“We May Have All Come On Different Ships, But We’re In The Same Boat Now” -Martin Luther King

 

TSX Outperforms Friday Despite Oil Decline

Canada’s main stock market index managed to close higher Friday while most of the rest of the world’s markets reported losses. The narrow gains came despite further decline in oil prices and global economic concerns. Wall Street closed sharply lower with oil the dominant drag. Asian and European markets also closed with losses but many closed higher for the week following the Fed’s interest rate decision which removed one element of uncertainty. The S&P/TSX Composite Index closed up 14.37 or 0.11%. The metals and mining sector of the TSX rose 6.76%, while global gold climbed 3.10% and materials gained 2.81%. Meanwhile, energy stocks closed 1.93% higher. Meanwhile, the loonie rose 0.03 of a U.S. cent to 71.71 cents US, a day after slipping below 72 cents US for the first time since May 2004. In New York, the Dow Jones average of 30 stocks plummeted 367.29 points to 17,128.55, the broader S&P 500 index gave back 36.34 points to 2,005.55 and the Nasdaq fell 79.47 points to 4,923.08.

 

U.S. Citizens Who Owe U.S. Tax Could Lose Passports

US citizens living outside the United States will need to become more vigilant about filing US taxes and having a US Social Security number starting Jan. 1, 2016. The alternative will be to risk losing one’s passport under a new section of the Internal Revenue Code. After several failed attempts in the past few years to enact a similar law, Congress on Dec. 3, 2015, passed a highway funding bill that gives the IRS and State Department some significant new powers: under new IRC § 7345, the IRS gets the ability to share information on delinquent tax accounts with the State Department and the State Department gains the authority to deny or revoke the passports of US citizens who have over $50,000 in tax debt or no Social Security number associated with their passport.1 President Obama signed the bill into law on Dec. 4, 2015, and it takes effect Jan. 1, 2016.
Groups representing US citizens living outside the United States and the press have, appropriately, focused on the State Department’s new power to deny and revoke passports when a US citizen has an outstanding tax debt of more than $50,000. These commentators have astutely pointed out that both a lack of clarity on how the statute will be enforced and ambiguities in the term “seriously delinquent tax debt” may mean that many expatriate Americans and dual citizens will be caught unawares when the State Department revokes or refuses to renew a passport because of a tax debt.

 

Sources: Bloomberg; Investment Executive;  Conference Board of Canada; advisor.ca,