United States Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein Donald S. Beyer, Jr. was the recipient of the Thomas Jefferson Award at a State Department ceremony on March 26, 2013. The award by American Citizens Abroad (ACA), is presented to a US State Department officer who has rendered outstanding service to Americans overseas.
Read more here:
Also download and read the document ISSUES OF CONCERN FOR U.S. CITIZENS WORKING ABROAD Nearly everyone in attendance took a copy of the report and Beyer stressed that everyone read it and get a copy either from him or ACA!
An ambassador whose countrymen can’t even open a bank account in the country to which he is ambassador, the unique country whose citizens, resident in Switzerland, are barred from opening an account in the country. It is ironic twist to the incompetence of the Obama administration, to see success where it has failed dismally. They should do another Star Trek video about this: The Swiss could be represented by the Ferengi.
Maybe “success” means having the ability to recognize that a serious problem exists. The next step is to recognize that one can take action to address serious problems. After that, one has to find one who can take action to concerning the serious problems. Then, comes the funding issue, followed with the plan of action. The action plan involves profiting from those suffering from the problem, and this is where we are today:
Ingenious launches US business to build on Fatca opportunity
The document is more comprehensive than I would have expected. I only find fault with the recommendation that US citizenship should be conferred to all those born/adopted abroad. Due to the situations faced by Calgary411, recalcitrant and Cecelia, there should be some choice in this matter since there is no flexibility concerning the right to renounce by those who are mentally/physically disabled.
Congratulations to and thanks for the work done by US Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein Donald S. Beyer, Jr. His understanding and highlighting the difficulties of US Citizens working abroad earned him the Thomas Jefferson Award as he is recognized by American Citizens Abroad for a US State Department officer who has rendered outstanding service to Americans overseas.
I can’t in my wildest imagination picture the US Ambassador to Canada David Jacobson receiving that award — or even being in the running.
I agree with your comment, nobledreamer. In my mind, there should be FULL CHOICE in the matter of claiming US citizenship as a right for the parents, guardians or trustees of those “accidental Americans” who have a ‘mental incapacitation’ and are unable to renounce because of their inability to comprehend citizenship or the renunciation of same. Those with physical disability only should have no problem if they wish to renounce US citizenship conveyed to them — they will be able to understand the concepts. That choice should perhaps be there for those adopted by US citizen parents (many of whom will be children who may come into their new family with a developmental disability) — rather than automatic conveyance of US citizenship. Otherwise, it may well be entrapment by the US. Choice is the operative word.
(Also, we have another family who has a son who will be unable to shed US citizenship — The Animal’s son will not be able to renounce his gift of US citizenship as his siblings will be able to when the time comes. I believe there will be many, many, many such other families out there, many without a voice to ask for common sense legislation and how it will affect their loved ones.)
Calgary 411 beat me to the punch, in her comment that David Jacobson, US ambassador to Canada, would never be in the running for something like this award. I’ll merely second her observation.
The big question is, now that Amb. Beyer has been given his award, will anyone in Washington take any constructive and useful action to change the horrible situation the US has created for all overseas “US persons” (willing or unwilling)? Don’t hold your breath …
ISSUES OF CONCERN FOR U.S. CITIZENS WORKING ABROAD is a well written paper. But, it minimizes the problem. There is no mention of PFICs and the Exit Tax. The report includes:
“As one respondent wrote, “It takes time for a typical American to understand the harshness of these initiatives (FATCA, OVDP). Most, who grew up thinking the U.S. Government is fair and decent, are at first in denial. Once they are convinced that the harshness is true, they evaluate the risk-reward of coming forward. Some are still in denial.” Also widespread is the perception that the U.S. Government and the general public see the overseas American community mainly as a problem rather than an asset, which serves to advance American economic and cultural interests in an increasingly globalized world.”
Later on it says it talks about the morality of using “whistle blowers” to “hunt” U.S. citizens abroad.
“Use of Informants: Questions have been repeatedly raised about the morality of the IRS offering rewards to informants to denounce their fellow citizens suspected of U.S. tax non-compliance. They asked how such a practice could be reconciled with American values of solidarity, friendship and mutual trust.”
American values of “solidarity, friendship and mutual trust”? The values of the U.S. government are the exact opposite – the exact opposite.
It’s tough being a US citizen abroad!
Prior to 2011: Patriotic US citizens abroad would constantly defend the US from the Anti-Americanism that is the dominant cultural assumption throughout the world. US citizens abroad would say: “America is good, it’s not as bad as all that”. Nobody would listen to US citizens abroad.
Starting with 2011: Patriotic US citizens abroad acknowledge that that the apostles of anti-Americanism were right. Now, US citizens abroad want people to see how bad America really is and that it is far worse than people believe. Nobody listens to US citizens abroad.
Guess it’s bad to be a US citizen abroad.
The report ends with a bunch of recommendations except the only recommendation that is worth anything at all. The only recommendation that makes sense is:
Renounce your US citizenship as quickly as you can, given your financial circumstances. You owe this to your family, friends, community and above all else to yourself! This should be your number one priority. Furthermore, you must educate as many people as possible about this.
One thing I found amusing in the report was the statement to the effect that: although people are renouncing, there are more people wanting to come to the US than there are people renouncing. That’s the kind of thinking I would expect of a homelander. The correct way to view this is: the percentage increase in those renouncing far exceeds the percentage increase (if there is one) of people wanting to move to the U.S.
It’s time to realize that, the U.S. has declared war on its citizens abroad. Stop pretending that it’s a mistake, a misunderstanding, they really don’t know, etc.
“Renounce your US citizenship as quickly as you can, given your financial circumstances. You owe this to your family, friends, community and above all else to yourself!”
