Democrats Abroad is ending 2019 repeating and reinforcing a request we made, in unison with our colleague organizations advocating on behalf of Americans abroad, this time last year; that Congress hold hearings focused on the taxation, banking and other issues causing serious personal and financial harm to Americans abroad. The request takes on added importance this year.
As followers of our work know, for the last 2 years Americans abroad have enjoyed the support in our tax advocacy efforts of Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA-8), Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV01), Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD08), Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY12) and Rep. George Holding (R-NC02). This week Rep. Holding announced his retirement from Congress. Americans abroad will, at the end of the 116th Congress, lose a Congressional champion for Residency Based Taxation (RBT).
Fortunately, Rep. Holding suggests he will continue in his last year in office working in collaboration with his House Ways and Means Committee colleague Rep. Beyer and others in support of RBT. Democrats Abroad wishes to thank Rep. Holding for his support of a reform critically important to Americans abroad and we wish him well.
In the meanwhile, Americans abroad need to continue broadening support for RBT on Capitol Hill. Hearings that feature presentations demonstrating the range and severity of our U.S. taxation problems will surely build our profile and amplify the urgent need for our recommended reforms. If you have not as yet reached out to your elected representatives to ask for their support for RBT please do so now. This campaign guide is all you need.
In other news, we draw your attention to recent reporting by Bloomberg on the serious tax problems faced by Americans abroad. It's a wonderful, concise but complete profile of the challenges we face. A great resource for campaigners!
Further support for FATCA campaigners came on 11 December in a letter from the EU Council President to Treasury Secretary Mnuchin which outlined the serious problems FATCA continues to create for Americans abroad and the foreign financial institutions they bank with despite recent Treasury guidance providing relief. Further, the letter draws attention to the need for the U.S. to address its own commitments under the intergovernmental agreements.
And that brings us to our wrap up of the work Democrats Abroad did in 2019 advocating for tax reform for Americans abroad. We thank all the great activists who supported our work this year. RBT will get done when Congress has heard from enough of us who are desperate for change. If your concern about this issue drives you to do more, the Democrats Abroad Taxation Task Force is always looking for committed volunteers prepared to roll up sleeves and join us in this important work. If you have initiative, time and energy to give we would love to hear from you.
2019 TAX REFORM ADVOCACY YEAR IN REVIEW
Democrats Abroad jumps into the year publishing a survey for non-resident Americans on taxation. The survey was closed on February 2 after two weeks in the field having generated 9,885 submissions from Americans from all U.S. states living in 123 countries across six continents.
Democrats Abroad pays tribute to Lucy Laedrich, a leader with the Association of Americans Resident Overseas (AARO) and our colleague over many years in advocating on behalf of Americans abroad. Lucy passed away in February following a lengthy illness. We miss her leadership and are grateful for her service to our community.
Democrats Abroad publishes the findings of our 2019 research in a report entitled Tax Filing From Abroad: 2019 Research on Non-Resident Americans and U.S. Taxation. The Dems Abroad Taxation Task Force took our research to Capitol Hill and shared the findings with our elected representatives to underscore the urgent need for tax reform for Americans abroad. Click here for a report on our March meetings with Congress.
Democrats Abroad publishes a letter addressed to Congressional leaders in support of “Accidental Americans” who seek a remedy that enables them to shed their unwanted U.S. citizenship without lengthy procedures or undo penalties.
Democrats Abroad publishes the 2019 expat tax research Datapack, making available all the data collected from our January 2019 survey for use by our colleagues advocating for reforms to U.S. tax and other laws that discriminate against Americans abroad.
In the lead-up to the Democrats Abroad 2019 global meeting the Democrats Abroad Tax Task Force returns to Capitol Hill for 3 days of meetings about tax reform for Americans abroad. As with all our Congressional Door Knocks we publish a campaign guide for Americans abroad who support tax reform to use to reach out to their elected representatives before or during the dates of our Capitol Hill meetings. In the days following the Democrats Abroad 2019 global meeting conference about 70 of the attendees held a more expansive Congressional Door Knock. 9 teams of delegates held 45 meetings across 3 days about a range of issues, including taxation.
Democrats Abroad published a report on the two Door Knocks, referencing outcomes from both the Tax Task Force’s meetings and global leaders’ meetings, including that Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA08) would be partnering with Rep. George Holdings (R-NC02) on draft legislation to enact a switch to Residency Based Taxation.
