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NZ Govt May Gut Privacy Laws For US Citizens and Ex-Pats

timothy posted about 2 months ago | from the oh-you-didn't-buy-the-premium-package? dept.

Government 134

Master Moose writes with an excerpt from stuff.co.nz indicating that New Zealand's government "wants to override privacy laws to supply the U.S. Government with private details about Americans living in New Zealand. As part of a global tax-dodging crackdown, the U.S. is forcing banks and other financial institutions to hand over the private financial details of U.S. 'persons' and companies based overseas. From July this year, Kiwi banks and insurers will be required to provide U.S. tax authorities with American customers' contact details, bank account numbers and transaction history. The move comes amid continuing criticism of New Zealand's participation in Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement talks, aimed at securing a wider-reaching free trade deal with the U.S. and other countries. Critics say the secretive talks could restrict New Zealand's ability to make its own laws on everything from the environment to employment."

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134 comments

ask the ordinary citizen end user (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46149385)

they should know http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=nz%20privacy%20laws&sm=12

If I am overseas as an American... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46149387)

And I make shitty third world wage, do I still get all the benefits of being part of U.S. Tax system... like food stamps, earned income credits and the like? Anything less sounds like a fuckin` scam. (OK OK I understands some feel it is all a scam)

Captcha: Idealism....

Re:If I am overseas as an American... (3, Insightful)

SirGarlon (845873) | about 2 months ago | (#46149449)

If you want to renounce the obligations of citizenship, you must also renounce the benefits of citizenship and officially naturalize as a citizen of another country. Seems fair to me.

Re:If I am overseas as an American... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46149469)

What if you're keeping your American citizenship because you're only staying a couple years? Do you get the benefits then?

Re:If I am overseas as an American... (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | about 2 months ago | (#46149701)

You'd have to ask the consulate to be sure, but I would be surprised if you'd be denied the same tax breaks residents can get. There are probably some things you can't get if you live overseas, but then, you also benefit a whole lot more from that consulate (for example) than you would if you had stayed in the US.

Re:If I am overseas as an American... (5, Insightful)

gnasher719 (869701) | about 2 months ago | (#46149565)

If you want to renounce the obligations of citizenship, you must also renounce the benefits of citizenship and officially naturalize as a citizen of another country. Seems fair to me.

Most countries distinguish clearly between being a citizen and a resident. And usually the only thing you can't do as a non-citizen resident is voting or standing in general elections, or sometimes things like joining the army or police force. Everything else, there should be little difference.

It seems that the USA has this weird interpretation that US citizens should have all the legal obligations that US residents should have, even if they are not US residents anymore, including obligations that US residents that are not citizens.

Re:If I am overseas as an American... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46149691)

The US demands power over its citizens residing overseas that no other country in the world demands, and it uses its political and economic clout to get those countries to help them remind US Citizens overseas that the right to be a citizen includes the right to be charged for felony clerical error.

Re:If I am overseas as an American... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46150177)

that the right to be a citizen includes the right to be charged for felony kiddy fiddling

FTFY. Watch that slope, it's a little slick.

Re:If I am overseas as an American... (2)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 2 months ago | (#46149879)

So the goal was to catch US residents who were claiming they weren't in order to dodge taxes, and it ended up affecting US citizens who AREN'T residents?

Kind of makes it hard to blame the tax dodgers. I would prefer my tax dollars not go to an organization as counterproductive as the US government too.

Re:If I am overseas as an American... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46149901)

Well ppl should google "32 trillion offshore needs IRS attention"

The real fat cats have stashed more then the national debt in offshore havens.

I dont think the Warfare-Welfare state would spend the money much better,
but chasing down small timers is a sad joke when the real financial pirates
get off scott free for the most part.

Re:If I am overseas as an American... (1)

Stan92057 (737634) | about 2 months ago | (#46152131)

Don't ya think they are taking advantage of loopholes made by our government? I don't know im shit poor they live in a whole different tax level then I do lol.

Re:If I am overseas as an American... (0)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 months ago | (#46150165)

It seems that the USA has this weird interpretation that US citizens should have all the legal obligations that US residents should have, even if they are not US residents anymore, including obligations that US residents that are not citizens.

That's because most expats demand free entry into the USA whenever they feel like it, wave their US passport at border controls when they travel, run to the nearest US Embassy whenever there's trouble, etc.

You should renounce your US citizenship if you want them to stop asking for stuff in return for those privileges.

Re:If I am overseas as an American... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46150425)

How does that differ from the situation of expats from a country that does treat expatriate citizens as residents?

Re:If I am overseas as an American... (2)

Corbets (169101) | about 2 months ago | (#46150491)

Oh, how I miss self-righteous Americans. I'll renounce as soon as I have a new passport, thank you very much. In the meantime, perhaps you should consider why other countries don't charge their citizens, who also happily travel home once in while.

Re:If I am overseas as an American... (3, Interesting)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 months ago | (#46151113)

You should renounce your US citizenship if you want them to stop asking for stuff in return for those privileges.

For many people, this is not possible. The US government imposes a hefty renunciation tax [wikipedia.org] that can in some cases far exceed a citizen's annual income. If you don't have the money to pay the tax, you must remain a citizen.

Re:If I am overseas as an American... (2)

PRMan (959735) | about 2 months ago | (#46151947)

Since it is a percentage of your holdings, you should be able to pay the tax if you are, in fact, moving to another country and actually selling everything. If you are changing citizenship in name only and remaining in the US the whole year then, yes, you may have some issues. The law seems pretty carefully crafted to not harm those who are really going to obtain citizenship and live elsewhere and to only target rich guys who are playing games.

