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Part 6 of series: Why this Toronto based International Tax specialist always asks whether there are any U.S. taxpayers in the family

Before moving to the post, if you believe that Americans abroad are being treated unjustly by the United States Government: Join me on May 17, 2019 for a discussion of U.S. “citizenship-based taxation” as follows:

You are invited to submit your questions in advance. In fact, PLEASE submit questions. This is an opportunity to engage with Homelanders in general and the U.S. tax compliance community in particular.

Thanks to Professor Zelinsky for his willingness to engage in this discussion. Thanks to Kat Jennings of Tax Connections for hosting this discussion. Thanks to Professor William Byrnes for his willingness to moderate this discussion.

Tax Connections has published a large number of posts that I have written over the years (yes, hard to believe it has been years). As you may know I oppose FATCA, U.S. citizenship-based taxation and the use of FATCA to impose U.S. taxation on tax residents of other countries.
Tax Connections has also published a number of posts written by Professor Zelinsky (who apparently takes a contrary view).
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This is the sixth of a series of posts that reflect views and experiences of Americans abroad who are experiencing the reality of living as an American abroad in an FBAR and FATCA world. (The first post is here.) The second post is here. The third post is here. The fourth post is here. The fifth post is here. I think it’s important to hear from people who are actually impacted by this and who have the courage to speak out. The “reality on the ground” is quite different from the theory.
I hope that this series of posts will give you ideas for questions and concerns that you would like to have addressed in the May 17, 2019 Tax Connections – Citizenship Taxation discussion.
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The last post in this series made the point that U.S. “citizenship-based taxation” impacts people who are dual citizens and tax residents of other countries. Many of of these people do NOT view themselves as U.S. citizens at all. The suggestion that they are U.S. citizens is not welcome and is (because U.S. citizens are subject to a vast regulatory scheme) an intrusion in their lives. Fair enough.

Most of the posts in this series describe the effect of U.S. regulation on those who ARE U.S. citizens. What about the effect of “citizenship-based taxation” on those who are NOT U.S. citizens? The marriage of Meghan Markle to Prince Harry has generated an awareness of the regulatory requirements on U.S. citizens who live outside the United States. This is only part of the problem. To focus on how U.S. citizenship-based taxation affects ONLY U.S. citizens is selfish and misguided. After all, by marrying Prince Harry, Meghan Markle is now part of a family which includes non-resident aliens. As I recently suggested on Twitter:

My thinking along these lines began with:

What about Internal Revenue Code Section 318? This would deem “Baby Sussex” to be (for IRS purposes) the owner of any the shares of any U.K. corporations that Harry might own. This is only one of many instances where (to put it simply) the U.S. citizenship of one family member can become a problem for the whole family. In any event, this series really needs a post, describing what could happen, when a U.S. citizen becomes part of what is otherwise, a family of “non-resident aliens”.

In order to assist with this, I realized that I needed the input of a “U.S. Tax Anthropologist”. I turned to Peter Megoudis who is the director of the expat tax division at Trowbridge. Peter astutely recognised that the United States invented the concept of the “expat”. See the following video clip.

I asked Peter if he would share the results of his research on how one U.S. citizen family member could impact the whole family. In other words: How do the rules of U.S. “citizenship-based taxation” affect people who are not U.S. citizens, but have chosen to interact with U.S. citizens?

Peter replied to me with the following …

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Part 5 of series: What does U.S. "citizenship-based taxation" actually mean and to whom does it actually apply?

Before moving to the post, if you believe that Americans abroad are being treated unjustly by the United States Government: Join me on May 17, 2019 for a discussion of U.S. “citizenship-based taxation” as follows:

You are invited to submit your questions in advance. In fact, PLEASE submit questions. This is an opportunity to engage with Homelanders in general and the U.S. tax compliance community in particular.

Thanks to Professor Zelinsky for his willingness to engage in this discussion. Thanks to Kat Jennings of Tax Connections for hosting this discussion. Thanks to Professor William Byrnes for his willingness to moderate this discussion.

