Beyond the hyperbole

February 6th, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reported:

The Government wants to override privacy laws to supply the US Government with private details about Americans living in New Zealand.

As part of a global tax-dodging crackdown, the US is forcing and other financial institutions to hand over the private financial details of US “persons” and companies based overseas.

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

The move is already deeply unpopular among banks and expat Americans overseas, some of whom have accused the US of “fiscal imperialism”.

In New Zealand, it has left banks stuck between defying the US and breaking domestic privacy laws that protect all New Zealand residents, including Americans.

But now the Government is stepping in with plans to “override” privacy laws to help banks meet the US demands and reduce costs.

And who is complaining about this:

Council of Trade Unions economist Bill Rosenberg said the US’s tax reporting requirements were another example of US interests dictating New Zealand law.

“There is clearly a breach of privacy here.”

It’s amusing to have the defend the rights of US tax evaders. They are the ones that are affected by this. The next time the goes on about people not paying enough tax, we should recall their support for US citizens to be able to evade tax through NZ banks.

A banking source e-mails:

The first thing to point out is that the only people with something to worry about with FATCA are American tax evaders…not the people you’d normally think the CTU would worry about. The actual number of people affected in NZ will be very, very small. If you’re a New Zealander you’ve got nothing to worry about, if you’re an American and you’ve met you tax obligations you’ve got nothing to worry about.

Secondly, it’s not as though the NZ Govt is an outlier in taking these steps. In fact as this site shows http://fatca.thomsonreuters.com/about-fatca/intergovernmental-agreement/ virtually every developed nation is in the process of taking similar steps. The brutal reality is that if NZ does not meet our FATCA obligations the U.S will put us on black list and whack a 30% odd withholding tax on any US transactions by NZ financial institutions – this will cost all NZers. This is why NZ and pretty much every other developed country is meeting its FATCA obligations.

In fact the Government has actively pushed back to protect NZers privacy as much as possible – the Bill is drafted so as to ensure that only bare minimum of data required to meet our FATCA obligations is passed over.

End story is that no one really wants to be doing this but just as in Australia, the UK, Norway, Spain, South Africa, Brazil, Switzerland, Thailand, Russia etc etc we have no choice. 

The CTU standing up for the rights of Americans to evade tax. What champions they are.

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42 Responses to “Beyond the hyperbole”

  1. Cactus Kate (551 comments) says:

    I’ve been working on the CTU for years to become advocates for the offshore trust industry.
    Looks like I’ve finally got them!!

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  2. Positan (390 comments) says:

    Transparently, the CTU has lost whatever rationale it might have possessed – along with its brains and whatever reason it might had for continued existence. Fundamentally it’s just another pro-leftist, anti-government voice that lacks the intelligence and the ability to ascertain what’s actually relevant both to it and to those for whom it pretends to act.

    Aside from our completely non-discerning press – who really takes any notice of its class-deprivation-based gurglings nowadays?

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  3. Yoza (1,872 comments) says:

    So perhaps we could look forward to some sort of reciprocal arrangement where the US allows the IRD carte blanche access to the bank accounts of New Zealanders dodging taxes while living in the US.

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  4. Fisiani (1,039 comments) says:

    The CTU is simply banging away to prtect US tax evaders to mske people think tha it is sll the fault of National. This is just another attempt to bring down the best government in our history.

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  5. Yoza (1,872 comments) says:

    So we could expect some sort of reciprocal arrangement where the US allows New Zealand’s IRD carte blanche access to the bank accounts of New Zealanders suspected of using US bank accounts to dodge taxes.

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  6. Yoza (1,872 comments) says:

    Surely we could expect some kind of reciprocal arrangement where the IRD is allowed carte blanche access to the US bank accounts of New Zealanders suspected of dodging taxes there.

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  7. Azoy (1 comment) says:

    Now we can look forward to some sort of reciprocal arrangement where the US government allows the IRD carte blanche access to the accounts of New Zealanders suspected of being tax dodges.

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  8. wreck1080 (3,906 comments) says:

    DPF, you are saying every american living in NZ is a tax evader? Sounds like it to me.

    Surely you should also say the CTU are defending the privacy rights of the majority who are not tax evaders? Why do you twist the argument around like you do?