Do you have an example that would state otherwise? I'd be interested.

Re:If I am overseas as an American... (4, Informative)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about 2 months ago | (#46153397)

You misunderstand. You don't have to sell your assets or anything; they tax you on what you have as if you have sold it right then and there, even without you actually doing so. They could very well be taxing you on money that you don't even have. Suppose you owned a house in France that was worth $500,000 at the time you expatriated (not even necessarily have it paid off, just had a loan on it and *technically* it was yours) that's about $150,000 you now owe the IRS. Don't have the cash to pay that off? Then you must sell something quick, because if you don't pay it off right away then the US will have you extradited and sent to prison, because that law assumes that if you have X amount of assets and renounce your citizenship, then you did it for the purpose of evading taxes.

They quite literally tax you for money or even income that you may not even have. Furthermore, you're also subject to US taxation for a full TEN YEARS after you've renounced your citizenship.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E... [wikipedia.org]

Re:If I am overseas as an American... (4, Interesting)

smutt (35184) | about 2 months ago | (#46150471)

The United States and Eritrea are the only two countries in the world that require their non-resident citizens to file tax returns.

Re:If I am overseas as an American... (1)

pspahn (1175617) | about 2 months ago | (#46149767)

So does that mean if someone lives for six months in the US, and six months in NZ, they can officially become stateless?

Sign me up!

Re:If I am overseas as an American... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46150071)

And then what country's passport are you going to use to gain entry for the next 6 months?

Re:If I am overseas as an American... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46149827)

His point is that America continues to tax expats, but social services end once you are not a resident for the most part. Overseas residence makes you inelgible for almost every kind of welfare.

Western European countries and Canada also cut off social services for expats, but also does not tax them on income when outside the country.

Re:If I am overseas as an American... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46150963)

As someone who has "been there and done that" I can tell you Canada attempts to do this. You need to remain outside for at least 3 years. Prior to that they will send you all sorts of forms to see how close your ties are and charge you a "top up tax" if they deem you to be "too close".

Re:If I am overseas as an American... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46150359)

If you want to renounce the obligations of citizenship, you must also renounce the benefits of citizenship and officially naturalize as a citizen of another country. Seems fair to me.

Taxation is not an obligation of citizenship, it's an obligation of the consumption of government services. If you don't live in a country, you don't need the services of its government - you don't drive on its roads, you're not protected by its police, fire departments, etc. Civilized countries tax based on residency or source of income, not citizenship, and seem to have no trouble providing their citizens with embassies, consular services, and passports. Why not US?

The United States stands alongside the the shining example of Eritrea [hodgen.com], (and even friggin' Eritrea only wants 2% [theglobeandmail.com]) by taxing its citizens regardless of where they live.

Suppose every nation taxed based on citizenship instead of residency. Every bank on the planet would be responsible for vetting the citizenship of every customer, and keeping up with the taxation data reporting requirements of 190 sovereign nations. It doesn't scale, it costs more to enforce than it collects, and it invokes a huge negative externality by placing the burden of compliance on banks (with costs passed through to all of their clients) that may not even have international branches.

Civilized nations tax based on residency, not citizenship.

Re:If I am overseas as an American... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46151047)

devil's advocate, citizens *are* "served" by the military (force projection, or threat thereof), consulates/embassies, etc, even while not resident. you're right that at least the clerical services are probably not terribly expensive on a per-expat basis, relative to the traveling citizenry that are residents. but...

Re:If I am overseas as an American... (4, Informative)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about 2 months ago | (#46149789)

This isn't about expats living/earning wages overseas, it's about Americans using overseas bank accounts to hide income that they earned in the US, in order to avoid paying taxes on that.

It's causing a lot of upset here in Canada, too, because of our privacy laws, and because the Americans are refusing to give us a reciprocal agreement for Canadians in the US. (on the grounds that they don't enforce foreign laws).

Re:If I am overseas as an American... (3, Interesting)

gnasher719 (869701) | about 2 months ago | (#46149847)

This isn't about expats living/earning wages overseas, it's about Americans using overseas bank accounts to hide income that they earned in the US, in order to avoid paying taxes on that.

It's causing a lot of upset here in Canada, too, because of our privacy laws, and because the Americans are refusing to give us a reciprocal agreement for Canadians in the US. (on the grounds that they don't enforce foreign laws).

In one country where I know how the tax office does it, if they can't get the numbers from you then they estimate. If they can't get the numbers from you in the next year, then obviously the estimate was too low so they estimate a lot higher. On the other hand, they don't tax foreign income. They only add it into the equation for calculating the tax rate for your local income.

Re:If I am overseas as an American... (1)

Corbets (169101) | about 2 months ago | (#46150551)

This isn't about expats living/earning wages overseas, it's about Americans using overseas bank accounts to hide income that they earned in the US, in order to avoid paying taxes on that.

That might be the way they sell it on that side of the pond, but the fact of the matter is that US citizens living abroad are still required to file, and (generally, if they live in a low-tax country) pay, US taxes. If I in Switzerland earn an income based entirely within the borders of Switzerland, the US still wants a cut, and the law is designed to catch such foreign residents in addition to US residents.

Re:If I am overseas as an American... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46151557)

This isn't about expats living/earning wages overseas, it's about Americans using overseas bank accounts to hide income that they earned in the US, in order to avoid paying taxes on that.

