Letter to Canadian Tax Law Professor

Sent to NBrooks@osgoode.yorku.ca

————————————

Neil Brooks
Osgoode Hall Law School
4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario
Canada
M3J 1P3
——————–

Dear Neil:

In the United States, it is a federal crime to discriminate against an individual based on their national origin. US law writes:

Federal laws prohibit discrimination based on a person’s national origin, race, color, religion, disability, sex, and familial status. Laws prohibiting national origin discrimination make it illegal to discriminate because of a person’s birthplace, ancestry, culture or language. This means people cannot be denied equal opportunity because they or their family are from another country, because they have a name or accent associated with a national origin group, because they participate in certain customs associated with a national origin group, or because they are married to or associate with people of a certain national origin. http://www.justice.gov/crt/legalinfo/natorigin.php

FATCA seeks for individuals to be discriminated against based on their national origin. In your book, Billionaires’ Ball, by defending FATCA you are advocating for US federal crimes to be forced upon innocent Canadian citizens who are identified as having a US national origin. Is it normal in Canada for tax law professors to advocate for their innocent fellow citizens to be criminalized with US federal law violations?

Where I live, the financial institutions where I pay my bills and save for retirement are refusing to accept US persons as new clients due to FATCA. Yet, I’m not wealthy, I don’t bank offshore (except for in the US), I don’t owe the US government any taxes and I am tax compliant. So, why do you feel that crime must be practiced against me simply because I violated no laws and did nothing wrong?

It is possible that you had no idea that FATCA is criminal and is harming innocent civilians. Yet, I hope that you will reconsider your position and focus on opposing crime instead of defending its practice.

Sincerely

[ExpatAmi]

No response from PopVox, Second Attempt

Submitted here

————————————————————

Dear PopVox,

I wrote to you and didn’t get a response, so I’m writing again.  I’m an American living abroad and I registered to vote in a different district.  How can I update this in your system?

Regards,

[ExpatAmi]

————————————————————

PopVox responded this time and explained how such is done: “You can change your address (which will change your district) the next time you decide to weigh in on a bill. After you have written your comment you will see an illustration of an envelope. Under the return address on the top left of the envelope you should see a link labeled “change address”. Click the link and change your profile information, then click save.”

Asked Federal Trade Commission if Americans Abroad are being excluded from Sweepstakes

Since neither the Obama nor the Romney team responded in my inquiry concerning sweepstakes and citizens abroad, I called  1-877-FTC-HELP seeking more information.  To me, it is unclear if Americans abroad are included or excluded with the following text:

PROMOTION OPEN ONLY TO INDIVIDUAL UNITED STATES CITIZENS AND LAWFUL PERMANENT U.S. RESIDENTS WHO ARE LEGAL RESIDENTS OF THE FIFTY (50) UNITED STATES, THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND PUERTO RICO, AND OVER THE AGE OF 18 (OR THE AGE OF MAJORITY UNDER APPLICABLE LAW

http://www.barackobama.com/last-dinner-with-barack/rules

The Federal Trade Commission is supposed to “prevent business practices that are anticompetitive or deceptive or unfair to consumers; to enhance informed consumer choice and public understanding of the competitive process; and to accomplish this without unduly burdening legitimate business activity.”

Unfortunately, the Federal Trade Commission didn’t know if American citizens living abroad are being included or excluded and advised me to continue searching for an answer.  I guess that it is acceptable in America to be deceptive or unfair to Americans living abroad.

Thus, I wrote the National Association of Consumer Advocates the following:

Are Americans abroad included or excluded from sweepstakes?  I contacted the Obama and Romney teams concerning their sweepstakes, but they did not provide an answer, nor did the FTC know if Americans living abroad are included or excluded from Sweepstakes.  How do you understand the following in relation to Americans overseas:

“PROMOTION OPEN ONLY TO INDIVIDUAL UNITED STATES CITIZENS AND LAWFUL PERMANENT U.S. RESIDENTS WHO ARE LEGAL RESIDENTS OF THE FIFTY (50) UNITED STATES, THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND PUERTO RICO, AND OVER THE AGE OF 18 (OR THE AGE OF MAJORITY UNDER APPLICABLE LAW)”

http://www.barackobama.com/last-dinner-with-barack/rules

Opening an Account with Bank of American from Abroad

I called Bank of America to inquire why an American citizen living abroad cannot open an account using their resident address.  I was told that they require a US address for security purposes.  To me, this seems rather insecure, since it requires an American living overseas to come up with some address where they don’t live in order to open up an account.   Also, this means that an American citizen who was born abroad would be unable to open up a US bank account without flying to the US.   So, I asked if a passport could be used to verify one’s identity, but was told that a passport is only accepted when it is shown in person at the bank.  I then asked if Americans living abroad could show their passport at the US embassy to open up a US bank account and was told that banks do not yet work with embassies to verify the identities of US citizens.
I think that it would make sense for American citizens living abroad to be able to validate their identities with their local US representation so that they can open a US bank account using their resident address.

Are Americans Abroad excluded from “Dinner with Barack VI”?

