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Government Privacy United States Your Rights Online Politics

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

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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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @11:07AM (#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.

  • by gnasher719 ( 869701 ) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @11:21AM (#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.

  • by smutt ( 35184 ) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @12:16PM (#46150471)

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

  • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @01:18PM (#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 [] 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.

  • by lpq ( 583377 ) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @04:19PM (#46153921) Homepage Journal

    I thought about the idea of taking my SSI payout overseas in some 3rd world country where costs were 1/10th what they are in the US.

    I found this is not allowed. If you payed into "your" SS account all your life, and expected to be able to withdraw on it after retirement age -- you could only do so in the US. Apparently, if you move overseas to retire -- you forfeit rights to money you paid into the system (at least while living abroad).

    This is NOT about moving overseas and changing citizenship -- but is saying that US citizens can only receive US benefits if they remain in the US where SSI payouts qualify them for living under the US-poverty line.

    What's up w/that? Of course many of the same supporters of such inane policies are also against paying benefits to those who immigrate into the US. The SSI rules are setup to prevent payouts to people who might move here to retire -- even if they become citizens, because benefits are based on money you pay in. So how can they justify NOT paying who live outside the US who did work?

    If it wasn't the government doing it, it would be called fraud and theft...
    But in the US, such things as fraud and theft are merely standard policy and law.

The human mind ordinarily operates at only ten percent of its capacity -- the rest is overhead for the operating system.