    OK, lets pass a law that the NZ government can pry into peoples private affairs without search warrants because not doing so would be protecting criminals.

    Anyway, we have a double tax agreement with the US which allows for information sharing. Why don’t they just use existing agreements?

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  9. tas (625 comments) says:

    It’s not just tax evaders affected by this. As a NZer studying in the US, I too am affected. I’m just a student — I have no interest in tax evasion. My financial records are being exported against my wishes and in violation of current NZ law — hence the law change being made.

    The US tax system is obscene. Have you tried asking a NZ bank to fill out US IRS form 1099-INT for you? They have no idea what that is, yet the US demands that information. The US treats every bank worldwide like it is located in the US and expects them to comply with the US’ convoluted requirements.

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  10. Yoza (1,872 comments) says:

    So we can expect the US government to implement a reciprocal scheme where New Zealand’s IRD is allowed carte blanche access to the US bank accounts of suspected NZ tax dodgers.

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  11. tas (625 comments) says:

    Read this article to see how burdensome the US tax system’s international reach is. The US does not distinguish between domestic and foreign banks; the reporting requirements are the same. And US persons (citizens and residents) must declare their entire worldwide income even if they are living outside the US. No other country extends its tax system so far beyond its borders.

    US citizens living abroad are renouncing their citizenship even though they don’t have to pay any tax to the US. Despite not needing to pay tax, the compliance cost is so much that they would rather renounce their citizenship. Compliance cost ~$1000; actual tax bill $0. How crazy is that?

    Some banks simply refuse to to accept US persons as customers — the compliance cost is just not worth it. It’s insane.

    I understand that NZ has no choice but to comply. But we should call it what it is — unreasonable bullying.

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  12. peterwn (3,271 comments) says:

    It will probably work both ways. USA’s IRS will no doubt help IRD. USA requires its citizens to pay USA tax wherever they live in the world on all their worldwide income. Seems reasonable for a democratic nation to impose such an obligation on its citizens. Some ex-pat USA citizens are giving up US citizenship which can be done as long as they can show citizenship of another nation by descent, etc.

    NZ is coming fairly close to this too. IRD is making it harder and harder to renounce NZ residency and while you are a NZ resident for tax purposes you have continuing obligations to IRD.

    This all comes back to how ‘bad’ USA is in the eyes of unionists, left wingers, etc – something Kim Dotcom is spinning like mad (yet he accyses John Key of spinning!).

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  13. Dave Mann (1,218 comments) says:

    The US already has our police acting as a spin-off of their law enforcement agencies, complete with OTT armed intervention in black helicopters for ‘internet piracy’…. so hey, what the hell, if our jolly ol’ Uncle Sam tells us how to frame our financial laws we should just jump to it, shouldn’t we? Hell, everybody is potentially a criminal or a terrorist and Uncle Sam is just protecting the Free World, right? :D

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  14. Reid (16,447 comments) says:

    End story is that no one really wants to be doing this but just as in Australia, the UK, Norway, Spain, South Africa, Brazil, Switzerland, Thailand, Russia etc etc we have no choice.

    In international relations, precedents are set and once set, they can be expanded, just the same way as in common law where courts take into account other decisions made – there’s even a term for it, being ratio decidendi which means “reason for deciding” and obiter dictum which is a side comment made by the court that doesn’t form part of the precedent.

    One precedent in recent times that will be having a massive effect on the upcoming generations is that which was set when an oil company applied to patent a lab-engineered bacteria used for mopping up oil spills which the US Supreme Court ruled could be patented because it didn’t think it was a living organism (which cannot have IP applied to it). Sadly the Justices didn’t understand biology and this precedent has been widened by big pharma lawyers over the years to enable patenting of the human genome which means medical insurance companies will soon be saying: “According to the mandatory genetic profile we have conducted in order for you to have insurance, your baby cannot be insured for the following illnesses. Also, it appears your baby will develop this illness at the age of three and be dead by five unless it’s treated. That will cost you $600,000. We are happy to take this in the form of a lien over your house. You have three months to think about it.”

    The point is, whenever you set a precedent you need to look past, way past, the immediate situation and forecast what it may develop into, before deciding whether or not it’s a good idea. The comment above about how it only applies to US tax evaders is an example of not doing that, which is not only shortsighted it’s also foolish. The comment about how everyone else is doing it therefore we also must, equally so. If we’re going to do this then personally, I need a way better reason than either of those two suggestions.

