With the #NeverTrump vs. #NeverHillary cage match now settling in for a gruesome 140-day stretch, we are officially in threaten-to-move-to-Canada season. As such, it's important to start thinking through your move. For instance, did you know it's cold up there? Also, if my recent trip to downtown Toronto is any guide, you had better enjoy sports bars (including the cleverly titled one pictured to the right). And those bars play so very much Canadian classic rock, because of cultural protectionism….
More on point, what I was chagrined to discover is that Canada's Border Services Agency is ramping up on secondary screening for politically motivated yankees leaking across the northern border. It's payback time, baby! And, as I write in today's Los Angeles Times, you cannot truly escape the ramifications of America's dumb politics unless you're willing to rip up that passport altogether. Excerpt:
There are two countries on this whole planet that require federal income tax filing from its nonresident citizens. Eritrea, not particularly known for its good governance, is one of them. Uncle Sam's the other.
It gets considerably worse from there. Because of a putrid 2010 law called the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA for short, because Washington legislators are nothing if not subtle), U.S. citizens and their spouses who hold more than $10,000 total in non-American financial institutions must file annual disclosures listing the maximum exchange-rate value of each and every such account during the previous year. If you don't comply, you face steep fines and even jail time.
Ostensibly aimed at fat cats, this law instead has punished the majority nonrich among America's estimated 8.7 million expatriates. Not only does FATCA impose costly paperwork on individuals, it also requires overseas financial institutions to act as Washington's international collections muscle, mandating that they seize and transfer to the IRS 30% of deadbeat Americans' assets. To the surprise of no one who understands basic incentives, foreign banks have been dropping American clients like sacks of flaming garbage.