Taxation Task Force Chair

  • US Double Tax Treaties, Expat tax reform coalition at work on the Hill, and More GILTI regs

    Thanks to all who participated in the Congressional CallStorm organized by Democrats Abroad to mark the 2019 International Tax Filing Day. With the help of all you expat tax activists we continue to build the profile of Americans abroad struggling to comply with double taxation and to bring our problems to the attention of members of Congress in both parties and across both chambers. We need the support of all those interested in expat tax reform in order to make it happen. Thanks again for your support.

    Tax Treaties at last on the Congressional agenda

    You may be aware that since Senator Rand Paul took office in 2006 he has blocked all tax treaties from coming to the floor of the U.S. Senate for a vote.  During this time tax treaties between the U.S and Hungary, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Chile, Spain, Poland, Japan and Portugal (at least) have been stuck in limbo, not to mention reforms made to the Model U.S. tax treaty. We recommend that all Americans abroad who vote in Kentucky to contact Sen. Paul and urge him to lift his holds on these treaties.

    This week the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is expected to begin consideration of the treaties with Hungary, Chile, Spain, Japan and Portugal. Double taxation treaties address a range of matters that impact U.S. citizens living abroad, most especially the treatment of savings and retirement plans that receive beneficial tax treatment in our countries of residence but no favorable treatment under the U.S. tax system. When U.S. tax treaties are silent on this matter they leave payments made from foreign pensions, including those to which we may be legally mandated to contribute, subjected to double taxation.

    It’s perhaps too early to anticipate those eight treaties moving closer to a floor vote in the Senate, but reporting suggests Sen. Paul is meeting with Treasury Sec. Steven Mnuchin to discuss his privacy concerns. We are following this issue and look forward to reporting back.

    Americans abroad on Capitol Hill

    Democrats Abroad gives an enormous shout out to our colleagues at Association of Americans Resident Overseas (AARO) and Federation of American Women’s Clubs Overseas (FAWCO) for their amazing week of meetings on Capitol Hill about expat tax reform. DA’s Tax Task Force was pleased to brief some members of their delegation and share with them an extensive list of members of Congress for them to meet (including names of key aides to speak to). We have since de-briefed with them and, to put it very briefly, they learned that: a) our concerns and recommendations are getting through to Congressional tax writers, and b) there remain a few outliers who either CONTINUE to harbor major misunderstandings about the demographics of Americans abroad or have concerns that RBT will open the flood gates to mass exploitation by wealthy Americans using real or faux off-shore residency to move assessable income to low-tax or no-tax countries.

    Yes, we’ve heard it all before but at least these prejudices are well outside the mainstream.

    Big, big THANK YOU to AARO and FAWCO for hitting it hard and fighting the good fight for a switch from citizenship-based taxation to residency-based taxation, financial account reporting reform and more. Heroic work by excellent colleagues (who, like us, are volunteers and) who share our goal of persuading Congress to fix the Internal Revenue Code and other laws and regulations that cause serious personal and financial harm to Americans living abroad.

    Treasury announces more changes to GILTI regs

    It’s been almost 18 months since Americans who own companies registered abroad were shocked to learn of two new taxes in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) that could destroy not only their businesses but also their life savings. Regulations implementing the Repatriation Tax and GILTI Tax announced last year failed to provide material relief to Americans abroad. Last Friday June 14th Treasury issued “final regulations” on GILTI, Subpart F income and tax credits. You can read about them here (IRS and Treasury advice) or here (The Tax Adviser tax blog).

    Or, on Thursday June 27th you can tune in to a webinar about the new regs hosted by Israel-based tax practitioner, Monte Silver. Monte has been very active in the work to persuade Congress, Treasury and the IRS of the need for relief for Americans abroad from these two “transition taxes” from the TCJA of 2017. From Monte -

    This webinar, aimed at US shareholders of Controlled Foreign Corporations and their US tax professionals, will discuss the 3 different GILTI-related regulations recently published by the U.S. Treasury: What they mean and how do they benefit you. The webinar will also briefly touch upon the latest developments in the Transition/GILTI tax advocacy efforts.

    Agenda

    1. GILTI - key concepts and understanding how the tax is structured/calculated

    2. GILTI - Review of the 3 Recent GILTI regulations - what they say and their relevance to you.

    3. GILTI/Transition tax advocacy update

    When: Thursday June 27, 2019.