Tax Connections has published a large number of posts that I have written over the years (yes, hard to believe it has been years). As you may know I oppose FATCA, U.S. citizenship-based taxation and the use of FATCA to impose U.S. taxation on tax residents of other countries.
Tax Connections has also published a number of posts written by Professor Zelinsky (who apparently takes a contrary view).

____________________________________________________________________________
This is the fifth of a series of posts that reflect views and experiences of Americans abroad who are experiencing the reality of actually living as an American abroad in an FBAR and FATCA world. (The first post is here.) The second post is here. The third post is here. The fourth post is here. I think it’s important to hear from people who are actually impacted by this and who have the courage to speak out. The “reality on the ground” is quite different from the theory.

I hope that this series of posts will give you ideas for questions and concerns that you would like to have addressed in the May 17, 2019 Tax Connections – Citizenship Taxation discussion.

Laura Snyder has graciously contributed the first four posts of this series. In her series of four posts, she has outlined the origins and requirements of U.S. citizenship-based taxation.

Ms. Snyder grew up in the United States and moved to Europe as an adult. The tone and pain reflected in her writing suggests that she truly identifies as being a citizen of the United States.

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Passport Revocation: The new weapon in the US war on Americans abroad

Circa 2015:

The logical progression continues …

I just got off the phone with someone who has just received a letter from the IRS stating that:

1. He had a “seriously delinquent” tax debt; and

2. That notice of the “seriously delinquent” tax debt was being forwarded to the State Department.

In 2016 I did a presentation on this topic just a few months after the law came into force. You may view the presentation here:

FastAct2

It is clear that the letters from the IRS have started to go out. The purpose of this post is to explain in simple terms what this means for Americans abroad.

To put it simply:

1. If you have received the notice and you do NOT have a current U.S. passport then:

The State Department cannot issue you a passport.

2. If you have received the notice and you DO have a current U.S. passport then:
The State Department may revoke your passport but is not required to revoke your passport.

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As Sir John Templeton said: The best time to invest is when you have the money – The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective #Americansabroad

The late Sir John Templeton pioneered the concept of “international” investing. Of course, by the standards of today, this would be considered “offshore investing”. He also pioneered the concept of “renouncing U.S. citizenship“. It is clear that Sir John’s renunciation of U.S. citizenship was the best investment decision he ever made. Like many Americans who are forced to renounce U.S. citizenship to create business opportunities, Sir John likely renounced to save his mutual fund business.

Sir John was fond of saying:

“The best time to invest is when you have money.”

Of course, that is a more difficult concept for Americans abroad. (The problem is particularly acute in Australia where it is believed that the Australian Superannuation may be subject to U.S. taxation.) Time after time, in country after country, I speak with people who avoid investing because they are Americans abroad. This is a great mistake.

It’s important for Americans abroad to heed the teaching of Sir John Templeton. They must (1) learn to invest when they have the money and (2) discipline themselves to acquire the money to invest!

One of my most consistently read posts is “The biggest cost of being a “dual Canada/U.S. tax filer” is the “lost opportunity” available to pure Canadians“.

I have been meaning to write a “follow up” post for a long time. Perhaps, the message was too simple. Perhaps it is only worth a tweet. Perhaps it’s dangerous to expand such a simple thought into multiple paragraphs, but here goes …

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Canada U.S. Tax Treaty: Article XVIII incorporating the 5th Protocol of September 21, 2007 – An American moves to Canada with a #Roth

Part 1 of 3 – The 5th Protocol to the Canada U.S. Tax Treaty – U.S. Residents Moving To Canada With a ROTH

This is the another post describing an aspect of the September 21, 2007 5th Protocol to the Canada U.S. tax treaty. This post describes how the owner a Roth IRA can maintain significant advantages from a Roth IRA which has been funded prior to a move to Canada. In my next post I will argue that the same provisions should apply to a TFSA that was funded prior to a Canadian resident moving to the United States.
http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/I-3.3/FullText.html#h-82

Introduction – The United States taxes ONLY one thing! Everything!

