Claim: The U.S. dollar will officially collapse after
Examples: [Collected via e-mail, April 2014]
July 1st, 2014
On this date, U.S. House of Representatives Bill
Origins: This item about the passage of H.R. 2847 causing the U.S. dollar to collapse as of
This latest panic piece
And according to Stansberry & Associates, this remarkable, radical collapse of the United States monetary system and "our normal way of life" is going into effect in a mere matter of months (just like a similar recent conspiracy scare about the federal government's plan to eliminate
But wait ... all one needs in order to avoid suffering from this devastating national calamity, one that will collapse our entire monetary system and spell doom for the American way of life, is a little information. Information that can be yours if you'll just shell out $149 for a one-year subscription to Stansberry's Investment Advisory newsletter. Or, as one wry commentator put it:
So what is this all really about?
H.R. 2847, also known as the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act (or HIRE), was a Congressional bill passed into law in March 2010 that sought to provide payroll tax breaks and incentives for businesses to hire unemployed workers. A section of that bill, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (known as FATCA), sought to eliminate the non-compliance of U.S. taxpayers who hold foreign accounts by requiring those taxpayers (including those living outside the U.S.) to report certain foreign accounts and offshore assets to the government, and by requiring foreign financial institutions to report information about the ownership of overseas assets held by U.S. taxpayers to the government:
The problem originates in U.S. government efforts to prevent future offshore-banking tax scams like the UBS one in 2009. To keep better track of the flow of assets owned by U.S. citizens, Fatca requires bankers in other countries to send the IRS information about transactions by any of their customers who are Americans. Similarly, U.S. banks have to report to the IRS info on their non-U.S.-citizen customers, so the IRS can send it on to their home countries.
You can understand the motivation behind the rule. It's a big connected world economy, huge sums can be transferred anywhere in an instant, and much as INTERPOL or the World Health Organization have a legitimate interest in sharing data, so too might taxing authorities. In principle, everyone should pay his or her fair share, somewhere.
Starting July 1, 2014, FATCA will require FFIs to provide annual reports to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on the name and address of each U.S. client, as well as the largest account balance in the year and total debits and credits of any account owned by a U.S. person.
If an institution does not comply, the U.S. will impose a 30% withholding tax on all its transactions concerning U.S. securities, including the proceeds of sale of securities.
In addition, FATCA requires any foreign company not listed on a stock exchange or any foreign partnership which has 10% U.S. ownership to report to the IRS the names and tax I.D. number (TIN) of any U.S. owner.
FATCA also requires U.S. citizens and green card holders who have foreign financial assets in excess of $50,000 (higher for those who are bona-fide residents abroad) to complete a new Form 8938 to be filed with the 1040 tax return, starting with fiscal year 2011.
But casting such a wide net is producing unintended consequences for some Americans who faithfully pay their taxes from afar.
Banks around the world are suddenly rejecting Americans as clients or customers, because they don't want the reporting and bureaucratic hassles, plus the potential exposure to draconian penalties.
"I have always filed my U.S. taxes just as I am supposed to," says Brian Dublin, 47, an American businessman now based in Zug, Switzerland, who has lived overseas for many years, including stints in Russia.
"However, as a result of FATCA, in the past year I have been kicked out of a Swiss bank that said, 'Hey, we love you, but we won't work with Americans.' I have also been kicked out of a Swiss pension fund. They told me they don't want any Americans in the fund. They don't want to work on behalf of the IRS," he says.
"And on top of that, I spend many hours and many dollars each year filing U.S. taxes when I sometimes turn out to have zero liability for that year because I have paid a lot of tax somewhere else," Dublin adds.
Dublin, a New York City native, says he will be eligible for Swiss nationality in the next few years and that if the situation has not dramatically changed he will give serious consideration to renouncing his U.S. citizenship.
Estimates suggest there is currently more than
Luxembourg Bankers' Association CEO Jean-Jacques Rommes, speaking to Democrats Abroad, warned that the best way for banks to lower compliance risks was simply to reduce the amount of American assets they hold. "In other words, divest from the US market, in general," he explained, as summarized by the Luxembourg Bankers' Association.
Multiple reports have suggested that small and medium-sized firms, unable to bear the compliance costs or the crippling withholding taxes, would be especially likely to ditch American markets. "On the institutional side, the cost of becoming FATCA compliant may be prohibitive for some foreign institutions, and therefore they will divest from their American holdings," explained Douglas Goldstein, author of The Expatriate's Guide to Handling Money and Taxes and director of Profile Investment Services Ltd. Indeed, compliance costs borne by the private sector are expected to dwarf the amount of additional U.S. tax revenue — perhaps by hundreds of times.
Goldstein explained: "Faced with the choice between paying to implement the new rules or divesting from U.S.-based assets, smaller foreign banks that can't afford to shoulder these costs may choose the latter," Goldstein added. "After all, there are plenty of promising new markets in which to invest."
Needless to say, if foreign institutions started fleeing U.S. markets, the economic damage would be massive — potentially apocalyptic, especially considering U.S. trade deficits and America’s outsized reliance on foreign investment and outside credit just to function.
Last updated: 23 March 2015
Fallows, James. "Fatca: The Menace You'll Hear About in 2012." The Atlantic. 31 December 2011. Graffy, Colleen. "How to Lose Friends, Citizens and Influence." The Wall Street Journal. 17 July 2013. Hjelmgaard, Kim. "Americans Abroad Find Citizenship Too Taxing to Keep." USA Today. 8 March 2014. Newman, Alex. "The Dark Road: The Worst Tax Law You've Never Heard About." The New American. 8 April 2014.