Crazy headline: U.S. given right to access tax, bank information of four million Canadians
The agreement between the U.S. and Canada - approved in Ottawa by the man in the blue suit (Harper) - is the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, FATCA for short.
It’s 1,700 pages but the gist is that the Internal Revenue Agency in the U.S. was given the right to peer into the tax and banking information of any Canadian who has dual citizenship with the U.S.
The gist of the reason for this is an attempted tax grab.
True case history: Jane was born in Canada, as were her children and husband. Neither Jane or her family members have ever lived in the U.S. let alone worked there.
Jane’s mother has lived in Canada for over 40 years and remains a U.S. citizen. Thus, Jane was able to apply for dual citizenship with the U.S. and did so some 20 years ago.
Might be useful someday, right?
Someday has come and it’s a frightening scenario for Jane and her family.
And it’s the same case for American-born people who have come to Canada –often as children - called it their home forever, and thought that was the end of it.
What happens if the Canadian citizen doesn’t respond to the IRS? Probably a lot of trouble at the border.
What if Canadian banks refused to turn over the account information?
There have already been suggestions that those banks would, in retaliation, be cut out of American capital markets, including petroleum markets.
The numbers affected are not exact, but a group that has formed in opposition to this ghastly invasion of privacy estimates one million. Add in spouses and children and it could be four million.
The group – Alliance for Defence of Canadian Sovereignty – is not just talking about it. ADCS is taking the Canadian government to court.
ADCA’s lawyers will argue that “the Canadian legislation that implements the FATCA violates the Canadian Constitution, Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the principles of Canadian sovereignty and democracy, and the fundamental rights of all Canadians.”
ADCS started the action last year. Next step is scheduled for federal court Aug. 4-5 in Vancouver.
Such litigation is expensive. ADCS has raised almost $500,000 and continues to look for donations. http://www.adcs-adsc.ca/
Writes Julius Melnitzer in the Financial Post: “The only other country in the world that taxes on a similar ‘citizen’ basis is Eritrea.”
I had to check on where this trendsetting nation is located.
It’s a tiny country in the Horn of Africa, described by the group Human Rights Watch as having “among the worst histories of human rights in the world.”
* Westbank First Nations’ members will vote Aug. 11 on how to handle a $7.9 million debt from the WFN’s failed hospital fiasco. The poll is open for only one hour to vote... a shameful manipulation to discourage people from voting.
A little math here. There are about 550 band voters. No matter how the debt is handled, they will each be indebted for about $14,500.
Of course, some members are calling for the resignations of the WFN chief and council.
* From last week’s zebra mussels column. A reader all the way from Boston, Jeff Landmeyer, emailed about research being done for the eradication of the invasive mussels that involves mapping the genome of the mussel. Then it might be possible to release genetically modified mussels into the invading population, which can be engineered to produce only males until the population crashes.
Sounds something like the sterile insect release program for controlling the coddling moth in the Southern Interior.
— Chuck Poulsen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.