Below is an outline of the submission the Democrats Abroad Global Taxation Task Force submitted to FinCEN for comment on the Review of Bank Secrecy Act Regulations and Guidance. The TTF strongly encourages Americans abroad to submit their own comments, which is open for comment until February 14th. Click here to download a pdf of DA's submission to FinCEN in full.
On December 29th, 2021, a Dutch court issued a ruling on FATCA that should make us all take pause and reflect on the state of tax reform for Americans living outside the US.
In the case, a local Dutch bank attempted to terminate the accounts of an “Accidental American” due to his refusal to obtain and provide a US Social Security Number (SSN). In an earlier hearing, he informed the judge that he spent only the first year of his life in the US, was unaware of his US citizenship until recently, and found the obligation to pay taxes to a country he never worked in to be unjust.
The judge ultimately ordered the bank to keep the American’s accounts open, conditional upon the account balance staying below the $50,000 threshold that would trigger special reporting for the bank. The expressed rationale was that even though non-US banks must collect SSNs from all American citizen customers, individuals have a clear interest in having the bank accounts necessary to live an ordinary life. Small accounts are also not reportable by the banks.
While this ruling applies to specific situations in one country, it is indicative of a broader trend of foreign legal scrutiny being placed on a US tax system that is often viewed as disproportionate, unjust, and broken.
Despite desperate requests from middle-class Americans abroad to lawmakers concerning financial access and tax issues, the situation has continued to worsen for many people. Because of this, a growing number of individuals have turned to foreign governments to seek protection from a US system in need of serious reform.
Countries are becoming increasingly aware of this indifference to the multitude of issues facing Americans abroad and at home, and they are taking measures into their own hands in ways that may not align with the interests of the US Congress. Americans abroad have a clear view of how the US is viewed and perceived around the world; we care deeply about our home country and want to ensure that the US continues to be viewed as a world leader. Fixing the US tax code to ensure middle-class Americans abroad are treated fairly is necessary to secure America’s future, both domestically and around the world.
In the coming months, the Democrats Abroad Taxation Task Force will be updating its policy positions and redoubling its advocacy for Residence Based Taxation. We have a model that addresses the needs of overseas citizens, is enforceable and sustainable even with limited foreign cooperation, and will continue to protect the interests of Americans worldwide.
We urge Congress to work with Democrats Abroad to properly resolve this issue which is clearly within their jurisdiction.
For English-language news about this court ruling, a number of free and paid articles are available:
Click here to sign up for the Democrats Abroad Taxation Task Force Newsletter to keep up to date on our tax advocacy efforts.
Are you passionate about American abroad tax issues and have the skills or time to help?
The DA Taxation Task Force is hosting this volunteer information session to explain what's involved in being a volunteer and to answer any questions you might have about volunteering. Click here for an outline of volunteering opportunities for the TTF.
The DA TTF is a group of dedicated volunteers working towards fixing the tax code for Americans living abroad. We are under new leadership for 2022 and in preparation, we are currently looking to restructure the team as well as inviting new volunteers to join us.
We have a number of volunteer positions available, from people with no experience who want to help out with social media, to subject matter experts that can help us lobby Congress - everyone and anyone is welcome to contribute!
Once you attend the info session, we encourage you to complete this application to the best of your ability. You will then be invited to a follow-up one-to-one 30 minute Zoom call to figure out which teams you fit into and to get you started.
Note: Attending an info session is optional, you do not need to attend to express interest in volunteering. Feel free to go ahead and fill in the application form here.
You can also express interest in volunteering by emailing [email protected] and including as much information as possible about your background and how you think you can help.
Please feel free to forward this event page to friends or family that you think might be interested in getting involved!
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