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  15. EAD (1,073 comments) says:

    @Wreck – excellent comment & analysis

    In general I can’t stand Unions and I especially loathe Public Sector Unions (lobbying the Government for more of our money), but in this case the CTU are 100% correct.

    Who said “You have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide” – Joseph Goebells

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  16. nickb (3,687 comments) says:

    In your rush to defend the NAtional government DPF you completely omit the fact that the USA through strong-arm tactics is making offshore financial institutions and governments basically de facto agents of the IRS.

    If you are happy for NZ businesses and taxpayers to be hit with countless millions of dollars in compliance costs all in the name of a hare-brained and totalitarian Obama clusterfuck then just come out and say it .

    Many estimates project that the costs of the non-US world complying with FATCA will be greater than the tax the US collects on offshore evaders.

    But hey, Key plays golf with Obama, so its all good, right?

    In March 18, 2010, president Obama signed the “Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act of 2010″ (HIRE Act) into law. It included as a financial offset the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), which dramatically modified the US withholding tax and information reporting regimes for US persons, non-US banks and other financial institutions. A new 30 percent withholding tax was mandated on payments to foreign financial institutions (FFIs) that do not comply with disclosure requirements for US-based account holders.

    Imposing draconian reporting requirements on the rest of the world does not serve American interests. FATCA will make it more difficult for Americans to raise foreign capital, prevent law-abiding Americans from investing in the institutions of their choice, and potentially spark reciprocal action by other governments against US banks.

    Revenue Gains are Questionable: “Better” enforcement of high tax rates on saving and investment have the same economic impact as increasing tax rates. This means a reduction in saving and investment, which leads to slower growth and a smaller tax base. Thus, FATCA’s use as a revenue offset for the HIRE Act may prove to be misleading and ineffective.

    Double Standard on Financial Privacy and Its Possible Blowback: The U.S. has long benefited from favorable laws which grant non-resident aliens the kind of financial privacy rules which FATCA helps deny our own citizens. Should other nation’s choose to retaliate or adopt similar policies of their own, trillions of dollars in foreign investment in the U.S. would be affected.

    Reporting Provisions Will Mean Less Investment in the US: FATCA broadly defines the term “financial institution,” which means the new reporting requirements will hit not only banks, but also hedge and private equity funds, and possibly certain privately owned investment vehicles. The new rules act as a disincentive for all of these institutions to invest in the United States. Banks that struggle to implement convoluted reporting and withholding requirements, or are unable to do so because of domestic privacy and confidentiality laws, may divest in securities and other US assets. This will negatively impact the competitiveness of the US economy and reduce job growth.

    FATCA Makes American Clients Toxic: FATCA treats as US-owned any foreign entity that has at least one “substantial United States owner.” Substantial ownership is defined by the bill as any US person who owns, directly or indirectly, a 10% or greater interest in a corporation or partnership. FATCA rewards entities that allow US investment with burdensome reporting and compliance costs. By further targeting those who simply “assist” U.S. nationals, the law places the burden on institutions to determine the tax status of their clients. This leaves managers in the difficult position of attempting to determine where their clients fall within the complicated U.S tax system, while holding them liable for any mistakes. The likely response will be to exclude US persons from participating in partnerships or joint-ventures and fewer banking options available to Americans overseas who wish to engage in routine financial transactions.

    Protecting Financial Privacy Promotes Human Rights: FATCA may violate privacy and confidentiality laws in some countries. In many nations, ethnic, religious, racial, sexual and political minorities are persecuted by those in control of government. The availability of banks and other financial institutions which respect financial privacy protects assets from being subject to unlawful confiscation or as a tool for persecution. They are a refuge for people trapped in nations suffering from high levels of crime, extortion and corruption.

    Recommendations: Congress should repeal FATCA outright. Absent that, regulators should carve out widely held collective investment vehicles such as pensions and hedge funds from FATCA reporting requirements. It should also be sufficient for institutions to meet the existing Qualified Intermediary requirements, rather than a yet more burdensome threshold. Furthermore, a cost-benefit analysis should be conducted to illuminate the issue, so that lawmakers may weigh the degree to which such burdensome rules instituted in order to catch a few possible tax cheats negatively impacts other aspects of the economy and American competitiveness.

