NDP's BC Caucus Pushes for Government Action on IRS

OTTAWA - Members of the federal NDP B.C. Caucus are calling for stronger action by the federal government to protect Canadian citizens affected by a series of measures undertaken by the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

“The Conservatives say that they know there is a problem but we have yet to see any action,” said BC Caucus Chair Don Davies (Vancouver Kingsway). “There are thousands of Canadian families who can no longer wait.”

According to US law, anyone who was born in the US is required to file US tax returns even though they have worked and paid taxes in Canada and have no US income. This affects Canadian citizens holding dual citizenship as well as US residents who have permanent resident status in Canada. The US law states that failure to file will result in heavy penalties that amount to little more than a seizure of their assets.

In addition, the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) requires the disclosure of all forms of Canadian bank accounts, including RESPs, RRIFs, TFSAs and chequing and savings accounts. As of 2013, Canadian financial institutions will be required by US law to report to the IRS all accounts held by US citizens in Canada.

“The federal government needs to advise US authorities that this policy is not acceptable,” said Alex Atamanenko (BC Southern Interior). “How dare the Internal Revenue Service seize the hard-earned income and pensions of law abiding Canadian citizens? The US policy is nothing but a cash grab.”

In addition to a number of letters Atamanenko has written to Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, the BC Caucus recently sent a strongly worded letter to Flaherty as well as to John Baird, Minister of Foreign Affairs. In it, the BC Caucus calls on the federal government to immediately enter into discussions with US authorities to protect Canadian citizens.

“The bottom line is that the federal government must take a strong stance to protect the hundreds of thousands of Canadians affected by this unprecedented cash grab,” said Davies.