This afternoon I received news that the Alliance For The Defence of Canadian Sovereignty had met its $500,000 funding goal. I had two simultaneous/thoughts or reactions.
My first thought was that I was always completely confident that we would achieve our funding goals. You would never allow us to fail. (Ask Stephen. I have never for a moment doubted the funding!)
My second thought was a feeling of amazement. Did we really do this? It’s simply amazing!
Q. How could I both be so confident of our success and amazed by that very success?
A. These seemingly irreconcilable thoughts are easily reconciled because:
It’s obvious that we would achieve our funding goals because we were working with such an amazing group of people!
It’s also important to recognize the important role played by both the Isaac Brock Society and Maple Sandbox for allowing us to publicize our FATCA lawsuit on their respective blogs. I offer a special thanks to Peter Dunn of the Isaac Brock Society and Lynne Swanson of the Maple Sandbox blogs. Without their generosity and support it would have much much harder to have reached this milestone.
Back to the beginning …
My first post on this blog was on October 1, 2014. In that post I noted that:
But, when it comes to opposing injustice, the simple truth is that:
Some people make things happen.
Some people watch things happen.
Some people ask “What happened”?
You made it happen. I knew you would. Congratulations!
I can tell you that there are a lot of people who would have been (and still) would be very happy to see us fail. But, that’s not going to happen. We are on the way. We are on the right side of the moral issue.
Why we will win …
It’s very simple. At the end of the day, FATCA, CBT, FBAR, etc. are moral issues. They are just plain wrong. They trample the human spirit and impede human progress.
As I also said on many occasions:
We are in a marathon and not a sprint!
We are also in the early stages of what will certainly be a long struggle. Understand that you are in this NOT only for yourself. You are in this for future generations of ALL people, in ALL countries, who are affected by the extreme injustice of U.S. “extra-territorial taxation” and FATCA. You are in this to motivate “like minded people” in other countries to show their governments that:
If those governments do not protect them from U.S. extra-territorial laws, then
People will defend themselves from those governments!
On a very sad note …
Today we received word that Dr. Marcio Pinheiro died. You may not recognize him by his real name. He posted on numerous blogs under the moniker of “ThatIsMe” and “Mark Pinetree“. He was a Brazilian psychiatrist. You can learn about his life here. You will learn that he moved to the United States and became a U.S. citizen. He was therefore a U.S. citizen living outside the United States. His submission to the House Ways and Means Committee included:
I am a dual citizen. I lived and worked in the USA thirty years and I am very proud of being an American Citizen. About ten years ago I decided to come back to my country of origin. Now, 80 years old and with failing health I regret having become an US citizen.
I had an USA CPA doing my US taxes until 2008. He never told me about FBARS. I learned about them by chance when visiting my two daughters and son who live in the USA. Since then my life has become a nightmare. I have spent sleepless nights trying to comply with the demands being placed on me and the threats of stiff penalties that do not apply to Americans living in the mainland. I have spent a lot of time and money trying to find out what I should do to comply.
My situation has become so impossible that I don’t know what to do.
I have no representation. Because my country of origin has neither a tax treaty nor a Social Security equalization treaty with the USA I am required and have been paying SS Self employment Taxes to both countries, earning nothing in return. I cannot claim a credit on my USA tax return for the double Social Security tax I pay in my country of origin. Also I have a pension in my country of origin from my working here. In this country this pension is not subject to tax so I don’t pay income tax to my country on this pension. But the USA taxes me on this pension. In this country I also have some savings, the earnings on which are not subject to tax so do not pay tax here on this income. Yet I have to pay taxes to the USA on this income.
It seems to me that I have now three possibilities: return to the USA with my failing health using my Medicare and Supplemental Insurance, renounce my citizenship or stop work altogether. I can’t afford to pay this much tax to two countries.
Mind you that I have never invested one cent of what I earned in the USA in my country of origin. I have savings and tax shelter plans the USA which I will never bring to my country of origin. They will stay with my son, daughters and grand daughter who are Americans and live in the USA. On the contrary I frequently send money earned where I am now to them in the USA.
When I heard about Amnesty to Americans living abroad who did not know about FBARS I thought that I needed to do was to start sending my FBARS to the Treasury Department. But this was not the case. I was being threatened with penalties for not knowing about them. I felt that the amnesty was a trap set for me which was very unfair. I am glad to know that Nina Olson, Tax Payer Advocate, does feel the same way.
I think that the USA, as all other countries in the world, should not tax its citizens who live and work in a foreign country. We are not the same as Americans who live in the mainland who hide investments in foreign countries to avoid paying taxes. Yet we are being placed in the same category: one size fits all, when it does not.
If the USA continues to tax Americans living and working abroad, which no other country does to its citizens abroad and which I do not recommend be continued, they must simplify the paper work, give more support for us, allow us to have representation in the US Congress. They should not tax our tax free pensions received from working in the other country (as it is now they tax in certain countries unless there is a tax treaty which specifically excludes them from taxation, and not in others if there is no treaty). They should allow these Americans to chose to contribute or not to SS self employment taxes to one or both countries but not obligate those living in another country to this double Social Security taxation. And there are more suggestions to be made so that we all can remain proud Americans living and working in another country.
I once had the privilege of a telephone conversation with Dr. Pinheiro. He was a good man. He was a decent man. He was a family man. He was a man who “tried to do the right thing”. He was a man who believed in compliance with the law. He tried hard to comply with U.S. laws. He was a proud American citizen. He was a loyal Democrat. He supported President Obama. For all of the preceding reasons, the last few years of his life were a “living hell”.
He was one of millions of people whose life was severely damaged by U.S. “Extra-territorial” taxation, FBAR and FATCA.