    1. Asia/Europe - Sydney 6pm, Japan/Seoul 5pm, Beijing 4pm, 11 am Israel, France/Germany 10 am, London 9am

    To register: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_YjstBjE7Q82R0fl7_vp1gg

    2. Americans/Europe - 9am PST, 12pm EST, 5pm London, 6pm France/Germany, 7pm Israel
    To register: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_G_pToEe_QayzHjRD0FE1GA

    Disclaimer:

    Democrats Abroad does not provide personal advice on tax matters.

    Tax advice should be obtained from a qualified tax professional (accountant, lawyer, adviser or return preparer) who understands both the U.S. tax system and the tax system of the country where the taxpayer lives (including any applicable tax treaty). 

    If you need tax advice Democrats Abroad recommends the Tax Return Preparer Directory published by our colleagues in expat tax advocacy, American Citizens Abroad. Click here to reference their directory.

    Please send comments or questions to taxationtf@democratsabroad.org.

    DEMOCRATS ABROAD TAXATION TASK FORCE


  • Intl Tax Filing Day CallStorm - Thur June 13 2019 - time to call Congress!!

    The 2019 deadline for U.S. citizens living abroad to file their taxes is Monday June 17 (as the usual international tax filing deadline of June 15 falls on a Saturday this year).  

    In order to draw attention to International Tax Filing Day Democrats Abroad is hosting a Congressional CallStorm.  We invite  U.S. citizens who support expat tax reform to participate in this campaign on Thursday June 13 (neither Friday June 14th nor Monday June 17th are House and Senate sitting days) and call their members of Congress asking for relief.

    Everything you need to participate in the CallStorm is in this guide for campaign participants.

    Date for calls:  Thursday June 13, 2019

    Date for written and electronic messages:  Through the month of June

    Who to contact:  your two Senators and your member of the House of Representatives.  If you don't know who they are advice for finding them and their contact details are in the guide.

    What to say:  scripts for calls and sample language for emails, letters and postcards are in the guide. If you can add your personal story about why expat tax reform is important to you that would be even better.   Specifically, we are asking for -

    • A switch from our current system of citizenship based taxation to residency based taxation, in which we’d still be required to report US-based income to the IRS, but not the income we make in and pay tax on abroad 
    • the Overseas Americans Financial Access Act, which would exempt us  from disclosures of the  financial accounts we hold in our countries of residence which we use to pay bills and save for the future  

    Further details on our tax advocacy ideals, strategy and asks are in the guide.

    Thanks in advance for your support.  As noted in the guide, our work with the House tax writing subcommittee is making serious progress, but we need to build support for expat tax reform right across Congress.  To do that we need all who are seeking relief from the burden of complying with two tax jurisdictions to call your elected representatives and ask for it.

    Please send questions or comments to taxationtf@democratsabroad.org.

    Democrats Abroad Taxation Task Force 


  • Thanks to Rep Dina Titus (D-NV01) for telling Ways & Means that Americans abroad need tax relief

    Democrats Abroad is enormously grateful for the long-standing support that Rep. Dina Titus has extended to the Americans abroad community.  She's always in our corner and never refuses an opportunity to show her concern for our problems - with the U.S. tax system and otherwise - and to push for common-sense reforms to address them.  

    In response to our outreach about the Ways and Means Members Day Hearing, Rep. Titus has published this statement calling upon the Ways & Means Committee to ease the financial burdens placed upon Americans abroad by the U.S. citizenship-based taxation system.  Thank you, Rep. Titus, for noting that Americans abroad have been for too long neglected by Congress and for calling upon Congress to work together to provide us with relief.

    Please also see this statement from Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD08) telling the Ways & Means Committee we need a switch from citizenship-based taxation to residency-based taxation.

    It's not too late for rank and file members of Congress to join their voices to those of Reps Raskin and Titus in raising with the Ways and Means Committee the serious problems facing Americans abroad in complying with the filing obligations of two tax jurisdictions.  Please reach out to your representative and ask him/her to contact Ways & Means Committee Chairman Richie Neal and Ranking Member Kevin Brady about the urgent need for expat tax reform.  This guide will help you do so.

