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Sunday, July 28, 2013

FATCA: Not so simple after all

Last week Lynne Swanson and I submitted an article about FATCA to The Hill, a Washington, D.C. publication written for and about the U.S. Congress.

Our article was accepted and was published today:

FATCA: 'Simple premise' gone terribly wrong

There is already one comment up and hopefully there will be many more.

It's very gratifying to see the article on-line.  I am a neophyte when it comes to writing for publication in anything other than my blog.  Happily, Lynne more than made up for my lack of experience.  My sincere thanks to her because she is a damn fine writer and a real pleasure to work with and learn from.

Bon dimanche, everyone!


Janet said...

Thank you for not giving up.

Christophe said...

Great article. Thanks

P. Moore said...

Looks like the comments are coming pretty quickly. They also seem to be substantially in full agreement with the article. Of course, why not? It makes a good argument. I am always happy to see these truths in the media.

Congratulations on the publication and I hope you get more opportunities beyond your blog.

Blaze said...

Likewise, it was fun and an honour to collaborate with Victoria. Her earlier blog on FATCA: A Project Audit was an inspiration.

Plus, I think we both had an OMG moment when we listened (long-distance between Canada and France) to Obama's 2009 press conference, which was posted in October, 2011 on renouncecitizenship's blog.

We're still working on getting others published. In fact, I learned this afternoon (Sunday!) that an article I had submitted to a Canadian publication will be published--likely this week.

As I was logging off my computer a while ago, but an now back on), something amazing happened. I posted it at Sandbox and Brock, but I will post it again here in case others haven't seen it:

As I just moved away from my computer and looked out the window, I saw one of the most magical sights I have ever seen.

Rain had just stopped. Sky was a bit grey but the trees in the park across the street were shimmering in the sun peeking through and the river was glistening..

Even more magnificent was a vivid double rainbow arching over the park and river. Not one rainbow–two! Perhaps representing Maple Sandbox and Brock working together to make a difference in the dark clouds? Signs of a turning point?

Somewhere Over The Rainbow….

Lynne Swanson (aka Blaze)

WhiteKat said...


In case you didn't see my comments on Maple Sandbox and Issac Brock, thank you so much for working with Lynne to create such a well-crafted article!

Blaze said...

On the topic of rainbows, Pacifica posted at Maple Sandbox that she just saw a double rainbow in Ottawa--near the Ministry of Finance offices. A good sign for us--or for them?

Pacifica also said: "Your article is even more powerful than I thought it was."

Bubblebustin'also posted at Brock that she awoke to a permanent--but very different kind of rainbow in Vancouver.

How cool is that? How cool is Canada?!?

Blaze said...

Victoria: WhiteKat also left this comment at Maple Sandbox:

I love your double rainbow sign! Perhaps it represents the synergistic energy of two good people (you and Victoria) coming together to use their god given writing talents for the betterment of ‘US persons’ throughout the world. I believe your efforts, along with that of many other wise ANTI-fatcanatics, will help to finally put an end to the deadly FATCA storm.

As an aside, a storm is brewing in Ottawa now, as I strain to see the keyboard without lights and listen to the thunder in the background.

That was this morning. Pacifica saw her double rainbow later today--in Ottawa!

kirkmc said...

Great article. Can you now write one with everything one needs to know about renunciation? I'm getting very close to making that decision.

Janet said...

After reading the comments to the article you and Lynne submitted to "The Hill" I added a new "benefit" to my American citizenship "Cost/Benefit" list.
As long as I am an American citizen, I have the right to endeavor to have FATCA repealed and the unjust CBT system which is destroying the lives of Americans residing abroad replaced with an RBT system.
Or has an amendment been added to some bill in the past few days limiting constitutional rights to homelanders?

Anonymous said...

Supercool. Last I was in, it still was being shown as the most read blog. Keep opening it if you can!

Christophe said...

Le modèle d’accord intergouvernemental français enfin prêt pour signature:

Interesting details about the French IGA.