That might be the way they sell it on that side of the pond, but the fact of the matter is that US citizens living abroad are still required to file, and (generally, if they live in a low-tax country) pay, US taxes. If I in Switzerland earn an income based entirely within the borders of Switzerland, the US still wants a cut, and the law is designed to catch such foreign residents in addition to US residents.

You can deduct taxes you pay to the Swiss. Given the outcry against "communist European taxes" that should eliminate your US tax burden. Unless you're doing shell games of course.

Re:If I am overseas as an American... (3, Insightful)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about 2 months ago | (#46151669)

That might be the way they sell it on that side of the pond, but the fact of the matter is that US citizens living abroad are still required to file, and (generally, if they live in a low-tax country) pay, US taxes. If I in Switzerland earn an income based entirely within the borders of Switzerland, the US still wants a cut, and the law is designed to catch such foreign residents in addition to US residents.

And if you're in Switzerland, earning an income in Switzerland, maintaining residence in Switzerland, and paying taxes in Switzerland, on what grounds do the Americans have *any* right to lay claim to your income? Taxes are meant to pay for a government infrastructure and services, and if you're living in Switzerland, you're not actually using any of those services -- at least, none of the ones that aren't paid for with user fees. They have user fees for passport/diplomatic services, which are the only actual government services I could see such a person taking advantage of....

Re:If I am overseas as an American... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46150633)

Canadian banks should grow some balls and refuse to maintain accounts for US citizens, just like many many other countries have started to do.

Re:If I am overseas as an American... (1)

PRMan (959735) | about 2 months ago | (#46151971)

Then your answer should be that you don't enforce foreign laws either. And you should stick to your guns until they change their duplicitous tune.

Re:If I am overseas as an American... (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about 2 months ago | (#46152881)

Unfortunately, it's not that simple.... some of our banks are publicly traded on the American stock exchanges, for example. If our banks want to continue doing business in the US, then they have to adhere to American laws.

We also have a two-faced weasel for a prime minister, a man whose idea of "fiscal transparency" was putting a see-through window in the new money when they redesigned it a couple of years ago. And unfortunately, due to voter apathy, the fucker actually got a majority government too (seriously, only 25% of eligible voters actually voted for him). Because of these factors, it's unlikely our government will show any teeth at all over this one.

Re:If I am overseas as an American... (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | about 2 months ago | (#46153769)

It might not be "about" expats, but it hurts them. I know - my wife is a dual Australian and American citizen. She hasn't set foot on US soil in a decade but still has to declare her worldwide (i.e. Australian) income every year and file her US tax return. Not only that, she has to report the details and balances of all her bank accounts, every year. And because some of those accounts are jointly held with me (a non-US citizen), then guess what, the US has my details as well.

Now with FATCA coming in (http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Corporations/Foreign-Account-Tax-Compliance-Act-(FATCA)), the IRS is requiring foreign banks to determine which of their account holders may be American, and provide access to a record of transactions/balances for those accounts directly to the US! Needless to say, many banks are refusing to do this, either because it's administratively difficult (how are you going to figure out who is and isn't American unless you mass mail every single customer?) or because it breaches privacy laws in the relevant country. So many banks are simply refusing to deal with American customers and are requiring them to close their accounts.

No wonder record numbers of expats are renouncing their citizenship in recent years (~500 per month, last I heard). The whole concept of taxing non-resident citizens on worldwide income is ridiculous in the first place, and now these new laws just make it intolerable. It's not about us trying to avoid taxes - we pay our fair share and are not wealthy people. It's the administrative burden. Having to file so many extra returns, forms, etc, every single year, to a country you aren't resident in...

Re:Tea Party FTW (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46150153)

It is a scam I have never had food stamps and they should cut cut it all let them have cake...!

OK (4, Informative)

koan (80826) | about 2 months ago | (#46149433)

On 23 May 2012, United States Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced S. 3225, proposed legislation that would require the Office of the United States Trade Representative to disclose its TPP documents to all members of Congress.[77] Wyden said the bill clarifies the intent of the 2002 legislation which was supposed to increase Congressional access to information about USTR activity, but which, according to Wyden, is being incorrectly interpreted by the USTR as justification to excessively limit such access.[78] Wyden asserted:
“ The majority of Congress is being kept in the dark as to the substance of the TPP negotiations, while representatives of U.S. corporations—like Halliburton, Chevron, PHRMA, Comcast, and the Motion Picture Association of America—are being consulted and made privy to details of the agreement. [...] More than two months after receiving the proper security credentials, my staff is still barred from viewing the details of the proposals that USTR is advancing. We hear that the process by which TPP is being negotiated has been a model of transparency. I disagree with that statement.[78]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T... [wikipedia.org]

Re:OK (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46149713)

The same thing is happening now in the negotiations with the EU. I wouldn't be surprised if the congressmen don't get any information either, at least over here in europe everything is strictly confidential, and if it weren't for protests and leaks we wouldn't know anything.

Re:OK (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 2 months ago | (#46149919)

I thought the EU already did this? I'm sure I've seen complaints from Americans in Europe that they can't open a bank account because the bank don't want the hassle of reporting crap to the US government.

Re:OK (4, Insightful)

New Breeze (31019) | about 2 months ago | (#46150195)

They do. That the US is spreading their net wider and wider is troubling. How much longer before the more middle of the road ex-pat countries get roped into this. Say Mexico, Belize or Costa Rica? Right now our retirees are welcomed down there, but I wonder if that will be the case if this happens.

