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Tiny Action: Demand A Tax Remedy

MANY flaws exist in the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act. We know it, voters in the US know it, and even Republican leaders (deep down) know it.

But one thing that few people know is the catastrophic damage the new rules will have on the many Americans overseas who own their own business. If followed through, these policies could literally bankrupt countless small companies owned (or partly owned) by Americans abroad.

This week’s #TinyAction: Demand Americans abroad be exempt from Repatriation & GILTI Taxes.

*If you are a small business owner overseas, please use this more detailed script provided by our Taxation Task Force.
*Does this action look familiar? Good job! You’re also signed up to receive emails from our Taxation Task Force. In this case, the issue was important enough to raise twice.

This is an urgent issue that we can’t wait for Congress to fix, so we’ve drafted language for you to use in an email to the Treasury/IRS and relevant Congressional Committees.

To: David.kautter@treasury.gov, Lafayettechip.harter@treasury.gov, William.m.paul@irscounsel.treas.gov, Arlene.preston@irscounsel.treas.gov, Leni.c.perkins@irscounsel.treas.gov, Barbara.angus@mail.house.gov, Aaron.junge@mail.house.gov, Kara.getz@mail.house.gov, Mark_Prater@finance.senate.gov, Tiffany_smith@finance.senate.gov

Cc: RepatRemedy@democratsabroad.org

Subject: Repatriation/GILTI Tax Relief for Americans business owners abroad

Dear Mr. Kautter, Mr. Harter, Mr. Paul, Ms Preston, Ms. Perkins, Ms. Angus, Mr. Junge, Ms. Getz, Mr. Prater and Ms. Smith,

My name is [NAME]. I’m an American who votes in [STATE], currently living in [COUNTRY]. I’m writing today to ask that you address two components of the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act that will have disastrous impact on Americans overseas like me.

The Repatriation Tax and the GILTI Tax were created with giants like Google and Apple in mind. But they offer no exemption for the millions of Americans overseas who own small businesses, who will be drastically (and unintentionally) hurt by this policy flaw.

The great majority of us are just like our fellow Americans at home. We are law-abiding, tax-paying citizens, working to support ourselves and our families. We are not the 1%. I understand these taxes were designed for large, aggressively tax-structured multinational corporations, but the rest of us are swept up in these policies, and in fact treat us much worse.

1. These companies are entitled to tax credits and deductions that Americans living overseas are not privy to. So while corporations can minimize or avoid these taxes, we cannot.

2. We are now obligated to deal with exceedingly complex tax and filing requirements that came without warning, designed for multinational corporations, which are now virtually incomprehensible because of incomplete IRS guidance.

There is an easy solution for this. Americans overseas with interests in foreign corporations should be exempt from the Repatriation Tax and from the GILTI regime so long as we meet the conditions required for exemption under IRC Section 911, and we are individual U.S. Shareholders.

This will capture the corporate tax that has long been denied (as intended) while recognizing that the profits our businesses generate were always meant to remain in the place where we have made our lives -- in our cases, this happens to be overseas.

But Congress will struggle to enact a remedy as soon as we require. So I urge the Treasury and IRS to take the following actions:

1. Issue an immediate notice stating that for Americans abroad, the first payment under IRC Section 965 is due the earlier of October 15, 2018, or the issuance of further guidance.

2. Issue a further notice in line with this proposal.

Thank you for your attention and I sincerely hope that the Treasury/IRS can address this matter until such time as Congress acts.

Sincerely,

[NAME]

 

WHY IT MATTERS

In addition to continuing to fail to address the needs of individual citizens abroad, the new system under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has two troubling components in particular.

Repatriation Tax: Overseas profits for American-majority owned corporations will be subjected to a one-time tax on all profits going back to 1986.

This tax was intended to target U.S.-based parent corporations with foreign subsidiaries, which receive a range of offsets and credits for taxes paid in other countries. However, these deductions are not available for overseas Americans, which means that if an overseas business set up as a corporation is owned (or majority owned) by Americans living abroad, they will be forced to declare profits going back 20 years on their 2017 tax filing.

Global Intangible Low-Tax Income (GILTI) Tax: Going forward, foreign businesses owned by Americans will, again, be subjected to U.S. corporate tax on profits, less about 10%, regardless of whether or not profits are repatriated. As with the Repatriation Tax, U.S.-based corporations with foreign businesses are afforded deductions and offsets so significant that in many instances, it will mean they owe zero taxes to the United States.

Once again, these deductions are not available to overseas Americans. Overseas US citizens who own a business in the country they reside in cannot defer income from GILTI, and will be subjected to US corporate tax on profits, even if those profits never leave the country where the corporation is based.