    Please contact us at taxationtf@democratsabroad.org with comments or questions.

    Democrats Abroad Taxation Task Force


  • @Carmelan tweeted link to Thanks to Rep Jamie Raskin (D-MD08) for telling the Ways and Means Committee we need RBT. 2019-06-03 23:06:18 -0400
    Thanks @ RepRaskin for standing by Americans abroad and profiling our taxation problems to the Ways and Means Committee. @DemsAbroad and Americans living right around the world are grateful for your support. https://www.democratsabroad.org/carmelan/thanks_to_rep_jamie_raskin_d-md08_for_telling_the_ways_and_means_committee_we_need_rbt?recruiter_id=1448

    Thanks to Rep Jamie Raskin (D-MD08) for telling the Ways and Means Committee we need RBT

    Further to our report from last week, we are delighted that Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD08), a former member of Democrats Abroad-France, has responded to our request to provide a submission to the June 4 House Ways & Means Committee Members' Day Hearing about the urgent need for expat tax reform.   We send our sincere thanks to the Congressman for his on-going support for our community and for legislation to address the serious personal and financial harm we suffer due to citizenship-based taxation.  Click here to read Rep. Raskin's submission.

    As you will know from DA's previous tax advocacy reports, we now have a bi-partisan team from the House Ways and Means Committee working on the development of a proposal to enact residency-based taxation.  But there's much more work to do to persuade the other 40 members of that committee that this reform is urgently needed and can be sensibly implemented.  We continue our outreach to those important members, educating them on the harm citizenship based taxation causes ordinary, middle-class American families and persuading them to act urgently on our behalf.

    We are counting on all Americans abroad supporting residency-based taxation to reach out to their elected representatives and reinforce our work.   Please call, write or message your members in Congress and tell your personal story about why a switch to residency based taxation is so important to you.   If you have trouble getting started then please refer to this guide to find your representatives and to add your voice to the cause.  It's imperative that members across Congress, in both houses, on all committees and of all political stripes hear from their overseas constituents about the urgent need for a switch to residency based taxation.

    Thanks for your help.  Please contact us on taxationtf@democratsabroad.org with comments or questions.

    Democrats Abroad Taxation Task Force


  • DemsAbroad asks friends of Americans Abroad in Congress to raise RBT at the W&MC Members' Day Hearing

    On Tuesday June 4th the House Ways and Means Committee will hold its Members' Day hearing enabling members of the House to comment on matters within the Committee's jurisdiction.  Democrats Abroad has reached out to members who are important friends of the Americans abroad community asking them to make submissions to the hearing about the need for Residency Based Taxation.  We have written to Rep Carolyn Maloney (D-NY-12), the Democratic co-chair of the Americans Abroad Caucus, Rep Dina Titus (D-NV-01) and Rep Jamie Raskin (D-MD-08), a former member of Democrats Abroad France.  

    As we noted in our last report, we are delighted that there is now a bi-partisan team of Ways & Means Committee members working on a proposal to introduce residency based taxation.  We, in collaboration with the other organisations advocating for expat tax reform, continue to reach out to the all-important members of the Ways and Means Committee to profile the importance of this urgently needed reform.  It's great to have other members of Congress assisting us in this important work.

    We will report back on the hearing.

    In the mean time, it is our understand that an important meeting will take place the week of Monday 3 June between the Beyer-Holding team working on the residency based taxation proposal with legislative counsel.

    Also, the week of Monday 10 June a delegation of members from Association of Americans Resident Overseas and the Federation of American Womens Clubs Overseas will be on Capitol Hill making the case for residency based taxation (as well as likely discussing other matters important to Americans abroad).  We have assisted them with their Congressional outreach and wish them the best in their meetings. 

    You don't have to go all the way to Washington DC to make your views heard - on the matter of residency-based taxation or anything else that may interest you.   Advice for finding your elected representatives and calling or writing to them are included in this guide.   All (courteous and sincere) outreach is helpful.  

    Please send comments and questions to taxationtf@democratsabroad.org.


  • A Step Forward on the Road to Residency Based Taxation

    Americans abroad who support expat tax reform have taken another step forward on the road to Residency Based Taxation (RBT).

