Alex Atamanenko, MP for BC Southern Interior, has been fighting on behalf of US citizens living in Canada. To date, he’s written two letters to Canada’s Finance Minister Jim Flaherty.
July 6, 2011:
I write to express my concern about the US Foreign Account Compliance Act (FATCA).
Canadian citizens who happen to have dual citizenship, or Americans with landed immigrant status will be required by US law to disclose all forms of Canadian bank accounts, including RRSPSs, RRIFs, TFSAs and chequing and saving accounts. It is my understanding that the US tax rules eliminate the benefit of taking out TFSAs and RESPs, and that long time residents’ savings in mutual funds may be subject to US tax.
We currently have a reciprocal tax agreement with the US, and yet American citizens who live and work in Canada still have to file tax returns with the IRS and now will be faced with penalties if they choose not to do so.
The FATCA is a further affront to Canadians and also places a burden on our financial institutions. On behalf of all those adversely affected by this draconian US policy, I respectfully request that our federal government Advise US authorities that this policy is not acceptable, and make every effort to work out an arrangement that would not place a further unnecessary burden on Canadian citizens or on our financial institutions.
Those who live, work and pay taxes in Canada should not be subject to he same rules as US citizens seeking tax haves in foreign countries.
July 20, 2011:
I am writing as a follow-up to my letter of July 6 to again express my concern about the US Foreign Account Compliance Act (FATCA).
Over the past couple weeks, my riding office has received calls and letters on a daily basis from constituents who are dual US-Canadian citizens. Many of these individuals have lived and worked in Canada for much of their lives. They are contacting my office to express their outrage at the proestpect of having to disclose confidential banking information to the agency of a foreign government when they have no taxable earnings there. Other “accidental Americans” fear heavy penalties on their family’s savings and investments in Canada for noncompliance with USA tax laws they did not know pertained to them.
A good deal of fear and misinformation is being stirred up by the terms of FATCA, and these have been expressed to me by the constituents who have contacted my office. The substance of these people’s concerns is worrisome, and I would like to share with you some of the points they have raised.
Many of the people I have spoken to feel threatened by the fact that our government will permit US tax authorities to require (without cause) Canadian financial institutions to disclose personal information on all accounts held by dual citizens. In many cases, these accounts are held jointly with Canadian born spouses, who will have their financial information disclosed to the IRS under FATCA.
In addition, many of my constituents believe that they will have to pay US tax on money that was earned and invested in Canada, or on financial transactions that are not taxable in Canada. One individual is concerned that there may be a future US “tax grab” on Canadian accounts. Several retired professionals have expressed fear that they will lose a large portion of their life’s savings to US tax penalties, because of higher Canadian income. All are justifiably angered, worried or both.
Thank you for your attention to this situation.
You can see Alex Atamanenko’s website here. Please feel free to let him know that you appreciate the work he’s doing on behalf of US citizens living in Canada!