Democrats Abroad Taxation Task Force 2017 Year in Review
The DA Taxation Task Force ("Task Force") has had a frantic but productive year.
For the first time in over three decades Congress would be working on a complete overhaul of the tax system. We saw this is our best chance for really pushing our case for Residency Based Taxation as well as continuing our work on a Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act ( FATCA) fix.
- April 25 - Rep Carolyn Maloney, co-chair of the House Americans Abroad Caucus, introduces HR2136 “The Overseas Financial Access Act” which calls for the exemption of FATCA reporting by Overseas Americans.
- May 15 – The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee holds a hearing on FATCA. While Democrats Abroad's request to provide testimony at the hearing was rejected, we did make this submission to the Committee, and and a further submission in response to a request by the chair to provide three recommendations for remedying FATCA’s adverse consequence.
- May 18-19 - Congressional Door Knock that occurred just after then 2017 Global meeting in Washington DC (this is our presentation on Tax Advocacy to the Global Meeting) included discussions about FATCA. This statement was included in the Door Knock Leave Behind Pack.
- May 27 – Rep Carolyn Maloney re-introduces HR 2710 to establish a Commission to study the impact of Federal laws and regulations on Americans living abroad.
- June - DA’s 2017 Residency Based Taxation campaign is launched with a Congressional CallStorm asking members of Congress for support for Residency Based Taxation
- July 17- The DA submits to the Senate Finance Committee our recommendations for reforms to tax laws that have grave financial and personal impacts for Americans abroad, including a switch from Citizenship Based Taxation to Residency Based Taxation. You can find the submission here.
- September – Task force launches the Non-Resident Taxpayer Research Project, a survey of the tax filing and reporting experience of Americas living abroad.
- September 29 –Task Force holds global Tax Advocacy Webinar to update members on the tax reform process and DA’s plans to advocate for Residency Based Taxation. These are the presentation slides.
- October 3 – DA makes a further submission to the Senate Finance Committee calling for Residency Based Taxation. You can find the submission here.
- October 10 – DA publishes the results of the Non-Resident Taxpayer Research Project: Can We Please Stop Paying Twice?
- October – Task Force organizes another Congressional outreach campaign and CallStorm calling for Residency Based Taxation, ahead of a Capitol Hill Door Knock by the Task Force.
- October 17-18 - Task Force goes to Washington as work on tax legislation is heating up, to meet with both Democrats and Republicans and advocate for Residency Based Taxation. We distributed our “Can We Please Stop Paying Twice?” research report, a one page Report Summary, and a document Making the Case for Residency Based Taxation.
- November 7-9 - Task Force returns to Capitol Hill to lobby for Residency Based taxation, meeting with both Senators and House members in about 40 offices and distributing further documentation on how Residency Based Taxation might be implemented.
- November - Task Force organizes a November Congressional outreach campaign for activists to push for Residency Based Taxation to be included in the package of tax reforms.
- December – Task Force organizes a last ditch Congressional outreach campaign for activists to call their members of Congress asking them to reject the disastrous, all-for-the-rich tax bill drafted by Congressional Republicans with no input invited from Congressional Democrats.
- December 19th Congresswoman Dina Titus, (D-NV1), submitted an extension of Remarks into the Congressional Record slamming the GOP Tax Scam and calling out congress for not addressing the issues of double taxation and filing difficulties for Americans abroad.
- December 21: Rep Jamie Raskin, (D-MD8), submits an extension of remarks into the Congressional Record condemning the GOP Tax Scam and admonishing Congress for not addressing the issue of Citizenship Based Taxation which has inflicted so much damage to Americans living abroad.
By December 21stThe Republican Tax Scam was passed by both houses and was ready to be signed by Donald Trump.
On December 22nd Donald Trump signs the GOP tax bill, HR1 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, in to law.
At the start of 2018 the Taxation Task Force will be building a new tax advocacy strategy, incorporating both grassroots activism and Capitol Hill advocacy.
We would like to thank all of you who supported our efforts by making endless calls to your Members of Congress. Your calls have definitely made a difference! The offices we visited confirmed they have seen an uptick in the number of emails and calls they have received about the tax problems faced by Americans abroad.
We have another opportunity to persuade Congress to address the urgent need for a switch from Citizenship Based Taxation to Residency Based Taxation - in the “fix up” bill it will need to pass to address problems with the Act passed in such haste. But we have a lot of work to do. We look forward to your on-going support.
DA Taxation Task Force
Julia Bryan – ex-officio (Czech Republic)
DeeDee Gierow (Sweden)
Rebecca Lammer (UK)
Carmelan Polce – Chair (New York and Australia)
Michael Ramos (Australia)
Joe Smallhoover (France)
Orlando Vidal (UAE)
Tax Reform Status & What's Next
Yes, our worst fears have been realized – both houses of Congress have produced bills that vastly favor corporations and the wealthy and well-connected; they blow out the deficit and foreshadow cuts to critical federal programs; they won’t grow the economy or bring back jobs from overseas; they are unlikely to inspire businesses to hire more people and pay them better; and they completely neglect the Americans abroad community.