    Further to our report on the DA tax advocacy Capital Hill meetings of May 14-16, on Tuesday May 21 a group of Democrats Abroad global leaders who vote in the Virginia 8th Congressional district were scheduled to meet with Rep. Don Beyer, their member of Congress, to discuss expat tax reform (plus to a few other issues uniquely impacting Americans abroad).

    Unfortunately the Congressman was called away to a briefing by Trump administration officials on the escalating tensions with Iran. But the Beyer constituents had a productive exchange with his Legislative Director and learned that the Beyer team has scheduled a meeting about RBT with the Ways and Means Committee Legislative Counsel as a forerunner to a meeting with Rep. George Holding’s team about our keynote reform.

    We, in collaboration with the other organizations advocating for expat tax reform, have made the progress we were hoping for, i.e. bringing the Beyer team into active engagement with the Holding team on the development of RBT legislation. But now begins the in-the-weeds work with Beyer’s team on the Holding RBT legislative design elements. The DA Taxation Task Force, in collaboration with our colleague organizations representing Americans abroad, will continue our work with the Beyer and Holding teams on this important reform.

    Next steps

    As noted in our last post, we expect the Beyer and Holding teams to create, in partnership, a consensus view on draft RBT legislation, send it to the Joint Committee on Taxation to be scored and to Ways and Means Committee Legislative Counsel to be structured into a bill which we can then build support for right across both parties and both chambers. Of course, nothing related to Congressional lawmaking is as simple or as linear as that. There will be zig zags, delays and pitfalls along the way, but there are many groups advocating actively for progress on RBT and working hard to keep the process moving forward.

    What can you do to progress RBT?

    The best thing you can do to progress RBT is to reach out to your elected representatives to remind them of the importance of this reform to you and your family and to ask for their support. Personal stories are the most effective. Include as much detail as you feel comfortable sharing. Call, write or send electronic messages to your House member and Senators. All outreach to those counting on your electoral support is helpful. If you get a boilerplate response that scarcely relates to the message you sent, write again demanding more. If you get an interesting response that you think would be useful for us to know about in progressing our work, please end it through to us.  We will follow up with your member.

    Also happening

    We understand that a bill establishing a Commission on Americans Abroad and the Overseas Americans Financial Access Act, establishing an exemption from all FATCA reporting for the foreign financial accounts of Americans abroad in their countries of residence, are soon to be re-introduced in the House of Representatives. We will let you know when those bills drop and what you can do to demonstrate your support for them.

    Send questions or comments to taxationtf@democratsabroad.org.

    Democrats Abroad Taxation Task Force 


  • Dems Abroad residency based taxation meetings with Congress 14-16 May - Time to call your members

    The Democrats Abroad Taxation Task Force is back on Capitol Hill on 14, 15 and 16 May putting tax reform for Americans abroad at the center of discussions with Congress.   We have meetings scheduled with members in both Houses of Congress and on both sides of politics.  We will be discussing the need for residency based taxation and the design elements of the proposed legislation to enact it.  

    We need those determined to see this important reform enacted to reach out to their members of Congress this week and next week to demand it.  Please consult this grassroots campaign guide for background on our advocacy work and for sample language you can use to call or write to Congress.

    Please send questions to taxationtf@democratsabroad.org.


  • donated 2019-05-02 11:57:35 -0400

  • Democrats Abroad publishes 2019 Expat Tax Research Datapack

    Democrats Abroad is pleased to make public the data obtained in our 2019 research into the experience of Americans abroad complying with U.S. tax filing and financial account reporting requirements.

    Click here to download the DATAPACK of the Tax Filing From Abroad Report.

    Click here for the full Tax Filing From Abroad report. 

    Click here for a summary of the findings.

    We hope this information will be useful to the many organisations and individuals working hard to persuade Congress to make urgently needed reforms to the way the U.S. tax code impacts Americans living outside the U.S.

    Read more

  • March 2019 meetings with Congress about expat tax reform

    The DemsAbroad Taxation Task Force is pleased to report back about our expat tax reform meetings last week (the week commencing 4 March 2019) on Capitol Hill.  Thanks to Carol Moore of DAUK for joining us for the meetings.

