By: Joe Nusse
I am proposing a local lobby group to deal with FACTA obsurdities: anyone dealing with American Citizenship, FACTA and taxation issues. The requirement to declare your citizenship and consent for your bank share your financial information with the US IRS comes into effect on July 1st. BUT there is a detail that is being missed by many. This requirement to declare and consent only applies to NEW accounts set up after July 1, 2014. Existing accounts will not require such a declaration until 2016. This buys us some time to make this an election issues, and demand that our government back out of FACTA. What is most absurd about this is that it is supposed to be a reciprocal agreement, so in theory our government can attempt to penalize Canadians avoiding Canadian taxes in US banks. But most analysts agree that there is no way the US government can accomplish this since there is very, very little government control over US banks, and the US banking system is far less centralized than Canada’s. Further, in virtually every aspect, taxes are much, much higher in Canada than the US, so in reality, the US is creating an administrative nightmare for itself while not accomplishing much of anything except making a power statement and building financial intelligence on foreign nations. In short, Canada is going to provide banking information to the US while not getting any in return. If the US tries to implement the 30% not withholding tax on Canadian transactions they are threatening (and our banks are so scared of), then we can take the issue to the WTO and they will rule in our favour since any reciprocal agreement demands a two-way flow. In short, we need to make this an issue with our opposition, make it an election issue and call the US government’s bluff. In the meantime, we need to network and make sure this one does not just role under. The fact that our Conservative Government included the singing of FACTA in an omnibus budget bill only goes to show how scared of debate, anti-democratic and just how much of an American push-over Steven Harper is. The government says it had no options, multiple analysts are saying otherwise.
I will propose another angle here. I think that most rational people understand that if the US really needs any electronic information, the NSA can have it within hours. BUT, this is illegal evidence. So although they can prove tax fraud, they can not submit the evidence since any NSA evidence was collected in violation of the US Constitution. HOWEVER, now YOU have consented for the IRS to have this information. See where I am going? Worse, YOU are consenting for a foreign nation to collect personal information outside of it’s boundaries. There is nothing we can really do to keep the NSA from being able to spy on us, but when we start to consent to this, we have legally given up our constitutional rights. We MUST call this out! I propose legislation that requires such disclosure for non-personal bank accounts, corporations, NGO, parties, etc…. but NEVER for PERSONAL financial information. Once money has left the public and corporate sphere, governments have NO business knowing anything about it. You declare your taxes yearly, if the government misses something, that is their fault! In most democratic nations, you have the right to not be re-tried. FACTA does not just affect Canadians with shared American citizenship, it effects ANY transaction involving American money. In short, there is potential for our government to share the private financial information of a Canadian who has never left to country with the American government. Further, any Canadian citizen with American assets (like a property in Arizona) should be against FACTA too. I demand a bigger outrage than I saw over the HST. This not about a petty domestic squabble, this is about a wholesale sell out of our sovereignty to American pressure. It is about bowing to one-way agreements knowing full-well they are going to be one-way. Time for a strong Canadian goverment!! Anyone else dealing with this issue, please feel free to contact me. Canadian banks are renown world-wide for good management and arms-length independence from governments. The American banking and taxation system is hardly in a credible position to be demanding banking reform on us.