch their recommendations in terms of jobs for Americans — jobs abroad. (This was a suggestion from someone at the Senate Finance Committee who knows and seems to be sympathetic to ACA’s agenda). That is something that helps on the “get votes” side of things for a random Senator or Representative.”

    I am loosing hope that anything will change… As Victoria said, American abroad are not seen very highly by homeland people, and immigrants “steal US jobs”. Lots of people would be happy to see us leave. I am a little gloom today. OK, maybe more than just a little.

  13. @Christophe…@John

    You are both right about the effect of money to influence politicians in Washington. I keep encouraging folks to listen to the Planet money podcast, called Take the Money and Run for Office.

    That is the reality we are up against with these guys who we want to influence. There might have been a day in American history where real advocacy had impact, but I thought political contributions for running for office drive the process now, and like John says, if you don’t have a Super Pac, you aren’t in the game. Unless we can hitch our wagon to someone who has a similar agenda funded by BIG Corporations, we are probably just spinning our wheels. That is my fatalistic view this morning… and Christophe I understand your gloom and often experience it myself! I just try not to let it stop me from trying. Maybe I need a cause, or maybe I am just drawing inspiration from the Roger Cronklin example and pressing on. I do recognize that the effort might come to naught.

    http://bit.ly/M77An2

  14. Courage, everyone! When I get too depressed I head out into the garden. My columbine, roses and a host of other stuff is blooming. They are not letting the bastards get them down and neither should we…

  15. @Victoria, I agree! I hope IBS stay active rather than gradually fading away if they conclude nothing can be done. It’s depressing how money-driven things have become in Washington. It’s a shame my paternal grandfather is no more, as he’d once been a Congressional lobbyist and might have been able to help!

    In London, back in the 80s, lots of people wrote to the Queen, complaining about their shoddy services provided by Brixton’s local government council. Her Majesty had the letters referred to the relevant authorities, plus she wrote a letter directly to Brixton’s local authority and reprimanded them.

    Heads began to roll, especially as the local councillors didn’t want to miss out on their future potential knighthoods, etc.. Needless to say, things vastly improved there. Wouldn’t happen in America. I have a lot of time for the Queen, especially as she’s above politics and genuinely wants to serve the best interests of her subjects. I appreciate that many may resent her inborne role but at least things aren’t so driven by money.

  16. @Victoria – I agree the ACA should consider going to Bruxelles to be in the “thick of it.” I think they’d have better luck lobbying the EU with the intent to put pressure on the US while working with Congress at the same time would be a more successful strategy. People forget the EU’s economy is the same size as the US – the EU is a big economic player.

    When dealing with Congress don’t tell them about your activities in Bruxelles. Odds are they probably wouldn’t even notice. Remember homelanders are soooo insular. I’m exaggerating but you get the point.

    The ACA’s track record couldn’t be any worse (I think Petros mentioned the ACA was successful changing some aspect of US citizenship law years ago). So one minor victory has been obtained. Again they probably nice folks but they need to adapt. The world was a different place 40 years ago.

    The lobbyists have less power in Bruxelles than in Washington.

    Why do they stay in Geneva? Or does it matter if they can’t get their hands on real money to effect change in the US? I suspect they’re in Geneva because one person started the organisation and there they stay.

    The ACA should change its charter to include working with EU governments as well or whoever it takes to effect change for American ex-pats. After all they’re not the US Embassy there to fly the flag. The ACA probably receives no money from the US government so why be so loyal and effectively put a ball and chain on your foot?

    In fact when the ACA springs into action it’s because they oppose some aspect of US law or a US government action.

    Without real money I’m afraid in the world of multi-million dollar campaigns, US politicians don’t have time to spend with the ACA unless it means a hefty cheque in the end. Remember that all Representatives and Senators are on the treadmill to raise $10,000+ every week or he risks not being re-elected and banished back into the real world. Everytime the ACA sits down with someone with that load on their shoulders they have to ask themselves how much money are these guys going to give me? Ex-pat issues are complex, don’t earn any votes, take a lot of time, and pay no money towards the next campaign. Ex-pat issues get ignored out of the US politician’s self-preservation instinct.

    If the ACA has had limited success with Washington in the 70s onward when the competition of big lobbyist money was far less, what chance do they have in 2012? The lobbyist money has ruined Washington and has drowned out the voices of groups like the ACA.

    Now what kind of reception would the ACA get if they went to Washington in the midst of the EU threatening to slap on a 30% reciprocity withholding tax on American banks and someone in Congress has suggested the ACA testify in front of a committee because the ACA is on the frontline and Congress wants their opinion?

    I wonder.

    If the ACA is so engaged with ex-pat issues why don’t they organise a friendly webinar so IBS bloggers can ask questions? I’m sure they’d be a few takers. I think that would be a great first step and perhaps get Phil Hodgen as well. He seems to be the type of chap who might do it.

