As published on internationalinvestment.com, Thursday September 12, 2019.
A US-born British citizen has started a crowdfunding campaign to stop HMRC sharing her personal information with the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) under the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).
Law firm Mishcon de Reya has taken on the UK case for a client who alleges HMRC is breaching citizens' data protection and privacy rights by transferring vast amounts of financial and personal data to governments outside the EU.
The citizen, who has lived in the UK for 20 years, works at her local university, has a UK bank account, and pays UK taxes. She says that a letter from her bank came "out of the blue," telling her that she may have US tax obligations, and that HMRC would therefore be sending personal and financial information about her to the IRS on an annual basis under the rules of FATCA, according to The Guardian.
"Our client has no problem with measures to fight crime and tax evasion"
FATCA is meant to root out tax dodgers hiding money offshore from the US, which is the only country aside from Eritrea that taxes non-resident citizens on their global income.
She has now launched a crowdfunding page in an attempt to bring a claim against HMRC on the basis that sending her information to the IRS infringes a number of principles under the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR,) as well as her fundamental rights to privacy under UK law.
"Our client has no problem with measures to fight crime and tax evasion," Filippo Noseda, the lead lawyer in the case, said. "Her issues are with the disproportionality of these measures and the breach of various fundamental data protection principles contained in the GDPR, which expose her to potential hacks and identity fraud."
It is not the first time FATCA has come under scrutiny by non-residents: the French Association of Accidental Americans lost an appeal against the reporting requirements, but plans to file a formal complaint with the European Commission in October.
"I hope the United Kingdom justice [system] will be more independent than the French courts this summer," The AAA's president Fabien Lehagre said.