FATCA & HMRC: breaching my human rights to data protection and privacy

by Jenny

FATCA & HMRC: breaching my human rights to data protection and privacy

by Jenny
Jenny
Case Owner
I am crowdfunding to protect the fundamental rights of Accidental Americans and other compliant US citizens living abroad.
25
days to go
£74,945
pledged of £120,000 stretch target from 315 pledges
Pledge now
Jenny
Case Owner
I am crowdfunding to protect the fundamental rights of Accidental Americans and other compliant US citizens living abroad.
Pledge now

This case is raising funds for its stretch target. Your pledge will be collected within the next 24-48 hours (and it only takes two minutes to pledge!)

Latest: Nov. 18, 2019

Our case at the European Parliament

On Tuesday 12 November, the European Parliament held a televised debate entitled 'FATCA and its extraterritorial impact on EU citizens'Filippo was asked to discuss our case, and his ...

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Why I am taking HMRC to court and need your help 

Hi, I'm Jenny.  I am a US-born British citizen. I moved to the UK nearly 20 years ago, when I was 22 years old. I am married and I work with deaf students at the local university where I am a research associate. I have a UK bank account where I receive my salary and pay my taxes on my earnings.

Like many Americans, I have found myself caught up in a piece of legislation called FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act). You may not have heard of it before, I hadn't either until I received a letter from my bank out of the blue saying that I "may have tax obligations in the US" and that the bank was going to send information about me to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Under FATCA, banks are required to send all of my personal and financial information – and that of all those like me - to US authorities on an annual basis.

Under FATCA, banks are required to send all of my personal and financial information – and that of all those like me - to US authorities on an annual basis.

I am bringing a claim against HMRC for sharing my personal and financial information with the IRS because:

1.      The sharing of all my personal and financial information is a violation of my fundamental human rights to privacy and data protection. My information is irrelevant to the objective of FATCA which is to collect tax from those evading it. I am not liable for tax under FATCA as I earn less than the $104,000 income tax exemption for Americans living abroad.

2.       The sharing of my personal and financial information is in direct breach of GDPR.

3.       This sharing of my personal and financial information with the US government exposes me and countless others to a potential hack throughout the data processing chain (bank, HMRC, IRS).

4.       There is the significant unintended consequence that other US-born British citizens like me are unable to open local bank accounts, or are seeing them be closed down, due to the cost implications on banks of compliance with FATCA. 

Nobody should evade tax. My problem is not with FATCA's objective but the disproportionate nature of the measure to achieve its objective.

(For more information and background on FATCA click here)


Why support this claim

Like me, you believe nobody should evade tax. You recognise that the problem is not with FATCA's objective but the disproportionate nature of the measure to achieve this objective. 

You are:

  • a US citizen concerned about the direct implications of FATCA in the UK on you – the systematic and generalised processing of your personal and financial information, or;
  • a US or non-US citizen who is concerned with the growing trend of encroaching on basic human rights to privacy and data protection via systems of automatic exchange of information and public registers operated by governments, often against the advice of data protection authorities.

Sometimes it takes an ordinary person to defend individuals' fundamental rights when public authorities seek to achieve honourable public objectives through disproportionate means.

As I am one individual defending a principle that affects many, I need the support of those who share my concerns.


What we can do with your help

A legal challenge of this type requires an enormous amount of work. It is complicated and untested which means it is hard to predict how it will develop. I have instructed Mishcon de Reya who are leaders in data protection and privacy issues. Dealing with HMRC, without going to Court, is costing several hundred thousand pounds.  

I have been advised by my lawyers that because of the novel nature of the case, the costs through to a final conclusion are difficult to predict. I will, of course, share regular updates on how the case is progressing and what stage it has reached together with updates on how much more I need to raise.

In addition to providing me with the necessary funds, your donations will show the amount of public support for this cause. On 10 September, I set myself an initial target of £50,000 to be met within 30 days. The supporters of this case were so generous and enthusiastic that we exceeded this target in just 28 days. Now I am working toward a stretch target of £120,000 to cover the costs of the case work as it progresses toward litigation

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Update 3

Jenny

Nov. 18, 2019

Our case at the European Parliament

On Tuesday 12 November, the European Parliament held a televised debate entitled 'FATCA and its extraterritorial impact on EU citizens'Filippo was asked to discuss our case, and his talk starts at 11:49:50 in the recording of the debate. Other speakers included representatives of the European Commission, the European data protection authorities, the European Banking Federation, the Accidental Americans Association, officials from France and the Netherlands, and the petitioner J.R., whose work led to the European Parliament’s report and resolution dated 5 July 2018


Read more about our case at the EU Parliament in the American Expat Finance Journal and International Adviser.

Update 2

Jenny

Nov. 1, 2019

Our case in the Law Society Gazette

Thanks to your enthusiasm and support for our challenge, Filippo is 'Lawyer in the news'! 

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