The United States has one of the most (if not the most) comprehensive and complicated tax systems in the world.

1. Who is subject to U.S. taxation?

The United States is one of only two countries to impose taxation on its citizens who do NOT live in the United States. In practical terms, (in a world of dual citizenship), this means that the United States imposes taxation on the citizens and residents of other nations. This is to be contrasted with a system of “residence based taxation” – a system where only “residents of the nation” are subject to full taxation. A system of “residence based taxation” assumes that the purpose of taxes is so that the government can  provide services to residents. A system of “citizenship-based taxation” assumes that the purpose of taxation is so that taxpayers can fund the activities of the government. (It’s interesting that the United States is (1) the only modern country with “citizenship” taxation and (2) a country that provides comparatively few services to its residents.

2. What is the source of the income that is subject to U.S. taxation?
The United States (along with Canada and most other countries) uses a system of “worldwide taxation”. In other words a U.S. citizen who is a tax-paying resident of France, is expected to pay taxes to the United States on income earned anywhere in the world. This is to be contrasted with “territorial taxation”. A country that uses a “territorial tax system” imposes taxes ONLY on income earned in the country.


3. What are the rules that determine how the tax owed is calculated?

The American citizen living in France as a French citizen is subject to exactly the same rules in the Internal Revenue Code that Homeland Americans are subject to. The problem is that the Internal Revenue imposes a different kind of tax regime on “foreign income” and “foreign property. In effect, this means that the United States imposes a separate and more punitive regime on people who live outside the United States. (This has the effect of making it very difficult for American citizens living outside the United States to engage in rational financial and retirement planning.)
The Impact of Tax Treaties in General and the “Pension Provisions” in Particular

4. What about tax treaties? How do they affect this situation?
In general (except in specific circumstances) U.S. tax treaties do NOT save Americans abroad from double taxation. In fact, the principal effect of most U.S. tax treaties is to guarantee that Americans abroad are subject to double taxation. This is achieved through a tax treaty provision known as the “savings clause“. Pursuant to the “savings clause”, the treaty partner country agrees that the United States can impose U.S. taxation, according to U.S. tax rules on the residents of the treaty partner countries who are (according to the USA) U.S. citizens.

In practice this means that the United States imposes “worldwide taxation” on residents of other countries. In fact, the United States imposes a separate and punitive tax system on those who reside in other countries.
5. The specific problem of pensions are recognized in many tax treaties
Many U.S. tax treaties address the issue of pensions. The Canada and U.K. tax treaties give strong protection to the rights of individuals to have pensions. The Australia tax treaty has very weak pension protection. The problem of how the Australian Superannuation interacts with the Internal Revenue Code has been the subject of much discussion. The “Pensions Provisions” are found in Article XVIII of the Canada U.S. Tax Treaty (as amended over the years).
The 5th Protocol – effective September 21, 2007 – made numerous changes to the pensions provisions (Article XVIII of the Canada U.S. Tax Treaty)

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Around the world in 192 pages: Experiences of #Americansabroad in an #FBAR and #FATCA world

Here it is:

RichardsonKishCommentsAmericansAbroadApril152015InternationalTax-2

This is one of seven parts of the Richardson Kish submissions to the Senate Finance Committee in April of 2015. I thank Patricia Moon for her unbelievable effort in putting this document together!

And speaking of Americans abroad in an FBAR and FATCA world, you might like to read:

The message is:

When In Rome, Live As A Homelander

#YouCantMakeThisUp!