Basically it's becoming more and more evident that US citizens are being viewed as property by the government. And they want a piece of everything that property makes, no matter where it is.

Re:OK (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46150393)

"no matter where it is*"

*not applicable in Bahamas, Jersey, Isle Of Man, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Netherlands Antilles, Panama, Andorra, Cyprus,Liechtenstein,Luxembourg,Monaco,Samoa,San Marino,Seychelles, Turks & Caicos, Delaware

Re:OK (2)

operagost (62405) | about 2 months ago | (#46150423)

The best answer is to abolish the income tax. Just that one. I'm not some wacky anarchist-- the income tax keeps everyone in chains. Even if we just made one tax bracket for the "rich", everyone has to report their income and that is where the power lies.

Record numbers of people renounce their US citizenship every year, and this is the reason why.

Re:OK (1)

jratcliffe (208809) | about 2 months ago | (#46150665)

Record numbers of people renounce their US citizenship every year, and this is the reason why.

The numbers may be records, but they're still tiny. In the first half of 2013, it was 1810 people. On an annualized basis, that's 0.001%.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R... [wikipedia.org]

Re:OK (2)

tomtomtom (580791) | about 2 months ago | (#46150849)

This is apparently an issue particularly in Switzerland where the local banks now won't touch anyone who is even married to a US citizen (even if they are not themselves a US citizen). Many banks and other financial institutions have also closed the existing accounts of US citizens at very short notice and as a consequence US citizens are now excluded from a large part of the financial services market in that country.

Even if you agree with the concept of "global taxation" of foreign resident citizens, FATCA in particular seems to have been pretty counterproductive. Those who are truly evading US taxes and have dual citizenship could presumably bank with one of the local banks who don't share any information and declare themselves not a US citizen (using their second country passport as "proof"). Meanwhile those who play by the rules get stuck with access to at best a limited banking market which will presumably charge them heavily for the privilege of dealing with them.

Re:OK (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46151161)

Meanwhile those who play by the rules get stuck with access to at best a limited banking market which will presumably charge them heavily for the privilege of dealing with them.
So, they get "red-lined" by non-US banks outside of the US. I'm not seeing anything beyond superficially "wrong" here, in the global tit-for-tat sense of things.

Also, you should have made it "those who have to play by the rules"...

In Roman Times (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46149483)

Back when the Roman Empire was THE power, you could cross the Danube into "barbarian lands" or exercise other options for getting away from punishing taxes and oppressive laws of the late Empire. In the American-dominated world, you are rapidly running out of those kinds of options.

Re:In Roman Times (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46149593)

This I believe is the reason that initially initially the federal government taxed the state and the state taxed the people, but with the 16th and 17th amendment the state could no longer act as a barrier between the citizen and the federal government, and it was stripped of it's power to check the growth of the federal government. Now the feds intrude directly into our lives through the IRS and many many other questionable programs.

However, I also agree we have an obligation to pay taxes, the cost of citizenship, and avoiding taxes for anything shy of bankruptcy is bad. That doesn't mean I'm happy with the way the tax dollars are spent.

Re:In Roman Times (2)

swb (14022) | about 2 months ago | (#46149629)

Well, feel free to cross into barbarian lands of Russia, North Korea, various parts of Africa, etc.

You won't pay tribute to the US, but you will still pay tribute, just as you would have paid tribute to the barbarians if they didn't just slaughter you outright.

Re:In Roman Times (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46149747)

Flag-waving morons like you can't accept that maybe America is not acting like the beacon of freedom and liberty that it used to be. There's going to be a day when it is more repressive than any other nation on earth and that day is getting closer and closer, if not already here. Highest rate of incarceration in the world, average person commits multiple crimes a day without realizing it, a militarized police, one of only two nations in the world that claims the right to tax profits made abroad, massive electronic surveillance of everything, no more habeus corpus...do I need to go on? After WW2, the Germans were interviewed about how they felt living under Hitler. Most of them answered that they thought they were free.

Re:In Roman Times (1)

swb (14022) | about 2 months ago | (#46150279)

Blinded by your outrage at the US, you fail to understand that I'm not defending the constant meddling and overreach of the US government.

I'm merely pointing out that it's no picnic in any place you might decide to 'escape' the US government. Do you think that Putin does not demand tribute and fealty? Perhaps the experience of Mr. Khodorkovsky might be illuminating.

Re:In Roman Times (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46151213)

Unfortunately, for most of those things, the US is just coming up to the global status quo (Russia, China). INGSOC's foundation has been established in the UK. The US just needs to become AMERSOC or INGSOCAM (or GoogleFace), the US franchise of INGSOC. If there is any argument left, it's whether the nexus of consolidation is in the US or UK.

Re:In Roman Times (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 2 months ago | (#46151169)

You can still avoid US taxes by moving to another country, renouncing your US citizenship, and not returning to the USA (border controls are even more annoying for former US citizens than for those of us who have never been US citizens, and that's saying something).

Re:In Roman Times (1)

PRMan (959735) | about 2 months ago | (#46152269)

According to the law, you can return for up to 30 days every year. I don't know how hard the border police will make it on you though.

Cannot disagree (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46149527)

There's no tax dodger like a USA tax dodger.

Re:Cannot disagree (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46149779)

Of course not.. Most western people seem quite willing to supplicate and I find it bizarre. After busting your asses for your paychecks, why are you so willing to hand over so much of it to the state? Some tax is ok, but 30-40-50% or more, plus sales and property taxes are crazy.

