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NZ Govt May Gut Privacy Laws For US Citizens and Ex-Pats 134

Posted by timothy
from the oh-you-didn't-buy-the-premium-package? dept.
Master Moose writes with an excerpt from 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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NZ Govt May Gut Privacy Laws For US Citizens and Ex-Pats

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  • OK (Score:4, Informative)

    by koan (80826) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @10:36AM (#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] []

  • by realityimpaired (1668397) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @11:15AM (#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).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @11:26AM (#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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @12:12PM (#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.

  • by AlphaWolf_HK (692722) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @03:41PM (#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. []

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