John Richardson Follow me on Twitter @Expatriationlaw

 

Part 1: Tax Treaties, determining "tax residence" and new OECD Common Reporting Standard ("CRS")

The above tweet references an article from Stikeman Elliot which includes:

For CRS purposes, the term “reportable person” generally refers to a natural person or entity that is resident in a reportable jurisdiction (excluding Canada and the United States) under the tax laws of that jurisdiction, or an estate of an individual who was a resident of a reportable jurisdiction under the tax laws of that jurisdiction immediately before death, other than: (i) a corporation the stock of which is regularly traded on one or more established securities markets; (ii) any corporation that is a related entity of a corporation described in clause (i); (iii) a governmental entity; (iv) an international organization; (v) a central bank; or (vi) a financial institution.  See definitional subsection ITA 270 (1).

This morning I received an email that included the following question:

My friend lives and works in country A, and has bank accounts in Country B. He is a permanent resident of Canada. Will the banks in either Country A or Country B, report his accounts to the Canada Revenue Agency? Country A (where he resides) has no income tax system. This is common in Gulf Countries. Country A has not signed on to Common Reporting Standard. Country B (a European country) has signed on to the Common Reporting Standard.

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Are Green Card holders resident outside the USA "US persons" under the #FATCA IGA?

Introduction …

The above tweet references a comment that was left on Olivier Wagner’s Tax Samurai blog. Olivier is discussing an earlier post of mine called “When It Comes To FATCA, There Are Four Kinds Of Americans Abroad“.

I highly recommend his “post about my post”.

The comments discuss the question of:

Is a Green Card Holder resident in Canada a “U.S. Person” for the purposes of FATCA?

The last comment notes that the Canada Revenue Agency is advising U.S. Green Card Holders who are resident in Canada that they should NOT identify as “U.S. Persons” under the FATCA IGA.

The exact text of the comment reads:

Green Card holders in Canada are interpreting the following statement from the Government of Canada to mean that FATCA does NOT apply to them:

http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/nnrsdnts/nhncdrprtng/ndvdls-eng.html

“I hold a U.S. green card. How does this affect my tax residency?

If you are a green card holder (that is, a lawful permanent resident of the U.S.), the U.S. considers you to be a U.S. resident.

However, if you are a resident of Canada for tax purposes and do not hold U.S. citizenship, you should not identify yourself as a U.S. person to your Canadian financial institution.”

The actual IGA is here.

FATCA-eng

The definition section includes “U.S. residents” which presumably means tax residents (which in the case of Green Card Holders may be affected by a Treaty election).

The plain reading of the statement on the CRA site will mean that Green Card holders resident in Canada will NOT identify as being U.S. tax subjects.

Note: I tried to leave a similar comment a moment ago, but it didn’t seem to show up. This is a duplicate. Feel free to pick one comment or the other.

– See more at: http://www.taxsamurai.com/index.php/2014/09/06/four-kinds-americans-abroad-response/#comment-7

The purpose of this post is to expand this discussion …

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When it comes to #FATCA there are four kinds of #Americansabroad

Reflecting on my day I realized that there are really four kinds of U.S. Taxable Persons abroad. Each one of them has his own set of problems. Interestingly, my day included discussions with a member of each group.

They can be grouped as follows:

File U.S. tax returns?     U.S. tax compliant?  What is their problem?
Yes                                               Yes                    Inability to live normal life*
Yes                                               No                     Subject to penalties for mistakes**
No                                                Yes                    Don’t have any income***
No                                                No                    OMG moment is coming****
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What you should consider before contacting a lawyer

decision

The Reality of U.S. Citizenship Abroad

Nobody denied that the unintended targets of Congressional legislation aimed at those who supposedly “owe allegiance” to the USA, now assisted by craven foreign governments anxious lest their financial services entities lose access to the US market, are mostly unlikely to do anything at all. But the whole idea of universal self-assessment of taxation is to keep the taxpayer in an anxious condition, to make him overpay if possible, but at least not to underpay. Those now faced with an unprecedented, even retroactive, enforcement campaign and who must, if they wish to become compliant and avoid penalty or even prosecution (should they be identified in the future), sacrifice much of their wealth, even become insolvent.

Comment at the Isaac Brock Society blog – July 29, 2013

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