Thursday, September 18, 2014

Would you sign this document?


I (mostly) avoid speaking or writing much of anything political in my blogs – saving it rather for Facebook. However, as the French would say, “It lies heavy on my heart” today. Yes, after over 40 years my main language of communication is French and sometimes I have to look for an equivalent English word or phrase.
 
Anyway, anyone not willing to read about FACTA or what is happening to Americans who live overseas – for whatever reason (marriage; born in the USA to foreign parents who returned to their home; those sent by their companies; those who simply ended up living there) – don’t bother to continue.



I received the following document today requesting my signature.

Take a good look at it.





Now think about it – would you sign a document for your bank giving away any and all rights to protection under the law of the country in which you live?  Realize, please, that Americans living in the USA are not required to sign anything of the sort, nor are they even liable to file the amounts they hold in their bank accounts: they simply file interest if it is above $10.00 (which leads to another set of problems for me as mine never have that much so I don’t get a bank statement and here I am required to stipulate all income earned, regardless of amount as well as the balance at the end of the year – again something no American bank will supply).



Simply don’t sign it, you say: if one doesn’t, one receives a polite letter telling one to let them know where to transfer your account as your relationship with XXX bank has been terminated.



This is what FACTA (The Wikepedia explanation is simple enough to understand: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_Account_Tax_Compliance_Act) has accomplished.

We now live not only in fear of forgetting something minor on our tax declarations to the IRS, (I do pay an IRS authorized agent approx. $3’000/year to do my tax declaration) but also that we will no longer be able to function in the country in which we live, at least financially: I have yet to see the person in today’s world who manages without a mortgage, a credit card or bank account at all – oh yes, some of the third world countries.



Why should I be penalized simply because I was taught to work hard, save hard, lay something by for my retirement years? I can no longer make any provisions for my latter years, I can no longer make investments improving my financial situation, all these simply because I am stupid enough to have maintained my USA citizenship?



Never mind that my children, should I die suddenly, will lose a great deal of what their father, a German citizen, earned and invested in Switzerland – the country where he spent his entire adult life and where he passed away. Had I preceded him in death, they would have inherited the entire amount without deductions – only the USA holds its citizens hostage to taxes regardless of where they live and work.









The ACA (American Citizen Abroad) has been very active in bringing the problems that overseas Americans are having due to  FACTA to legislators and committees in the USA  as well as presenting and pleading for a Residence based tax (RBT).

Many articles are to be found on their “News and Events” page http://americansabroad.org/news-and-events/media-articles/



The more of us make known our ongoing problems due to FACTA, the more strength we gain to make our voices heard. 

Tomorrow I will go back to being my usual amiable self - today I am enraged by the injustice of it all.
And I ask you again, would you sign this document?