"Selon nos informations, trois objectifs principaux présidaient les négociations : (i) une volonté de réciprocité plus importante (ii) la mise en place d’un texte qui garantisse la sécurité juridique des établissements financiers (iii) la protection des données personnelles."

The answers are pathetic and would be laughable if the situation wasn't so serious:

"Il semble que ces objectifs aient pu être respectées, car (i) la réciprocité devrait aller au-delà du simple échange de données initialement prévu (ii), la signature de l’accord IGA devrait entrainer la couverture des institutions financières pour l’enregistrement auprès de l’IRS sans attendre la ratification par le parlement (iii) les données transiteront par les autorités fiscales françaises."

(i) Reciprocity should go beyond the simple exchange initially forecast. I wonder what type of assurances they got. Maybe that they'll get some info through John Doe summons.

(iii) Basically, data is secure just because it goes through the French FISC.

My letter to the finance minister had no effect whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

@Christophe; the US IRS itself has been unable to prevent the tax and other personal data of tens of thousands of filers in the US from identity and fraudulent usage.

See: article 'Identity theft protection process at IRS needs improvements, TIGTA says' "...Identity theft was the number one type of consumer complaint in 2011, according to the Federal Trade Commission, and some practitioners have asked if tax-related identity theft has become an epidemic...."

The FBARs they won't tell us about - but they are not protected from widespread data sharing like tax returns are. Once the data goes from France or other countries to the US, there is no control or protection at all. Homeland Security and Patriot Act also says they don't have to tell the data owner when, where and why it has been shared, or how used . Our home governments cannot change that. They are just pretending that the IGA provides data security and protection - which is not so. It is also a convenient and disingenuous fiction that FATCA is meant primarily as a method to ensure that proper US tax has been paid on accounts and assets. Not so, as the *letter below from Senator Levin to the IRS and Treasury, of January 11, 2012 clearly demonstrates in his own words.


See: '...
*(7') Treating FATCA Disclosures As Non-Tax Return Information
Finally, one additional issue is critical to successful implementation of FATCA's
disclosure obligations: treating FATCA offshore account information as non-tax return
information to ensure its accessibility to law enforcement and national security communities
combating crimes other than tax evasion.
Although FATCA is structured to address offshore tax abuse, offshore account
information has significance far beyond the tax context, affecting cases involving money
laundering, drug trafficking, terrorist financing, acts of corruption. financial fraud. and many other legal violations and crimes. Given the importance ofoffshore account disclosures, FATCA guidance and implementing rule should create account FATCA forms that are not designated as
tax return infomiation but, like FBARs, may be provided to law enforcement, regulatory, and
national security communities upon request. FFls are not, after all, US. taxpayers, and will not
be supplying tax information on behalfof their U.S. clients; they will instead be providing
infonnation about accounts opened by US. persons. The US. Supreme Court has long held that
bank account information is not inherently confidential but is subject to inspection by law
enforcement and others in appropriate circumstances. Foreign account information is too
important to a wide range ofcivil and criminal law enforcement and national security efforts to
be designated as tax return information bound by Section 6103's severe restrictions on access.
FFI forms, like FBARs, provide account information rather than tax return information, and
should he made available to the larger law enforcement and national security communities.
Similarly, FATCA Agreements, auditor verification forms. copies of actual account documentation.
and similar materials should be treated as non-tax return information available to the larger law
enforcement, regulatory. and national security communities...."
Source: page 13, Jan 11, 2012 Letter from Senator Levin
'RE: Notice 2011-34: Implementing the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act'
To Commissioner Shulman IRS, and Ms. McMahon, Acting Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy
Department of the Treasury

Victoria FERAUGE said...

Canada IS pretty darn cool. I'll be going up on August 4th to Vancouver. Really looking forward to it. The best part is I get to take the TRAIN back to Seattle.

@Kirk, for renunciation/relinquishment info you can't do better than Isaac Brock. There used to be a really good site called Renunciation Guide which was here
but seems to have disappeared. Anyone know where it went?

@Christophe THANK YOU for the info about the French IGA. I'm going to look into it and see what I can find. If anyone has more links, that would be fabulous.