Tag Archives: Stephen Kish

Impressions of the @RepMarkMeadows April 26/17 #FATCA Hearing in Washington, DC – Opportunity to make case to end “taxation-based citizenship”

FATCA Hearings in Washington, DC – April 26, 2017

Beginnings – It all began in July 2016

The purpose of this post is NOT to describe the hearing in detail (that has already been well done), but rather to provide my overall (and perhaps broader) impressions based on actually having attended the hearing.

The April 26, 2017 FATCA hearing in Washington was long in the making. It’s genesis was rooted in a meeting that took place in July of 2016 at the Republican National Convention. The planning and preparation involved the efforts and consistent cooperation (weekly meetings since August) of a number of people in different countries and on different continents. It was a privilege to have been part of this group. A list of the people who worked on making the hearing happen – the  “FATCA prep team” – is  described here. Those efforts culminated in what some  witnessed “in real time” on April 26, and what thousands more will see (thanks to Youtube) in days to come.

The hearing has already been documented IN DETAIL and discussed in various places IN DETAIL, with the best commentary coming from posts at the Isaac Brock Society here and here and various Facebook groups here, here, here and here. (An example of ridiculous commentary is here.) When I say “commentary” I mean NOT ONLY the posts, but the rich and insightful comments. Seriously, this collection of “digital experiences” really is “History In The Making!”

Thinking about FATCA, What is it anyway?

I have written numerous posts about FATCA – “The Little Red FATCA Book” which you will find here. An explanation of how the Meadows “Repeal FATCA” bill would actually work is here. Basically, FATCA is the collective effect of a number of amendments (including the creation of a new Chapter 4 of Subtitle A of the Internal Revenue Code – which has made largely irrelevant by the FATCA IGAs)  which are designed to identify, attack and impose sanctions on:

A. FATCA: Non-U.S. banks and other financial institutions

Forcing them to “hunt down” the financial accounts and entities (examples include mutual funds, corporations, trusts and some insurance policies) owned by “U.S. persons”. The goal is to “turn them over” to the IRS.

This imposes enormous compliance costs on non-U.S. banks. The obvious effect is that they will not want  U.S. person customers. Would you? Interestingly the focus of the witnesses (Mr. Crawford and Mr. Kuettel) was primarily on the denial of basic access to financial and banking services.

Although important, this is only one half of the equation. What happens when “U.S. persons” learn (the vast majority had no idea) that they are subject to U.S. taxation?

B. FATCA: “U.S. Persons” with non-U.S. financial assets and bank accounts

It is not possible for “U.S. citizens” to BOTH: be U.S. tax compliant and live a productive life outside the United States, when they are also subject to the tax laws of other nations. (Digital nomads are the exception.) The reason is that U.S. citizens living outside the United States are living under a system where:

  1. They are presumed to live in the United States (which they don’t); and
  2. Their assets (which are local to them) are presumed to be “foreign” to the United States.

If you don’t understand (or don’t believe) why this is true, you will find an explanation here.

Just remember:

“When In Rome, Live As A Homelander” and do NOT “Commit Personal Finance Abroad!” (It’s UnAmerican)

Although a major effect of FATCA is to subject Americans abroad to a very special set of tax rules (think PFIC, foreign pension, CFC, and a crushing burden of forms that impact ONLY Americans abroad), there was NO witness that even alluded to this as one of the effects of FATCA. (FATCA is the enforcer of the uniquely American policy of “taxation-based citizenship”). There was also no witness that described how a “FATCA letter” can lead to absolute financial ruin for honest taxpayers, who have made a life outside the friendly borders of the United States of America. There was no witness who explained the confiscatory effects of entering one of the IRS “Amnesty – Ministry of Love” programs.

This had had the effect of making it seem as though FATCA (in terms of the effect on Americans abroad) was just a simple “disclosure – Form 8938 issue. Nothing could be further from the truth.

If it were not for “taxation-based citizenship”, FATCA would be no more or less a problem for Americans abroad than it would be for Homelanders (which doesn’t mean it is not a problem). Unfortunately, the hearing did not provide evidence on this point.

(This is NOT a criticism. But, just imagine if there had been witnesses who had been identified as a “U.S. Person” because of FATCA, did NOT know about “taxation-based citizenship” and then were forced into the “Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program“. Now that would have been a story …!)

It is “taxation-based citizenship” that makes the effects of FATCA so hard on Americans abroad! In 2011, I remember thinking:

The United States can have either FATCA or it can have “taxation-based citizenship” but it CANNOT have both!

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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

 

Part 27: What God Hath Wrought – The #FATCA Inquisition (Review, Identify and Report on “U.S. Persons”) – The @ADCSovereignty lawsuit #lawstudents edition

 

 

Taxation of #Americansabroad: @Thunfinancial Wall Street Journal Op-Ed follows article from @SaundersWSJ

The above tweet references an Op-Ed by Thun Financial’s David Kuenzi which recently appeared in the Wall Street Journal. This is a nicely done article which adds reinforcement to the excellent journalism by the Wall Street Journal’s Laura Saunders and Liam Pleven which appeared in the Wall Street Journal on June 18, 2014 and (discussing the new IRS Streamlined procedures) on  June 19, 2014. 

(The new Streamline Procedures were discussed by various “stakeholders” extensively:

The OVDP and  Streamlined Historians – Perspectives  of various Americans Abroad:

– at the Isaac Brock Society here and here

– by American Citizens abroad here

The second citizenship advocates:

– by Mark Nestmann here

The accounting firms:

– from Frank Hirth (U.K. based) here

The “What is non-willfull” group  here:

– by Stephen Mopsick here and earlier here

– by Patrick Martin here

– more by Patrick Martin here

– by Jack Townsend here

– by Robert Steinberg (particularly good analysis) here

The “Technicians” AKA “who is streamlined intended for” here:

– by Moodys here

– by Virgina La Torre Jeker here

– by Jack Townsend here

– by Robert Steinberg here)

Those who recognize that citizens of certain countries may have a second level of “home country specific issues” (Iran):

– by Virginia La Torre Jeker here

The Logistics – How to manage Streamlined “conFORMity”:

– by Virginia La Torre Jeker here

Interestingly both Mr. Kuenzi (as a presenter) and Ms. Saunders (as a journalist) attended the recent conference on U.S. Citizenship-based taxation conference which was held at the University of Toronto on May 2, 2014. The Toronto citizenship-based taxation Conference was a great success. Those interested can read: Thoughts and reflections on the Toronto Conference on the taxation of Americans abroad in the 21st century.

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#Americansabroad: Thoughts on the May 2/14 Toronto Conference on CBT vs. RBT – #FATCA #FBAR

The May 2, 2014 Toronto Conference on U.S. citizenship-based taxation was a great success. As the ACA Global announcement of results describes the morning and afternoon had separate themes and participants.

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Conference on “Citizenship-based taxation” – May 2/14 Toronto, Canada

I am very proud to participate in (what I believe to be) the first ever conference organized to debate issues surrounding “citizenship-based taxation”. The conference has been organized by “ACA Global“. The conference was reported on the Maple Sandbox blog as follows:

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