Watch John Richardson on BNN Here
BNN – Business Day AM 11:00 am ET
FATCA: What you need to know
Lawyer John Richardson discusses new tax legislation taking effect
July 1, that will impact a million US citizens currently living in Canada
The reality of U.S. Citizenship Abroad
My name is John Richardson. I am a dual citizen. I am a lawyer – member of the Bar of Ontario. This means that, any counselling session you have with me will be governed by the rules of “lawyer client” privilege. This means that:
“What’s said in my office, stays in my office.”
I am also a member of the American Citizens Abroad Professional Tax Advisory Council (PTAC). This is an advisory panel focused on assisting American Citizens Abroad in an FBAR and FATCA world.
The election of the current U.S. President ushered in a new era for American citizens abroad. Basically, it’s not what it used to be.
The U.S. imposes complex rules and life restrictions on its citizens wherever they live. These restrictions are becoming more and more difficult for those U.S. citizens who choose to live outside the United States.
The U.S. prides itself on its exceptionalism. There are exceptional rules that apply to U.S. citizenship abroad. There is no other citizenship that comes with such rules.
Most of these rules are described as tax rules, but the reality is that compliance with these rules will affect every aspect or your life. In fact, it’s reached the point where:
U.S. citizens abroad should not do anything without consulting a lawyer!
Who I Am
I am a Toronto based lawyer with a clear understanding of the legal, tax, Retirement Planning and investment climate in Canada. I also have a good understanding of the obligations of U.S. citizens abroad. I provide “citizenship counselling” for U.S. citizens abroad. The truth is that citizenship counselling is a form of life counselling.
How I help …
Making A Citizenship Determination
– a surprisingly large number of people are confused about the status of their U.S. citizenship. There are people who are U.S. citizens who think they are not. They are people who are not U.S. citizens who think they are. There are people who are entitled to a back-dated CLN who don’t know it. A clear determination of citizenship status is the first step in any analysis.
Life counselling for U.S. citizens abroad
– I see my role and expertise as counseling people on how to make compliance and citizenship decisions. U.S. citizenship abroad is so difficult and confusing that it is NOT making decisions that is difficult. What is hard is to know HOW to make decisions.
– it’s important to recognize that “U.S. citizenship counselling” is really a form of “life counselling”. Decisions made will have a profound impact on the rest of one’s life.
– I do help people understand their obligations, rights and compliance options. I am also willing to assist them with expatriation.
– U.S. tax compliance, there’s nothing quite like it!
– In a world of FBAR and FATCA anxiety, I can assist you on coming into compliance
– If necessary, I will recommend (where necessary) and help people retain other professionals that are consistent with their emotional needs, objective complexity of their situations and financial circumstances. People do NOT need Cadillac solutions to Chevrolet problems. Furthermore, small problems must NOT be converted into big problems
– I do NOT personally do U.S. tax preparation. (I have created a site to help you identify U.S. tax preparers). I will NOT personally enter someone into the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Programs (“OVDP”). There are few cases where this is appropriate.
If one were to ask, me what is the service you provide? My answer would be:
I counsel people in the legal, investment and social realities of U.S. citizenship abroad (which is a service that is in short supply and is badly needed)
– retirement planning (U.S. citizens abroad are subject to special restrictions)
– investing (see above)
– U.S. taxation
– FBAR compliance
– PFIC Counselling
– marriage between a U.S. citizen and non-citizen (believe it or not there are U.S. tax issues)
– divorce (ditto see the comment on marriage)
– loss of privacy rights (FATCA anyone)?
Whether you want to live as a U.S. citizen abroad or whether you wish to relinquish your U.S. citizenship, I will assist you in achieving your goal!