Queen's University

IRS going after Canadian-American citizens

2011-10-13

Queen’s University law professor and tax law expert Art Cockfield is available to talk about the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) going after more than 1 million Canadians living in Canada who also hold U.S. citizenship.

The IRS is now saying any U.S. citizen, whether living temporarily or permanently in Canada, must file a U.S. return. If they do not comply they could be subject to penalties that include 25% of the amount of the undisclosed assets plus repayment of back taxes plus possible imprisonment. The IRS is going after everyone – including people who moved to Canada as children and have been living in Canada for decades and lawfully paying taxes to the Canadian government.

“The Harper government should continue to press the Americans for an exemption for all U.S. citizens who have lawfully paid taxes on their income to Canada, and thus have never taken steps to hide their assets,” says Dr. Cockfield. “If this dispute cannot be settled between the two countries, Parliament should pass retaliatory legislation that imposes the exact same enforcement regime on U.S. financial institutions that deal with Canadian ‘tax’ residents. Ottawa would garner a lot of attention by going after people like Celine Dion, Ryan Reynolds, Jim Carey and Seth Rogen.”

Dr. Cockfield is the editor of Globalization and Its Tax Discontents: Tax Policy and International Investments (University of Toronto Press, 2010). He testified about tax evasion and offshore bank accounts this past February before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance.

To arrange an interview, please contact communication officers Michael Onesi at 613.533.6000 ext. 77513 or michael.onesi@queensu.ca or Christina Archibald at 613-533-2877 or Christina.Archibald@queensu.ca at Queen’s University News and Media Services Department in Kingston, Ont., Canada.

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