If I'm not living in the USA, and I hold no property there, there's no reason I should have to pay any tax, citizen or not. This IS a moneygrab, and frankly I'm getting tired of congress' out of control spending. They need to work with a budget just like everyone else. They're like a crop of 16 yo kim kardashians with daddy's credit card.

Re:Cannot disagree (1)

dskoll (99328) | about 2 months ago | (#46150697)

After busting your asses for your paychecks, why are you so willing to hand over so much of it to the state?

I live in Canada and I'm quite happy to pay taxes. That's because I get services in return, including free medical care, which is huge. There are some things that simply can't be done effectively by the private sector (education, road maintenance, defense, health care) and I'm very happy to pay the government to do those things. After all, the government is run by elected officials who (at least in my opinion, and at least in Canada) are certainly more accountable to the public than CEOs of private corporations.

I would certainly not be happy to pay taxes to a country I don't live in and that doesn't offer me any useful services in return for my taxes.

Re:Cannot disagree (2)

kbolino (920292) | about 2 months ago | (#46151589)

I'm quite happy to pay taxes ... because I get ... free medical care ....

Nothing is free, not least of all when you are obviously paying for it.

There are some things that simply can't be done effectively by the private sector (education, road maintenance, defense, health care)

Assertion without evidence. Correlation is not causation.

I'm very happy to pay the government to do those things

And I'm not. But do I get a choice in the matter?

After all, the government is run by elected officials who (at least in my opinion, and at least in Canada) are certainly more accountable to the public than CEOs of private corporations.

If I don't like the way a business operates, I stop buying its products, and it ceases to affect me. If I don't like the way the government operates, I have to continue paying taxes to it anyway.

What little say I get in the government, a single vote on occasion, is always discarded in favor of the majority opinion. It is not accountable to me at all.

Standard operating procedure in Canada (1)

xtal (49134) | about 2 months ago | (#46149569)

Re:Standard operating procedure in Canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46149821)

I'm not sure entirely what you're trying to say here, but if it's that Canada is already sharing banking data with the U.S. you might want to read your article again.

Re:Standard operating procedure in Canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46150409)

Well...i guess technically it only becomes enforceable on July 1st of this year...but essentially the point the original post/atricle is correct. We will indeed be doing this very soon. It is old news in the sense that we've known it was coming for a while.

US Acts of War (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46149589)

"From July this year, Kiwi banks and insurers will be required to provide U.S. tax authorities with American customers' contact details, bank account numbers and transaction history. "

Bullshit. The US can pass as many laws it wants, and no matter how much it whines and cries about it, Banks in New Zealand cannot be compelled to comply, because US Law is not the Supreme Law of the Universe. It only applies within the borders of the United States.

Any attempt to impose laws on another sovereign nation is an overt Act of War.

Re:US Acts of War (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46149671)

Nah, it's called a treaty, and if you don't like the people in your government who signed it then you should vote them out of office in favor of someone who will nullify that treaty.

Alternatively you could revolt. That seems to be working well in the middle east.

Re:US Acts of War (2)

sunderland56 (621843) | about 2 months ago | (#46150331)

Bullshit. The US can pass as many laws it wants, and no matter how much it whines and cries about it, Banks in New Zealand cannot be compelled to comply

+1 insightful. I'm sure all the banks in China are completely ignoring any such stupid US mandate.

Re:US Acts of War (2)

dskoll (99328) | about 2 months ago | (#46150573)

Banks in New Zealand cannot be compelled to comply

Sure, except that non-compliant banks face a 30% tax on every single transaction in and out of the US. The US government could probably even prohibit US banks from dealing with non-compliant banks, which is the kiss of death.

Legally and morally, the US cannot compel foreign banks to obey US laws. But practically speaking, it can.

Re:US Acts of War (1)

davydagger (2566757) | about 2 months ago | (#46150653)

you should ask kim dotcom about that one.

or about a certain South American president who's plane got searched.

Or the raid that got Osama

the USA has let it be known that their jurisdiction is world wide when they want it to be. The united states routinely commits what would be "acts of war"

Speaking as an American (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46149711)

As an American that has traveled and lived abroad, I can state with some authority that it is often quite nice to be an American when traveling. (This was pre-2K, so there are, ahem, some differences now.) When living abroad I paid my local and home country taxes. It wasn't that difficult. It was very nice, to be honest. As an American, you get a big fat deductible for your tax returns. And the local taxes weren't that bad either.

That said, the intrusiveness and 'do as I say, not as I do' attitude of the US of A is pretty disgusting. The New Zealand government should tell the US to shear sheep, or whatever is Kiwi for 'go fuck yourself'.

They do it with nukes. Use that as a precedent. Seriously.

Consider this... (2)

New Breeze (31019) | about 2 months ago | (#46149733)

One of the reasons companies move overseas is to avoid US taxes on anything they don't bring back to the US, why should actual citizens be any different?

I decide to move to NZ in my retirement. After a lifetime of working sitting on the porch and watching life go by isn't for me so I start or buy a local business. I hire local employees and pay all the required taxes in NZ for the income made there. I pay US taxes on my retirement income derived from US accounts. Why if I'm not sending money back to the US for deposit (which would have to be reported) does the US need to know anything about income derived from the NZ business?

Re:Consider this... (2)

epyT-R (613989) | about 2 months ago | (#46149795)

Because the elite there want a piece of your action.