But the fight’s not over. This week the House and Senate will form a Conference Committee to reconcile discrepancies between the bills they each passed, meaning we have one more chance to stop Congress before it's too late — and we need everyone's help!
Please contact your elected representatives by phone AND email to tell them we need a better tax plan for working Americans.
Call your Congressional Representatives today. Tell them to fight back against the Trickle Down Tax Scam, or vote NO when the bill comes to the floor.
. . . . . . . . . . .
My name is _________________. I vote in [your district/state] and I live in [name of country]. Although I live abroad I am deeply concerned about US tax policy and the impact it has on the welfare of the country. I’m very disappointed at the process Congressional leaders have taken to rush through tax reform and I am utterly appalled that they have chosen to prioritize tax cuts for corporations, the wealthy and the well-connected over tax cuts for working class Americans.
I do not and will never believe in Trickle Down Economics.
We all know it is a fraud – the only mystery is why Congressional leaders think that we will accept it anyway. I do not.
I urge the [Senator/Congresswo/man] to fight through the Conference process for a better deal for working Americans. I urge [her/him] to vote NO if the bill that comes to the floor repeals the individual mandate and explodes the deficit because of the enormous tax cuts for corporations and wealthy Americans who do not need them.
Lastly, we Americans abroad have been left out of tax reform entirely. We will continue to suffer under the existing system that subjects us to taxation both in the US and our country of residence, subjecting us to enormous filing cost and complexity.
We may be abroad but we are not absent from the debate - or the ballot box. Please fight for hard working Americans no matter where they live. Please fight for a better tax package for us all and vote NO in the Conference bill doesn’t provide it.
Thank you very much for your time and for your support.
Follow up each call with an email.
Use this link to message elected officials from the easy-to-use Democracy.io platform: http://bit.ly/aBetterTaxPackage.
You must use your USA voting address.
. . . . . . . . . . .
I vote in [State-Congressional District] and I live in [country of residence].
Although I live abroad I am deeply concerned about US tax policy and the impact it has on the welfare of the country. I’m very disappointed at the process Congressional leaders have taken to rush through tax reform and I am utterly appalled that they have chosen to prioritize tax cuts for corporations, the wealthy and the well-connected over tax cuts for working class Americans.
[If you want to highlight a particular issue that concerns you: I am especially concerned about (see resource links below for details)]
No matter how many times I hear it, I will never believe the tax cuts Congress is giving to large corporations and wealthy Americans – who don’t even need them – will trickle down to people like me. In fact, my fear is that in the next few months Congress will compound the problems caused by this tax package by making drastic cuts to programs like Medicare, Social Security or other federal programs that help the most vulnerable among us.
[Personal story about someone who relies on a federal program that will be jeopardized, if you have one.]
Further, the bill includes no provisions whatsoever to address the tax problems of Americans who live abroad. Filing taxes on income earned abroad is incredibly complex, expensive and unjust. Many of us pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for help filing the forms that show there is no tax to pay. Those of us who do owe are paying tax on the same dollar of income to both the US and our country of residence. Every American abroad would like to stop paying twice.
[Personal story about your tax situation, if you please.]
If the US had a system of residency-based taxation, like nearly every other nation, then I’d still be required to report my US-based income to the IRS, but not the income I make in and pay tax on to [name of country].
This tax package doesn’t help me or any working class American. In fact, we know that it was designed to please political donors and that’s what really hurts. Please fight for a better tax package for us and not them. Please vote NO on if the tax bill that comes out of the Conference Committee repeals the individual mandate and explodes the deficit because of its enormous tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy.
USA voting address
City, Country of Residence
Reference and background details
- What’s in the Senate bill passed on Saturday and how does it differ from the bill the House passed the week before Thanksgiving: http://money.cnn.com/2017/12/02/pf/taxes/senate-tax-bill-passed/index.html
- What happens next – the House and Senate create one bill out of two: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/another-delicate-challenge-for-republicans-reconciling-house-and-senate-tax-bills/2017/12/03/4943f854-d873-11e7-a841-2066faf731ef_story.html?utm_term=.e2a890e41bda
- What are the key matters the Conference Committee must reconcile to create a harmonized bill that will go to the floor of both the House and the Senate: https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2017/business/tax-bill-differences-reconciliation/?utm_term=.92a70fab760f
- What will all these tax cuts cost: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/11/30/senate-gop-tax-plan-would-fall-1-trillion-short-of-trump-administrations-promises-congress-tax-analyst-says/?utm_term=.3c29173e84d2
- What impact will it have on the deficit: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/11/30/senate-gop-tax-plan-would-fall-1-trillion-short-of-trump-administrations-promises-congress-tax-analyst-says/?utm_term=.c2e03d1441ea
- Will the tax cuts stimulate the economy? Joint Committee on Taxation says no. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/senate-tax-plan-will-not-pay-for-itself-says-new-jct-report/
- Who really benefits? Hedge Fund Managers, for one. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/03/business/trump-carried-interest-tax-loophole.html
- But, “Middle Class Tax Cuts”?? What’s going to happen to the working class? https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2017/business/what-republican-tax-plans-could-mean-for-you/?undefined=&utm_term=.6e1bb016207f&wpisrc=nl_most&wpmm=1
- What about those jobs and all that cash coming back from offshore? https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/29/business/taxes-offshore-repatriation.html
- Give it to me straight. Who wins and who loses. https://www.forbes.com/sites/anthonynitti/2017/12/02/winners-and-losers-of-the-senate-tax-bill/#dbcdf91254db
- What comes after the tax cuts? The enormous spending cuts! https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/02/us/politics/tax-cuts-republicans-entitlements-medicare-social-security.html?_r=0
No time to quit!
