September 02, 2021

DPCA Resolutions Dealing with Tax Advocacy

The Democratic Party Committee Abroad (DPCA) voting body met online on August 21 and 22 to vote on Charter Amendments and Resolutions. Your DA Switzerland voting reps know that taxation reform is important to you, so we would like to report on two of the resolutions that were adopted.

As always, you can follow the DA Taxation Task Force’s work on their website. Your DA Switzerland DPCA voting reps will also keep you up-to-date with information about the proposed messaging system and the RBT Coalition’s work.

Resolution #3
In Support of Development of a DA messaging platform for engaging members in Congressional outreach in support of DA issues-advocacy initiatives

Whereas Democrats Abroad has greatly expanded its advocacy work promoting reforms related to issues affecting Americans abroad and of importance to Democrats Abroad; and

Whereas DA advocacy initiatives routinely feature outreach to U.S. federal and state lawmakers and regulators; and

Whereas state of the art issues-advocacy programs provide activists with platforms that facilitate messaging to elected representatives by: identifying the activist's representative(s); providing sample message language; and sending the message to the activist's representative(s) via their official website, campaign website, or social media pages; and

Whereas DA issues-advocacy coordinators would benefit from data indicating which elected representatives are receiving messages from DA issues-activists, helping them to target representatives for further or follow-up outreach; and 

Whereas DA issues-advocacy coordinators would benefit from data, with GDPR compliance, identifying campaign supporters, helping them to target activists for further or follow-up communication; and

Whereas DA's Taxation Task Force has learned from at least 10 years of committed advocacy in support of tax reforms to eliminate double taxation; remove barriers to banking, saving, and investing; and simplify filing from abroad; that reform will happen when enough Americans abroad reach out to their elected representatives and demand it; and

Whereas votes from abroad reach politicians for the most part only once every 2 years, but voices from abroad can reach elected representatives - or candidates for office - continuously and with focus; and

Whereas DA is blessed with volunteers who can set up and maintain a messaging platform, but there will be origination and on-going maintenance costs that will consume organizational funds; and

Whereas DA can access "white label" systems ("off the shelf" web-creation products with functions already in place and ready to be customized) that would facilitate the development of such a platform without the need to start from first principles; and

Whereas DA advocacy teams with any area of focus could make use of the platform; and

Whereas the success of the Democratic Party in driving legislative and regulatory reform is critical to the fate of the nation and the success of the Party in maintaining the support of the U.S. electorate; and

Whereas the substantial growth of DA caucus and other issues-advocacy teams has created the need for some overarching member-engagement infrastructure and congressional-outreach architecture in order to efficiently facilitate member participation in our campaigns as well as to sensibly coordinate the campaign activities of the issues-advocacy teams;

Therefore Be It Resolved that Democrats Abroad seeks the support of the DPCA Excom for establishment of an ad hoc committee to study the establishment of a messaging tool for DA advocacy teams to engage activists to communicate with those holding elected office or running for elected office about law or regulatory reforms; and

Be It Further Resolved that Democrats Abroad seeks the support of the DPCA Excom to allocate resources in 2021in support of the work of the ad hoc committee and for reviewing and actioning the recommendations of the committee;

Be it further resolved that the naming of this platform should be carefully considered to not cause confusion with any other DA platform, e.g., / VFA.

Resolution #4
In Support of Democrats Abroad Joining the RBT Coalition

Whereas Democrats Abroad (DA) has invested heavily in advocacy in support of tax- and financial-account-reporting relief for bona fide Americans abroad; and

Whereas DA is committed to Residency Based Taxation (RBT) as a policy reform that would eliminate double taxation of income; remove barriers to saving and investing; and greatly simplify tax-filing from abroad; and

Whereas arguments in support of this reform will have greater impact on lawmakers the greater the number of individuals and organizations presenting them; and

Whereas DA has worked in collaboration or in parallel with many other organizations representing Americans abroad; and

Whereas, in the area of tax advocacy, DA has a strong working relationship with American Citizens Abroad (ACA); and

Whereas ACA is leading the establishment of an RBT Coalition to demonstrate broad support for RBT [see proposal document below]; and

Whereas the DA Taxation Task Force Chair and members who have worked with ACA are persuaded that ACA will be faithful to the terms and conditions outlined in the proposal document and will guard against “mission creep”;

Therefore Be It Resolved that Democrats Abroad seeks the support of the DPCA Excom to become a member of the RBT Coalition; and

Be It Further Resolved that the DPCA Excom reserves the right to withdraw from the Coalition should it stray from what is profiled in the proposal document or for any other reason.