These Americans, who live overseas and majority own corporations, will be taxed twice on the same dollar of income. Here’s an example of how it might work in real life.

Clearly, these are both grievous errors in drafting and must be addressed urgently. Please join our call for action and email the Treasury/IRS and Congressional leadership today.

 

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Tiny Action: Protect Yourself from Voter Roll Purges

Every year, Americans abroad miss the chance to vote. The reason? They didn't realize they were no longer registered.

This week’s #TinyAction: Don’t miss out. Double check that you are registered to vote, and that your overseas absentee ballot request has been confirmed.

After you have requested an overseas absentee ballot, use our Election Official Directory and select your voting state and region to find your Election Official.

Hello:

My name is (NAME) and I vote in (DISTRICT). I currently live in (LOCATION) but I believe I’ve already submitted my overseas absentee ballot request, and I just wanted to check to be sure that I’m properly registered and will receive my ballots throughout the year?

Thank you very much,

Most Election Officials have both phone and email contact options, and they’re very used to responding to questions like yours, which makes it an efficient way to check your voting status quickly and easily.

Then, read up on how your state compares to others:

WHY IT MATTERS

Republican-controlled state governments are actively working to make it harder for Americans to vote. Flawed methods like too-simple name and birthdate matches that misidentify millions as dead or having moved result in voter roll purges.

Just this year, 28 bills restricting access have been introduced in 14 states, including California, and in Wisconsin, 308,000 voters have had their registrations deactivated in this year alone, with thousands thought to have been removed in error.  

Elsewhere, Ohio’s “Use it or Lose it” voter roll purge has made its way to the Supreme Court, Indiana is also in court with the ACLU, as one of 30 states using the flawed method mentioned above that has up to a a 99% error rate.

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Tiny Action: March For Our Lives wherever you are

This weekend, as students and families join March For Our Lives events across the United States, we will rally around the world in support. As Americans abroad, we offer a unique perspective: Not only do we believe that it doesn’t have to be this way, but we know it to be true, because millions of us live in countries where people live without fear of a mass shooting.

We hope you will join us as we rise and organize this Saturday in marches around the world. And then help us vote out the politicians who are holding America back from common sense gun laws.

This week’s Tiny Action: Join our Virtual March For Our Lives, and join a local event if there’s one in your area.

Democrats_Abroad_March_For_Our_Lives.JPG

1. Print out this PDF or make a sign of your own

2. Take a picture of you and your sign

3. Send your picture to Comms@DemocratsAbroad.org

4. Post your pic on social media with hashtags #DAResists and #VirtualMarchForOurLives.**

5. Check here for an event near you and make plans to attend

**Don’t forget to make your posts public so we can find them. Here’s how to do this on Facebook without impacting other privacy settings.
**These hashtags will make it easier for us to find your posts, but you can also use the hashtags #MarchForOurLives and #VoteFromAbroad.

 

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Tiny Action: Help Friends & Family Vote - Volunteer to Register Voters

From the students leading National Walkout Day, to a major special election victory in Pennsylvania’s 18th, the past few days have been truly inspiring. Americans continue to stand up, speak out, and show up where it matters — especially at the ballot box. We all know how important this year’s midterms are, which is why the biggest way you can make an impact is by helping Americans abroad register to vote.

This week’s Tiny Action: Become a voter registration volunteer.

Before getting started, you should have already requested your own ballot for 2018!

  1. Sign up to be a voter registration volunteer via your Dems Abroad account.
  2. Visit our voting news blog and read the New Volunteer Training guide to learn about the voter registration process.
  3. Contact your local Dems Abroad committee to volunteer for upcoming voter registration events. Their details can be found under “Countries” in the main menu above.

While Democrats Abroad is proudly blue, voter registration is 100% non-partisan, as a public service to Americans living around the world. Voter registration volunteers must help all Americans register to vote and request their ballot, regardless of party affiliation. Likewise, VoteFromAbroad.org may be paid for and maintained by Democrats Abroad, but it is a valuable tool because of - not in spite of - the fact that it is nonpartisan.

WHY IT MATTERS

Through targeted efforts, our volunteers reached Pennsylvanians abroad ahead of this week’s elections; we played a critical role in Virginia and Alabama elections last year; and in 2016, we were the margin of victory for candidates like Governor Roy Cooper (NC) and Senator Maggie Hassan (NH). We’ve done it before, and we’ll do it again — but we can’t do it without every volunteer we can find.

Robo-calls DON’T work abroad. We need real people. We need civic-minded volunteers like you (who may be new voters or those volunteering with DA for the very first time!) to provide Americans with the information they need to get their ballots and vote.

