Yesterday I posted this piece, CBT versus RBT – a Counter Offer, up on the Isaac Brock Society website.
The post is about an article written by Professor Richard Harvey of the Villanova School of Law and Graduate Tax Program called World Wide Taxation of U.S. Citizens Living Abroad – Impact of FATCA and Two Proposals.
I appreciated this article on several levels. Harvey acknowledges problems with FATCA and citizenship-based taxation and then he goes on to explore possible solutions. He has an interesting analysis of ACA's Residence-based Taxation proposal as well.
His article has generated quite a lively conversation over at Isaac Brock and if you are interested in joining in, please do. There is already quite a broad spectrum of opinions from a community that is very knowledgeable on this topic.
You (and I) may not like everything he proposes but it's commendable that he takes the problems seriously and is actively thinking about mitigation. I sent him a note to that effect and invited him to have a look at the comments on Brock. He answered with a very nice note of his own and said that he did go over and have a look at what people were saying.
Before you head for Brock to read (and I hope, participate) I'd ask that you try to be French for a few minutes. What do I mean by that? As you read, think about the context. Who is Professor Harvey and what does he have to do with FATCA/CBT? Why did he write it? What audience might read his paper and what might their starting positions be? And is there some reason that the article appears now and not at some other time?
Above all I invite you to look at it as the start of a conversation, not the last word.
From Raymonde Carroll's Evidences Invisibles:
Si l'on imagine la conversation comme une toile de l'arraignée, on peut voir la parole y jouer le role de l'araignée, générer ces fils qui relient les participants. Idéale, la conversation (francaise) ressemblerait à une parfaite toile d'arraignée, delicate, fragile, élégante, brillante, aux proportions harmonieuses, une oeuvre d'art.
(If one imagines conversation as a spider's web, we can see that speech plays the role of the spider, generating links which connect the participants. Ideally, conversation (French-style) resembles a perfect web: delicate, fragile, elegant, brilliant, with harmonious dimensions, a work of art.)
La caractere de telle ou telle conversation et sa forme refléteront ainsi, avec beaucoup d'exactitude pour qui prend la peine de lire les signes, la nature des rapports entre les conversants. On fabrique un tissu de relations de même et en même temps qu'on "fait" la conversation.
(The character of this or that conversation and its form reflect as well, with great precision for those who go to the trouble of reading the signs, the relationships between the speakers. And we create that web of relationships every time we "make" conversation.)
FYI, Raymonde Carroll's book was published simultaneously in English
Victoria, you have more faith than I do in Harvey's willingness to listen.
Despite that, I will send him our Simple Premise article and my Ted Cruz article.
I will also ask him why he is silent on those of us who relinquished decades ago and who his beloved FATCA wants to reclaim.
I read through Harvey's paper. Thinking of Victoria's point of considering who he is, etc., it does seem somewhat reasonable from that perspective. However, I am troubled that it seems his view of practicalities seem to have a limiting effect on vigorously recommending what would be the right thing to do. Blaze's example of long time relinquishers is an example, but more to the point...what ever happened to the US condemnation of Eritrea for CBT and the hypocrisy surrounding that? Why continue to push CBT? Just one example.
I went ahead and followed the links to the Isaac Brock post and then to the bepress Law Services. I created an account and then got this error message: "This article isn't posted yet or has been withdrawn and you are not an author, current reviewer, or editor."
Have you touched a nerve?
@Arun, thanks and I will add the link to the post.
@Blaze, Honestly, I didn't have the impression that he was out to get anyone. He is clearly following what is going on and is now convinced that there are problems. For that, I am willing to cut him a lot of slack.
@Pat, Ah but we are in the realm of politics and "the right thing" is often the very last thing anyone thinks of. :-)
@Ellen, You've got to be kidding? Nope, I just checked and you're right. How interesting....
After reading the paper, I could not shake the impression that it is post-hoc rationalization and 'ass covering'.
FATCA's core problem is that it interacts spectacularly poorly with other laws, especially CBT. My strong feeling is that Mr Harvey either failed to consider this, or considered it but concluded (erroneously) that it would not cause collateral damage. Both are dangers of writing practical law from a protected academic environment. Congress might have forseen the problems, but with dollar signs dancing in their eyes -- 8bn over ten years, albeit paid for with 100bn of foreign banks' money but so what, they are foreign so who cares? -- they simply went along in the venal way of all politicians. What we see in this paper, then, is an attempt to fix the unfixable.
FYI, the article is also on SSRN:
Interestingly, this paper was available for download a few days ago, but now is only showing the abstract and no download. Hmmm. Not much of a 'conversation' here at the moment, then.
Likewise, I can no longer access the paper. I wish I had downloaded and saved it.
I sent him an e-mail with the Simple Premise and Ted Cruz article. No reply.
He talks about people hitting a grand slam home run with RBT and maintaining US citizenship.
I pointed out to him US called me (and many others) out of bounds decades ago. Now they want to arbitrarily change the rules of the game.
No thanks. I've been on a winning team in an amazing ballpark in a spectacular league for 40 years.
I had no say in his league's new rules and I refuse to play by them. If that means I play hockey instead of baseball, that's fine with me (even though I hate hockey!)
Good news - the paper can be accessed through ACA here: http://americansabroad.org/issues/fatca/impact-fatca-americans-abroad/
@anonymous, I would respectfully disagree. A conversation takes time. Let's be Japanese here - pauses between statements. We could use the time to really think about what we want. It would be something, for example, if IBS could come out with a statement of their own ideas. Something I will do for the Flophouse.
@Blaze, I think what he's looking for is not a statement of the problems but possible solutions. What could be changed? What do we want?
@Victoria: "I would respectfully disagree. A conversation takes time."
Thank you for replying, and I take your point. I guess I'm personally sick and tired of being stalked by the US tax authorities and of being ignored by everyone in a position to make a difference. My patience ran out some years ago. Now I'm not interested in messy compromises, have no time for Dick Harvey and his jihad, and want nothing less than to see FATCA and CBT die in a fire. I can't envisage that ever happening, hence my lack of enthusiasm for dialog. Nevertheless I wish you luck and success. Perhaps you can find the listening ear that I have not.
@anonymous, Remember that I'm an old lady trying to get into heaven now....
No, I know what you mean. I lose my temper often. Happily the only witnesses are my cats and my creator.
And when I'm calm I go back and try, try, try again.
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