Roger Conklin passed away 11/25/14 "Some you just know are in God’s presence, and that is where Roger is now." http://t.co/cmHfoyu0vq"
— U.S. Citizen Abroad (@USCitizenAbroad) November 29, 2014
Thank you Roger Conklin for your devotion, your work and most importantly because you "You got high hopes" http://t.co/l3tZtvNlPt
— U.S. Citizen Abroad (@USCitizenAbroad) November 29, 2014
Roger Conklin was a frequent commenter on the Isaac Brock Society and any other venue that allowed him to comment on the plight of Americans abroad and the damage that U.S. tax policies were are causing to America. He described his involvement with “American Citizens Abroad” here. “Americans Citizen Abroad” recently awarded Mr. Conklin the “Eugene Abrams Award” for service to Americans Abroad. ACA noted that:
ACA is proud to confer its Eugene Abrams Award for 2014 on Roger D. Conklin. The Abrams Award, (named for Eugene B. Abrams, ACA Executive Director from 1992-1994), honors Americans abroad who have contributed outstanding volunteer service to their community. This year, it is being presented to a former American abroad who has been of invaluable service to the overseas American community.
Mr. Conklin has worked tirelessly for decades to bring home the message that overseas Americans are a vital asset to the United States, and an essential component in expanding United States trade and exports. As ACA Director Jackie Bugnion wrote him recently, “I must say that your constant devotion to the cause of Americans abroad – over nearly 40 years – is absolutely exceptional. Your command of the historic details and personal experience with the arbitrary changes of the law have provided all of us with a wealth of information and inspiration.”
Mr. Conklin, currently retired in Palmetto Bay, FL, spent most of his working life promoting sales of American products overseas. He lived abroad in Peru and in Brazil, and during his career he marketed U.S. exports in 98 foreign countries. When the U.S. Tax Reform Act of 1976 was passed, drastically reducing the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion and making numerous other employee perks taxable, he was managing director of a Brazilian-owned company in Rio de Janeiro selling and implementing turnkey telecommunications projects in that country, using U.S.-made telecommunications products. Faced with double taxation which totaled over 80% of his income, Mr. Conklin and his family – like thousands of other American business people abroad at the time – were forced to abandon their jobs in Brazil and return to the U.S. in order to survive. The marketing gap left by his departure was soon filled by a French company, selling French-made products to what developed into a $1 billion a year export market.
From the time of his forced return to the United States, Roger Conklin became an activist, working to educate the American government and the American public of the imperative need to have Americans abroad “in the field”, selling American products, thereby creating and maintaining jobs in the U.S.A. He has tirelessly testified before Congress (numerous times, from 1978 to 2011), written in-depth articles and participated actively in online blogs. Mr. Conklin recently wrote:
I believe in this cause more so today than ever. The snowball effect of citizenship-based taxation continues so needlessly to not only destroy the lives of proud and loyal Americans abroad and our relations with peoples of other countries as well as handicap the American economy by creating a truly unique un-level playing field for our citizens as well as American companies in their effort to grow our economy and create jobs at home.
ACA has benefited from his input as a Director for many years. ACA Executive Director Marylouise Serrato commented, “Roger Conklin has played an enormous role in bringing interest in the cause of Americans abroad and their effect on trade to attain a truly global level of intercourse; future generations of overseas Americans will benefit from the ball he helped get rolling.”
ACA Inc. is a Washington-based non-profit, non-partisan, volunteer association with worldwide membership whose mission is to represent the interests of Americans living overseas. The organization works on behalf of its members with the Executive Branch of the US Government, the US Congress, and the Federal Judiciary. With offices in Washington DC and Geneva Switzerland, ACA Inc. draws on more than three decades of rich experience and knowledge of laws affecting Americans living overseas.
What follows is a republication of a a very early “Brock post” written by Petros and published in January of 2012.
Roger Conklin writes about why he left Brazil in 1977
Posted on January 19, 2012 by Petros Posted in Issues regarding US persons abroad 9 Comments
We are most honored to have Roger Conklin as a reader and frequent commenter at the Isaac Brock Society. Today, he kindly commented on my post, A second response to Barrie McKenna.
Very well expressed indeed. As a law abiding US citizen living and working in Brazil who was forced by US tax legislation to either violate the laws of the US by not paying my income tax obligation as mandated by the Tax Reform Act of 1976, or violate Brazilian law by purchasing US dollars illegally on the black market and smuggling them out of the country in violation of its money-laundering laws, I also had to make a tough decision. I was younger then, so I decided to throw in the towel and return to the US to seek a new career, which I was most fortunate to find.
Some of my close American friends there chose to become naturalized Brazilian citizens and formally renounce their US citizenship before a US consular official in Brazil. Although it was not an easy decision for any of us to make, one way or the other, I to this day have great respect for those who chose to become Brazilians and stay in Brazil. It certainly was not easy for them. Fortunately at that time it was not as difficult as it is today since then there was no exit tax. Today the decision is much tougher as a result of the exit tax incorporated into the Renunciation process just a few years back.
I have not regretted the decision I took back then, but I have never ceased to work very hard to try to wake up our legislators and Administration officials that citizen-based taxation is an abomination that works against the best interests of the US. It has been a lonely battle. I remain totally convinced that in balance citizenship based taxation does far more harm to the best interests of the US which is far more important to the pittance that this tax generates for the US Treasury. Few US citizens living in the US are even aware that US citizens abroad are double taxed. And since very few ever expect to live and work abroad, the subject is of little interest or concern to them. And since it is not an issue on which our legislators will take a stand, is it does not enhance their chances of reelection, they just push it aside.
It is my firm opinion that the only way this is ever going to be turned around is if foreign governments, like Canada take a very strong stand with the United States that taxing its citizens who in accordance with US law are also dual citizens of the US, and US citizens who are residents of that foreign country is a violation of the sovereignty that it will no longer tolerate. I would certainly like to see the Canadian government take a stand on this. It would probably require more than words. Perhaps it would take some sort of serious threats of some kind of sanctions, although offhand I can’t suggest what they might be. This tax is certainly detrimental to the best interests of Canadians who discover they are also dual US citizens, and for that reason alone it would be most encouraging to me to see Canada take a firm stand against it. Our Congress needs to be made aware that it has created serious–problems for the US in its relations with Canada and our other friends.