Re:Consider this... (2)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 months ago | (#46150079)

Government is voracious. If a budget is balanced, elected officials quickly unbalance it to buy more votes. The "local maximum" in the political landscape is to run a permanent deficit because you gain more votes that way than with a balanced budget.

It takes an unexpected windfall like the Internet boom to briefly balance the budget. But have no fear! Congress quickly rises to the occasion!

Re:Consider this... (1)

New Breeze (31019) | about 2 months ago | (#46150095)

Well yes, but by what stretch of the imagination do people believe this money grab is right? I see multiple posters agreeing with it. For the tax jurisdiction the business is in anyone can see the point, you're operating a business there like anyone else.

I'm at the age where retirement is in sight and have spent a lot of years bitching about US taxes. I've definitely considered moving somewhere that won't take 50+ cents of every dollar I earn, the thought of owning a beach bar in a tropical location not that many years from now is getting me through this winter.

Re:Consider this... (2)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 months ago | (#46150045)

All you need to do is renounce your US citizenship and become a Kiwi. Job done.

This treaty is for people who want to have their cake and eat it.

Re:Consider this... (2)

wumbler (3428467) | about 2 months ago | (#46150611)

This treaty is for people who want to have their cake and eat it.

This has NOTHING to do with "having the cake and eating it", as you said in in your boundless ignorance.

Ordinary US citizens who happen to be living in other countries, like NZ. They don't ask anything of the US, they don't have accounts there, they earn an honest living in their adopted country. No "Fat Cats", no tax cheats, nothing sinister going on. Yet, contrary to almost all civilized countries in the world, the US demands those people to continue to report and file their taxes in the US, forces them to fill out very complex tax forms (much more complex than what you get to fill out when living in the US), slaps them with hefty fines for even the slightest errors in filling out those forms, strong-arms other countries in spying on those US citizens...

Educate yourself on the matter before declaring your cluelessness to the world.

Re:Consider this... (1)

gonzo67 (612392) | about 2 months ago | (#46151431)

So you want to keep having the privilege of maintaining the ability to come and go to the US, and do not wish to pay for that privilege?

As you need to earn 6 figures to worry about paying US taxes on your overseas income, this compaint is rather esoteric. ANd, if you wish to avoid US taxes on your overseas earnings, you can do as the one rich kid did to avoid taxes and renounce your US citizenship.

Re:Consider this... (1)

PrimaryConsult (1546585) | about 2 months ago | (#46152157)

You still need to fill out the forms to prove that you do not earn 6 figures and therefore should not be taxed. Your bank and employer still need to provide information to the U.S. government that they may not want to disclose (and thus it is easier for them to say "you can't bank here" or "you can't work here"). This continues *even after renouncing your citizenship*. The forms are both more complex than the domestic version, *and* you're in a country where 99.9% of tax preparers have no experience with them.

This creates the insanity where a U.S. law is causing citizens of the US who work in foreign countries to have greater difficulty than citizens of foreign countries working in the US have.

Re:Consider this... (2)

wumbler (3428467) | about 2 months ago | (#46152723)

So you want to keep having the privilege of maintaining the ability to come and go to the US, and do not wish to pay for that privilege?

Only crazy, totalitarian states would make you PAY "for the privilege" to return to your home country to which you still hold a passport. What world do you live in?

A free (!) country lets its citizens go and does not give them a hard time about it.

Freedom? Have you heard of it?

Re:Consider this... (1)

deadweight (681827) | about 2 months ago | (#46151705)

BS. If you are a US Citizen there are services available to you all over the world. If you REALLY want to be in NZ living like a New Zealander, paying NZ taxes, never voting in USA elections, and totally renouncing any benefit from the USA then do the simple thing and be a citizen there. Also note that unless things changed, your *first $90,000* of income are tax free if earned abroad. Not a bad chunk of change.

Re:Consider this... (1)

wumbler (3428467) | about 2 months ago | (#46152655)

Are you dense on purpose?

As many other posters already pointed out: It has nothing to do with paying more or less taxes. It has to do with (a) having complex and complictaded filing requirements, (b) risking heavy criminal fines for even the smallest mistakes, (c) being treated like a criminal even with no wrong doing, (d) suffering disadvantage for employement, banking, business opportunities because of this, (d) the US again appearing like an arrogant bully on the international stage.

You seem to think that people have to PAY for the right to return to their home country? Are you insane? What world do you live in? No normal, civilized country in the world does that, the US is the only one. It's the land of the free, right? Freedom should include the ability to come and go. Only totalitarian states will prevent their citizens from leaving, or - like in this case - give them a hard time because they chose to do so.

Re:Consider this... (1)

PRMan (959735) | about 2 months ago | (#46152317)

I don't think you CAN become a Kiwi very easily. They don't just take anyone who wants to live there, you know.

Re:Consider this... (1)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | about 2 months ago | (#46150455)

One of the reasons companies move overseas is to avoid US taxes on anything they don't bring back to the US, why should actual citizens be any different?

Come again? The differences are huge. Companies are hardly punished for avoiding taxes. In fact, tax offices make special deals with them. This means that somehow the law does not apply to multinationals. Maybe that is why they want to do a crackdown on individuals. Just to show that, despite evidence of the contrary, they seem to be fighting tax evasion.