Talking Paper
Coalition for Residency-Based Taxation

These are preliminary thoughts about creation of a coalition supporting enactment of residency-based taxation – what it might look like, some elements that might be addressed, and some things that might best be avoided. (The coalition is herein referred to as “RBT Coalition”.)

I.   What It Will Look Like

  • Overview
    The RBT Coalition will be an informal group of organizations that openly support enactment of residency-based taxation (RBT) in lieu of citizenship-based taxation (CBT).

    The RBT Coalition will present widely-accepted arguments in favor of residency-based taxation. It will assemble information about RBT and make this information available to the public and to governments, including the U.S. government. It will also disseminate this information to the news media.

    It will be “informal” in that it will not be an association of any type or a separately organized entity. Consequently, it will not file for any form of tax-exempt status with the IRS or be required to make any tax filings. It will not advocate for enactment of a specific piece of legislation, such as, a congressional bill or resolution, or a particular action by the legislative, executive or judicial branch of the U.S. government. It will not conduct itself in a manner which would require it or any entity or individual associated with it to have to register as a lobbyist. In no manner will it participate in, or intervene in (including the publication and distribution of statements), any campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office. It will not collect monies. It would not, directly or indirectly, give any gift or pay for the travel of any member or employee of Congress. Any contributions, donations, or the like will not be made through the Coalition.

    The RBT Coalition will not have officers or directors or spokesmen/spokeswomen.

    Any action taken on behalf of the Coalition will require unanimous consent of all its participating organizations, indicated in writing.

    It will hold meetings when two or more participants call for meeting and a majority of participants agrees, whether or not they wish to attend. Meetings may be “in person” or “virtual”, with notice to all participants.

    The records of the Coalition will be maintained and shared as agreed by the participating organizations. “Records” could include minutes of meetings and correspondence.

  • Composition - at outset and evolving over time
    At the outset, the RBT Coalition will be comprised of a group of participating organizations drawn from different segments of the expat community.

    • Organization representing Americans abroad - individuals and businesses. Examples are American Citizens Abroad, AARO, FAWCO, Democrats Abroad, Republicans Overseas, the US Chamber of Commerce (including sub-groups and similar groups, such as business councils).

    • Social and Business groups of Americans. Examples: American Clubs, American-foreign trade associations, American overseas business organizations.

    • Policy oriented groups and so called "think tanks"

    • Service providers that cater in some measure to expats. These individual service provides include:
      • Different segments of the broadly-defined tax return preparation services community. Within this population are return preparers - large, medium-sized, and small

      • Investment advisors and asset managers that are focused on the expat community. This population ranges from medium-sized firms to offices or "shops" within large organizations.

      • Legal advisors. This includes some individuals and small firms but more often "practices within larger firms.

      • Software providers and other tech-oriented groups. This is a small, specialist population.

      • Relocation agencies and similar organizations.

      • Large public accounting firms and economic consultancies.

      • Elements to be addressed

  • What is it expected to do?
    Its focus will be entirely on replacing citizenship-based taxation with RBT. The principal arguments in favor, such as, tax fairness and efficiency, will be agreed to be all participants.

  • How formal a structure?
    There will be no formal structure, such as, a management committee or a committee of advisors. There will be a list of participants with contact information. All participants will sign an agreed expression of support for adoption of RBT in place of CBT.

  • Governance
    No formal governance. No one participant or individual will be authorized to act on behalf of or speak for the coalition. Members must unanimously agree on any actions, such as, signing a letter to Congress. No one can sign on behalf of individual members. Individuals members must separately sign anything with their name on it.

  • How to proceed
    Start with a small group and build from there. The population of participants can be expected to grow with signs of progress on the legislative front.

II.  Things To Be Avoided

  • Anything that looks like a proposal.

  • Anything that could be characterized as lobbying.

  • Anything that is politically partisan.

  • Anything that is or appears to be self-promotional.