    Work continues on a bill implementing a switch to Residency Based Taxation

    As followers of this issue know, the residency-based taxation (RBT) bill introduced by Rep George Holding on the last sitting day of Congress in 2018 was lacking in the detail needed to generate the support it needs to be enacted.  However it was a great milestone for RBT activists and an important signal to us all that a powerful member of Congress is committed to an expat tax reform that would provide genuine relief to ordinary Americans living and working abroad.

    We understand from Holding’s team that they are back at work with the Ways and Means Committee lawyers drafting the bill, and with the analysts on the Joint Committee on Taxation who are scoring the proposal (to establish the impact on the federal budget).  Holding's team expects to introduce another version of the Tax Fairness for Americans Abroad Act in the 116th Congress in the coming months and we support their work to see more of the detail we spent so much time developing through 2018 in the next version of the bill.

    But you don’t have to take our word for it.  Rep Holding’s tax counsel, Matt Stross, will feature in a Webcast about the Tax Fairness for Americans Abroad Act hosted by our colleagues at American Citizens Abroad taking place on Wed 13 March and Thurs 14 March.  Click here for information and to register to attend.  Bring your questions and don’t forget to thank Matt.  He has worked very hard on this proposal and deserves our gratitude for his endeavors and his commitment to getting it done!

    Building support for RBT across the House

    We also met with the other members of the House who we know are our allies in expat tax reform:  Rep Carolyn Maloney (Americans Abroad Caucus co-chair); Rep Jamie Raskin (former member of DA France); Rep Dina Titus (former American abroad, very good friend to Democrats Abroad and featured speaker at our 2016 Global meeting in Berlin); and Rep Don Beyer (former U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland).  They are fully across work on the bill and, now that Democrats have control of the House, we expect them to become more hands-on with it.

    Meetings with other members of the tax writing subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee suggests our band of mission-critical allies is about to grow.  We will give those members some time to develop an understanding of the reform and will be happy to share their names in due course.

    What else

    We understand that Rep Carolyn Maloney will be reintroducing the Overseas Americans Financial Access Act which would exempt from FATCA reporting all accounts of Americans abroad in their countries of residence and also reintroducing her bill proposing the establishment of an Americans Abroad Commission to examine the range of U.S. laws and regulations that have an unfair, adverse impact on Americans abroad.   If such a commission were in place then Congress might avoid inadvertently enacting laws that harm Americans who live outside the U.S., such as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) which gave rise to the Transition Taxes which are seriously hurting Americans who own foreign registered companies.[i] 

    The TCJA introduces two Transition Taxes: the Repatriation Tax and Global Intangible Low Tax Income (GILTI) tax.  Despite a year of activism, we are still waiting for some Repatriation Tax relief, other than the one-year deferral to start making payment.  The GILTI Tax, however, was the subject of new Treasury regulations introduced when we were on the Hill last week.   The rules change gives individual owners of foreign registered companies access to the same offsets and discounts afforded to US-based corporate owners of foreign registered companies.  Electing to be taxed as a corporation, however, could for some result in greater levels of taxation in the long run.  American owners of foreign-registered companies should consult their tax professional.

    What’s next

    Our expat tax advocacy team is back on Capitol Hill the week of Monday 8 April and again the week of Monday 13 May, having more meetings with law makers key to the development of the bill and the development of support for it.  Whilst normally we see members in both houses, the March 2019 meetings focused on the House where the in-the-weeds work on RBT is going on.  Our outreach will accordion out again to include the Senate next month. 

    We can’t underestimate the importance of outreach by Americans abroad to your elected officials about expat tax reform.  If you’re looking for advice on how to contact your member please refer to this Guide.  It gives you everything to know about how to contact your member and what to say/write to them once you do.

    Democrats Abroad Taxation Task Force

    Taxationtf@democratsabroad.org

     

     

     

    [i] The TCJA introduced territorial taxation for corporations giving them a deeply discounted tax rate on the repatriation of unrepatriated of profits.  It also imposed deemed repatriation of profits on Americans abroad who own foreign registered companies, many of whom never intended to repatriate the profits (and who are already paying taxes in the jurisdiction where the company is registered.)   These business owners living and working abroad are having to put their hand on many thousands of dollars to pay the retroactive Repatriation Tax on profits going back to 1986.  Catastrophic for many.

    The TCJA also places a new tax on the future profits of foreign registered companies, with offsets and discounts for US-based corporate owners of foreign registered companies but none for Americans abroad who own foreign registered companies. 