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Tiny Action: International Women's Day

This year’s International Women’s Day is focused on the theme of #PressForProgress. With global activism for women's equality fuelled by movements like #MeToo, #TimesUp, and an unprecedented number of female candidates running for office in the US this year, there is strong momentum for gender parity. But we can’t be complacent.

This week’s Tiny Action: Push for Progress this International Women’s Day

There are myriad ways to actively support gender equality today, so we’ve listed a few. We hope you’ll do some (or all!) of these, and that you’ll spread the word on social media.

  1. Visit IWD’s Press for Progress campaign and commit to how you’ll be fighting for gender parity in your world.
  2. Talk to your kids about gender equality. International Women’s Day has great resources for teachers that are also helpful for parents.
  3. Read up on the importance of diversity within the fight for equality, and why intersectionality isn’t a buzzword - it’s reality.
  4. Learn about the amazing female candidates running for office in the US this year -- and request your ballot if you haven’t already!
  5. Join the Democrats Abroad Global Women’s Caucus to stay engaged with us on this key issue. Like all our caucuses, the GWC is open to all interested members.
  6. Talk. Raise the issue of equality at work, at home, with friends and on social media. Tell people why it matters to you, and why you hope it matters to them, too.
  7. Men: In addition to the points above, you need to be a vocal supporter of equality not just in private but in public as well. Study up on the UN’s #HeforShe campaign. Join MARC (after you’ve joined our women’s caucus). Be an advocate for equality in your personal life and in your place of work.

MORE INFO

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Tiny Action: Don't Be Disenfranchised in 2018

We can’t overstate the importance of registering to vote this year, which is why we’re asking again that you request your ballot (if you haven’t already) and that you spread the word among American friends and family.

Why? Because voter disenfranchisement is a genuine concern, and the best way to combat this is to register as early as you can - even if your state primaries are months away.

Even if you're a registered voter, your state is only required to send a ballot if you request it that calendar year, and sending in the form protects your ballot from challenge at the federal level in case of a recount. Don’t be disenfranchised; every vote matters, now more than ever!

This week’s Tiny Action: Go to VoteFromAbroad.org, fill out the form to request your 2018 ballot and send it in NOW. Then help us spread the news.

  1. Click “start here” from the VoteFromAbroad homepage to fill out the required fields, and follow the prompts to complete your form.
  2. Don’t forget to send in your ballot request once you have completed it. You will be instructed on whether your state allows ballot requests to be submitted electronically, or if you must mail in by post.
  3. Don’t be disenfranchised! Contact your Local Election Official to verify they received the form and will be sending out your 2018 ballots. Find your LEO here.
  4. Spread the news. Tell your Facebook and Twitter followers that you’ve registered to vote using VoteFromAbroad.org and ask your American friends, family and colleagues to do the same.
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Tiny Action: Marching for their Lives

Democrats Abroad has long been in support of gun safety reform. We have called for legislative reform in the past, have addressed this issue in our platform, but Congress has offered little more than thoughts and prayers. This is not enough.

The resilience of the students in Florida have inspired the Marching for Our Lives movement that is rapidly spreading across the country. We stand with them today (our statement here), and we will stand with them to help take the March 24 national day of action, and the March 14 national school walk out day, into a global call for change.  

This week's Tiny Action: Demand that Senate pass common sense gun legislation and start making your plans for March 24. 

1. Help your local Dems Abroad organize a “Marching for our Lives" event on or around March 24.

We’ll be organizing an online action to support the events in the US (stay tuned!), but there are also many people who would like to join an event in person. This requires organizing. If you live in an area where this might be possible, and if you’d be able to help organize, reach out to your local Dems Abroad team to let them know.

Not sure who to contact? Visit DemocratsAbroad.org and find your Country Committee under “Countries.”


2. Call on your Senators to take immediate, urgent action.

“Hi, my name is [NAME] and I’m a constituent from [VOTING STATE/ZIP]. I’m calling today to ask Senator [NAME] to take action to reduce the epidemic of gun violence in the United States. This is not a states rights or second amendment issue. This is a safety issue that has plagued our nation for far too long and must be addressed urgently.

Specifically, I ask that the Senator move to:

  • Close the loophole that lets people buy guns at shows and through private sellers without background checks
  • Institute universal background checks for ammo and gun buyers
  • Vote in favor of S.2095, the Assault Weapons Ban of 2017
  • Remove the Dickey Rider from the federal budget and finally allow the CDC to research gun violence prevention

I’m also incredibly disturbed that H.R. 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act passed the House, and it’s essential that the Senate stop it from becoming law. I’d like to see the Senator commit immediately to opposing this legislation. It’s as important as ever not to weaken gun safety standards, and prevent firearms from falling into dangerous hands. This is why every major law enforcement agency has opposed this bill.

