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FATCA and the Erosion of Canadian Taxpayer Privacy

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Queen’s University, Faculty of Law



Project Leader(s)

Arthur Cockfield, Professor


In 2010, the United States enacted a tax reform known as the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). Under FATCA, all non-U.S. financial institutions, including Canadian banks, must review their records to determine if any accounts are owned by “U.S. persons,” which include U.S. citizens residing abroad and individuals with significant social and/or economic ties with the United States. The United States threatened to economically sanction any foreign country that did not cooperate with the new regime. Accordingly, Canada has agreed to implement FATCA via an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with the United States; at the time of writing this summary, the implementing legislation, Bill C-31, was before Parliament.

The final report discusses how FATCA and the IGA unduly harm the privacy interests and rights of Canadians, in part because detailed financial information concerning hundreds of thousands of Canadians would be transferred to a foreign government for the first time. It makes the argument that Canada is getting nothing in return for this privacy giveaway, other than the relief of the threatened economic sanctions, and recommends that the Canadian government not implement the IGA until privacy concerns are addressed.

This document is available in the following language(s):

English only

  • English (HTML document) (This paper is posted on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) web site. Please note, you do not need to have an account with SSRN to download the report. Once you click on the “Download This Paper” button, choose the “Download Anonymously” tab, then click the “Download” button to view the report.)

OPC Funded Project

This project received funding support through the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada’s Contributions Program. The opinions expressed in the summary and report(s) are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. Summaries have been provided by the project authors. Please note that the projects appear in their language of origin.

Contact Information

Queen's University
99 University Avenue
Kingston, Ontario
K7L 3N6

Tel: 613-533-6000, ext. 78296
Fax: 613-533-6509

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