Sent to dinnerwithbarack@barackobama.com

—————————————————————-

Dear Dinner with Barack Team,

The “Dinner with Barack VI” rules state the following:

PROMOTION OPEN ONLY TO INDIVIDUAL UNITED STATES CITIZENS AND LAWFUL PERMANENT U.S. RESIDENTS WHO ARE LEGAL RESIDENTS OF THE FIFTY (50) UNITED STATES, THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND PUERTO RICO, AND OVER THE AGE OF 18 (OR THE AGE OF MAJORITY UNDER APPLICABLE LAW)

http://www.barackobama.com/last-dinner-with-barack/rules?source=em12_20120915_dwb_disc&utm_medium=email&utm_source=obama&utm_campaign=em12_20120915_dwb_disc&utm_content=Official+Rules&amounts=15|35|50|100|250|500|1000

Does „legal residents of the fifty (50) United States, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico“ apply only to permanent U.S. residents, or does it also apply to U.S. citizens? If it applies to citizens, are American citizens living abroad considered to be „legal residents of one of the fifty states, Puerto Rico, or the District of Columbia“?

Regards,

[ExpatAmi]

—————————————————————-

No response

Americans Abroad excluded from “Onboard With Mitt Contest”?

Sent to digital@mittromney.com

—————————————————————————-

Dear Romney for President Digital Team,

The “Onboard With Mitt Contest Rules” state the following:

 The Promotion is open to citizens and permanent residents (green card holders) of the United States who are legal residents of one of the fifty states, Puerto Rico, or the District of Columbia and are at least 18 years of age or the age of majority as determined by state law.

http://www.mittromney.com/rules/onboard-mitt

Does „are legal residents of one of the fifty states, Puerto Rico, or the District of Columbia“ apply only to and permanent residents (green card holders), or does it also apply to citizens? I it applies to citizens, are American citizens living abroad considered to be „legal residents of one of the fifty states, Puerto Rico, or the District of Columbia“?

Regards,

[ExpatAmi]

——————————————————————————–

No response.

On residency, Greenback Expat Tax Services writes:  “If the IRS considers you a resident, you are going to be required to pay taxes on worldwide income“.  On worldwide income, the IRS writes:  “If you are a U.S. citizen… Your worldwide income is subject to U.S. income tax, regardless of where you reside.”  So, according to the IRS, a “legal residents of one of the fifty states, Puerto Rico, or the District of Columbia” includes US citizens who do not live in the fifty states, Puerto Rico or the District of Columbia.  Will the Romney for President Digital Team answer this simple question?

Support H.R. 6263: Commission on Americans Living Abroad Act

Submitted via PopVox

————————————————————–

Dear Rep. Vern Buchanan:

Congress is endlessly clueless about Americans living abroad and is unknowingly passing way to many laws which are causing Americans overseas unnecessary harm. As a result of this, more Americans abroad are renouncing their US citizenship than ever before in US history. The current situation is horrible. It is disgusting. It is unacceptable. Congress can only be ashamed and disgusted with itself. Congress, you have failed Americans living abroad. Under existing conditions, if you want to do anything good for Americans living overseas, then recommend that they liberate themselves from the faults of your leadership. Sadly, that is the least that Americans living abroad can request from Congress under the existing circumstances.

————————————————————–

No response

Letter to representation Concerning The Veterans Jobs Corps Act (S. 3457)

Submitted via PopVox

———————————————————–

Concerning Sec. 7345. Revocation or Denial of Passport in Case of Tax Delinquencies, a recent GAO Study (GAO-11-272 Passport Issuance, March 2012) noted that the constitutional, policy and practical issues involved have not been carefully studied, and this must be done as a first step, before enactment of a measure which would have such extreme effects on U.S. citizens living overseas.
———————————————————–

Received an automated response from Marco Rubio with another response promised.  No response to date.

Contacted Connie Mack’s staff

I called and briefly discussed some of the situations concerning Americans abroad.  Like with Keith Fitzgerald, I was told that candidates don’t have any time for Americans abroad during election periods, but elected officials also don’t have any time for Americans abroad either, so I don’t see the difference.

No Americans Abroad, Mormons or Muslims at the Obama Store

At a first look, the Obama store is quite impressive.  It’s got goodies for all kinds of people, many of which were discriminated against in the past.  A google on “women” returns 1’980 hits.  “African” scores 1’950 hits.  Nurses, Latinos and environmentalists just barely trailed behind with 1’940 listings each.  “Jewish” returns 1’930 listings.  “Veterans” is listed 1’920 times.  While the word “Gay” only returned the home page, “LGBT” was found 1’840 times.  Quite impressive!  Pets are listed 1’820 times.  There is even an “LGBT for Obama Dog Bandana“!  Dogs are very important voters in presidential elections, with a relevance of 470 results.   “Asian“, being less profitable for the campaign than dogs, returned 198 listings linked 194 times to “Pacific Islanders”.  However, AAPI‘s do have their own collections page listing 4 items, unlike dogs.   For babies, 198 listings were returned, but nothing for Mormons, for whatever reason, even though they are not Muslims who also have nothing to buy.

But, that’s not why I went to the store.   I want to the store to see how valuable Americans abroad are for campaign contributions and I looked and looked, but could not find.  No abroad, no overseas, no expat, no nothing.  Not even “US person“, FATCA, FBAR, or offshoreForeign, however, popped up 1’760 times, but that’s only to say:

This contribution is not made from the funds of an individual registered as a federal lobbyist or a foreign agent, or an entity that is a federally registered lobbying firm or foreign agent.

So, what does this show?  It shows that Americans abroad, Mormons and Muslims are not shopping at the Obama store.  I certainly could shop at the Obama store and wouldn’t mind doing so, but what have Democrats offered Americans living abroad?  Nothing that I could find.  Yet, even if I could find something for Americans living abroad, the billing page only accepts the United States in the country dropdown.

—————————————————–

Crossposted at the Isaac Brock Society