As an American voter living abroad, I know that it doesn’t have to be this way. The US must be a positive example to the world, not the opposite. We cannot afford to wait any longer to protect innocent lives from gun massacres. Thank you.”

 **You can also find out how your Representative voted on the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act and call them to voice your support/disapproval.


MORE INFO

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Tiny Action: Help Dems Abroad GOTV

If you’ve been following our Tiny Actions for 2018, you’ve already registered to vote. Getting yourself registered is a great start, but if we want to mobilize the millions of voters overseas, we’ll need your help to get as many people registered as possible. The time to do that is now.  

This week's Tiny Action: Sign up to be a phone bank volunteer, and start making those calls! 

New to phone banking?

  1. Log in to democratsabroad.org and sign up to help with phone banking: https://www.democratsabroad.org/voter_support_team
    If you have already volunteered, you will see a “thank you for volunteering” image.
  2. Review the materials for first-time phone bankers: https://www.democratsabroad.org/phonebanking
  3. Check your email for instructions to activate your CallHub account - the system we use to call Americans abroad. Follow the instructions and be sure to write down your username and password.
  4. You’re ready to start making calls. Log in at https://callhub.io and get started!


Returning phone banker?

  1. Review the refresher materials and info on current campaigns here: https://www.democratsabroad.org/phonebanking
  2. Go to https://callhub.io to enter your username and password.
    - Your username is probably country code and name. Ex: CA-Heidi-Burch
    - Forgot your password? Click Forgot to receive CallHub instructions to set up a new one.
  3. Start making those calls!


MORE INFO

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Tiny Action: Dream Act NOW

Last September, Donald Trump eliminated the DACA program for NO reason, putting the lives of 800,000 recipients and their families on the line. Since then, the administration has continued to take drastic measures to vilify immigrants (both documented and undocumented), spread misleading and false information, and propose a hardline immigration plan that holds Dreamers hostage to further his hateful agenda.

While immigration is a complicated issue, it is unacceptable to use the lives of our undocumented family and community members as a bargaining chip for political gains. Across the country on February 7 (and globally with our help), Americans from all walks of life will join the National Day of Action for a Dream Act Now, calling on Congress to pass a clean Dream Act, with no concessions to Trump’s unnecessary demands.  

This week's Tiny Action: Call your Senators and your Representative and demand Congress pass a clean DACA bill NOW.

Hi, my name is [NAME] and I vote in [STATE/ZIP]. I’m today to ask Senator/Representative [NAME] to support a clean Dream Act and reject Trump’s demands to include massive, unnecessary spending on border security to the bill. It is unfair and immoral to use the lives of hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients as bargaining chips to score political gains.

This is not about partisanship; it’s simply the right thing to do. Nearly 19,000 Dreamers have already lost their protections since Trump terminated DACA, and that number is growing every day. While this emergency was created by Trump, Congress is just as responsible for failing to address it.

Furthermore, the attempts by the White House and complicit members of Congress to discredit the FBI and the intelligence community is not something that I will tolerate, and I will be watching closely to see if the Senator/Representative takes an active role in stopping this blatant obstruction of justice and stands up for the American people, or if s/he will be complicit.

We must see a clean Dream Act now, before the lives and families of even more Americans are destroyed. Thank you.

.

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Tiny Action: Protect Robert Mueller

We are reassured to see Robert Mueller push full steam ahead on his investigation into Russia and the Trump campaign. But we can no longer ignore the very clear, consistent reminders that the president will do anything in his power (and sometimes more than that) to obstruct the investigation. We cannot let this happen. This behavior must not be normalized. 

This week's Tiny Action: Call your Senators and your Representative to demand Congress protect Robert Mueller and the Russia investigation by supporting both S. 1741 / H.R. 4669 and S. 1735 / H.R. 3654.

Hi, my name is [NAME] and I vote in [STATE]. I’m calling to insist that Senator/Representative [NAME] support both the Special Counsel Integrity Act (S. 1741 / H.R. 4669) and the Special Counsel Independence Protection Act (S. 1735 / H.R. 3654). Both of these bipartisan bills would ensure that Trump can’t unilaterally fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller — something we have now learned he explicitly tried to do last year. I have no reason to trust that he will not make other attempts to do so, directly and indirectly. We need to protect our democracy from foreign influence and ensure that Trump is not being influenced by Russia.

Furthermore, the attempts by the White House and complicit members of Congress to discredit the FBI and the intelligence community is not something that I will tolerate, and I will be watching closely to see if the Senator/Representative takes an active role in stopping this blatant obstruction of justice and stands up for the American people, or if s/he will be complicit.

I urge the Senator/Congress(wo)man to move quickly on this issue before it is too late. Thank you

.

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