  • Democrats Abroad is back on Capitol Hill to discuss tax reform for Americans abroad this week.

    A delegation of Democrats Abroad is in Washington DC this week meeting with members of Congress to share the results of our 2019 research on Americans abroad facing US taxation and continue discussions about legislation enacting a switch from our current system of citizenship based taxation to residency based taxation.

    In our Leave Behind Pack is a summary of the findings of the research and a document making the case for RBT.  

    Residency Based Taxation activists are asked to reach out this week to their members of Congress in support of expat tax reform.  Please refer to this grassroots campaign guide for reaching out to Congress about expat tax reform, which has scripts for calls and language for writing messages.

    Please send questions and comments to taxationtf@democratsabroad.org.


  • Democrats Abroad supports a remedy for "Accidental Americans"

    Democrats Abroad has written to Congressional leaders in support of a citizenship renunciation mechanism for "Accidental Americans".   Download the letter here.

    Please send questions or comments to taxationtf@democratsabroad.org


  • Tax Filing From Abroad: 2019 Research on Non-Resident Americans and U.S. Taxation

    Democrats Abroad is pleased to present its fourth major research project on the experience of Americans living and working abroad facing the challenges of a range of U.S. tax, financial account reporting, banking, securities and other laws that discriminate against them as non-resident citizens:  Tax Filing From Abroad:  Research on Non-Resident Americans and U.S. Taxation.

    The key findings of the research are summarized below. The report includes not only the survey data but also comments from research participants that expand on the numbers. Download the full report here.

    We will use the findings to profile the Americans abroad community to lawmakers and regulators in discussions aimed at persuading them to enact reforms to laws and regulations that place an unfair and undo burden on Americans abroad.  We hope the data is useful to all those advocating on behalf of the Americans abroad community.  To that end we will be publishing a Datapack of the raw data collected in the survey undertaken in January 2019.

    Please send questions and comments to taxationtf@democratsabroad.org.

     

    Key findings of the Democrats Abroad 2019 research on Non-Resident Americans and U.S. taxation:

     

    55%

     moved outside the U.S. for marriage/a relationship or work/employment

    64% 

    are living abroad indefinitely

    97%

     have serious problems addressing their US tax filing obligations

    55%

     hire tax return professionals to prepare their filings

    61%

     pay more than $500 for tax filing services, 34% pay more than $1,000

     

    One in three incur personal and financial harm by discriminatory tax code treatment

    30%

     receive foreign government social welfare payments, which are fully US taxable even if they are not taxed locally

    31% 

    have been refused foreign financial products

    28% 

    have been denied U.S. investment/brokerage products

    2%

     employed by a company in which they own a majority interest; these are entities are affected by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) Repatriation Tax and GILTI tax

    4%

     Indicate they are personally impacted by the TCJA Transition Taxes, suggesting the impact is felt by the spouses/family of the business owners.

    20%

     Receive U.S. social security benefits

    One in six SS beneficiaries have their benefits reduced by the Windfall Elimination Provision

    56%

     Have payments reduced by more than 25%

    57%

     Say WEP reductions make a modest to very big impact on their household budget

    2.5% 

    Identify as Accidental Americans

    50%+

     of them would like to renounce their U.S. citizenship, but most would only do so if they could renounce at a reasonable cost, effort


  • In memory of Lucy Stensland Laederich, champion for Americans Abroad

    Democrats Abroad wishes to express heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Lucy Stensland Laederich, of the Association of Americans Resident Overseas, Paris (AARO) and the Federation of American Women's Clubs Overseas (FAWCO) and to acknowledge Lucy's profound contribution to the Americans abroad community. Lucy was a greatly respected and valued colleague of all those working to advance the interests of Americans living and working outside the U.S., especially in the area of tax reform for Americans abroad. We celebrate her life and achievements and recognize the contribution she made to our community.


  • 2019 Non-Resident Taxation Research - SURVEY NOW CLOSED

    Many thanks to all those who have made submissions to our 2019 Non-Resident Taxation Research Project over the two week study period.  The survey was closed at midnight on Sunday February 3, 2019.  We look forward to publishing a full report on the findings of the research by the end of February.  

