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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

FATCA/CBT: Acting In Your Own Defense

I put a dollar in a change machine. Nothing changed.

George Carlin

Maybe it's my hippy childhood but I'm a great believer in acting directly in one's own defense.  Delegating upward to organizations is fine unless it means total abdication and sitting on one's shaking hands hoping that someone who is not you will save the day. 

Two opportunities for direct action dropped into my hands yesterday.  Just like that.  Here they are. 

1. Let the US Gov know what you think about the renunciation fee raise:  Do we not all agree that this is horse manure?  422%?  You have got to be kidding me. That's outrageous. Are Americans abroad captive citizens who have to be actively discouraged from turning in their US passports?  And who is going to have trouble paying the 2,350 USD fee?  Well, it sure as hell isn't the 1% (or the 10% for that matter).  

The fee raise is already in effect but the US government will take comments until October 21.  You have three ways to submit yours :

Leave a note here;  
Send them an email: with the RIN (1400-AD47) in the subject line of the message; 
Send them snail mail: U.S. Department of State, Office of the Comptroller, Bureau of Consular Affairs (CA/C), SA-17 8th Floor, Washington, DC 20522-1707

2.  Send them some FATCA facts and hit them hard:  Democrats Abroad just released the results of a survey they conducted on the impact of FATCA on Americans abroad.  Three documents that you can find here:

FATCA: Affecting Everyday Americans Every Day

Send them to whom?  To everyone you can think of.  A few ideas:  elected lawmakers back in the US, local lawmakers in our host countries, journalists, bloggers, hometown newspapers.  Hell, take your email contact list and send it to your friends and family.  This is a serious bit of research (Dr. Amanda Klekowski von Koppenfels of the Brussels School of International Studies was part of the task force that gathered the data) and it's one of the best responses I've seen so far to the folks in Washington (not to mention the American homeland public) who think that the FATCA collateral damage is just a few rich tax evaders in disguise telling stories and this will all go away by itself if they just ignore the "myths" long enough.

There you have it.  Two things you (and I) can do today.  

And to be crystal clear, I will be doing it for me. Because I don't know how any of this will shake out but I feel better doing something in my own defense   It's not quite anarchist calisthenics, but it is a small step away from behaving like a subservient second-class citizen.


Anonymous said...

I don't know what we'd do without you, Victoria. Just when I thought there was nothing more that could hit us... I read this. If FATCA and the whole mess it's made is Constitutional, then the US Constitution is a piece of fiction. This is discriminatory and violates the Right to Privacy as guaranteed in the 4th (if I'm not mistaken) Amendment. "Privacy" means the right to choose for yourself - where you live and what you do with your life as long as you do not hurt anyone else. That's it. It's in the Constitution, Folks!

SAD said...

With Fatca we are back in Maoist's era. We spy on each other and hope to get some rewards from Big Brother.

Anonymous said...


Huge thanks. This is the numbers breakdown I have been looking for.

Multiply comment #1 by ten. What would we do without you?

Victoria FERAUGE said...

I went and checked the site and there are more comments. This is good (though it's anyone's guess as to whether or not this post helped or not).

But I thought it was worth a shot and if you're reading this and have commented or sent the Dems abroad reports to your reps, you have my gratitude. Merci, mes amis.

bubblebustin said...

Thanks for this. We're at 27 today. I thought I'd do a little research into how many comments these regulation changes typically garner. A quick look at various dockets relating to "consular fees" shows that the comments range from 0 to rarely more than 10, EXCEPT when the broad sweeping consular fee hikes took place in 2010,

that garnered 1567 comments, and at glance are mostly complaints about the passport fee increase from $55 to $70.!docketBrowser;rpp=25;po=0;dct=PS;D=DOS-2010-0035

Obvious conclusion? Had there not been a passport fee increase in 2010, there would be significantly fewer comments than there were.

Maybe 27 and growing is pretty good. Looking forward to reviewing them when they're out. A hunch is that many of them will be from immigration lawyers po'd about their clients getting thrown such a rotten curve ball.

bubblebustin said...

You also have to wonder how likely those who've made up their minds to make a final departure from the US would be to to lodge a grievance with the US government. All I think it would do is just confirm to them why they've had it.

Anonymous said...

I am surprised that there are only 27 comments. That seems really low, compared to how much the information has been broadcast here, at IBS and maple sandbox, and by many media sources.
It's disappointing that not more people flood them with comments.
I guess the only hope on this one is a slap on the hand from the UN.
I wonder when we're going to hear back from them regarding the complaint filed.

Victoria FERAUGE said...

@bubblebustin, Up to 29 as of this morning.

I wonder if people know that they can be anonymous if they wish? I put my name but then I figured I've already spent over 3 years talking/writer/kvetching about this and my time for anonymity has come and gone.

A friend sent me this the other day - the UMP Quebec twitter feed is linking to the Flophouse:

@anonymous, I'm with you and I would like to see more comments. One way you could help is to spread the word and the link and ask people to please comment. As I said above, people don't have to give their names.

@anonymous, Tell me more about crowdsourcing. How could we use it?

bubblebustin said...

@Victoria, anon

There was never a main post done on this at the Isaac Brock Society. Victoria, would you consider using your authorship there to create a new post linking to your post here?

My guess that the 2010 passport fee increase got such a huge number of comments was because it affected homelanders too.

Anonymous said...

Note sent Victoria!

I am a US ex-pat who has lived in Canada for the last 21 years. I have held Canadian citizenship for the past 13 years. I recently tried to document relinquishment of my US citizenship as of the date I became Canadian but was refused by a consular officer. I was told ai could only renounce my USC.

Due to arcane US tax policies, I can not afford to keep my US citizenship. Now, with a five-fold increase in the fee to renounce my US citizenship, I also can't afford to abandon it.

If I wanted to renounce my Canadian citizenship (I don't), the process would be simple and straightforward-- it could be completed by mail and the fee would only set me back $100.

The previous $450 fee to renounce US citizenship was already too high. This recent five-fold increase in the fee is shameful, out of touch with financial reality, and abusive to those who need to document their ex-patriation from the US.

B.C. Doc

Anonymous said...

Hi Victoria,
You are our heroine !
I think the best way to use crowd sourcing is to fund projects: movies,debate,talks that target the typical American who are totally clueless about how bad Fatca is for America. Fatca has turn America into a surveillance state. The fund can also use to pay lawyers like Jim Bopp who are willing to fight Fatca. With more American aware of this bad law, the next President will kill Fatca. Fatca succeed because most people with little violations are scared to raise their voices.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Victoria!
I sent messages to the candidates for Senate and Congress listed on my ballot (found their sites via Google) and suggest everyone do the same.

Anonymous said...

The Democrats are playing a very dirty game. They are fully aware that CBT is ridiculously unfair. The increase in the number of renunciations and amount of bad press the issue is getting is forcing them to publicly acknowledge the problem, hence the no-shit-Sherlock “research” results.

However, the Democrats will be careful to move ever so slowly towards solving the problem so not to rock the boat before they have a chance to grab a windfall of cash through at least one grand FBAR fundraising jubilee.