Many of Isaac Brock readers will be familiar with William McGurn from the WSJ who has written on U.S. Expat issues. This one back in January really caught my attention, as it was one of the few from a journalist who understood the Expat plight. He has also written What is the U.S. Citzenship Worth and there was an associated video here.
Bill is now seeking testimonials on real life FATCA impacts that can be part of a story he is working on to help educate Americans. His email is: WMcGurn@newscorp.com Read more on what he is specifically looking for below before you email him. Thank you.
FATCA has yet to hit too – and no one in the U.S. knows about it. It is being sold the same way as the rest of the Obama agenda: as a way to make people he deems fat cats pay their fair share. The problem is the unintended consequence: by punishing expats and foreigners here, he’s going to kill jobs for Americans. So it’s highly ironic this is part of a “jobs bill.”
I have only 800 words to write about something most Americans still do not know about, and even if they’ve heard about it, cant imagine it will impact them. I can’t go back to 1976 changes, and all those documents from, say, President’s export council, date from 1979-81. That’s not really of good use now. Maybe there’s nothing new that exists. But you go back that far, China wasn’t even part of the global economy.
It would be nice, if any of you know of it, to have a story about someone overseas who is going to be hit by this, and how that might impact an American company and jobs back here. I know it’s rarely that simple. Or an American who was not taken on in a business venture because he’s American and his partners didn’t want the hassle of these reports. Or maybe someone who will be replaced by a non-American – and how the company will no longer be buying American.
It also seems to me important to emphasize that what’s being asked of expats is MORE than what’s being asked of U.S. citizens here. Looking for testimonials from Americans who are being harmed. The point I’m trying to drive home is that Americans here have a stake in seeing Americans abroad succeed.
It doesn’t seem my situation matches any of the things he is looking for. Otherwise, I’d be happy to send something. Thanks for letting us know.
McGurn is now my new hero in the MSM. I particularly like that video, because it’s easier to share with others who may be less inclined to read than to watch.
His is a great quote on the number of people expatriating:
“I look at these numbers like the Berlin wall, only a few people attempted to get out during those years when it was standing, maybe a few dozen a year. But that was a hint of how bad it was under(neath). It didn’t mean everyone else was satisfied with what was going on, it was a hint of how bad it was.”
Sorry, I got a bit long here, but… ; )
One thing I hope McGurn covers in the future is that self-employed Americans abroad have it absolutely worst of all, as we have to pay an additional 15.3% FICA taxes (employer and employee portions) from the very first dollar of income (not just after the FEIE exclusion) on top of any US federal taxes owed and taxes owed to where one is resident abroad.
This is something that is unfair for self-employed Americans who live domestically to have to pay both the employer and employee portion of FICA. (They should only have to pay one part domestically. If the President really wanted to lower taxes on small business owners in the U.S., this how to do it in a manner that help small business specifically and not big business.) But it’s even more unjust to have to pay any of this when living abroad on top of any taxes owed to the US and also taxes owed to the country where one is resident. It’s ridiculous. All that said, it’s still the compliance complexity of this entire situation that is even worse.
If you can imagine how complicated taxes are for domestic entrepreneurs. And you know Americans abroad have it really, really bad. Just imagine what it’s like to be a U.S.-citizen entrepreneur/self-employed person abroad. It’s hell. E.g. Reporting contributions & distributions to & from a foreign company, reporting the foreign entity properly, reporting its bank & merchant accounts, dealing with exchange rates when reporting on forms, and certainly more and more forms that I don’t even know of. In fact, it’s changed my life plans. I want to live abroad to become fluent in Spanish, a life goal of mine, while working on my little startup. But it’s just too complex to deal with tax compliance and too risky with draconian penalties if I screw it up. I can deal with tax issues abroad easily. Those are relatively simple. It’s the U.S. compliance on top of it all that is a real dream killer.
I’ve come back to the U.S. and given up my plans to learn Spanish and gain international experience, temporarily, while I work on paperwork to establish permanent residency somewhere that will lead to citizenship. You can imagine where this is going… The saddest part is that the Ex-Patriot Act–even the mere proposal of it–provides incentive to renounce and to do it *sooner*, now, rather than just think about it forever, because if I do it now while I’m young and relatively destitute, then I won’t risk being considered a covered expatriate later and will still be able to come back to visit family when desired later, such as when my parents are old. So Schumer et al. has actually incentivized people to renounce and to do so sooner, not later.
— I was just going to post the top sentence or two. But once I get thinking about this, I can’t stop. —
“I’ve come back to the U.S. and given up my plans to learn Spanish and
gain international experience, temporarily, while I work on paperwork to
establish permanent residency somewhere that will lead to citizenship.
You can imagine where this is going… The saddest part is that the
Ex-Patriot Act–even the mere proposal of it–provides incentive to
renounce and to do it *sooner*, now, rather than just think about it
forever, because if I do it now while I’m young and relatively
destitute, then I won’t risk being considered a covered expatriate later
and will still be able to come back to visit family when desired later,
such as when my parents are old. So Schumer et al. has actually
incentivized people to renounce and to do so sooner, not later.”
This is the right approach. The single biggest investment that a young person can make in their future (assuming no quick changes to all of this) is to renounce U.S. citizenship. It’s sad but true.
-I was just going to post the top sentence or two. But once I get thinking about this, I can’t stop. —
Know exactly what you mean..
You should just email McGrun your comment. It might not be something that is just FATCA related, but it tells the struggle of small business owners attempt to survive overseas, and with FATCA will any one want to partner with you if their accounts have to be exposed too?
BTW, on NPR yesterday was another story on Romney Accounts with some investigation about what was in Bermuda. I see it was commented a lot on, so maybe @ConfederateH you might put that comment there…
Romney’s Bermuda Account Raises Questions
I notice that the NPR morning Edition story was still the most viewed today, even though it was a yesterday story. It has 783 comments. That is more comments than stories like to comment on, but thought what the hell, I will put one up. I wanted to get NPR attention on FATCA. They probably won’t read it, but you never know. It is in moderation as all comments go. I tried to be measured so maybe it will show up later, but will be lost in the sea of other comments.
William McGurn understands American expat issues better than most. Up to now his articles have been right on the mark. Unfortunately he will have difficulty getting expats to provide him with real life testimonials because most will want to keep their heads down until the massive onslaught passes–if it ever does.
The escalating persecution of Americans abroad has forced most to go underground, regardless of whether or not they renounced or relinquished their US citizenship.
William McGurn has shown himself to be a friend of expats, he deserves a place in the Isaac Brock Hall of Fame.
Nearly 1800 are ‘canaries in a coal mine’. Unlike these unfortunate birds, those who renounce will live to breathe freedom.
I sent an email to Mr. McGurn about U.S. expat entrepreneurs.
Mr. McGurn replied to me. It sounds like he has a new article coming out sometime soon. He said one of the hardest parts that he and other journalists face trying to write about these issues is that he/they need more sources who are willing to be named. Without that it makes it almost impossible to write news articles. So if you or anyone you know has an interesting story and is willing to be a source, McGurn is a good man to share your story with.
I just posted the link to his WSJ story as a separate post. I agree with you…
The best way to access the entire story is to copy and paste the title into Google News..
“Obama’s IRS Snoops Abroad”
I’ve tried to convince some journalists that our fear of speaking out is part of the story!