Update - The meeting will be broadcast live from the Alterio Spinelli Building ASP 5G3 starting at 15:30 (3:30 PM) Brussels time. Here is the direct link to the webstream:
Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs Live Broadcast, 15:30 / 19:00 - 28-05-2013
Rumors have been floating around about an EU hearing on FATCA. Well, folks, mark your calendars and check the train schedules because it's happening.
The hearing is called The fight against tax evasion - FATCA as a step towards international automatic exchange of information? It will be held on May 28 in Bruxelles from 15:30 to 17:00.
Given my experience with the OECD, I wanted to be very sure this time around that "public" meant real people could attend. So I sent an email to MEP Sophie in't Veld (many thanks to Mark who passed along her email address). This was her answer:
Dear Mrs Ferauge,
Thank you for your message. The meetings are public, so you can attend freely. The meeting will also be webstreamed via http://www.europarl.europa.eu/ep-live/en/committees/
With kind regards,
Sophie in 't Veld, MEP
What an incredible not-to-be-wasted opportunity. Tim pointed out that for those of us who are EU residents this is THE time to speak up or forever hold your peace. As usual, he's right.
So let's get moving and make ourselves heard.
FYI, Below is a video of Ms. In't Veld speaking yesterday on this issue.
A couple of things to remember:
1. Ms In't Veld is not actually running the public hearing although she was the one who got it on the agenda and I expect her to be there and be quite vocal.
2. The person who is actually running the public hearing is a different MEP from Slovenia(Mojca Kleva Kevas) is much more pro FATCA than Ms In't Veld.
3. I do think it is important that at least one of ACA, AARO, FAWCO et all formally request to the committee secretariat, the Slovenian MEP(Mojca Kleva Kevas) who is "rapporteur" on the subject of tax evasion, and the committee chairwoman MEP Sharon Bowles. I would point out quite clearly that the list of speakers was only released yesterday. Even if denied you have it on the record that you did request and were denied.
4. Ms In't Veld is either the Vice Chair or Chair of the Justice and Civil Affairs committee. This is a very a powerful position in many areas of policy i.e. immigration, policing etc. This hearing is being held by the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee though which has "primary" authority over tax law issues. Ms In't Veld is a member of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee but is not chair or on paper is playing a major role in the subject of tax.
5. The Justice and Civil Affairs Committee does play a "secondary" role on the subject of tax. Any changes to the EU STD or any EU Swiss STD agreement would technically need to be approved Justice and Civil Affairs Committee "secondarily". Anything we can come up to justify shifting the issue out of Economic and Monetary Affairs to Justice and Civil Affairs is quite beneficial.
Here is the link below to the current public speaker list all which I believe to be pro FATCA. That is my greatest concern. There might not be anything that can be done about it but I think it is important for AARO, FAWCO, ACA etc to have it on the record that the requested to send a speaker to Bruxelles and were denied for whatever reason. Have it in writing.
My first point of contact would be the woman in the secretariat listed on the bottom of the above link. I would then escalate to Mojca Kleva Kevas and Sharon Bowles(Committee Chair) offices before contacting Ms. In't Veld. I believe Kleva Kevas is pro FATCA mainly due to lack of information. I don't think she would turn down opposing viewpoints simply to stifle debate.
Here is a video of Ms. In't Veld speaking yesterday.
Good Lord ! Finally ! But such short notice. I'll be at work so even joining on the web may be a problem. Victoria, I'm thinnking of cancellina a class and coming with you. It would be a long day. Please email me ASAP about how you're thinking of doing this.
I deeply regret that I cannot come with you, but will try to follow this on the web. I hope you can get a few people to accompany you. Have a good day.
Has anyone sent a list of bullet points to the committee and/or Ms In't Veld? e.g. discrimination against EU citizens that the US may consider as "US Persons", lack of reciprocity on the part of the USA, excessive compliance costs that will be born by EU taxpayers and not the USA, the sovereignty issues of the USA enforcement of USA policies outside of the USA on persons who are citizens of the EU, the eventual collection of taxes by the USA outside of its borders on individuals who are fully compliant in the EU, the data privacy issues of EU citizens as well as unsuspecting spouses, employers? Etcetera, etcetera.
Victoria, thank you for doing this. Hope you saw Swedish Citizen's comment at Brock (an e-mail to Ms. I'nt Veld). It's loaded with ammunition for her. There is no reciprocity with FATCA, only unmitigated hypocrisy.
Again, I caution against insistance on the reciprocity thing, as it's a double-edged sword. If it really goes through, US persons living aborad won't even be able to have bank accounts (with peace of mind) in the US, for whatever valid purpose. It's already happening, as you can see on the ACA and AROW sites. If the US arrogantly drags its feet on reciprocity, so much the better for our cause. That's what will make FATCA crumble under its own weight - the reluctance of US banks to engage in the cost and time of weeding out and/or processing bank accounts for foreign residents - and much-needed investors. And if reciprocity doesn't go through fast enough, the FATCA partner countries will drag their feet on reporting on US citizens. See my point ?
The fight against tax evasion-FATCA as a step towards international automatic exchange of information?
The title is a crock of you know what.
Really? Fighting tax evasion - unilaterally imposed by the US with questionable tactics, fake reciprocity, and no real mandate from Congress for entering into Intergovernmental agreements - and the authors represent one of the biggest tax havens in the world - the US?
This is a piece of US propaganda that is so disingenuous that it stinks of lies and deliberate obfuscation - paid for by US taxpayer dollars - including ours if we've been double taxed, and delivered by top US counsel.
If the US hasn't given us more than ample reasons to renounce before now, this unethical manipulative IRS and Treasury show touring on the world stage would.
Just hold up signs saying 'Delaware USA - homestate of Vice President Biden - and domestic tax haven for most of the Fortune 500.
There is a “homelander” American trying to pick a fight with MEP In’t Veld on Twitter.
Nothing better than seeing a homelander American get mad and angry at a non US politicians criticizing FATCA.
Thank you for all the comments, links and good wishes. We've managed to get a small group together to attend. People are also sending in emails to the committee members ahead of time that point out the various unintended consequences of FATCA for EU citizens.
Should be a very interesting trip.
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