It’s been an enormously active year for Democrats Abroad in the fight for tax relief for Americans abroad. Our execution around a 5 point strategy for enacting tax reforms that provide consequential tax relief for the vast majority of Americans abroad yielded a bill in the House of Representatives that has a chance of being embraced by the Senate and passed into law. Dems Abroad is proud of our achievements and reaffirms our commitment to the goal of tax fairness for Americans abroad.
Read on for our annual Year in Review statement and click here for a full accounting of our work in 2021 to achieve tax reform for Americans abroad. Contact the Taxation Task Force at [email protected]
WHAT ARE WE FIGHTING FOR
Democrats Abroad continues to fight for reforms that: eliminate double taxation; remove barriers to banking, saving and investing; and simplify filing. The best way to achieve this is through a change from our current system of Citizenship Based Taxation to Residency Based Taxation (RBT). Outreach to Congress and voting from abroad are the most effective ways of generating lawmakers’ support for a switch to RBT.
From our many years of outreach to Congress we knew that we lacked the data on RBT needed to persuade Congress to embrace it. This year, whilst waiting for the data needed to enact RBT, Democrats Abroad has been
1) working hard to promote consequential reforms that could be included in 2021 legislation, by
2) maintaining continuous contact with lawmakers about our issues and remedies, and
3) connecting Americans abroad with their elected representatives to talk about tax.
We are very pleased that Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA08) championed our reform recommendations and introduced the Tax Simplification for Americans Abroad Act; it would enable most of us to file without the need for expensive tax return preparers. This reform would help the vast majority of Americans abroad and is a major achievement.
As of this date we cannot yet know what legislative success our work will achieve, but we have achieved a great many of our strategic priorities in 2021.
DEMOCRATS ABROAD 2021 TAX REFORM ACHIEVEMENTS
Click here for details (including links to letters, posts, documents, reports and submissions) on the achievements summarized below.
Primary Research - leveraging our unique asset (the largest Americans abroad membership) to produce data, qualitative information and insights on the experience of Americans abroad with U.S. taxation and filing from abroad
- Expat Tax Focus Groups - used anecdotally
- GILTI research - published report and datapack
Thought Leadership - building DA's credibility and profile as expat tax policy advocates; using our extensive information and experience to expand government understanding of our problems and recommend policy credible, actionable reforms to address them.
- 9 submissions published this year, shared with Congressional leaders
- Briefing Notes on: Pandemic stimulus payments, GILTI Tax, Child Tax Credit, IRS support, and Financial Account Reporting & the Pandora papers
- Published Op-Ed in the New York Times calling for FATCA relief for Americans abroad
Government Engagement - direct outreach to Congress about our problems and reform recommendations
- Countless zoom meetings with Congress and Treasury officials
- 20 constituent abroad events, connecting Americans abroad over zoom with members of Congress critical to expat tax reform
- Tax Simplification for Americans Abroad Act - legislation introduced in the House of Representatives to greatly simplify tax filing from abroad
Grassroots Campaigns for activists - hosting campaigns for those who want to help achieve tax policy reform, providing advice on how to contact Congress, language on what to say and coaching on how to tell a personal story.
- Expat Tax Reform CallStorm (2 grassroots campaigns)
- Americans Abroad Caucus CallStorm (2 grassroots campaigns)
- Tax Simplification bill CallStorm (2 grassroots campaigns)
Tax Support to Americans Abroad - provide much-needed tax and financial planning information and support to our members and other Americans abroad.
- Distributing information and advice on pandemic aid, tax filing updates and IRS support
- Webinars about pandemic aid, the Child Tax Credit, taxation filing and investing
- Presentations and Q&A sessions on our advocacy work, with webinars throughout the year scheduled for the Americas Region, Europe/Middle East/Africa region and Asia Pacific region
The Democrats Abroad Taxation Task Force thanks all those who have supported our work to generate taxation and financial account reporting relief for Americans abroad in 2021. The work will be carried on under new leadership in 2022, with a fresh new team and a bold new strategy for bringing reforms to the way Americans abroad are treated under the U.S. revenue code and regulations. We wish the incoming DA Taxation Task Force Chair, Rebecca Lammers, and her team every success in this work that is so important to the Americans abroad community.
DA TAXATION TASK FORCE
Julia Bryan (Czech Republic) - serving since 2017
Jennifer Cederwall (Sweden) - serving since 2018
DeeDee Gierow (Sweden) - serving since 2014
Martha Henderson (Australia) - serving since 2019
Candice Kerestan - ex officio (Germany) - serving since 2021
Rebecca Lammers (UK) - serving since 2017
Bipin Manuel (Australia) -serving since 2021
Carmelan Polce - Chair (Australia) - serving since 2011
Michael Ramos (Australia) - serving since 2016
Chip Seward (France and Washington DC) - serving since 2017
Joe Smallhoover (France) - serving since 2011
Samuel Thorpe (Singapore and Williams College) - serving since 2020