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  17. nickb (3,687 comments) says:

    Surely you should also say the CTU are defending the privacy rights of the majority who are not tax evaders? Why do you twist the argument around like you do?

    OK, lets pass a law that the NZ government can pry into peoples private affairs without search warrants because not doing so would be protecting criminals.

    Anyway, we have a double tax agreement with the US which allows for information sharing. Why don’t they just use existing agreements?

    This man(woman) knows what (s)he is talking about.

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  18. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    CTU are charlatans with the credibility of rodents, run by a snake. All we want is to see that fat benefactor of theirs, the obese German criminal slug, put on a flight to the States, where he will get the cell he deserves, hopefully with a bed of nails.

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  19. Mobile Michael (451 comments) says:

    You forget that the CTU still haven’t realised that the Berlin Wall came down 25 years ago, they still divide the world into American Imperialism and Russian Heroism. So, the old Soviet backed hardliner Arab terrorist groups get praise while US backed democratic Israel are evil. America out of Afghanistan, Russia can continue to occupy two regions of Georgia without comment.

    Many western governments played the same game (anti communist murderous dictators like Pinochet come to mind) but have stopped playing that game. About time our leftist groups do the same.

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  20. CharlieBrown (1,011 comments) says:

    DPF – interesting title for the blog, i think you are guilty of hyperbole yourself. I find it uncomfortable that our tax department can seize records and property without going through the normal channels that the police have to go through eg, prove their case and get a warrant. To let the US government do the same thing really questions our sovereignity. I’m sure I’m not alone with thse concerns.

    Who cares if other countries are doing it, other countries value nuclear power. We have been prepared to stand up to the US on other issues (no matter how misguided we were on the issue).

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  21. EAD (1,073 comments) says:

    This whole plan sounds like another one of those things to protect us from those “evil terrorists” or “evil tax evaders”.

    The cynic in me says this is just another “wolf in sheep’s clothing” plan that starts out with promoting itself with noble propaganda, we’re from the government and we’re here to help, and ends up being just another police force used to hammer citizens?

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  22. Nookin (3,341 comments) says:

    Let’s put aside the personalities and focus on the problem. We have a country taking steps to ensure that its citizens pay their fair share of tax. That country is doing so pursuant to an agreement that is gaining momentum, internationally (in the sense that more countries are signing up as time goes on).

    There has been condemnation from the left about NZ becoming a tax haven for those who are not enamoured of the idea of paying tax in their own country.

    There has been condemnation from the left about large internet countries using their global status to avoid paying their fair share. One solution is to ban them!

    Labour and the Greens are constantly banging on about the fact that the Government’s rich Hollywood mates don’t pay any/enough tax.

    Although not in a taxation situation, we had the aspiring PM overtly threatening directors and shareholders that they would be made to pay their fair dues to the Pike River families.

    The problems recognised and solutions advanced by the left are all very consistent — except if the country coming up with the solutions is the US.

    Either tax evasion is a problem or it is not. If it is a problem then it can only be solved by identifying instances and dealing with them. That can only be done by getting information.

    IRD in NZ has extensive powers to access information about NZ taxpayers. Why should an NZ taxpayer’s NZ bank accounts be exposed to inspection by IRD but not an overseas account of that same tax payer? If there is no answer to that proposition, what is wrong with the fact that it is the US that is accessing the information?

    Can the CTU lie straight in bed?

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  23. nickb (3,687 comments) says:

    It will probably work both ways. USA’s IRS will no doubt help IRD.

    Given the relative sizes of countries this will surely impose far greater burdens on NZ than on the IRS. And countries aren’t going to pass punitive extraterritorial laws and then through coercion get Uncle Sam to enforce them against that country’s citizens living in the USA….because Uncle Sam would tell them to fuck off.

    Already I know of IRD hiring at least 5 people as full time “FATCA experts”. If you think of 5 salaries for highly paid tax professionals, not to mention the time spent by existing IRD staff and legislative drafters on getting NZ ready for FATCA….and that is just in the government sector. Multiply that hundreds of times for NZ’s banks, law firms, accounting firms and financial institutions and you get a potential hundreds of millions of dollar cost to NZ’s economy. All for nothing but enforcing a draconian and appallingly drafted and thought-out piece of legislation

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  24. Yoza (1,872 comments) says:

    We should expect a reciprocal arrangement where the US allows New Zealand’s IRD carte blanche access to the accounts of suspected New Zealand tax dodgers.

