"The other day I was speaking of the soldiers in the fight against FATCA and citizenship-based taxation. Meet Daniel Kuettel and Donna-Lane Nelson who testified two days ago at a Sub-Committee on Government Operations hearing, Reviewing the Unintended Consequences of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). They were part of a larger delegation who went to Washington, D.C. to fight on behalf of Americans abroad.
Yes, folks, we finally got a hearing and and were well represented by Daniel, Donna, and Mark Crawford. Daniel and Donna both renounced their US citizenship because of FATCA and their compelling testimony gave voice to the millions impacted by this law. Finally, US lawmakers saw the human face of those "unintended consequeneces."
I have to agree with Rick, Donna-Lane's spouse, that there was a lot of dodging and ducking on the part of FATCA's supporters at the hearing. I would summarize their defense as "It's not that bad" and "How else are we going to catch them?" Ahem. Yes, ladies and gentlement, it is and government has other tools at their disposal to catch them that do not trample on Americans' consitutional protections. What ever happened to "innocent until proven guilty?" Probable cause? Getting a warrant before storming into someone's house or looking at their bank account activity?
There was also very credible evidence presented at the hearing that showed that the US government's efforts to find them aren't even getting a reasonable return since the costs are so high. And out of what has been disclosed, the majority (80%) of the money is penalties, fees and interest, not taxes.
In response to those who say that we need more of FATCA/CRS and damn the consequences, Edmund Burke said it far better than I ever could:
"It is the nature of tyranny and rapacity never to learn moderation from the ill-success of first oppressions; on the contrary, all oppressors, all men thinking highly of the methods dictated by their nature, attribute the frustration of their desire to the want of sufficient rigor. Then they redouble the efforts of their impotent cruelty, which producing, as they ever must produce, new disappointments, they grow irrational against the objects of their rapacity; and then rage, fury, malice, implacable because unprovoked, recruiting and reinforcing their avarice, their vices are not longer human."
I urge you to watch the video. I have included it in this post but for a much better and more comprehensive review of the hearing, please head over to the Isaac Brock Society (God bless the Brockers!) where Eric has put together a post with the video, summaries of the different speakers and lots o' links. This is also THE place to join the international conversation about FATCA and citizenship-based taxation. As I write this there are already 35 responses to Eric's post.
Donna-Lane, Daniel and Mark: You put youself on the frontlines of the American Diaspora Tax War and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your service.