Re:Consider this... (1)

jratcliffe (208809) | about 2 months ago | (#46150691)

Here's the thing - the IRS can, and should crack down on tax evasion (i.e. nonpayment of tax in violation of the law). It can't, however crack down on tax avoidance (the legal structuring of one's affairs to reduce tax owed). Multinationals are engaged in large-scale, and entirely legal, tax avoidance. We can work to change the law, thereby closing off the avenues of avoidance, but criticizing the IRS for not going after things like Apple's tax avoidance structures is like criticizing cops for not ticketing people going 65 for speeding because you think that the limit on that stretch of highway should be 55, not 65.

Re:Consider this... (1)

New Breeze (31019) | about 2 months ago | (#46153463)

My point was that companies are almost encouraged to move operations overseas to avoid taxes as you indicate, however the US now wants to involve the financial industry around the world in making sure that any "US Persons" report and pay taxes on any income earned from overseas business or investments.

My contention is that individuals should be treated the same as the multinationals.

Re:Consider this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46152153)

Hello mr. dolphin. You're being swept up in a dragnet not intended to catch you but caught you are. These battles between the goverment vs. some corp. is like Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla. Expect to be caught, crushed and vaporized while two behemoths dance over you bellowing in an epic struggle for supremacy.

Precedent (5, Insightful)

gmuslera (3436) | about 2 months ago | (#46149861)

New Zealand is playing the role of US puppy, as proved the Kim Dotcom house raid [torrentfreak.com], breaking their own laws [techdirt.com] in the process as anyway the priority was coming from outside.

You won't fix US attitude from outside, and if you really want to run, don't do it to one of its own colonies.

Re:Precedent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46151487)

Maybe they will make Kim Dotcom a US Citizen and then they can poke around in his bank accounts.

One World Government (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46149915)

Once all "Western" nations are bound together under the same all-encompassing treaties that override local law, guess what you'll end up with?

The New World Order, aka one world government. And votes will have no effect on these treaties, as such there will no longer be citizens only the Masters.

can't have it both ways (0)

stenvar (2789879) | about 2 months ago | (#46150247)

Progressives in the US want to "tax the rich" and don't want to let them get off the hook by moving abroad. This kind of worldwide tracking and enforcement is the inevitable consequence.

European nations just let their wealthy move abroad and don't tax them when they're living outside the country. They also don't count them in inequality statistics, which is one reason why European Gini indexes are so low. Maybe a good dose of this kind of European-style progressivism would do the US some good?

Re:can't have it both ways (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46150555)

European nations just let their wealthy move abroad and don't tax them when they're living outside the country.

Bwa ha ha!

Effects on all Americans overseas, not just NZ (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46150421)

I am an American living and working overseas for over half my life. My ties to the U.S. are almost none-existent. My use of U.S. goods and services is possibly even less than many foreigners around the World. Occasionally I might buy a U.S. made product, but that is even rare given the poor quality.

Here are the real effects, and this is just a short list I have time to type.

1. Assumption that all Americans overseas are criminals by definition, even if we did not owe any taxes. The IRS, by their own calculations, says the basic forms will take over 72 hours a year for an American Expat to prepare to properly report their taxes. Most expat tax experts, can not figure them out.

2. Foreign banks are closing or will refuse to open accounts for Americans. I know dozens of real cases already among friends. It is not just American citizens. It is anyone with a U.S. mail address, green card, or any payments transiting the United States to foreign banks. So, yes, many, many none Americans are caught up in this sweep of private information, the majority of which has nothing to do with tax money.

3. The country I live in also has banking secrecy and privacy laws, and as a full resident, it even goes further because in the country where I live it is a constitutional right extended to both residents and foreigners.

4. It also includes any company where an American might be a 10% owner or more, or might have signature authority over the company accounts or other assets. Just think what most international companies are going to do when making a choice between an American employee or CEO vs. a foreigner, as far as disclosing private company information to the U.S. government simply because they have an American working there.

5. It includes disclosing foreign none-citizen none-resident private information to the U.S. government that are family members of an American citizen abroad. For example, a wife or kids account, investments, or pretty much anywhere the American might (you have to prove the negative) have authority over the money . Partnerships of all forms, of all sorts of complexity, are also subject to it. Imagine as a foreigner entering in to a contract with an American citizen, and having to report to the U.S. IRS your private information and dealings. Guess what most foreigners will do from now on to avoid such problems.

6. This includes not only bank accounts, but investments, pensions, insurance policies, various types of contracts. I am not even sure how many insurance policies I have, let alone what would need to be reported. If you are a foreign insurance company, just think how happy they will be to issue a policy to an American client living overseas.

In short, I am forced to obtain citizenship in my country of residency, and give up my citizenship in the United States. It is either that, or say good-bye to my entire life work and return to the United States to starve at some bullshit minimum wage job (I own my own company outside the United States).

Forget the Berlin Wall, what they are building in the United States is far, far more dangerous.

Re:Effects on all Americans overseas, not just NZ (2)

New Breeze (31019) | about 2 months ago | (#46150735)

I am an American living and working overseas for over half my life. My ties to the U.S. are almost none-existent. My use of U.S. goods and services is possibly even less than many foreigners around the World. Occasionally I might buy a U.S. made product, but that is even rare given the poor quality.

Here are the real effects, and this is just a short list I have time to type.

1. Assumption that all Americans overseas are criminals by definition, even if we did not owe any taxes. The IRS, by their own calculations, says the basic forms will take over 72 hours a year for an American Expat to prepare to properly report their taxes. Most expat tax experts, can not figure them out.

