Thursday December 28, 2017

Dear Leaders and Colleagues,

The Taxation Task Force will start off our last message to you for this exhausting year with an enormous THANK YOU for supporting our campaigns and advocacy initiatives.  We will be publishing a timeline of the year-that-was that demonstrates the many and various ways Democrats Abroad leaders and members worked to bring our tax filing and financial account reporting problems to the attention of our elected representatives.  It’s something you can refer to when discussing the importance of our organisation to the Americans abroad community.  

Further, we can assure you that due to this enormous outreach there wouldn’t be a member of Congress on Capitol Hill who doesn’t know that there is a laundry list of ways in which the U.S. tax code discriminates against Americans abroad and that the Americans abroad community is determined to make them change that.

Thank you again for all you did to make this happen.

See below for our further notes to you on:

- the end of the tax reform legislative process;

- the response of companies so far to the new tax code;

- the remarks published by Rep Dina Titus in the Congressional Record about the need for tax reform for Americans abroad;

- the FATCA Repeal lawsuit making application to be heard by the Supreme Court;

- the tax reform clean-up bill coming in the next few months; and

- the new Taxation Task Force strategic plan.

Or just go enjoy your holiday knowing that we Democrats have an enormous opportunity to regain control of both houses of Congress in 2018 using the horrific tax scam the GOP has just perpetrated on every American bar those amongst the financial elite. 

We look forward to working with you next year to advocate strongly on behalf of Americans abroad and to generate the biggest turnout ever of overseas voters for Democratic candidates in elections right across the country.

Democratically yours,

Julia Bryan -ex-officio (Czech Republic)
DeeDee Gierow  (Sweden)
Rebecca Lammers (UK)
Carmelan Polce – Chair (New York and Australia)
Michael Ramos (Australia)
Joseph Smallhoover (France)
Orlando Vidal (UAE)


Post Script:  It is with great sadness that we learned this week of the passing of Stanley Grossman of DA UK, a valued member of the FBAR/FATCA Task Force from its inception in 2011 through 2015.  There will be many memorials for Stanley, as he certainly deserves.  We on the Task Force will remember him very dearly for many things, including his passion, commitment, humour and enormous determination.  No one pushed harder than Stanley for us to explore every advocacy avenue possible to promote our tax reforms for Americans abroad. 

What a sad year for us, in February losing our darling Joe Green, who was the founding chair of our tax advocacy team, and now Stanley.  We will build on their work as a tribute to them and are grateful for your help in doing so.


Tax Reform in 2017 is done

At this stage there has been no shortage of reporting on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.  You can read about what’s in it here and perhaps establish how it will impact you here.  Or not, since the provisions of the tax code impacting Americans abroad set up a different set of rules for us.  American Citizens Abroad, our colleague organisation fighting for reforms to laws and regulations that harm Americans abroad, has published a preliminary statement on the act as it generally impacts Americans abroad.

Through our lobbying on Capitol Hill we have identified a group of lawmakers who we think will go to bat for us when we try again in 2018 to reform the way Americans abroad are taxed.  We hope you will again work beside us.

How corporate America is celebrating tax reform

The GOP has lined up a few American companies to profile their use of the tax cuts they’ll be enjoying from now on (the media companies will also be celebrating the Trump repeal of Net Neutrality and the banks will also be celebrating the Trump destruction of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau).  But increased wages and worker bonuses are far in the minority.  Many more companies are using all that cash, as expected, to buy back shares.  No wage increases.  No staff bonuses.  Big paybacks to share holders.   

Rep Dina Titus goes on Record supporting tax reform for Americans abroad

Rep Dina Titus (D-NV) has been a great friend of Democrats Abroad for many years.  We have always receive a warm reception in her office and she has supported our work to reform tax, voting, citizenship and other matters that seriously impact Americans abroad.  We are delighted and grateful for her statements in the Congressional Record drawing attention to the need for tax reform for Americans abroad.

FATCA Repeal lawsuit promoters make application to the Supreme Court

As noted earlier this year, the lawsuit brought by Citizens United lawyer Jim Bopp on behalf of 7 Americans including Senator Rand Paul challenging the constitutionality of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act was rejected by the Sixth Circuit court of appeal for lack of standing.  The lawsuit proponents are now asking the U. S. Supreme Court to hear the case.  The Taxation Task Force does not believe their request will be granted but we will, again, be watching the case very closely.

A 2018 Tax Bill to fix the 2017 Tax Bill

A very small team of Republican tax writers worked behind closed doors for just a few months to prepare the bill just voted by Congress into law.  It is no surprise, therefore, that those at the IRS charged with implementing the bill have a lot of work to do before the provisions can be implemented.  Further, tax lawyers, policy analysts and return preparers warn the bill contains changes to business deductions that could result in a lot of aggressive tax structuring and unintended consequences.  These will require the GOP Congress to pass another bill to fix the mistakes.   Incompetence by the GOP tax writers may result in another opportunity for Democrats Abroad and other groups representing Americans abroad to lobby further for reforms, including Residency Based Taxation.  We will certainly keep you apprised.

We go back to the drawing board

The Taxation Task Force will be taking a well-earned break over the holidays but we are already thinking about what our 2018 tax advocacy strategy should look like.  We’re going back to the drawing board, starting with a clean sheet of paper and re-building our program of initiatives – including both grassroots campaigns and Capitol Hill advocacy.

We have already welcomed a new member, Rebecca Lammers of DA UK, who has a background in social media and communications.  That may give you some insights into what we are planning next.

Questions or Comments

As always, we welcome your questions and comments.  Please contact us on