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Share this information with Americans abroad that are as concerned as you are about the cost, stress and inefficiency of reporting income and financial accounts abroad.
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Vote from abroad in every election in which you are eligible. It’s the best way to show our members of Congress that we are abroad but we are not absent.
Background on Residency Based Taxation (RBT)
Residency Based Taxation is a system of taxation where a nation imposes tax on income generated within its borders. Citizens of a nation with Residency Based Taxation pay tax on income in the place where their income was generated. If they live and generate income abroad then their offshore income is taxed abroad and not taxed by the nation of their citizenship.
All developed nations have a system of Residency Based Taxation except the United States. The U.S. tax system is known as Citizenship Based Taxation and it causes enormous hardship for Americans living abroad. They strongly favor a switch from Citizenship Based Taxation to Residency Based Taxation.
We are asking for:
- An exemption from reporting income generated in our countries of residence;
- Straightforward criteria for establishing eligibility for the exemption;
- No overly punitive exemption application processes or costs;
- Provisions to prevent high net worth migrants from using offshore residency as a tax avoidance mechanism;
- Americans living abroad exempted from reporting income generated in their country of residence would still report their US-source income;
- Americans living in the US would not be exempted from reporing income generated outside of the US.
Further, Democrats Abroad reaffirms its request for the establishment of a Commission on Americans Abroad to study and reform laws and regulations that have unintended adverse consequences for us (H.R. 2710) and for an exemption for Americans abroad from reporting on the financial accounts we hold in our country of residence (H.R. 2136).
Democrats Abroad and other online resources on Residency Based Taxation (RBT):
- RBT Frequently Asked Questions https://wiki.democratsabroad.org/display/TTF/RBT-FAQ+Frequently+Asked+Questions
- Can We Please Stop Paying Twice – non-resident tax payer research https://wiki.democratsabroad.org/download/attachments/17076519/Can%20We%20Please%20Stop%20Paying%20Twice%20-%20Reforming%20the%20U.S.%20Tax%20Code%20for%20Americans%20Abroad.pdf?api=v2
- Can We Please Stop Paying Twice research - one page summary https://wiki.democratsabroad.org/download/attachments/17076519/Can%20We%20Please%20Stop%20Paying%20Twice%20-%20Research%20Report%20Summary.pdf?api=v2
- Making the Case for a Switch to RBT https://wiki.democratsabroad.org/download/attachments/17076519/Can%20We%20Please%20Stop%20Paying%20Twice%20-%20Research%20Report%20Summary.pdf?api=v2
- A Model for Implementing RBT https://wiki.democratsabroad.org/download/attachments/17072672/A%20Model%20for%20Residency%20Based%20Taxation%20November%202017.pdf?api=v2
- American Citizens Abroad revenue-neutral RBT proposal https://www.americansabroad.org/news/aca-and-acagf-announces-tax-reform-revenue-estimate-analysis/
For more information message us at TaxationTF@democratsabroad.org
Each week Democrats Abroad posts an issue for our members to work on. This week's action focuses on pushing the Senate Republicans to vote no on the tax scam bill currently on the floor. For more information visit our action page today!
The House and the Senate Republicans are in the process of trying to pass tax reform that favors the wealthy and large corporations at the tremendous expense of the working class. Worse, the Senate bill not only cuts taxes for those who don't need it but rips away health insurance for 13 million Americans. The Senate bill will go to a vote on the floor the week after Thanksgiving. Unless there are material changes to benefit working class Americans both in the U.S. and abroad Democrats Abroad opposes the Senate Finance Committee’s bill. Make sure your Senator returns from Thanksgiving break to a great big pile of messages condemning the GOP tax bill.
Click the image to open the tax activism pack.
Use the sample language and contact your senators by using this link: http://www.democratsabroad.org/turkeyandtax
Please remember that when contacting your representatives to use your US voting address.