The gratuitous U.S. government grab for non-U.S. assets, and that’s a FACTA

FACTA cartoonI believe our birth right in the West is to be free. The money we earn and our personal information should be our own.  The place where I’ve found that our government thinks otherwise is at the bank.

I first noticed the erosion of our rights in the early 1990’s, when the NZ government wanted to link our IRD (tax) number with our bank accounts.  It was optional, but if you didn’t give the bank your IRD number, any interest earned on your bank account would be taxed at 33%.  When I told the bank teller that they couldn’t have my IRD number the teller said “It’s coming you know.  You can’t fight it.”  I replied, “Well if everyone in the country has this attitude, you will be right!”

She was right.  Within a year, our government, wholeheartedly following it’s money master’s neo-liberal economic doctrine, sold that NZ owned Post Bank to a foreign bank.  The bank in the shopping centre soon disappeared, along with her job, and bank fees averaging $28 per month were introduced.  The government also upgraded our tax legislation – granting the IRD scary powers, exempting it from our privacy laws.

So that was back then.  Today the IRD can just reach into our private bank accounts and take our money if we don’t pay.  I discovered that last year on one of their forms.

FACTA

FACTA Bank cartoonAnyway, fast forward from the early 1990’s to late 2014, when I was at the bank filling out a deposit slip; and I overheard a man opening a bank account at a nearby desk being asked if he was an American citizen.  Then I heard the bank staff member explain they have to ask the question because of “FACTA”, a new law.

That got my attention.  I am married to a man who is an American, even though he left the US as a child. When I got back to the office I told him about this new banking law.  When we looked up FACTA, we were horrified.

The US government regards anyone who has been born in the states as a taxable resource.  Citizenship Based Taxation, FATCA, is designed to serve as a capital control; Human Capital.  The US, along with Eritrea, does Citizenship Based Taxation.  Eritrea was recently condemned by the UN (Resolution 2023) for doing it.

Take the case of London’s Mayor, Boris Johnson.  He was born in the USA but returned to England with his parents at the age of 5.  The U.S. government forced him to pay the capital gains tax on the sale of his Islington home.  He has never lived in America, but that means nothing to the IRS. They are hunting everyone everywhere.

I was thinking through the ramifications of FACTA for us;
What happens when we want to save for our retirement?
What happens if we want to open a new bank account?
What happens if we sold my house that I bought and freeholded before I met my husband?  Would the IRS be alerted if the money went into our joint bank account?
What happens to my information?  I am a non-US citizen, and my personal data would be sent to the US with no privacy protections.
It doesn’t matter that we already pay taxes in NZ.  The only way around all of this is for our accounts to be separated.

The form that US tax subjects have to fill out is a FBAR form.  If you get any information wrong on the form the IRS can substitute penalties for taxes. I’m sure you get the drift.

We decided that if asked about my husband’s citizenship we’ll answer truthfully that he is a NZ citizen and let his US passport rot in a drawer.

If the letter from the US government does come, my husband said he would renounce his US citizenship.  I told him he would be better to “relinquish” it, in case he ever wants to visit the US.

noo_zealandWe were appalled at the privacy invasion.  New Zealand has agreed to hand over our bank account details to a foreign country!  Our privacy laws are useless, they haven’t been overhauled in years, and IRD with its massive powers abrogates them.  This signifies the unacceptable encroachment of the government into the lives of every citizen – both here and in the US.

More about this here:

A New Zealand government didn’t want the political fallout which would come from breaching our privacy legislation, so they used IRD, being immorally above that privacy legislation, as a backdoor for US to spy on its own citizens.  If they did this once, why won’t a future government find it convenient to use the Teflon IRD on other issues that might be a bit embarrassing politically? Answer: there’s nothing stopping any government doing this. It’s the premise of this blog that IRD and its huge powers, is where the rubber meets the road to our total serfdom. All the Left protesting against GCSB, NSA and PRISM, what’s the difference, again, please?
http://lifebehindtheirondrape.blogspot.co.nz/2014/04/fatca-nz-officials-report-crime-that.html


Just to add insult to injury – the cost of enforcing US tax laws should be borne by the USA and FATCA, but the cost has been passed on to our spineless NZ government.

FATCA_Uncle_SamThe US government treats its citizens like a bankrupt bully with a gambling addiction.  It’s got it’s children, and their children’s children into debt; and now it’s raiding their piggy banks.  This is what it looks like when the financial elite get control.  My advice is protect your wealth and your assets from them.


There are more links to articles about FACTA here:

http://www.businessinsider.com/some-americans-abroad-are-renouncing-their-citizenship-to-avoid-the-irs-2015-3

http://lifebehindtheirondrape.blogspot.co.nz/2014/04/fatca-nz-officials-report-crime-that.html

http://www.interest.co.nz/news/55283/government-not-necessarily-position-influence-us-fatca-revenue-minister-peter-dunne-says

http://armstrongeconomics.com/2014/12/01/usa-is-it-time-to-turn-off-the-lights/
http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/242396/new-bank-law-raises-privacy-fears
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20131002/news/news4.html
http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21605907-americas-new-law-tax-compliance-heavy-handed-inequitable-and-hypocritical-fatcas-flaws/comments?page=3

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8 comments

  1. I had absolutely no idea this happened. I’m waiting for the day that there is an implosion in the global financial arena – it will happen, just not sure when.

    1. Hi Fee, yes we’re waiting for it too. This whole thing has been caused by unchecked, unbridled greed. But who pay? The banks, corporations and neo-liberal governments who caused this? Unlikely! God bless, Jo

  2. Wikipedia says FATCA, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, costs NZ govt $20 mil, banks an additional $100 mil to implement. Changes needed to databases, compliance officers, requirements to forward info on US persons to IRD, then to US IRS. This required changes to NZ privacy and Human Rights Acts. Cost to everyone in NZ – $21. Cost to hunt down each tainted US person – $4,800. A ‘US person’ is defined as someone born in US, child of US citizen, green card holder unless they officially relinquished card, even people who have lived too long in States. Why the hunt? US taxes its citizens on income no matter where they live. Usually no taxes owing, unless wealthy, BUT penalties for not filing annual report listing all your bank accounts and balances are high. DO NOT start filing if you can avoid it, best to stay under radar also if you are an Accidental American, (parent is US citizen but born abroad). Canadians are ahead on this maplesandbox.ca, IsaacBrock society.ca

  3. Maybe you ladies need to change to digital currency like as in Bitcoin (BTC), your the banker, your own bank, trade in BTC, by at least 2020, it will be a cashless society..IRD cant touch us and never will even of they tried…the secrecy behind BTC is the blockchain..

    1. Hi Henare,
      Thanks for your suggestion. Not sure how easy it would be for us as an IT business to trade in Bitcoin. At the moment we’re just paying our tax to IRD when required. My husband doesn’t have a US Social Security Number so Uncle Sam can’t make him pay or file US tax returns anyway. The main worry at the moment is IRD’s plans for NZ tax payers.
      http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/67546457/tax-changes-to-affect-everyone
      Quote, “A new computer system will let Inland Revenue get more of a “real time” view of the income people and businesses receive and the tax they pay.”
      Another quote, People’s privacy would need to be considered as more organisations would have information about people’s tax bands, but McClay said that might just be a case of a “computer talking to a computer”.”
      Our accountant pointed out that most small businesses would sooner trade in cash than have IRD linked to them through MYOB or Xero.
      So it would be awful if NZ went cashless and we had the IRD plugged into our online accounts package.
      Not going to happen because our accounts are kept in-house, not in the cloud 🙂
      All the best, Jo

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