“It’s time to realize that, the U.S. has declared war on its citizens abroad. Stop pretending that it’s a mistake, a misunderstanding, they really don’t know, etc.”
This is reality. Time to wake up and smell the coffee.
USCitizenAbroad, probably because it’s become the norm as far as dealing with crimes/criminals. See this article from the BBC.
The fact that the IRS will pay millions to an informant in the supposed belief that they will be reaping in billions of unpaid tax in return just shows it has spread to every branch of the policing departments. It’s reached such proportions that US “justice” system simply couldn’t function without it. That it’s creating a dog eat dog, devil take the hindmost society just doesn’t bother the powers that be.
“Current US Tax policy to combat tax evasion is having a negative fall-out on Americans overseas,” said Ambassador Donald S. Beyer, Jr.
This Beyer, he hasn’t accomplished anything with the town hall meetings other than gather complaints, contradictions between tax systems, and perhaps some horror stories. Which is what we have already done at IBS. All he has done is some fact finding. What has he changed?
Flabbergasting. Did they give the award for want of any other candidates? I would have given him the award if he had achieved residence-based taxation, proportional representation in the House, helped repeal FATCA, and accomplished an exoneration of USPs abroad from the FBAR penalties. This award is akin to the peace prize given to Obama so soon into his presidency. Prizes are given for merely giving people “Hope” but what comes after doesn’t put us into any better position.
If I were ACA I would have given the award to IBS as a whole. We perhaps have not accomplished anything decisive yet either, but we are tireless for the cause.
We must be up to no good, why else would we have to be surveilled on an ongoing basis with FBAR’s, 8938’s and any other report we need to prove we owe no tax to the USG? When so many USP’s actually living abroad are ‘in denial’ I would think that any homelander who recognizes that we are victims and not perpetrators of a crime should receive an award, for as we are painfully aware, those folks are few and far between!
@Jefferson D. Tomas
Well, I hear your complaint, but I think the choice relates to a way to get publicity that giving an award to IBS would NEVER get. In fact, it would not be effective and would isolate or marginalize ACA. Frankly, IMHO, rightly or wrongly, IBS is seen in the DC bizarro upside down world as malcontents, and probably not viewed favorably.
There is a taint with being associated with a group, that has as one of its major threads, help and advice on how to give up U.S. Citizenship. An award to IBS does not get any media attention, certainly would not get you inside the State Department for pictures or distribution of material.
So, if you are going to try to influence the policy makers via lobbying efforts that opens the doors for you in Congress and get attention that isn’t just dismissed, you have to choose your targets for awards carefully. I am not criticizing IBS, just recognizing the realities of working ‘the political system’.
I truthfully don’t know anything about Beyers, or the ACA selection process, and maybe there is some slight analogy with giving ‘O’ the Peace Prize when he really had not done anything to deserve it, except give aspirational speeches which are not now matched by the realities of his actions.
I think you have to look at this award in the context of the choices. Compare him to the Ambassador in Norway, or Canada, and on a sliding scale of effort and understanding of the plight of American’s abroad, he wins hands down, or so it seems to me. He probably is the best choice given the limited field of candidates available for consideration.
Just my opinion. I could be wrong.
The only award IBS should be interested in is to put the evil beast of “citizenship-based taxation” six feet under once and for all.
With a little luck, FATCA may be the one to ‘put the evil beast of citizenship-based taxation six feet under’ – who should get the award then?
YEAH, i’VE BEEN HOPING 4 THE SAME. With a Little bit of bloomin’ luck
@Beyers was given the award as an encouragement to stand up and do something. Of course, he won’t do anything, but at least ACA tried.
The issue is more importantly very few people on the US side wish to speak publically on any of these issues. For all I know Byers and others might be completely supportive in private but they aren’t saying anything in public.
For what it is worth, my initial reaction to the ACA awarding US Ambassador to Switzerland, Donald Beyer, with the Thomas Jefferson Award was not positive:
a. It was under Beyer’s watch that ordinary Americans in Switzerland began to experience severe bank account difficulties.
b. Interviews with Beyer showed that he was concerned about the banking situation but, since he did little but talk, the ACA confused “motion with action”.
However, after reflecting on this I support this decision:
a. Beyer clearly understands the impact that FATCA and the US indictment of Bank Wegelin has had on ordinary Americans living in Switzerland.
b. He is politically connected in Washington, which is why he was selected to be US Ambassador, and possibly he will be listened to upon his return.
As an additional comment, Beyer has been Ambassador for four years and he seems to have put his back into the job over that time. The last two ambassadors appointed by GW Bush, who were short-timers, were generally considered to be “lousy” by Americans living here. They seemed to be absent from the country often and, from the Wikileaks documents, one did not appear to understand or appreciate the country.
Just my two cents.
As previously mentioned, Donald Beyer is running for a US House seat from northern Virginia currently occupied by retiring James Moran. This is a Democratic district and if he wins the primary in May he will likely be elected. Beyer, as former US Ambassador to Switzerland, understands the impact that the US diaspora tax and FBAR crackdowns are having on overseas Americans and should be an ally in Congress if elected. He is currently considered the front-runner in a crowded field for the primaries:
This sounds hopeful
Yes, there’s always hope that those in a position of power who are aware of the American diaspora tax crisis will try to do something about it, but I’ve seen too much betrayal and line toeing that I’m forced to temper my hope with a great deal of skepticism.
Don Beyer, the former US Ambassador to Switzerland and well-known Volvo car dealer in northern Virginia, won the Democratic primary on June 10th to succeed the retiring Jim Moran. As this is a Democratic district, it is expected that he will be elected as US Representative for the 8th Congressional District, according to the WSJ:
Don Beyer understands the CBT-related issues of overseas Americans and should be an ally for them.