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  25. wat dabney (3,756 comments) says:

    We have a country taking steps to ensure that its citizens pay their fair share of tax.

    And the Orwell Award goes to…

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  26. CharlieBrown (1,011 comments) says:

    far out read this.

    http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/when-us-citizens-living-abroad-owe-us-tax.html

    That is completely horrendous, immorral and unfair. Nookin – to say that this is about making americans pay their fair share is utter bullshit.

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  27. nickb (3,687 comments) says:

    Yup. Pretty scary Charlie.

    My uncle just got his green card a few months back…not good if he decides to come back to NZ in future

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  28. Nostalgia-NZ (5,195 comments) says:

    Tangle the words ‘tax evaders’ on a hook overboard, along with the CTU and the bait gets taken straight away, fortunately a good half of the commentators here don’t take ‘specially prepared’ bait with hooks buried inside. Why not just say the changes have got to be good because the CTU don’t like them and the changes are to only ‘catch’ alleged, or potential, American tax cheats – awh sorry, they did. Good old Sam doesn’t hold back, feels free to call his own citizens tax cheats even without proof. Way to go Sambo.

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  29. Psycho Milt (2,412 comments) says:

    The CTU standing up for the rights of Americans to evade tax. What champions they are.

    Actually, the CTU is standing up against a government proposal to exclude an ethnic minority group from coverage by the Privacy Act. So, yes – what champions they are. You and the government, on the other hand, are standing up for the exclusion of a minority group from civil rights protection on the basis that there aren’t very many of them and some of them might be trying to evade paying tax to a country they don’t live in. Ask yourself what kind of a champion you are.

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  30. kowtow (8,449 comments) says:

    At the very time the incompetent c#unts have run their own economies into the ground (and that goes for most of the west) they now go further ,giving themselves even more powers to ensure they can steal even more from citizens in order to blow it on ,what? The massive ,inefficient corrupt empires they’ve built for themselves.

    True conservatives should be asking why do these governments insist on raising so much and even more taxes.

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  31. WineOh (630 comments) says:

    The issue for me is not one of tax evasion, but about due process and privacy.

    If there is fair reason to believe that an individual is evading taxes, then you make a formal request for information on an individual basis (the IRD does this on a regular basis for NZ citizens) rather than a blanket provision of information on an entire population and then decide on what to do with the information.

    The US Constitution protects against unreasonable search and seizure, and this should be the case for US citizens outside the geographical boundaries of the USA. I put it in the same basket of blanket rights to intercept private communications of domestic and international citizens and the meta-data that accompanies it.

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  32. nickb (3,687 comments) says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with Milt…time for a lie down

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  33. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    As an American expat this directly effects me. I find it quite disturbing that the government is just signing away my privacy rights. The first US$92,000 earned outside the US is tax exempt anyway and I am a teacher, so not in any danger of exceeding that threshold. Nevertheless the US Govt will now be able to read through my bank statements without need for a warrant or probable cause.

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  34. simpleton1 (224 comments) says:

    Can even the top men in USA government get it right, such as Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.

    During his confirmation, it was disclosed that Geithner had not paid $35,000 in Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes from 2001 through 2004 while working for the International Monetary Fund…………….
    ……subsequently paid the additional taxes owed………….
    …..Geithner called the tax issues “careless,” “avoidable,” and “unintentional” errors………..

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timothy_Geithner

    I wonder if he paid any of the penalties?
    I wonder if he paid all his taxes when he was working in the many other different countries too?
    Oh what tangled webs we spin when the government is here to help us. :-)

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  35. tas (625 comments) says:

    simpleton: Doing your taxes in the US is impossible. Everyone makes mistakes. I have advanced degrees in technical fields, but filling out my basic tax return is far beyond my competency. I was shocked at how ridiculously obfuscated and unnecessary the tax system is when I moved from NZ to the US. In NZ most people don’t need to file tax returns, in the US everyone does. Many people spend more on an accountant than they actually pay in tax — and that’s not due to evasion. I think my filing was 30 pages last year and I am just a student with no investments, second jobs, or anything like that.

