Meet Canadian Attorney John Richardson
John was born in the United States but has lived almost all his life outside the country. He has spent the last few years assisting U.S. citizens abroad. By way of background, the United States shares a unique position with a far smaller country, Eritrea. The U.S. and Eritrea are the only countries in the world that tax their citizens who live in another country and maintain no domestic residence.
One burden U.S. citizens abroad face with John’s help is the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, or “FATCA.” FATCA generally requires foreign banks to report accounts held by U.S. citizens. Unfortunately, many foreign banks choose not to open accounts for American citizens because they don’t want to deal with U.S. authorities or expose themselves to U.S. sanctions for trivial failures to comply with some obscure provision of US tax law. Obviously, this causes a tremendous hardship for those who can’t secure a bank account.
Another imposition, the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts Act (FBAR) was described in our April 23, 2023, Grassroots Corner. You will recall from that Grassroots Corner that a Mr. Bittner got a break from the U.S. Supreme Court for his unintentional failure to report his bank accounts in Romania to the U.S. Treasury. Instead of having to pay the $2.7 million penalty the IRS assessed against him, the Court ruled that he owed only $50,000.
In addition, many people become “accidental Americans” and incur U.S. income tax liability. There are two kinds of “accidental Americans”, First, there are people who are born in the United States while their parents are traveling here and then return to their home country. Secondly, there are children who are born abroad to American parents. Many “accidental Americans” never establish a residence in the United States and do not discover their American citizenship until later in adulthood.
Of course, if we had the FAIRtax, all of these problems would disappear.
John works with many groups of people, including: “accidental Americans,” long-term dual citizens who wish to retain U.S. citizenship, long-term dual citizens who feel they must renounce U.S. citizenship, and Green Card holders (whether they live in the United States or not). John actively opposes FATCA in the courts and assists in making submissions to the U.S. Treasury. If you want to learn more about his practice, go to http://citizenshipsolutions.ca/.
John has given testimony in the Canadian House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance and live presentations and media interviews in Canada and Europe about FATCA, and the problems that U.S. citizenship causes when one lives outside the U.S. John has written hundreds of articles and blog posts about FATCA, FBAR, and U.S. citizenship-based taxation. He continues to teach courses for Americans abroad and professionals who counsel U.S. citizens abroad.
John found us and had our President, Steve Hayes, and me on his podcast several times. John sees our U.S. Tax Code as a “travesty,” and sees the FAIRtax as the elegant solution to all of these problems. With the FAIRtax, there would be no citizenship-based income taxation on Americans living outside the United States. Americans would pay tax only on services they use and new tangible goods they buy while in the United States. Citizens would no longer feel pressure to renounce their citizenship, and Green Card holders would be comfortable retaining their status. When the FAIRtax happens, John will be out of a job, but he doesn’t mind. In fact, he’s looking forward to it.
We met with John in Toronto recently. Here is a picture.
John expressed an interest in our activities. FAIRtax just might be going international!
Do you know someone like John Richardson, Esq? If you do, I would love to hear from you.
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