March 01, 2019

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 [email protected].


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



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


are living abroad indefinitely


 have serious problems addressing their US tax filing obligations


 hire tax return professionals to prepare their filings


 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


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


have been refused foreign financial products


have been denied U.S. investment/brokerage products


 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


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


 Receive U.S. social security benefits

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


 Have payments reduced by more than 25%


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


Identify as Accidental Americans


 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