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  36. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    DPF is entirely wrong here.
    There is no way that US officials should have access to private records of any sort in a foreign country without a warrant.

    tas – the Australian income tax return isn’t much better. I spend the better part of four hours doing one, compared to about 20 mins for an NZ one. It is worth my while though since you can usually get a decent refund (which means the fuckers took too much from PAYE to begin with…)

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  37. labrator (1,850 comments) says:

    Has Julie-Anne Genter met her US tax obligations?

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  38. labrator (1,850 comments) says:

    There is no way that US officials should have access to private records of any sort in a foreign country without a warrant.

    No access to your passport information then?

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  39. stateless (9 comments) says:

    DPF has lost the plot, United States taxes on citizenship and requires all Citizens, Dual, Greencard Holders to live their life in USD, so when you purchase a home in New Zealand you need to keep track of the value of NZD against USD on the day you purchased and if you sell you need to track the value of NZD against USD and given the way exchange rates have been moving you likely have a very large phantom capital gain to pay to the U.S. that now has an extra 3% to pay for the U.S. healthcare so at a min a 23% tax paid to the U.S. IRS.

    Most of the Dual citizens I met here have no idea they need to pay income taxes to the U.S., capital gains and report their bank account balances every year on their NZ accounts or risk a fine of $10k per account per year.

    This FATCA IGA is just a fishing tool to find wealth to extract from people living in foreign countries since the U.S. is a financial broke country.

    Also Banks can signup for FATCA directly without the need of an IGA and get their U.S. person customers to sign a waiver to release the data or toss them, we don’t need to subsidize the banks with N.Z. tax dollars so they don’t have to pay for compliance cost.

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  40. stateless (9 comments) says:

    U.S. bankers want to repeal FATCA, the very thing NZ Banks want the New Zealand government to sign an IGA for.

    http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/02/05/usa-tax-bankers-idUKL2N0LA0SY20140205

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  41. yanknomore (1 comment) says:

    Oh dear, this just shows how much ignorance there is out there. It’s all about American’s evading tax – Yeah Right ! You need to do some proper research before you write garbage like this. Do you understand what a “US person” is? This is a term made in Washington, not Wellington. It includes the following:

    Anyone born in the US (even if they came here as an infant).
    Anyone born in New Zealand with a US parent
    Former Green Card holders

    Even with half a brain you can see that this includes large numbers of New Zealanders, some of who haven’t even visited the US. For example, former Deputy PM Wyatt Creech is a “US Person” because he was born there and came to live here before he was one year old. Phoenix footballer Tyler Boyd is a “US Person” because he was born in Tauranga with a US Parent.

    Do these people sound like US tax cheats? What about totally non-US New Zealand spouses of “US persons”? They will have their data reported too if they have joint accounts.

    What sort of “taxes” are these New Zealanders evading?

    Well, for a start, if you are self-employed you should be handing over 16% of your income in social security taxes to the IRS (on top of your NZ taxes) because there is NO exemption for that. Got a Kiwisaver account? Prepare to pay US income taxes on your kickstart, MTCs and employer contributions, all TAXABLE as income based on US rules. Sold your NZ family home for a gain …. hand over capital gain taxes to them. Obamacare? Cough up for that too. Nothing in our dual tax treaty will save you from any of that.

    Wan’t to renounce to escape… cough up US$450 for starters and make sure you have filed and paid your last 5 years taxes first. Try finding a tax adviser in NZ to help you, you won’t.

    The list goes on……

    I’d like to know who your banking source is? “If you are a New Zealander, you’ve got nothing to worry about” What an utterly ill-informed comment. This is going to cost all of us hundreds of millions while ceding our sovereignty for nothing in return.

    What minority group shall we go after next? I hear the Brits are introducing “citizenship based taxation” soon…hmmm, might have a bit more of an issue with that.

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  42. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    No access to your passport information then?

    I’ll ignore the fact that passports are government records not private records for the sake of rebuttal.
    If you want to travel to the US then it’s a condition of entry that you allow them access to your passport records. In other words, you volunteer that information in exchange for the right to enter their country.
    If, however, they want that data for some other purpose, then they should either ask you for permission or they should get a warrant.

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