    *****

    Democrats Abroad is launching our 2019 Non-Resident Taxation Research Project to generate information we will use to advocate for reforms to relieve the burden of tax, banking, financial account reporting, securities and other laws that discriminate against Americans living abroad. Please contribute to our research by filling out this questionnaire. It will be open for submissions for 2 weeks, closing at midnight US EDT on Sunday February 3, 2019.

    -----

    Read more

  • Democrats Abroad Expat Tax Reform Advocacy - 2018 Year in Review

    As each year passes our list of expat tax issues grows.  As followers of expat tax matters know, there was nothing good for Americans living abroad in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.  Not only did the law fail to address any of the tax problems Americans abroad endure, it also placed a further serious - and for many existential - tax burden on Americans who own small to medium sized businesses overseas.  For these reasons you could say 2018 was the most challenging year yet for expat tax reform activists, many of whom invested enormous energy advocating on behalf of the Americans abroad community during the 2017 tax writing process.

    Read more

  • Dems Abroad on Offshore Account Disclosure, Anti-Abuse mechanisms and Treasury Regulations

    Democrats Abroad has written to Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Representative Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), sponsors of the 2017 Stop Tax Haven Abuse bill, in relation to measures in the bill involving offshore account disclosure.   Americans abroad face serious problems obtaining everyday banking products and services in their countries of residence (as well as in the United States [1]) arising from foreign financial account disclosure requirements.   In our letter we have outlined our concerns about the 2017 bill and, in anticipation of its re-introduction in the 116th Congress, have offered a range of recommendations for anti-abuse mechanisms to curb tax evasion PLUS protect the ordinary and entirely legitimate financial accounts held by Americans abroad in the countries where we live and work.  This is our letter.

    More Treasury Regulations proposed for implementing the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA)

    On Thursday 13 December 2018 Treasury published proposed guidance on the Base Erosion and Anti-Abuse Tax in the 2017 TCJA.  An easing of rules governing the way foreign financial institutions and U.S. banks should deal with foreign account disclosure laws also factors into the proposed regulations.  Reporting on the proposed rules is herehere and here.

    Democrats Abroad is pleased that Treasury, in providing relief for U.S. corporations abroad, has also given consideration to foreign financial account reporting; this is an issue that significantly impacts U.S. citizens abroad.  We strongly urge Treasury to not only consider regulatory changes to benefit companies that operate outside the U.S. but also to consider further changes that would benefit ordinary American citizens who live and work outside the country.   

    Democrats Abroad Taxation Task Force

     

    [1] Provisions in the USA PATRIOT Act requires holders of U.S. financial accounts to have a U.S. address. Americans living abroad without one are not able to open or retain accounts back home.


  • Dems Abroad requests Congressional Leaders hold hearings on Americans abroad issues early in 2019

    Democrats Abroad has reached out to Democratic members of Congress expect to lead in the House of Representatives on key committees to request hearings early in the 116th Congress examining laws and regulations that harm and discriminate against Americans living outside the U.S.  Our letter is here.  We expect to follow up on this letter once the 116th Congress is seated and especially during a Congressional Door Knock to be held in conjunction with the Democrats Abroad 2019 Annual Global Meeting to be held the first half of the year.

    Further more detailed information about the matters raised in this letter and other grievous discriminations against U.S. citizens abroad that Democrats Abroad has and will continue to bring to the attention of our elected representatives please see the Democrats Abroad 2016 Platform which is posted here.


  • DA demands expat tax reform in the lame duck session

    Democrats Abroad has written to Senator Orrin Hatch, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Ron Wyden, Ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, Rep Kevin Brady, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and Rep Richard Neal, Ranking Democrat of the House Ways and Means Committee, asking for our transition tax reform recommendations to be included in any technical corrections bill moved in the lame duck session to remedy serious problems arising from the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act rushed through Congress in December of last year.  Click here to download the letter.

    Our letter goes on to ask for their support for an urgent switch from citizenship based taxation to residency based taxation (RBT).  

    We continue to monitor developments in work by Rep George Holding on RBT and to support that work by educating Congress about the need for expat tax reform and the merits of a switch from citizenship-based taxation to RBT. Our fervent hope is that Holding's year-long work will result in a bill introduced before the end of the 115th Congress. Even though the chance of the bill progressing to a vote is very slim, it will be a major milestone to have an RBT bill to work with going forward.  