2. Foreign banks are closing or will refuse to open accounts for Americans. I know dozens of real cases already among friends. It is not just American citizens. It is anyone with a U.S. mail address, green card, or any payments transiting the United States to foreign banks. So, yes, many, many none Americans are caught up in this sweep of private information, the majority of which has nothing to do with tax money.

3. The country I live in also has banking secrecy and privacy laws, and as a full resident, it even goes further because in the country where I live it is a constitutional right extended to both residents and foreigners.

4. It also includes any company where an American might be a 10% owner or more, or might have signature authority over the company accounts or other assets. Just think what most international companies are going to do when making a choice between an American employee or CEO vs. a foreigner, as far as disclosing private company information to the U.S. government simply because they have an American working there.

5. It includes disclosing foreign none-citizen none-resident private information to the U.S. government that are family members of an American citizen abroad. For example, a wife or kids account, investments, or pretty much anywhere the American might (you have to prove the negative) have authority over the money . Partnerships of all forms, of all sorts of complexity, are also subject to it. Imagine as a foreigner entering in to a contract with an American citizen, and having to report to the U.S. IRS your private information and dealings. Guess what most foreigners will do from now on to avoid such problems.

6. This includes not only bank accounts, but investments, pensions, insurance policies, various types of contracts. I am not even sure how many insurance policies I have, let alone what would need to be reported. If you are a foreign insurance company, just think how happy they will be to issue a policy to an American client living overseas.

In short, I am forced to obtain citizenship in my country of residency, and give up my citizenship in the United States. It is either that, or say good-bye to my entire life work and return to the United States to starve at some bullshit minimum wage job (I own my own company outside the United States).

Forget the Berlin Wall, what they are building in the United States is far, far more dangerous.

Spot on. Wish I had mod points for this.

Extraterritorial jurisdiction (2)

dskoll (99328) | about 2 months ago | (#46150541)

This is affecting Canada [theglobeandmail.com] as well, and according to one article, this may affect Canadian citizens [cfib-fcei.ca] as well even if they have never been US residents or citizens.

Could you imagine the uproar if (say) Iran threatened to trawl through US bank records for details on Iranian Americans? Totally disgusting. And yet the US can get away with it.

Re:Extraterritorial jurisdiction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46151287)

Well, there certainly is a non-zero number of Canadians who have worked in the US, and thus have earned (and then claim) some amount of US Social Security benefits, so they're probably open to these kinds of intrusions as well.

But, that being said, USians working in Canada get double-pumped, not only by the IRS, but by Canada's taxing authorities as well.

What do you suppose "US persons" means? (1)

FeatherBoa (469218) | about 2 months ago | (#46150617)

The critical issue here is that we don't know exactly what "US Person" means. Canada is in the throes of the same issue, with the US demanding access to banking records for any US Persons, and the scope of this is troubling.

US Persons includes US citizens, of course. But it includes folks who might be entitled to citizenship through birth or parentage, whether or not they are actual citizens. It would include anyone who has ever resided in the US. And the definition can be manipulated to mean whatever the US decides it to mean, down the road. It could eventually mean anyone who has visited the US or anyone who has a dollar-denominated bank account or basically anyone who they are interested in.

There is no burden of proof on the IRS to show that they are entitled to specific records. They can ask for anyone's records and claim "US Person" interest. Do you suppose they will not simply vacuum up everything?

And if there is any avenue for information to come to the US government, you know that the NSA will have it. And the DEA and all the rest.

Wouldn't it be simpler... (1)

JockTroll (996521) | about 2 months ago | (#46150821)

... To simply ban US citizens to travel or live there? Send any US citizen living in NZ home, unless they give up their citizenship? Put a sign reading "No Dogs or Americans allowed"? After all, the US is the guuhhhreaaaaatest nushon on earth! Why should anyone want to leave its borders?

Tax Dodgers? (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about 2 months ago | (#46151897)

Tax dodgers?
Wealthy enough to emigrate to New Zealand?
.
.
.
I'm okay with this!

Re:Tax Dodgers? (1)

wumbler (3428467) | about 2 months ago | (#46152435)

Are you implying that people living overseas are tax dodgers? How ignorant! They may be married to someone from that country, may have found work there, or may just like it more there than in the US. There are tons of reasons to be a resident of another country, which have nothing to do with dodging taxes.

Besides: In many cases, the taxes in other countries are higher than in the US. No dodging there.

Pity the green card holder (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46152363)

Have a mortgage aboard for you foreign home? That's currency speculation. If the exchange rate drops, that's taxed by the US at capital gains rates. Exchange rate rises? No, you can't deduct that from your taxes.

Go home you say? We'll if you've worked a day in America for each of the last 8 calendar years, that's a 30% exit tax please (on everything, including capital gains on foreign property). Any money in a 401k? Then pay the early withdrawal penalty as well (even if you are not withdrawing)

Double tax (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46153565)

This may have already been said - but I get the impression that people think this means that you're going to be taxed twice as an expat now.

Many countries already have double tax agreements so this doesn't happen, the US recognizes the tax you pay in a foreign country which offsets what you would've owed when you file in the USA. Lots of countries (NZ) have much higher income tax than that of the USA, so you end up paying no tax in the USA at all.

For example. You work and live in NZ. You earn $100k NZ (about $80k USD) per annum. In NZ you're going to pay 20-25% tax on that. You now file your taxes in America, the tax paid in NZ more than accounts for any tax you would have paid in America. You owe the IRS nothing.

This FATCA (as I understand it) is more about people holding money offshore and not declaring it, as opposed to trying to tax non-residents twice.

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