  17. @ Christophe & Just me,

    I gave up hope a long time ago that anything would change for the better for ex-pats. So I expatriated.

    In fact, I expect things to get even worse.

    Sorry to be so doomy and gloomy, but that’s the way I see it.

  18. Christope, even the California Bar proposal is discrimination plain-and-simple. They specifically states that a US Person, residnent in Panama could not open an account in Uruguay. Umm.. why not? Last time I checked, Panama uses the US dollar, but there is no deposit insurance so if the banks fail, then the depositor loses money.

    Ok, where I live my Brazilian wife and friends can open an accounts anywhere they so please, like the Channel Islands or in Uruguay, even though we are all residents of Brazil.

    I don’t like being treated differently, especially for the worse, just because I was born in the US. I didn’t ask to be born there. I’m soooo ready to leave the “US club”.

  19. How about trying to get some prime time TV exposure? Maybe a group of people who went through OVDI hell could get featured on 20 20 or another popular national show. Just Me, would you be up for that?

  20. @Christophe.

    Well, thanks for the thought, but…..

    First of all, the reality TV world, or sensational programs like 20 / 20 aren’t interested in such subjects. They couldn’t sell enough commercials for the topic.

    Secondly, I am not a TV type. I don’t like the U.S. commercial media, (actually, I detest it) and would not be good in that medium.

    Thirdly, I am not looking for my 15 seconds of fame. I am happy to make comments in these forums, lobby where I can, attempt to get print journalism attention, and help out others who are struggling with the tough decisions. I have already let my name be public in a Reuters story, and that is about enough publicity for me. 🙂

  21. @All

    One possibility I have thought of is to start lobbying foreign corporations to pull out of doing business in the United States much like in the past other organizations have lobbied companies to stop doing business in China, Burma, South Africa etc. My sense is a lot of foreign companies despite all of the new regulations being imposed upon them extraterritorial including FATCA but several others(Volcker Rule, Dodd Frank, Foreign Alien Torts, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act) still hear this siren call of the great American consumer. Some companies have pulled out such as Sherritt International(that was more like kicked out do the Sherritt’s business interests in Cuba) but Sherritt’s CEO Ian Delaney is a highly respected figure in Canada.

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

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/rob-magazine/ian-delaney-on-stepping-down-coming-back-and-castro/article2315095/

    Quote:

    You’re still banned from entering the United States. Do you feel you’ve missed out on anything?
    No. Their loss.

  22. @Tim – Ahh… Cuba and the US. Every way which we are taught NOT to act by our parents. The US acts that way towards Cuba.

    @Arrow – do you write for the Globe and Mail? I think I saw something you wrote.

  23. I wonder why Saverin gave up his US citizenship. He is Brazilian, so he did not have to acquire Singapore citizenship in order to have a nationality before renouncing his US citizenship He must have had to pay a real pile of mony in the form of an exit tax. The US capital tax rate is 15% but for non-US foreign citizen residents it is 30%, so if and when he sells Facebook stock, being a US corporation, nhe will be taxed on the gain at 30% as a non-resident foreign citizen rather than the the 15% rate of a citizen or green card holder. That is based on current tax rates, which could well be changed radically depending on the November election.

  24. Geeez:

    I have written for the Globe and Mail — but not recently. I do post comments on their stories from time to time when my feathers get ruffled — and I use Arrow as my moniker.

  25. “People need to come in and get right with us before we find you,” Doug Shulman, the I.R.S. commissioner, said in January. “We are following more leads, and the risk for people who do not come in continues to increase.”

    Let me see if I understand Mr. Shulman. You all please correct me if I am wrong. I assume that he knows that Americans Abroad have an Earned Income Exclusion of around 90,000.00 dollars. So he must be talking of people who earn more than that and even if they do they will have a Tax Credit for the taxes they pay where they reside, I guess he also knows that if they have savings and investments, whatever they earn they will pay taxes to the country where they reside, And the IRS will give them Tax Credit for this. So, up to now no tax liability to the USA.

    But let’s then figure what Mr. Shulman is after, An American living in Colombia for the past ten years who just learned about the FBARs. He never heard about it before. In his country of residency there is not one IRS representative, No CPAs who work with Americans Abroad. He learned about this recently when visiting people in the USA.

    Well, Mr. Shulman knows that for the past eight years this person in Colombia would not really owe any USA taxes for the reasons above. But now comes the catch: he did not file the FBARs for eight years. Well, Mr. Shulman will receive a correction filing of eight years of FBARs but… it will be up to him to decide if he will accept or not the explanation for not filing. Let’s say that this American has a life savings of US$200.000.