Democrats Abroad asks Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY12), Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD08)and Rep. Dinah Titus (D-NV01) to raise the proposal to enact Residency Based Taxation with the House Ways and Means Committee at the annual Ways and Means Committee Members Day Hearing.
Democrats Abroad marks the June 15 International Tax Filing Day by hosting a Congressional CallStorm for Americans abroad to reach out to their elected representatives and demand relief from U.S. taxation for Americans abroad.
Democrats Abroad publishes a tax advocacy update outlining developments related to Double Tax Treaties, expat tax reform advocacy work on Capitol Hill and further GILTI Tax regulations.
Democrats Abroad publishes updates to our Residency Based Taxation FAQs.
Democrats Abroad publishes a mid-summer bulletin on developments in U.S. taxation and our advocacy work related to tax reform for Americans abroad.
Democrats Abroad celebrates the introduction by Rep. Maloney and Rep. Beyer of bills to provide relief and support to Americans Abroad: The Overseas Americans Financial Access Act and The Commission on Americans Abroad Act.
Democrats Abroad hosts a webinar for Americans abroad on how to contact members of Congress and publishes a recording of the webinar.
Democrats Abroad prepares questions for Democratic Party presidential candidates about issues important to Democrats abroad, including their positions on foreign financial account reporting and U.S. taxation relief for Americans abroad. Responses are posted here as they are received from candidates.
Democrats Abroad announces another group of meetings on Capitol Hill to take place in early November and invites expat tax reform activists to call Congress in the lead-up to and during the meetings.
Democrats Abroad UK hosted a Tax Seminar to discuss the many problems Americans abroad have complying with U.S. tax and other requirements. With 200 attendees from the UK and Europe and 17 presenters it was the largest seminar of its kind.
Democrats Abroad returns to Capitol Hill for more meetings with House tax writers and publishes a report on the November meetings.
Democrats Abroad reports out on new Treasury FATCA regulations published in anticipation of the end of the 3 year grace period for foreign banks to file IRS-compliant FATCA reports.
Democrats Abroad reports out about hearings in the EU Parliament on FATCA.
Democrats Abroad celebrates perhaps the most perfect (both complete and succinct) encapsulation of the U.S. taxation issues faced by Americans abroad published by Bloomberg.
Politico interviews Democrats Abroad (and our expat tax advocacy colleagues American Citizens Abroad) about the serious problems Americans abroad face remaining compliant with U.S. tax and other obligations. Download a PDF of the article here or download the article from Politico (behind their firewall) here.
On Tuesday 12 November the European Parliament held a public hearing (video here) exploring the impact of FATCA on citizens of Europe who also have U.S. citizenship, including data privacy violations, banking discrimination and more. The hearing was organized in response to a petition filed on behalf of a collective of European citizens who are adversely affected by FATCA, including Accidental Americans. (See below.)
Our friends in the Accidental Americans Association who testified at the hearing tell us that EU Parliamentarians and others are genuinely starting to grasp the issues and the injustice. Some national politicians are speaking out, notably in France, The Netherlands and the UK. And the EU Parliament has demonstrated its belief that relief from the harm FATCA is doing to Accidentals is urgently needed. The European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union, however, has not and, to the frustration of Accidentals, shows no signs of wanting to get involved.
European Parliament TV has published this video of the hearing. Deliberations not in English are translated; it is essential viewing for those who are following or interested in the progress of challenges to FATCA through European legislative bodies.
Accidental Americans – Advocacy Update
Followers of Democrats Abroad’s tax advocacy will know that we support a renunciation remedy for Accidental Americans to shed their unwanted U.S. citizenship without lengthy procedures or undo penalties. So far the U.S. government has provided no indication that such a remedy is forthcoming. Renouncing U.S. citizenship involves application fees, administrative hurdles and tax compliance that puts the cost beyond the reach of many.
On September 6 of this year, purportedly in recognition of the FATCA problems outlined by Accidentals, the IRS published new procedures providing tax relief to former American citizens who relinquished their U.S. citizenship without becoming tax compliant. The relief – no tax payable if the liability is less than $25,000 – is going to be relevant and of use to only a very small band of former citizens. The details are here.
Please send comments or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
DEMOCRATS ABROAD TAXATION TASK FORCE