    The Democrats Abroad Taxation Task Force is very much looking forward, in the next year, to reaching out to the 116th Congress, so many members of which have the overseas vote to thank for their seats. We will make a special effort to engage with them and continue to persuade the all-important tax writing committees about the need for urgent action on expat tax reform.


  • Tax Advocacy Update as we enter the 2018 Midterm Election Congressional Recess

    Last week the U.S. Senate followed the U.S. House of Representatives into recess until after the 6 November midterm elections. Here are some updates on the advocacy work of the DemsAbroad Taxation Task Force as we leave the regular session of the 115th Congress behind and anticipate the “lame duck” session.

    · The Residency Based Taxation (RBT) proposal being championed by Rep George Holding (R-NC) has been at a standstill since August. We are told that further work on the scoring analysis by the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) awaits 1) further releases of regulatory guidance by Treasury on the implementation of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, specifically the 2 new “transition taxes” it introduced that impact American business owners abroad (Repatriation Tax and GILTI Tax), and 2) new definitions for what qualifies as a Passive Foreign Investment Company (PFIC), which are subject to highly punitive tax treatment.

    Our hope is that these matters will be resolved in time for JCT to complete its cost analysis and for House Ways & Means Committee staffers to produce a RBT bill to be introduced in the “lame duck” session. We understand that there will be a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act “technical corrections” bill between Election Day and the end of the calendar year, but we do not expect a fix for the “transition taxes” to be a part of that bill.

    We liaise continuously with key members of the House and with our colleague organisations who are also working in support of RBT. If there is any progress made on the RBT proposal we will surely pass it along.

    · Treasury released guidelines for implementing the transition taxes in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on 1 August 2018 and opened a 60 day comment period for submissions in response to the guidance. Indications suggest Treasury was inundated with comments from individual and corporate owners of businesses abroad. Thanks to all who made submissions in response to our call for comments. The IRS has very abruptly announced it is holding hearings on the regulations this coming Tuesday 22 October, with witnesses invited to speak for 10 minutes. We anticipate a lively exchange of comments and hope thereafter that the IRS embraces the need for relief for American individuals who own foreign businesses. We will forward any developments.

    · Democrats Abroad has been to Capitol Hill twice since the end of the August recess for meetings with members of Congress about expat tax reform. Our outreach, at this point, is concentrated on a) Democrats on the important House Ways & Means Committee, b) members of the House Americans Abroad caucus or who have a connection to the Americans abroad community, and c) members who are friends of Democrats Abroad or have themselves lived outside the U.S. As Congressional Democrats were fully and completely locked out of the 2017 tax reform process we are finding ourselves spending a lot of time educating members about the new taxes on Americans abroad introduced in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. We use it to reiterate our support for a switch from Citizenship Based Taxation to Residency Based Taxation (RBT), with the goal of finding Democrats who will act as RBT bill co-sponsors when the bill is finally produced.

    Important Democrats Abroad tax reform position papers we leave behind at meetings on Capitol Hill are here and here. Our discussions about the issues are often fruitful and encouraging. On Capitol Hill, however, attention has well and truly shifted to the midterm elections. House offices are manned by a skeleton staff - aides having been re-deployed to electoral efforts in the district - and meaningful responses to policy queries are not forthcoming.

    The most high potency outreach to Congress, however, is from you to your elected officials. And there’s no better time to generate attention from candidates for office than when they are asking for your vote. Our expat tax reform campaign guide provides language for phone calls and written messages of all kinds and we encourage you to consult it for support to communicate with your member of the House of Representatives or Senators.

    Lastly, the other very very important thing you can do to support and progress the tax advocacy work of Democrats Abroad and others to enact a switch to Residency Based Taxation IS TO VOTE. A strong, blue, voter abroad turnout is critical to making our concerns a priority for members of Congress. If you haven’t yet voted for many states it is not too late; go to votefromabroad.org to request a ballot. If you have voted, thanks so much for expanding the profile of voters living abroad and for helping to build that blue wave.

    Please contact us at any time with questions or comments.

    Democrats Abroad Taxation Task Force

    taxationtf@democratsabroad.org


Social justice advocate and campaigner. On a work assignment in New York. Home is Sydney. Votes in Pennsylvania.