    If Mr. Shulman does not feel that the explanation was reasonable he may charge criminal charges and of course will collect money: 10,000 a year for 8 FBARs will be US$80,000.00, plus 27.5% of the highest investment. That is US$55,000.00. Total: US$135,000.00 not of taxes owed but of stiff penalties for not filing the FBARs..

    Since the great majority of Americans Living Abroad ( and dual citizens and green carders) still don’t know about FBARs, Mr. Shulman then will make a lot of money. Can you imagin?. Anyone can understand that it is not in the best interest of Mr. Shulman to let Americans Abroad know about FBARs. This is why, of course, he has not made any effort in this direction.

    This is also why the IRS Tax Advisor is questioning him without receiving an answer.

    Please correct me.

  26. @Thatisme

    Mate, you have calculated the “in lieu of penalty” wrong. It is NOT 27.5% plus $10k per year for 8 years. It is ONLY 27.5% of highest aggregate only. I say “only” in a relative term. It is onerous enough, in and of itself. 🙂

  27. @Tim and Roger: indeed non-resident aliens don’t pay capital gains tax in the US (unless of course Congress decides to invent a new “Saverin rule”), but they do pay tax on US-source FDAP (“fixed, determinable, annual, or periodical”) income. Saverin won’t get the “qualified dividend” treatment any more on dividends from his US investments, and since he’s a non-resident alien living in a non-treaty country, his rate goes back to the standard 30% that Roger was thinking of. I guess he is not expecting Facebook dividends any time soon 🙂

    Of course, he now no longer has to pay US taxes or file ridiculous Form 5471s on his non-US investments.

  28. Eric, You are correct. And as a non-US citizen resident abroad if he places his US holdings in a Qualified trust in the Cayman Islands, he will likely escape all US taxes on his earnings and capital gains as well.

    The only area where he may remained exposed to US taxation is via the US estate tax on US assets when he dies. But with his income I am sure he will be able to find tax consul that will prevent that from happening as well.

  29. @Just me

    I would think that they did a cost-benefit analysis on DATCA.

    But then again maybe they didn’t or perhaps they underestimated the push-back from States like Florida, whose Miami banks are full of Latin American cash.

    I suspect they may try to implement DATCA selectively. That is, wherever it suits the US.

    In any case, DATCA is going to be interesting and could very well become a game changer.

  30. @Fromthewilderness, I think you’re right about DATCA being a game changer but not only because of the banks. I ran the idea past some of my friends and family in the US about it and they were appalled at the idea that banks would be asking them about their other citizenships. “Not the banks business,” was the nicest thing I heard. 🙂

  31. @FromTheWilderness.

    I don’t think they did a cost benefit analysis on DATCA the same way that no cost benefit analysis was done of FATCA. Both are just imposed, end of story. Had there been one, Geithner would have offered it up in response to Boustany request back in September instead of just ignoring it. The benefit is simply that they have a reciprocity tool to force recalcitrant FFIs and governments to give the IRS what it wants. That is benefit enough, from their standpoint.

  32. @Just me

    You’re probably right. It won’t be the first time for major policy decisions or laws being passed without thinking through the consequences.

    @Victoria

    Its always interesting when the shoe gets put on the other foot.

  33. I am pretty convinced that there has been no analysis of any substance on the consequences of FATCA and it’s associated regulations. I wonder where the original $8.7Bn figure came from in the first place – how much of it was going to come from unpaid tax and how much from non-reporting penalties regardless of tax liability. In the latter case there is no justification whatsoever to count it as lost tax revenue in the first place.

  34. They gave FATCA, DATCA and GATCA even less analysis than they did Weapons of Mass Destruction before they launched Shock and Awe on Iraq. We know how that turned out.

  35. @P33t

    I have not been seen any analysis of where that $8.7 billion has come from. It is not even a “meaningful arbitrary number”. It is strictly in the area of a WAG, and that is good enough for Congress.

    @Blaze… There was a book about that. “Fiasco” was the title, and Fiasco it was and so it will be for FATCA. (good read btw)

  36. @Just Me, Wilderness: Unfortunately, I fear Wednesday’s hearing is going to be much like Colin Powell testifying at UN about “facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence” about WMD. Much too late, Powell admitted he was “misled.”

    As historians tell us, “If we don’t learn from history, we are bound to repeat it.” Unfortunately, Americans never seem to learn from their own history. So, now we and our non-existent millions are under attack.

  37. I read the notes from one of the previous FinCen hearings, where they listed the responses as primarily positive. (You might remember where it is (I’ve googled hundreds of pages)). They stated they had some negative responses from overseas, but those responses were dismissed as irrelevant because they were from people who “had chosen to leave the country”.

  38. @ mark –yeah, and they wonder why we claim that we don’t have representation in Congress. All the laws are passed to penalize us and they let us vote. Big deal. We are not voting for our representative but theirs.

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