I don’t know if Finance Minister Flaherty prefers to wear a sword for cross-border crusading or whether web-slinging wristbands are more his thing but since the election he has been a man on a mission. Some of his targets:
U.S. Internal Revenue Service – The Minister says the IRS is going too hard on U.S. dual nationals living in Canada in order to find cross-border tax cheats. The main targets are the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act and the Foreign Bank Account Report. Flaherty writes: “These are honest and law-abiding people, including many senior citizens now caught in a nerve-wracking situation. Moreover, because they work and pay taxes in Canada, they generally do not owe any taxes in the United States in any event. Their only transgression is failing to file the IRS paperwork they were never aware they were required to file.” Alas, his letter to major U.S. media outlets provoked nary a ripple of interest.
Canada-US Price Disparity – “Flaheart” is asking a Senate Committee to investigate why Canadians pay $360 for a KitchenAid mixer that Americans get for $280. Are the retailers to blame? The manufacturers? How much can metric labelling really cost? Says Flaherty: “Canadians are rightly irritated when they see large price discrepancies on the exact same products being sold on different sides of the border. I share their irritation.” Can the blue facepaint be far behind? Unfortunately, this noble effort is also evidence that Finance is not ready to raise the Canadian cross-border shopping exemption to match what U.S. shoppers get, despite rumors before the last budget that parity was being considered.